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Anti-stress: The best adaptogens

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    Ashwagandha is becoming increasingly popular as a supplement. The effective adaptogen can not only have a supportive effect when dealing with stres...

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    Astragalus is a medicinal plant from traditional Chinese medicine that has a wide range of very interesting health benefits. Studies have linked as...

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    Ashwagandha has become one of the most popular supplements in Germany. It is an effective adaptogen that brings with it a multitude of health benef...

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    Anti Stress · 90 capsules

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    Reduce the harmful effects of stress on your well-being, performance and health while supporting your recovery after intense physical training Can...

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    Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen with many benefits. It has helped test subjects in various studies to cope better with stress, reduce fatigue and im...

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    Gods Rage

    Cordyceps is a mushroom that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many years. It is said to have a positive effect on vitality. As a s...

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    It is a natural plant extract for 60 days 245 mg ashwagandha root extract of which 3.675 mg vitanolide

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    Ashwagandha Pro · 60 capsules

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    Ashwagandha has been a proven super plant in Indian herbalism for thousands of years The most popular adaptogen in Indian medicine Also known as "...

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    Ashwagandha is an important medicinal plant in Ayurvedic medicine. It is often used as a rejuvenating agent. Ashwagandha 600 Sport Edition support...

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    Muscle building requires training, nutrition and regeneration Many supplements neglect regeneration CSA improves the body's ability to deal with s...

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    Ashwagandha KSM-66® · 120 capsules

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    Ashwagandha: Central medicinal plant of Ayurvedic medicine, known for stress reduction and energy boost. Adaptogen: Improves the body's resistan...

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    Multiple stress triggers: Includes emotional, mental, environmental and physical factors. General adaptation syndrome (GAS): Describes the body'...

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    Versatile mushroom blend: Peak O2 combines five adaptogenic mushrooms, including Cordyceps and Reishi, to improve performance. Stress Resistance...

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    500 mg ashwagandha extract for stress management and vitality 125 mg panax ginseng extract to increase mental and physical performance 75 mg g...

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Adaptogens against stress

Adaptogens have been shown to be a non-toxic and consistent solution to a variety of health problems, not just for people exposed to high levels of stress. In this article, we will take a closer look at how adaptogens can be used in many applications, ranging from weight training applications, to supportive treatment of various conditions, to prolonging life. The word adaptogen was coined in 1947 by Russian scientist N.V. Lazarev, who discovered that certain plants increase the body's resistance to stress. Later, scientists discovered that these plant extracts affected multiple systems in non-specific ways and could bring overactive or underactive systems back to their normal state. They concluded that adaptogens are relatively harmless and cause minimal irregularities in the body. Adaptogenic plants have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years and in Ayurvedic Indian medicine for thousands of years. However, adaptogens are not only used in traditional medicine, but are also becoming increasingly popular in the Western world. Nevertheless, until recently the evidence for their effects was purely anecdotal. Modern science is only just beginning to decipher the actual mechanisms of action underlying adaptogens.

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are specific plants or medicinal herbs that help to balance the body's hormone levels, which helps to improve the body's response to stress. They interact with the body's needs in a unique way. For example, consider the adrenal function of the human body. In the adrenal glands, which are located in the adrenal cortex, adaptogens improve the body's ability to start producing and releasing stress hormones more quickly, as well as to stop this production more quickly, resulting in the body being exposed to stress responses for less time.

Some of the most widely used and effective adaptogens include

Each of these adaptogens works in its own unique way and not all adaptogens should be used over an extended period of time. It is important to keep in mind that it is important to know the individual dosage, potential side effects and known concerns before starting to use adaptogen supplements. The following list looks at different areas of health and provides an overview of the relevant adaptogens that have been shown to be effective in these areas. This list can give you a good overview of how you can use adaptogens in your life.

1. adaptogens for exercise and weight loss

Ashwagandha

If you want to build lean muscle mass, you can do more than simply increase your protein intake. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial looked at young men with little experience in the weight room. The scientists administered 300 mg of an ashwagandha root extract twice a day to one group. At the end of the study, this group showed a significant increase in muscle mass in the arms and legs, a reduction in muscle damage and increased testosterone levels. This study also reported that a greater reduction in body fat percentage was observed in the ashwagandha group (1).

  • Ashwagandha dosage to support training: 600 milligrams per day divided into two single doses.

Ginseng

Ginseng can help with this in humans (2):

  • Increase total oxygen capacity (VO2 max)
  • Increase training capacity
  • Increase strength - especially in the leg muscles

These results have been observed in several human studies and a number of animal studies have also shown the same positive effects. In a study from the 1990s, it was also observed that ginseng can support weight loss in subjects recently diagnosed with diabetes (3).

  • Ginseng dosage for exercise and weight loss: 200-300 milligrams of a standardized ginseng extract per day.

Rhodiola Rosea

Anyone who trains with weights will probably be familiar with ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is an organic compound that stores energy in every cell in the body. When one of the cells needs energy to perform a task, it breaks down ATP to get that energy.

If you can increase or maintain ATP production for longer, you can significantly increase your training capacity, which is why many sports scientists focus on increasing ATP production, which can increase training energy and therefore have a positive effect on physical performance.

In studies conducted with animals, Rhodiola Rosea helped the animals to produce ATP faster, which increased their ability to work harder (4). These results were replicated the following year in a placebo-controlled double-blind study with human volunteers (5).

  • Rhodiola Rosea dosage for training: 200 milligrams daily (3% rosavin + 1% salidrosides)

2. adaptogens for the thyroid gland

Ashwagandha

Millions of people suffer from thyroid problems. 3 to 8% of the world's population suffer from thyroid dysfunction without experiencing obvious symptoms. An underactive thyroid can cause fatigue, sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin and unexplained weight gain.

In 2018, scientists concluded that ashwagandha may be helpful for normalizing thyroid hormone levels in people with hypothyroidism (6).

  • Ashwagandha dosage for the thyroid: 600 milligrams per day.

3. adaptogens for anxiety disorders

Ashwagandha

One of the benefits of ashwagandha is its effectiveness as a natural remedy for anxiety disorders. It has been shown that ashwagandha can compete with pharmaceutical agents such as imipramine and lorazepam in this respect, but without their side effects (7).

Studies have shown that 250 mg of ashwagandha root extract per day can alleviate these symptoms in people diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (8, 9).

  • Ashwagandha dosage for anxiety disorders: 500 milligrams per day divided into two single doses.

Holy Basil (Indian basil)

Ocimum tenuiflorum, also known as Indian basil or holy basil, is a plant that grows in the tropical areas of Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. This plant substantially reduces common anxiety disorders and correlating stress and depression, according to a 2008 human study (10).

Warning: Indian basil should not be used by women who are trying to conceive, as it has strong sterilizing effects on male sperm (11).

  • Holy Basil dosage for anxiety disorders: 1000 milligrams per day divided into two single doses.

4. adaptogens against stress

As the term "adaptogen" is synonymous with stress reliever, all adaptogens are technically medicinal herbs to relieve stress. Here we will look at the most effective adaptogens for stress.

Ashwagandha

This queen of adaptogens is one of the best-studied and most readily available adaptogens. When taken in capsule or powder form, this adaptogen reliably improves individual resilience to stress and perceived quality of life (12). Ashwagandha is full of groups of naturally occurring steroids known as withanolides. This active ingredient is more effective in higher doses. Supplements should have a withanolide content of 5 to 10%.

When used to relieve stress, one should start with 300 mg per day and slowly increase the dosage to the full dosage of 1000 to 1500 per day. It is always wise to work with a doctor to find the right individual dosage. Ashwagandha in powder form has a rather strong and unpleasant odor. For this reason, it is recommended to mix ashwagandha powder with food or drink to make it more "palatable".

  • Ashwagandha dosage for stress: 300 milligrams as a starting dose, which can be increased to up to 1500 mg per day in two single doses if required.

Bacopa monnieri

This adaptogen for the treatment of adrenal fatigue takes some time to develop its full effect, which means that you will not generally see quick results. However, scientific studies have shown that Bacopa Monnieri has a strong adaptogenic effect when taken over several weeks.

  • Bacopa dosage for stress: 300 milligrams per day.

Licorice Root (licorice root)

This is not the same as licorice candy - real licorice is a powerful adaptogen known for its ability to relieve stress.

If the body is unable to consistently produce the stress hormone cortisol and activate the fight or flight response in response to stress, then one may consider the use of real licorice / licorice root. In both human and animal studies, licorice root allowed the body to produce more cortisol during stress, allowing stressful situations to be resolved more quickly (14, 15).

  • Licorice root dosage for stress: Up to 3.5 grams per day (7.9% glycyrrhetinic acid).
  • Licorice root should not be used for more than 12 weeks at a time.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea can also prove helpful in cases of stress. Rhodiola Rosea shows very strong abilities to reduce fatigue associated with stress. In multiple clinical studies, Rhodiola Rosea helped stressed people to be more alert and better able to perform challenging mental tasks (16, 17, 18).

  • Rhodiola dosage for stress: 288-680 milligrams per day (more than 680 milligrams will probably be less effective, as the effect begins to diminish at too high doses).

5. adaptogens for energy

Rhodiola Rosea

Chronic fatigue caused by too much stress prevents many people from achieving the mental performance they desire. Rhodiola Rosea increases the ability to concentrate and reduces feelings of burnout (19).

  • Rhodiola dosage for energy: 50-680 milligrams per day (more than 680 mg per day is unlikely to be effective).

6 Adaptogens for depression

Important note: Although some adaptogens have been shown to be helpful for depression, people suffering from depression should discuss the use of these products with their doctor and never change an existing medication on their own without consultation!

Ashwagandha

We have already mentioned that ashwagandha can be helpful for anxiety disorders and chronic stress, but in addition to this, it can also be used to treat people struggling with depression without the side effects associated with pharmaceutical antidepressants.

The adaptogen ashwagandha may improve the response to stress and in turn improve perceived quality of life (29).

  • Ashwagandha dosage for depression: 300 milligrams per day.

Bacopa monnieri

Depression is very common in older people. Older people suffering from depression are much more likely to commit suicide than younger depressed people. The adaptogen Bacopa monnieri has been shown to be able to alleviate depression in elderly people suffering from dementia. The authors of the study also noted that over the course of 12 weeks of treatment, anxiety disorders were alleviated and improvements in working memory and attention were observed (30).

  • Bacopa dosage for depression: 300 milligrams per day.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea has been shown in studies to have the potential to combat depression, insomnia and emotional instability (31).

  • Rhodiola dosage for depression: 340 milligrams per day for mild depression and 680 milligrams per day for moderate depression.

7 Adaptogens for endurance

Panax ginseng

Sometimes a substitute for coffee can be helpful, especially later in the day or for people who are sensitive to caffeine. Panax ginseng has been shown to improve brain performance and focus in subjects suffering from fatigue (32).

  • Panax ginseng dosage for endurance: 200 milligrams per day.

Ashwagandha

A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study from 2015 investigated the effects of ashwagandha on oxidative stress and endurance in healthy adult athletes. The subjects' total oxygen consumption was measured during a high-intensity twenty-minute training session.

The scientists were able to observe that the endurance of the ashwagandha group was greatly increased after both 8 and 12 weeks of treatment (33).

  • Ashwagandha dosage for endurance: 600 milligrams per day (5% withanolides) divided into two single doses.

Cordyceps

A promising study showed that cordyceps was able to improve physical performance and wellness in healthy elderly subjects (34).

  • Cordyceps dosage for endurance: 1000 milligrams per day divided into three single doses.

Rhodiola Rosea

Repeated administration of a Rhodiola Rosea extract elicits an anti-exhaustion response. Rhodiola Rosea increased mental performance - especially the ability to concentrate - and reduced stress hormone levels in patients suffering from fatigue (35). In one study, a 20% increase in performance was observed during the night shift in doctors who took Rhodiola to relieve fatigue (36).

  • Rhodiola dosage for endurance: 500-700 milligrams per day divided into two single doses.

8 Adaptogens for cognitive dysfunction

Cordyceps

Adaptogens could be the key to new treatments for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

In a 2013 study, for example, Cordyceps was able to reduce memory loss by supporting nerve growth. This promoted the growth of neuron pathways that are essential for neuroplasticity, memory processing and regeneration (37).

  • Cordyceps dosage for cognitive dysfunction: 1000-3000 milligrams per day, divided into 2 to 3 single doses

Bacopa monnieri

Another adaptogen used to treat serious brain problems, Bacopa can help store new information in the brain (38). Even a low dosage of 150 milligrams twice daily improved cognitive function, allowing for increased information processing and increased storage of that information in memory (39, 40).

Some people may experience unpleasant, albeit harmless, digestive side effects with Bacopa monnieri, such as increased bowel movements, stomach cramps or nausea.

  • Bacopa dosage for cognitive dysfunction: 150-300 milligrams per day.

Mucuna pruriens

When it comes to improving memory performance, Mucuna Pruriens may be helpful. The L-dopa contained in Mucuna can help us to concentrate better and even learn better. It supports long-term memory when it comes to remembering new words (41, 42, 43).

  • Mucuna dosage for cognitive dysfunction: 200-500 milligrams per day, divided into one to 5 single doses.

Rhodiola Rosea

Do you suffer from concentration problems due to tiredness and fatigue? Rhodiola Rosea can combat this type of fatigue and reduce burnout (35). This adaptogenic plant grows in cold mountain regions. It is effective at doses as low as 50 mg per day in reducing general fatigue, although the dosage should not exceed 680 mg for a rapid onset of action.

  • Rhodiola dosage for cognitive dysfunction: 50-680 milligrams per day.

9. adaptogens for inflammation

Ashwagandha

Inflammation occurs when a part of the body becomes red, swollen, warm and often painful, often in response to injury or infection when immune function is compromised. Inflammation can result from trauma, disease and even as a chronic consequence of lifestyle.

Ashwagandha, also known as the queen of adaptogens, can reduce inflammation by over 36% at a dosage of just 125 mg per day (44).

  • Ashwagandha dosage for inflammation: 125 milligrams per day.

Rhodiola Rosea

Inflammation can also be caused by intensive training. Rhodiola shows anti-inflammatory effects and protects muscle tissue during exercise (45). This study was conducted with healthy volunteers before and after exhaustive exercise.

  • Rhodiola dosage for inflammation: Effective dosages likely range from 50 to 680 milligrams per day.

10 Adaptogens for sexual health

Ashwagandha

In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is used as a natural aphrodisiac to help reduce sexual dysfunction. It is also used to increase testosterone levels and boost male fertility. Modern science has been able to confirm what has been known in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. In men, an increase in sperm count of 167%, an increase in semen volume of 53% and an increase in sperm motility of 57% have been observed (46).

However, corresponding effects have also been observed in women. In one study, 50 women took 300 milligrams of ashwagandha root extract twice a day over a period of 8 weeks. The scientists were able to observe significantly greater improvements in arousal, moisture and orgasm in the group that had taken ashwagandha (47).

  • Ashwagandha dosage for sexual health: 300-675 milligrams divided into 2 to 3 single doses.

Holy Basil

Ocimum tenuiflorum is more than a niche in the sexual health spectrum. Indian basil can increase libido. It is an aphrodisiac and a supplement that increases testosterone levels.

The only downside, however, is that it has a potent ability to reduce male fertility. Some studies speculate that the high usolic acid content may be responsible for this. This means that Indian basil is not suitable for people who wish to have children (48, 49).

  • Holy Basil dosage for sexual health: The dosage varies between 1100 and 9100 milligrams divided into several single doses.

Panax ginseng

Men suffering from erectile dysfunction experience an improved quality of erections and a general increase in sexual desire when using Panax ginseng. The recommended dosage is 1000 mg twice daily (50, 51, 52).

Women can take Korean red ginseng to increase their sexual arousal. This is especially helpful during the postmenopausal phase of life (53).

  • Panax ginseng dosage for sexual health: 2000 milligrams per day divided into two single doses for men or 1000 milligrams per day for women.

Mucuna pruriens

Stress and infertility often go hand in hand. Stress from work or even from trying to get pregnant can often have devastating effects on the effort to get pregnant.

Mucuna has been shown not only to improve sperm quality in infertile men, but also to increase libido and reduce stress. The test subjects took 5 grams of Mucuna semen powder daily over a period of three months (54).

  • Mucuna dosage for sexual health: 5 grams per day.

Maca

Everyone can benefit from this adaptogen derived from a Peruvian root that grows in the Andes. Maca can support a healthy sex drive and increase fertility, which is prone to decline during periods of stress (55, 56). After menopause, many women turn to antidepressants, the side effects of which often include a loss of sexual desire and reduced orgasms. One study found that maca root can reduce serotonin reuptake inhibitor-induced sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women (57, 58).

Many men and women have difficulties when it comes to having children. This is where maca can help both sexes. For men, it increases sperm count and motility and for women, this adaptogen helps to achieve a hormonal balance that regulates the menstrual cycle (59, 60).

For sexual problems ranging from antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction to mild erectile dysfunction, maca can provide a natural way to increase libido and sexual desire (61).

  • Maca dosage for sexual health: 1500-3000 milligrams per day divided into 2 to 3 single doses.

11 Adaptogens for a longer life

Astragalus

A study conducted with a patented and trademarked astragalus extract may prove to be groundbreaking. A much more potent form than normal supplement extracts, this extract was shown to have a statistical and clinical ability to lengthen telomeres.

What are telomeres? Well, our genes are made up of a string of DNA molecules called chromosomes. At the ends of the chromosomes are DNA branches called telomeres, whose job is to protect our genetic data.

Telomeres allow cells to divide and determine how we age. There are even DNA tests that claim to be able to measure telomeres (62). Astragalus is the only natural substance that contains cycloastragenol - a molecule that can lengthen telomeres by a factor of 2 to 3 by activating their production (63). By lengthening telomeres, one could essentially delay cell death and slow down aging at the genetic level.

200 milligrams of cycloastragenol is equivalent to 50 kilos of astragalus, which means it is extremely expensive.

  • Astragalus dosage for a longer life: Varies from product to product.

12. adaptogens for schizophrenia

Ashwagandha

Schizophrenia is a disorder that can affect the ability to think, feel and behave. There is currently no cure and this illness can last a lifetime. In a study published in 2018, ashwagandha was administered to schizophrenia patients who had recently experienced a worsening of symptoms. Significant improvements in symptoms and a reduction in stressors were observed with minimal side effects. Ashwagandha was administered in combination with a standard medication for the treatment of schizophrenia and improved the efficacy of this medication (64).

  • Ashwagandha dosage for schizophrenia: 1000 milligrams per day divided into two single doses, as adjunctive treatment in combination with prescription antipsychotics.

13. adaptogens for oral health

Holy Basil

Health organizations believe that oral health is a reflection of the health of the body. Many people do not realize the impact that oral health has on the rest of the body.

In a 2018 study, Indian basil was found to be effective in inhibiting the Streptococcus bacterium. It was also active against Prevotella intermedia, which is often found in gum abscesses. Surprisingly, Indian basil is even promising when it comes to fighting Peptostreptococcus, a slow-growing bacterium with increasing resistance to antimicrobial drugs.

The good news here is that unlike many drugs used to kill oral bacteria, Indian basil does not attack the healthy bacteria in the mouth that are necessary for the health of the oral microbiome (66).

  • Holy Basil dosage for oral health: Dosages used vary.

14. adaptogens for the treatment of cancer?

Note of caution: although recent studies tell us that we are getting closer to a natural treatment for cancer, these studies should not be taken as a recommendation to withhold or stop conventional treatments.

Many of the studies cited below show the potential of using adaptogens to support traditional drug treatments for cancer.

However, under no circumstances should independent changes be made to an existing cancer treatment without consulting the treating physician. For this reason, we do not provide dosage recommendations in the following section.

Ashwagandha

Anti-tumor studies show that ashwagandha can help reduce tumors and prevent the growth of cancer cells. Ashwagandha may help inhibit the growth of breast cancer, stomach cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer.

Ashwagandha is believed to help prevent the growth of cancer cells primarily due to its immune-stimulating and antioxidant properties (20). A 2017 study found that this adaptogen can even support the treatment of ovarian cancer. This effect is due to ashwagandha targeting a specific protein that causes ovarian cancer cells to grow faster (21).

Chaga

Chaga has been shown to help boost immune function and suppress cancer growth by regulating the use of energy by malignant cells, thereby lowering the temperature in tumors. This led to an astonishing 60% shrinkage of tumors in an animal study (22). Several studies conducted with mice show that chaga suppresses tumor growth in liver, lung and breast cancer (23, 24, 25).

Breast cancer occurs more frequently in people with diabetes. Chaga - which is also known as Inonotus obliquus - appears to be a promising approach for the treatment of diabetes-related diseases such as breast cancer (26).

A 2005 study concluded that the results suggest that an aqueous extract of chaga has high potential as an aid to boost the immune system during chemotherapy (27).

Reishi

Studies on selected cancers show that reishi has the potential to reduce tumors and prevent cancer. Prostate cancer cells were sensitive to reishi, which resulted in a 45 to 55% reduction in cancer cells (28).

Precautions when using adaptogens

Although all adaptogens can cause minimal disruption to physiological functions, some can also interact with medications. For this reason, use should always be discussed with your doctor if you are taking medication. In addition, some adaptogens are not recommended for certain conditions. The use of licorice root in its natural form is only considered safe and harmless for a period of 6 to 12 weeks. With DGL licorice (degglycyrrhizinated licorice), the compound that can be harmful if taken for longer periods is removed, which means that this particular form can also be taken permanently. Unfortunately, this type of processing also deprives licorice of its stress-relieving properties.

Licorice root also acts as an androgen. Women who already produce excessive amounts of sex hormones should therefore opt for a different adaptogen. Indian basil (Holy Basil) has strong sterilizing effects in humans. This should be borne in mind when taking it, especially if you want to have children.

Conclusion

In this article, we have taken a look at the best adaptogens for everyday life and for treating illnesses.

Here is an overview of the best adaptogens for different applications:

  1. Exercise and weight loss: ashwagandha, ginseng and rhodiola rosea
  2. Thyroid: Ashwagandha
  3. Anxiety disorders: Ashwagandha and Holy Basil
  4. Stress relief: Ashwagandha, Bacopa monnieri, licorice root and Rhodiola
  5. Energy: Rhodiola
  6. Cancer: Ashwagandha, Chaga and Reishi
  7. Depression: Ashwagandha, bacopa and rhodiola
  8. Stamina: Panax ginseng, cordyceps and rhodiola
  9. Concentration problems: Cordyceps, Bacopa, Mucuna Pruriens and Rhodiola
  10. Inflammation: Ashwagandha and Rhodiola
  11. Sexual health: ashwagandha, holy basil, panax ginseng, mucuna, and maca root
  12. Longevity: Astragalus

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