1. Panossian A, Wikman G, Kaur P, Asea A. Adaptogens stimulate neuropeptide y and hsp72 expression and release in neuroglia cells. Front Neurosci. 2012;6:6
*Quick Summary: In vitro study investigating the effects that adaptogenic herbs have on stress related gene expression in neuroglia cells.
“The beneficial stress-protective effect of adaptogens is related to the regulation of homeostasis via mechanisms of action associated with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the regulation of key mediators of the stress response, such as molecular chaperones, stress-activated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase, forkhead box O transcription factor, cortisol, and nitric oxide (NO). However, it still remains unclear what the primary upstream targets are in response to stimulation by adaptogens. The present study addresses this gap in our knowledge and suggests that an important target for adaptogen mediated stress-protective effector functions is the stress hormone neuropeptide Y (NPY). We demonstrated that ADAPT-232, a fixed combination of adaptogens Eleutherococcus senticosus root extract, Schisandra chinensis berry extract, Rhodiola rosea root extract SHR-5, and its active constituent salidroside, stimulated the expression of NPY and 72 kDa heat shock protein (Hsp72) in isolated humanneuroglia cells. The central role of NPY was validated in experiments in which pre-treatment of human neuroglia cells with NPY-siRNA and HSF1-siRNA resulted in the significant suppression of ADAPT-232-induced NPY and Hsp72 release. Taken together our studies suggest that the stimulation and release of the stress hormones, NPY and Hsp72, into systemic circulation is an innate defense response against mild stressors (ADAPT-232), which increase tolerance and adaptation to stress.” (1)
2. Panossian A, Hambardzumyan M, Hovhanissyan A, Wikman G. The adaptogens rhodiola and schizandra modify the response to immobilization stress in rabbits by suppressing the increase of phosphorylated stress-activated protein kinase, nitricoxide and cortisol. Drug Target Insights. 2007;2:39-54.
*Quick Summary: An animal model study that investigated the effects of adaptogenic herbs on stress induced hormone levels in the body.
“Adaptogens possess anti-fatigue and anti-stress activities that can increase mental and physical working performance against a background of fatigue or stress. The aim of the present study was to ascertain which mediators of stress response are significantly involved in the mechanisms of action of adaptogens, and to determine their relevance as biochemical markers for evaluating anti-stress effects in rabbits subjected to restraint stress. Blood levels of stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK/JNK), thephosphorylated kinase p-SAPK/p-JNK, nitric oxide (NO), cortisol, testosterone, prostaglandin E(2), leukotriene B(4) and thromboxane B(2) were determined in groups of animals prior to daily oral administration of placebo, rhodioloside or extracts of Eleutherococcus senticosus, Schizandra chinensis, Rhodiola rosea, Bryonia alba and Panax ginseng over a 7 day period. Ten minutes after the final treatment, animals were immobilized for 2 hours and blood levels of the markers re-determined. In the placebo group, only p-SAPK/p-JNK, NO and cortisol were increased significantly (by 200-300% cf basal levels) following restraintstress, whilst in animals that had received multiple doses of adaptogens/stress-protectors, the levels of NO and cortisol remained practically unchanged after acute stress. Rhodioloside and extracts of S. chinensis and R. rosea were the most active inhibitors ofstress-induced p-SAPK/p-JNK. E. senticosus, B. alba and P. ginseng exerted little effect on p-SAPK/p-JNK levels. It is suggested that the inhibitory effects of R. rosea and S. chinensis on p-SAPK/p-JNK activation may be associated with their antidepressant activity as well as their positive effects on mental performance under stress.” (2)
3. Kalman DS, Feldman S, Feldman R, Schwartz HI, Krieger DR, Garrison R. Effect of a proprietary Magnolia and Phellodendron extract on stress levels in healthy women: a pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Nutr J. 2008 Apr 21;7:11.
*Quick Summary: A clinical trial study showing the effects that Magnolia has on reducing levels of anxiety and stress in woman.
Recent research has established correlations between stress, anxiety, insomnia and excess body weight and these correlations have significant implications for health. This study measured the effects of a proprietary blend of extracts of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense (Relora) on anxiety, stress and sleep in healthy premenopausal women.
This randomized, parallel, placebo controlled clinical study was conducted with healthy, overweight (BMI 25 to 34.9), premenopausal female adults, between the ages of 20 and 50 years, who typically eat more in response to stressful situations and scores above the national mean for women on self-reporting anxiety. The intervention was Relora (250 mg capsules) or identical placebo 3 times daily for 6 weeks. Anxiety as measured by the Spielberger STATE-TRAIT questionnaires, salivary amylase andcortisol levels, Likert Scales/Visual Analog Scores for sleep quality and latency, appetite, and clinical markers of safety. The study was conducted by Miami Research Associates, a clinical research organization in Miami, FL.
The intent-to-treat population consisted of 40 subjects with 26 participants completing the study. There were no significant adverse events. Relora was effective, in comparison to placebo, in reducing temporary, transitory anxiety as measured by the Spielberger STATE anxiety questionnaire. It was not effective in reducing long-standing feelings of anxiety or depression as measured using the Spielberger TRAIT questionnaire. Other assessments conducted in this study including salivary cortisol and amylase levels, appetite, body morphology and sleep quality/latency were not significantly changed by Relora in comparison to placebo.
This pilot study indicates that Relora may offer some relief for premenopausal women experiencing mild transitory anxiety. There were no safety concerns or significant adverse events observed in this study.” (3)