Definition of adaptogen in US English:



  • (in herbal medicine) a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes. A well-known example is ginseng.

    • ‘Plant adaptogens cause our physiology to begin the adaptation process to stress.’
    • ‘Tonic herbs, or adaptogens, help the body resist and recover from stress and can increase energy, vitality and sexual vigor.’
    • ‘Oils act as natural balancers, or adaptogens, which will instigate reactions in the body so a state of homeostasis is achieved.’
    • ‘Ginseng is one of several herbs that fall into the category of adaptogens, substances that help the body adapt to different types of stress, be it from exercise, work or keeping your spouse happy.’
    • ‘Based on the proposed mechanism of action and available experimental data, Rhodiola rosea appears to offer an advantage over other adaptogens in circumstances of acute stress.’


1960s: from Russian (see adapt, -gen).