When people think about adding adaptogens to their regimens, it’s usually because they want to feel less stressed, have greater stamina, or give their workouts a boost. But adaptogens have many talents. They act as anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, and, as this review suggests, antivirals.
Some of the world’s most popular adaptogens, including rhodiola, ashwagandha, andrographis, and red ginseng are also strong immune defenders that stop viruses from replicating, inhibit the dangerous release of inflammatory markers, modulate the body’s immune response, and repair cellular damage from infections.
In a sense, these attributes of adaptogens aren’t really surprising. After all, the botanicals discussed in this review are known to protect and defend against harm in a variety of cases. Nonetheless, the fact that adaptogens can work along so many pathways in preventing or alleviating respiratory viruses makes these herbs – traditionally recommended for generations – incredibly relevant today.
Panossian A, Brendler T. The Role of Adaptogens in Prophylaxis and Treatment of Viral Respiratory Infections. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2020 Sep 8;13(9):236.
The aim of our review is to demonstrate the potential of herbal preparations, specifically adaptogens for prevention and treatment of respiratory infections, as well as convalescence, specifically through supporting a challenged immune system, increasing resistance to viral infection, inhibiting severe inflammatory progression, and driving effective recovery. The evidence from pre-clinical and clinical studies with Andrographis paniculata, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Glycyrrhiza spp., Panax spp., Rhodiola rosea, Schisandra chinensis, Withania somnifera, their combination products and melatonin suggests that adaptogens can be useful in prophylaxis and treatment of viral infections at all stages of progression of inflammation as well as in aiding recovery of the organism by (i) modulating innate and adaptive immunity, (ii) anti-inflammatory activity, (iii) detoxification and repair of oxidative stress-induced damage in compromised cells, (iv) direct antiviral effects of inhibiting viral docking or replication, and (v) improving quality of life during convalescence.
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