Plant Adaptogens-History and Future Perspectives

Nutrients. 2021 Aug 20;13(8):2861. doi: 10.3390/nu13082861.


Adaptogens are synthetic compounds (bromantane, levamisole, aphobazole, bemethyl, etc.) or plant extracts that have the ability to enhance the body's stability against physical loads without increasing oxygen consumption. Extracts from Panax ginseng, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Rhaponticum carthamoides, Rhodiola rosea, and Schisandra chinensis are considered to be naturally occurring adaptogens and, in particular, plant adaptogens. The aim of this study is to evaluate the use of plant adaptogens in the past and now, as well as to outline the prospects of their future applications. The use of natural adaptogens by humans has a rich history-they are used in recovery from illness, physical weakness, memory impairment, and other conditions. About 50 years ago, plant adaptogens were first used in professional sports due to their high potential to increase the body's resistance to stress and to improve physical endurance. Although now many people take plant adaptogens, the clinical trials on human are limited. The data from the meta-analysis showed that plant adaptogens could provide a number of benefits in the treatment of chronic fatigue, cognitive impairment, and immune protection. In the future, there is great potential to register medicinal products that contain plant adaptogens for therapeutic purposes.

Keywords: Eleuterococcus senticosus; Panax ginseng; Rhaponticum carthamoides; Rhodiola rosea; Schisandra chinensis; plant adaptogens.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / drug effects*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Female
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy* / history
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / history
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Stress, Physiological / drug effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Plant Extracts