Maximizing your body and mind with adaptogens
The beauty of HerbWorks’ formulas lie in the power of a balanced blend maximizing the synergistic effects of each ingredient in the formula. All of the herbs used in our formulas are extracted at their natural energetic strength to maximize their effect. This is why our customers have such amazing results.
Adaptogens are part of a small class of herbs in Chinese Herbology called Superior herbs. Every single herb that falls into this class has a multi-layered effect on your health. When consumed individually, most herbs don’t have much of an effect. However, with proper formulation, maximum results can be achieved.
Superior Herbalism is based on the use of Superior herbs as the primary driving force of the formula along with other supporting herbs to help balance all the energy centers in your body.
Albizzia is known as the herb for ” forgetting cares and sorrows” and “collective happiness flower”. It is an ultimate Shen tonic and is often used for improving memory, circulation and has been known to have mood elevating properties. Albizzia flower opens the Heart energy and historically has been used for stress, depression and heartbreak. It can also be used as an adjunct to meditation as it opens the pivotal point in the aura.
Anemerrhna is an herb used to clear heat and generate moisture. It’s often used as a Yin tonic to balance the warming energy of other herbs in a formula.
Known as Indian ginseng and one of the most famous of all Ayurvedic herbs. It is a premier adaptogen and has profound effect on regulating the HPA Axis (hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal axis) which is the basis of stress response. Although many herbs have been crowded into this category, I still maintain that the “gang of Four” – ashwagandha, rhodiola, reishi and eleuthero, are truly substances that can effectively regulate stress response. We use KSM-66 Ashwagandha because it’s the only form of this herb that has been patented and clinically proven to work. It guarantees that every batch is harvested properly and at the right time and age of the plant, always extracted to the correct potency needed to produce clinical results. KSM-66 Ashwagandha has been proven to reduce fatigue, stress and tension. It helps counteract the negative effects of stress, boosts energy levels, enhances focus and memory, supports cardiovascular function and proper cholesterol levels, helps maintain blood sugar levels, reduces carbohydrate cravings and maintains healthy inflammatory response. We not only build our formula around KSM-66 Ashwaganda but we actually use a clinically effective dose.
One of the greatest Chi tonics in all of Chinese Herbology. It’s often used as a ginseng replacement in younger people. Recently it has gained great popularity as an immune building herb. It’s used to help strengthen digestion and lung function, for recovery from illness and as an energy building herb. It is said to build “Upright Chi”, meaning when the lungs are strong and the breath is deep, it promotes good posture and holds the organs in place. Astragalus is an excellent herb for maintaining the “Protective Chi” circulating on the surface of the skin helping to ward off seasonal illness. If the cold wind seems to bother your neck, it’s often a sign that your “Protective Chi” is weak.
Cistanche is a potent Jing tonic known to enhance fertility and strengthen the back and knees. It is equally valuable to athletes as an energy herb and valuable to artists for increasing creativity. Cistanche is highly valued as a sexual tonic for both men and women, especially as they age. It is currently being studied in China in relation to treating brain function.
Clubmoss is historically used to enhance memory and block the formation of chemicals that interfere with acetylcholine production in the brain. Clubmoss is gaining attention because of positive effect on memory. In clinical and pharmacological tests, it has been found to be powerful enough to help with degenerative brain disease. The active ingredient in club moss is HuperzineA, an alkaloid that inhibits acetycholinesterase(AchE), allowing greater access to acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter responsible for the speed by which the brain processes information and accesses memory. It is essential to the proper function of the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for long-term memory.
Cocoa is becoming famous as a source of polyphenol antioxidants. These particular nutrients have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Cocoa has also been known to lift to mood and brain activity.
This is the herb that launched all of the studies on adaptogenic herbs. Commonly used as an adaptogen to regulate stress response and strengthen adrenal function. It’s famous as a physical endurance and mental enhancing herb used by cosmonauts for its blood oxygen enriching properties. Eleuthero is a great herb for anyone who’s involved in sports or work that demands strength and endurance. It’s more Chi building than Jing, even though we use it primarily for it’s effect on the kidney adrenal energy. Eleuthero is seldom sold as a bulk herb as it’s not very nutrient dense. It takes over 40 lbs of good root to make one pound of powdered extract.
Famous as “goat sex tea”, epimedium is known throughout the world as herbal aphrodisiac. Lost in its reputation is that it’s also a great herb for increasing circulation in the brain and improving general immunity. Epimedium adds a spark of Yang or fire to the adrenals and has been shown to increase fertility. It is a Jing tonic.
Its Chinese name is “Duzhong” having been named after a doctor who took it and achieved great intellectual success. Eucommia is a premier Jing tonic as it contains a perfect balance of Yin and Yang energy. Historically, its main use has been in bone strengthening formulas and can be used for increasing fertility and regulating blood pressure. Eucommia is often used for lower back and knee problems, which makes it a great herb for athletes. It works well in supporting the action of adaptogenic herbs.
Gotu Kola is one of the most important rejuvenative herbs in Ayurvedic medicine used to help revitalize the brain and nerve cells. It has been historically used to increase intelligence, memory, longevity and decrease senility as well as support normal immune function and adrenal energy. It is a powerful blood purifier and commonly used in Ayurveda to treat chronic skin diseases. Gotu Kola is commonly used by monks and yogis in the Himalayas as an aid to meditation; similar to how Reishi is used by the Taoist monks.
One of the most powerful plant based antioxidants, green tea builds immunity, increases circulation and is a best known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown it to be valuable for memory enhancement. Most of green tea’s antioxidant polyphenols are from a class called catechins of which EGCG seems to dominate. It has been described as natures most potent anticancer agent. Green tea’s broad spectrum of health promoting benefits are unmatched by any other food. It contains compounds that are antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic. Clinical trials have shown effectiveness in preventing cancers of the pancreas, colon, small intestine, stomach, breast and lung. Lab studies have shown an ability to induce death in prostate cancer cells. Studies suggest that green tea helps protect against diabetes, atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. It also protects the brain from neurodegeneration and helps promote thermogenesis and the burning of fat.
Ho Shou Wu
Ho Shou Wu— translates as “Ho’s black hair” one of the main kidney restoratives in Chinese herbology. Legend has it that Ho, an aging lonely hermit living on the edge of town saw a vine intertwined on his walk through the forest. The vines resembled a couple embracing and so he harvested the root and consumed the tea. His hair turned back to black from snow white (hence the name) and he actually married and had a son. They both lived to over 100 years old and the herb has since been called Ho’s black hair. The active ingredients are nearly identical to adrenal hormone. It is used as a fertility herb, blood builder and tonifies the reproductive organs. Ho Shou Wu contains the powerful anti-oxidant stilbene which is very similar to resveratrol. It is a famous Jing tonic for increasing longevity. We use He Shou Wu in TianChi to enhance the “kidney strengthening” aspect of adaptogenic herbs.
Licorice is used in more formulations than any other herb. It’s known as the “great harmonizer” because it makes all of the herbs in a formula work together. It works well as a detox herb and has lung and adrenal strengthening properties. Using it in TianChi in small amounts is almost like adding a pinch salt to a stew…adding just a little makes it all so much better.
Lycium is a restorative for the liver and kidneys, popular these days as Goji and one of the 5 most famous herbs in China. Reputed to be the main food of Li Chen Yuang for the first 125 years of his life (he added some ginseng root for the next half of his life). Lycium fruit is a real superfood, rich in anti-oxidants and immune building polysaccharides. It is famous as a beauty, vision and blood building herb. It is considered a food for the eyes as it contains beta carotene and zeaxanthin. Daily consumption is said to “brighten the eyes” and to prevent your knees from giving out. As with all Jing tonics it is said to be beneficial to the skeletal systems.
The Chinese name for polygala translates into English as “profound will”. It is Shen tonic and is often used in herbal formulas to strengthen and calm the mind. It also has heart opening properties and is often used in formulas for stress. Polygala is unique in the fact that is the only herb known to open an energetic channel that runs between the heart and the kidneys known as the Penetrating Vessel. Thus it is used in sexual tonics to connect the emotional heart with the sexual energy. Polygala can be used in formulas to enhance brain function, sexual energy and meditation.
Polygonam (98% trans-resveratrol)
Trans-resveratrol, the only active form of resveratrol, is associated with longevity, increased immunity, and protecting the liver, heart and brain. It has an activating effect on SIRT-1, the gene linked to healthy aging. Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that easily crosses the blood brain barrier to clear inflammation. Red wine has trace amounts and it is said to be the reason for its health benefits. You would have to drink approximately 100-1000 glasses of red wine to get the amount found in one packet of TianChi.
Reishi is known as the “Mushroom of Immortality,” and “Herb of Good Fortune”. It is the most highly revered herb in China for its ability to brighten the mind and spirit. Historically used for boosting immunity, liver detoxing, blood purifying and building, and is known as a potent stress reliever. Legend has it that Japan was discovered by ship of soldiers sent by Emperor to find Reishi. They found the Reishi and island were both too beautiful to go back home. Paintings of heaven always include a mountain topped with Reishi in the middle of it. The stories are too numerous to mention. This is one of our favorite herbs because of its ability to accelerate the transformation process in human beings. In fact I would say that continuous consumption of Reishi can help someone on the path to becoming a “true human being”. It is a great adaptogen and influences the pituitary, thyroid, thymus and adrenal glands. Reishi also opens the emotional heart and is truly a super food. Reishi is a “Three Treasure” tonic, it builds Jing, Chi and Shen. The spores of Reishi are high in polysaccharides that build immunity. They are a potent Jing tonic since they contain the genetic blueprint of the mushroom itself and are unequaled as a Shen tonic of transformation.
Rholdiola is own as the “Rose of Heaven” and “Plateau Ginseng.” It is one of the premier adaptogens in the entire world and one of our personal favorites. Regarded as life-prolonging and wisdom enhancing, it can reduce stress response, is blood purifying and is said to balance both creative and cognitive functions of the brain. One of the best herbs for blood oxygenation, it is useful for all endurance sports. It has been historically used to treat depression and chronic fatigue and protect against radiation. It is a favorite herb for cosmonauts and mountain climbers. Rhodiola is a “Three Treasure” tonic, it builds Jing, Chi and Shen.
Schizandra, the “Five flavor berry” is known as a beauty enhancing herb, one of the main herbs pictured with Lady Maku the Goddess of Beauty. It helps restores proper water metabolism to the cells, detoxifies the liver and lungs, and is an important herb for building lung energy. It tonifies the reproductive system, builds sexual fluids and moistens the skin. Schizandra has been successfully used in China to treat hepatitis. It contains over 20 lignans that bind to carcinogenic substances and safely removes them from the body. A mild adaptogen and powerful anti-oxidant, schizandra is the Chinese equivalent to milk thistle. Schizandra can be used in hundreds of ways because it is a food and not a medicine. Legend has it that if Schizandra is used continuously for 100 days it will purify the blood, brighten the mind and enhance memory, and rejuvenate male and female sexual energy. Many of the people we have worked with like it better than Gingko for an immediate memory boost. Schizandra is a “Three Treasure” tonic, it builds Jing, Chi and Shen.
Known for it’s sweetness, Stevia is often overlooked as an actual herb used for regulating blood sugar. It is high in trace minerals and considered to be a nutritive herb.