A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide

Chin Med. 2018 Nov 16;13:57. doi: 10.1186/s13020-018-0214-9. eCollection 2018.


Modern studies have shown that adaptogens can non-specifically enhance the resistance of human body under a wide range of external stress conditions with a multi-targeted and multi-channel network-like manner, especially by affect the immune-neuro-endocrine system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This review article draws the attention to the relationships of adaptogens, tonics from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and ginseng-like herbs worldwide, which all have similar plant sources and clinical applications. To clarify the sources and pharmacological mechanisms of these plant-originated adaptogens, which will provide useful information for the utilization of adaptogens to improve the human health. Meanwhile, the TCMs and the world-wide ginseng-like herbs from each region's ethnopharmacology will be beneficial modernization and globalization.

Keywords: Adaptogen; Ginseng-like herbs worldwide; HPA axis; Immune-neuro-endocrine system; Tonics.

Publication types

  • Review