Senior Member
These seem to be all the rage in alternative/functional as well as herbal medicine, touted for everything from depression to fatigue and almost universally proclaimed completely safe and side-effect free on a million websites. In doing some research, though, I came upon this quite disturbing piece from a guy who apparently is a very respected herbalist. Now I don't know what to think.


Senior Member
Thanks for posting this, worthwhile to read if one uses or plans to use adaptogens. Having myself used a range of them for 10 years - comparing my experiences to cases of bad effects mentioned - again shows, how important to always start with the lowest possible dose, increase gradually over weeks, months and years while monitoring all effects. And of course always consider possible root causes, don't satisfy yourself with masking fatigue. I liked this one:

The Best adaptogen: Rest

Supports adrenals, no withdrawal syndrome, no side effects,
normalizes the system, improves immunity, improves general
resistance to stress.
Dose and overdose

Stimulating adaptogens*

Panax ginseng           1-9 g*   |
Schisandra               2-6 g   |
Panax quinquefolius      2-9 g   |
Glycyrrhiza             2-12 g   | Here lies overdose
Withania                 3-6 g   |
Rhodiola                 3-9 g   |
Cordyceps               5-10 g   |
Atractylodes            5-15 g   |
Eleutherococcus         9-27 g   |
Codonopsis              9-30 g   |
Astragalus             10-15 g   |
* Dried herb in decoction, daily dose. Chi and yang tonics.

Restorative adaptogens*

Dang gui          3-15 g
Peony             6-15 g
Rehmannia        10-30 g
Ho shou wu       10-30 g
Asparagus         6-15 g
Ophiopogon        6-15 g
Lycium            6-18 g
*“Blood” and “Yin” tonics
Looking at that huge dosage ranges, though having taken 10 of them for many year - and considering that western plant extracts are general in a 1:5 concentration - I find I've actually only reached the lowest effective dose with 1 of them, Withania (upto 2g of powder and 800 mg of extract; in average about 3.5 g/d of powder equivalents in 10 years). Second highest is Glycyrrhiza (upto 500mg of powder and 250mg of extract, in avg. about 940mg powder equivalents), already below the lowest dose. No ill effect ever. Most my lab markers have improved markedly.

As always, the dose makes the poison. Even fresh water becomes poisonous at certain doses. To me the only disturbing about this article is, that I couldn't ever afford the upper therapeutic intake doses for any length of time due to financial restraints.
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Senior Member
Yeah that's the thing about some of these highly-marketed "blends" -- the dosages of any one adaptogen are tiny.