Adaptogens and nutritive tonic herbs for patient well-being

Learn how these four adaptogens and tonic herbs are a profound choice for achieving balanced well-being in your patients.

Balance is the key word with adaptogens; they adapt to the body stressors creating harmony in animals. If the immune system is heightened, adaptogens can depress to balance. If depleted, they can exemplify to balance.

Nutritive tonic herbs build and strengthen. They tonify and restore the organ systems, are rich in minerals, trace minerals and vitamins, fiber, and mucilage, and take on the role of diuretics and adaptogens in many cases. These herbs also play a key role in the absorption of vital nutrients, and can be considered both food and medicine that act to heal and support the body.

Both adaptogens and nutritive tonic herbs are antioxidants and help to regulate the body systems with ease. Without overstimulating the immune system, they can be used to instill balance in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle. The following game changers are known for their healing powers

Amla/Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)

Known as “The Great Rejuvenator” in Ayurvedic medicine, Amla is considered a nutritive tonic. While it has many characteristics of an adaptogen, there currently is not enough research to label it as such.

Raw Amla is nutritive and restorative, able to deliver high levels of vitamin C without causing GI distress. It contains the potent antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) – an enzyme that promotes the rejuvenation and repair of cells – as well as the potent phenolic combination of ellagic acid, gallic acid and emblicanin A and B. Together these polyphenols are important for reducing cellular and oxidative stress and destroying immune damaging free radicals.

Glutathione, peroxidase and catalase is also present in Amla, as well as a high concentration of amino acids, trace minerals and phytonutrients. It helps to knit and strengthen connective tissue disorders such as a luxating patella or a partially torn CCL, and protects from further joint degeneration.

Other beneficial nutritive tonic herbs worth mentioning here include milky oats, nettle leaf, dandelion, horsetail, saw palmetto, alfalfa, burdock root.

Eleuthero root (Eleutherococcus senticosus)

This adaptogen disburses oxygen and vital nutrients to the brain and the body which makes it my primary go-to herb for the circulatory system; whether musculoskeletal or cognitive. It increases energy, endurance, longevity, and immunity, and improves skin, muscle tone and bone strength, making it an ideal herb for athletic or working dogs and horses. It prevents lactic acid buildup while enhancing circulatory action, relieves stress, improves resistance to infections, clears stagnation and heat, and helps animals recover quickly while minimizing immune depletion from intensive training. It’s also excellent for use with older animals.

Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis)

Schisandra has a uniqueness beyond other adaptogens. It has a strong impact on the central nervous system as well as the sympathetic, endocrine, immune, respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

In addition, it can help remove neurotoxins and promotes healing of existing damage in the liver, the organs of digestion, and especially the bowel which increases the body’s ability to metabolize and eliminate toxins. It also increases hepatic glutathione, an essential liver antioxidant. The lignans present in this plant work as free radical scavengers.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

This herb affects multiple body systems to promote emotional and physical well-being. Pharmacological studies show the mechanism of action is withaferin-A, a primary withanolide that stimulates neurotransmitter pathways in the brain and enhances cognitive processes. Ashwagandha has also been shown to stimulate the growth of axons and dendrites, is a primary herb for immune modulation specific to Anaplasma infection, prevents depletion of white blood cells, is rich in iron, enhances endocrine function with direct effect on thyroid, and is anti-inflammatory.

Using it raw increases the levels of catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase.