Research: REGE and colleagues, A

Listed in Issue 47


REGE and colleagues, Ayurveda Research Centre, Department of Pharmacology and therapeutics, Seth GS Medical College, Parel, Mumbai, write that plants from all over the world, including Eleutherococcus senticosus, Panax ginseng, Raponticum carthamoides, rhodiola rosea, Withania somnifera and Ocimum sanctum, have been extensively evaluated for their adaptogenic potential . The authors review (90 references) the factors involved in evaluating adaptogens which have precluded their inclusion as clinically useful drugs.



The authors discuss the results with 6 rasayana plants (Tinospora cordifolia, Asparagus racemosus, Emblica officinalis, Withania somnifera, Piper longum and Terminalia chebula) from Ayurveda which were studied for their adaptogenic potential. The whole, aqueous, standardised extracts of selected plants were administered orally to experimental animals, in a dose extrapolated from the human dose, following which they were exposed to a variety of biological, physical and chemical stressors.


These plants offered protection against these stressors, as determined using markers of stress responses and objective parameters for stress manifestations. The authors also tested the ability of these plants to exert a normalising effect, using a model of cisplatin-induced alterations in gastrointestinal motility. All the plants reversed the effects of cisplatin upon gastric emptying; Tinospora cordifolia and Asparagus racemosus also normalised cisplatin induced intestinal hypermotility. Tinospora cordifolia, also tested for its ability to modulate changes occurring in the phagocytic activity of peritoneal macrophages, was found to normalise phagocytic function. All the plant drugs were found to be safe in acute and subacute toxicity studies, and all plants produced immunostimulation. If macrophage activity was blocked, protection offered by Tinospora cordifolia against stress-induced gastric mucosal damage was lost. Emblica officinalis strengthened the defence mechanisms against free radical damage induced during stress; its effect appeared to depend on the ability of target tissues to synthesise prostaglandins . Recently obtained data suggest that Tinospora cordifolia may induce genotypic adaptation.


All 6 rasayana plants exhibited adaptogenic properties.


Rege NN et al. Adaptogenic properties of six rasayana herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine. Phytotherapy research 13(4): 275-91. Jun 1999.

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