November/December 2002 Alternative Health
Siberian Ginseng and the Secret Soviet Stress Solution
by Jim Martin
Among the volumes of printed material and hours of televised programming
commemorating 9-11 and how it has changed our country, one item that
caught my attention was a recent report on the heightened stress levels
now experienced by Americans, and most notably New Yorkers. One manifestation
of the damaging effects of prolonged stress there is absenteeism from
work, which has increased dramatically since 9-11.
Closer to home, recent developments in the stock market as well as
widespread job layoffs have devastated many families finances,
resulting in tremendous stress as they struggle to save homes, retirements
and their childrens educations.
In my practice, I see the results of stressful lifestyles and events
in the form of symptoms including digestive disorders, neck and shoulder
tension and pain, headaches, insomnia and depression. While some people
may consider these complaints to be simply inconvenient and unpleasant,
I wonder how many are aware of the long term problems associated with
unrelenting stresses in our lives. It is estimated that 80% of all visits
to physicians today are stress related. Many diseases including autoimmune
disorders, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Crohns disease
and ulcerative colitis, and other conditions such as acne, memory loss
and learning disabilities are all brought on by stress.
The human stress response has evolved as the bodys reaction to
dangerous or physically demanding situations. For example, imagine a
caveman, armed with a rock and sharp stick, encountering a twelve foot
long saber tooth tiger. His body immediately goes in to the fight
or flight mode, preferably flight in this particular situation.
Adrenaline, ACTH and Cortisol rush into the bloodstream. Blood is directed
to essential tissues and organs such as the heart and muscles, while
stomach acid secretion and the digestive function cease. He leaps over
a ravine, scampers up a cliff like a goat, and sprints to the safety
of his cave. There he collapses, heart pounding, and sleeps for the
remainder of the day, recovering from his ordeal. The next week he is
ready to do the same thing again.
In out modern society, however, there is no opportunity for recovery.
As stresses from sources including traffic, work (or lack of it), TV
news, air pollution, electrical appliances and so on accumulate, hormone
levels climb. Some of us get accustomed to these elevated levels, becoming
adrenaline addicts and requiring highly stimulating activities
such as bungee jumping or car racing to feel alive. Cortisol destroys
brain cells in areas related to learning and memory. Poor digestion
and assimilation lead to malnutrition, and further complications including
immune and endocrine system depletion. We are, as the old saying goes,
burning the candle at both ends. The long term outlook is
not a pretty one. Stress has become a big enough medical problem today
that it was featured on both Time and Newsweek as the cover story.
In this time of heightened stress loads and the resultant negative
impact health, I was very pleased recently to come across an intriguing
herbal formula designed specifically to fight stress. I have lots of
stress formulas to choose from, often B vitamin complex and a few relaxant
herbs, but this product was unique. The story of its development is
a most unusual and interesting one.
Early in the Cold War, the Soviet Academy of Sciences created a team
of 1200 Soviet biologists and physicians who were assigned the task
of developing a natural, plant based formula to combat the negative
effects of stress. It was intended for use by the countrys most
high performing people, including Olympic athletes, Bolshoi Ballet dancers,
cosmonauts and the military, to give them a competitive advantage over
other countries. Funded by a billion dollar budget, they produced over
three thousand scientific papers spanning forty five years in what has
been described as one of the most massive programs of human testing
in scientific history. We did not hear about this research because it
was kept secret until, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The
final formula, known as Prime One, was brought to America by the project
leader, Dr. Israel Brekhman.
Among thousands of plant chemicals studied, a few were found to possess
extraordinary stress relieving abilities. They were called adaptogens,
as they help the human body adapt to the destructive effects of stress.
The herbs selected for use in the final perfected formula include acantho
root/Siberian ginseng (eleutherococcus), Chinese magnolia vine (schizandra),
Manchurian thorn tree (aralia), licorice, maral root (rhaponticum),
golden root (rhodiola), cinnamon rose (rosa majalis), plus a blend of
molasses and other adaptogens.
Among the many benefits are the ability to increase energy, strength,
stamina, endurance, recovery, mental work capacity, immunity, sexual
function, growth rates in premature babies and life expectancy following
exposure to harmful radiation; to improve sleep, to help us cope with
anxiety, fear and worry; to protect human cells from chemical toxins;
to suppress high levels of damaging hormones and prevent oxidative damage
from free radicals. Thousands of studies found them to be safe, with
no negative side effects. My own patients and customers report improvement
in indigestion, shoulder tension, and ability to deal with life issues
more easily in as little as a week or two of use.
The highly successful Russian Olympic team trained on this formula
for years, and my patients are reporting benefits today. I recommend
it to anyone seeking a better quality of life. It is available as Prime
One from local distributors.
Jim Martin, Lic. Ac, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM) is an acupuncturist with offices
in Hillsboro (503-640-3668) and Scappoose (503-543-7266). He presents
slide and lecture programs about travels in search of strange and wonderful
people and places around the world. Email: email@example.com