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Chemical Compounds found in Adaptogens

Adaptogenic plants have a great deal in common with each other, despite them all being used for different reasons.
The following are common chemical compounds found in adaptogenic plants:
Triterpenoid Saponins
These are abundant in nature and can be found in a range of foods, herbs and spices. They are thought to be:
- antibacterial
- antiviral
- cytotoxic
- anti-tumour
Polyphenols
These form a group of more than 500 phytochemicals which are naturally occuring micronutrients in plants. These compounds give the plant its colour and can help protect it from a range of threats.
Polyphenols typically behave as antioxidants. They can help protect from cellular damage that can occur from environmental stressors. Polyphenols are also thought to be anti-inflammatory.
Polyphenols are grouped into four main categories:
- phenolic acid
- flavonoids
- stilbenes
- lignans
Terpenes
Terpenes contain aromatic compounds that serve as self-defense mechanisms for plants.
They are deemed to be:
- anti-inflammatory
- anti-viral
- anti-microbial
- immunomodulatory
Written by Lisa Hannaby - Bsc. Psych. Hons, MSc Human Nutrition
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