The Power of Adaptogens



Adaptogens are natural substances (usually in the form of a plant extract) thought to have a ‘corrective’ effect on the mind and body, combating dysfunction without unwanted side effects. Adaptogens have long been used to help us adapt to stress and promote relaxation, stabilising cognitive processes. Adaptogens have been used traditionally for centuries, however their use is most commonly associated with Ayurveda – an ancient system of medicine based on the principals of natural healing – which originated in India more than 5000 years ago. 

Ashwagandha also known as Withania Somnifera, is an ancient medicinal herb native to India and Northern Africa. Ashwagandha supplements often use either the root or leaf and are most often used for its powerful ability to help balance the mind. Many of today’s chronic health problems are related to the body being “stressed” and out of balance, this is why Ashwagandha is effective against such a wide variety of ailments. Ashwagandha can provide energy to a lethargic person, yet it can also help with sleep. It is widely believed to help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety and balance the hormones. Ashwagandha is thought to improve strength, mental clarity, and libido.

A number of studies into Ashwagandha have provided some positive results, one such study, published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine [1], concluded that participants given a high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract exhibited a significant reduction in scores on all the stress-assessment scales on day 60 of the trial, relative to the placebo group.

Due to its potent effects, Ashwagandha is one of the most popular adaptogenic substances and a common ingredient in many supplements. Unfortunately, many of these contain extracts with very little or no Withanolides, the active ingredient found within Ashwagandha, effectively rendering the supplement useless. Time Health Ashwagandha products contain at least 10% Withanolides ensuring maximum benefits. 

Time Health Ashwagandha products:
– High Stength Ashwagandha 10% Withanolides
 Organic Sensoril® Optomised Ashwagandha 11% Withanolides
 Adaptogen Complex 6
Adaptogen 10

Rhodiola Rosea is a perennial flowering adaptogenic plant which had a long history of use in traditional medicine across Asia and Europe. Consumption of Rhodiola Rosea has been linked to reduced mental fatigue [2], physical fatigue [3] and symptoms of depression [4][5], by reducing stress induced cortisol excretion for which there has been a a large amount of supporting evidence.

A study published in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry investigated the effects of Rhodiola Rosea on individuals with mild to moderate depression. Comparing the results of the self-assessments at the beginning and end of the trial, it is clear that the participants in the Rhodiola Rosea groups experienced significant improvement to overall depression, together with insomnia, emotional instability and somatization compared to the placebo group. The trial concluded that doses of Rhodiola Rosea between 340mg and 680mg of SHR-5 (the standardised extract of Rhodiola Rosea root used in the study) offered potent anti-depressive benefits over the 6 week period in which the study was carried out.

Although some individuals experience stimulant-like effects from Rhodiola Rosea when taking it for the first time, this often diminishes with long-term use.

Time Health Rhodiola Rosea products:
Rhodiola Rosea Maximum Strength
Rhodiola Rosea Full Spectrum
Adaptogen Complex 6
Adaptogen 10

Holy Basil, Ocimum Sanctum or tulsi is an leafy and aromatic plant native to native to the Indian subcontinent and cultivated throughout southeast Asian tropics. For thousands of years, Holy Basil has been treasured by Hindus and is considered one of their most sacred herbs. Considering how Holy Basil can positively influence the mind and body, it is no surprise that it is commonly referred to as “queen of the herbs”.

Research indicates that Holy Basil can negate the effects of generalised anxiety disorders and attenuate the effects of depression and stress [6]. A self-assessment study showed that after a 60 day period of taking the herb, on average individuals reported a 34.2% drop in anxiety, 30.8% reduction depression and 27.5% fall in stress. The researchers suggest that Holy Basil may be a safer alternative to common treatments such as benzodiazepines in combating anxiety related disorders.

Time Health Holy Basil products:
Holy Basil 20:1 (Ocimum Sanctum) 2.5% Ursolic Acid
Adaptogen 10
Adaptogen Complex 6

Siberian Ginseng is a small adaptogenic woody shrub, known colloquially as devil’s bush and it most frequently used to help tackle stress, fatigue and provide cardiovascular support. There has been evidence to suggest Siberian Ginseng is effective as an adaptogen, improving quality of life in elderly people without noticeable adverse effects [7].

It is important to take special care when buying a Siberian Ginseng supplement as purity levels vary greatly. Time Health take quality seriously which is why we use pure Siberian Ginseng in our Adaptogen Complex 6.

Time Health Siberian Ginseng products:
Adaptogen Complex 6
Adaptogen 10
Siberian Ginseng


[1] Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J. and Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(3), p.255.

[2] Shevtsov, V., Zholus, B., Shervarly, V., Vol’skij, V., Korovin, Y., Khristich, M., Roslyakova, N. and Wikman, G. (2003). A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work. Phytomedicine, 10(2-3), pp.95-105.

[3] De Bock, K., Eijnde, B., Ramaekers, M. and Hespel, P. (2004). Acute Rhodiola Rosea Intake Can Improve Endurance Exercise Performance. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, [online] 14(3), pp.298-307. Available at:

[4] Darbinyan, V., Aslanyan, G., Amroyan, E., Gabrielyan, E., Malmström, C. and Panossian, A. (2007). Clinical trial ofRhodiola roseaL. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 61(5), pp.343-348.

[5] Mao, J., Xie, S., Zee, J., Soeller, I., Li, Q., Rockwell, K. and Amsterdam, J. (2015). Rhodiola rosea versus sertraline for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Phytomedicine, 22(3), pp.394-399.

[6] Bhattacharyya, D & Sur, Tapas & Jana, U & K Debnath, P. (2008). Controlled programmed trial of Ocimum sanctum leaf on generalized anxiety disorders. Nepal Medical College journal : NMCJ. 10. 176-9.

[7] Cicero, A., Derosa, G., Brillante, R., Bernardi, R., Nascetti, S. and Gaddi, A. (2004). Effects of Siberian GIinseng (Eleutherococcus Senticosus Maxim.) on Elderly Quality of Life: A Randomised Cinical Trial. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 38, pp.69-73.

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