New Adaptogen Criterion

Selye, Brekhman, and the Eclectics left behind suggestions on how to find drugs that increase
resistance. Using the works of all three, a new adaptogen criterion has been synthesised with the
objective of identifying botanical drugs that augment the body’s intrinsic resistance capacity.
The new criterion, in theory, should identify such drugs. A group of traditionally used tonics will
be screened, using the new criterion, to identify any resistance raising drugs. A discussion of the
methodology employed in this screening process is presented in Chapter 8. A summary of the
results of this screening process is presented in Chapter 9.

The new adaptogen screening criterion

Scientific name
(i.e. Echinacea angustifolia)

Common name
(i.e. Coneflower)

Plant family

Part used
(What part of the plant is used? i.e. root gathered in the fall, leaf gathered when plant is in bloom?)

Chemical constituents
(What phytochemicals have been found in the crude drug?)

(What constitutes the drug? i.e. root in a 1:2 tincture decocted in 30% alcohol and 70% water.)

(What is the plant?s history of use?)

Traditional uses of the tonic drug
(The traditional uses of the drug will be summarised in this section and used throughout the criterion to
demonstrate or refute resistance?raising capacity. They will have a secondary use as well. Adaptogens have
a generic and shared action and they also remain individual drugs with different strengths. For example,
Eleutherococcus senticosus is active in infection as well as acting as an adaptogen. These summaries will be
used to identify the drugs’ individuality.)

(i.e. expectorant, sudorific, antiseptic, etc.)

(i.e. indicated in patients suffering from chronic disease, experience weight loss, etc.)
• General
• Cardiovascular
• Digestive
• Endocrine
• Genito?urinary
• Lymphatic
• Musculoskeletal
• Nervous
• Respiratory
• Skin

The drug from Selye’s perspective
(In this section the traditional uses will be examined to see if the drug was used to remedy one of the three
stages of the General Adaptation Syndrome in particular. Plotting the traditional uses against Selye’s
three?part resistance pattern may be revealing about the nature of the drug.)

Alarm Reaction
(Was the drug used to treat the signs associated with alarm reaction? Was the drug used to increase the
efficacy of the Alarm Reaction?)

State of Resistance

(Was the drug used to treat the signs associated with State of Resistance? Was the drug used to increase
the duration of the State of Resistance?)

State of Exhaustion
(Was the drug used to treat the signs of State of Exhaustion? Was the drug used to forestall or reverse the
state of exhaustion?)

Adaptogen Energy

(In this section, the traditional uses of the drug will be reviewed to identify evidence that the drug enhances
adaptation energy. Does the drug power resistance?)

Brekhman’s adaptogen criterion
(Brekhman’s three?part adaptogen criterion is the standard in adaptogen research today. For this reason,
his criterion will be used in its entirety. Traditional uses of the drug will be entered into the appropriate
section of the criterion. In addition, recent pharmacological data will also be inserted into the appropriate
section of the criterion.)
1. An “adaptogen” should be completely innocuous to the body, should have a wide range of therapeutic
activity, cause minimal alteration of bodily functions or not cause them at all, and should manifest its
adaptogenic action only against a corresponding challenge to the system.
2. An adaptogen’s action should be non?specific, as defined as its capacity to increase resistance to the
harmful influences of an extremely wide spectrum of physical, chemical, and biological factors.
3. An “adaptogen” should have a normalising action irrespective of the direction of the foregoing
pathological changes.

(Is the drug readily available in the wild or through cultivation?)


(Does the drug exhibit adaptogenic properties? Key areas of future research?)