Adaptogens are natural plant materials with a variety of pharmacologic compounds that can cultivate and enhance the human body’s innate ability to adapt to changing circumstances and maximize survival potential, particularly under conditions of stress. These fascinating substances, with a history of medicinal use that spans millennia, optimize the body’s natural defense systems at the organismal, extracellular, and intracellular levels through a variety of biochemical pathways, and can enhance treatment outcomes as elements of integrative interventions for psychiatric disorders.
This two-part series, presented by naturopathic physician Peter Bongiorno, ND, LAc, offers registrants a unique opportunity to go beyond the prescription pad and explore some of Mother Nature’s most valuable bequests to modern integrative medicine. A brief history of the use adaptogens will segue into an analysis of the pharmacologic properties for which adaptogens have been sought after through the centuries, and the elucidation of biologic pathways through which they modulate the stress response. Recommendations for clinical intake and laboratory testing strategies to facilitate effective adaptogen prescriptions for unique symptomatic presentations will be detailed. Finally, literature regarding the most commonly utilized plant adaptogens will be reviewed, and the therapeutic benefits of using adaptogens concomitantly with psychotropic medications discussed.
Upon completion, registrants will have gained a bench to bedside knowledge of how to use adaptogens in clinical practice to complement conventional care, strategies for addressing the underlying causes of psychiatric illness with these incredible plant medicines, and a working understanding as to the unique properties and clinical applications that distinguish members of the Panax genus (American, Asian, and Siberian ginseng).