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A Fun History of Adaptogens

Although the term "adaptogen" was coined in the 1940s, many of these remarkable herbs have a rich and storied history with usage dating back thousands of years. With our Elixirs, you are quite literally taking the same ingredients that were once reserved for Chinese royalty, used by Olympic athletes to win gold medals, and consumed by the Vikings before their infamous conquests. Here's a fun look at the history of our Adaptogenic ingredients.


3000 BCE (approx.)

The early beginnings of Ayuverda in India and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in China, the two oldest traditional medical systems known to use adaptogenic herbs.

2700 - 2600 BCE

Chinese emperors send expeditions into Siberia to bring back Rhodiola. Reishi, also known as the “mushroom of immortality”, is reserved for the Chinese royal family. It is commonly believed that Huang Di, the Yellow Emporer, used Asian Ginseng as a tonic.

200 BCE

Charaka Samhita, the first major written classic of Ayurvedic medicine, identifies 350 plants as valuable medicines, including Amla, Holy Basil, and Shilajit.

77 CE

Greek physician Dioscorides writes the classic medical text De Materia Medicia describing the medical application of 600 plants, including the use of Rhodiola and Licorice by the Ancient Greeks.

220 CE

The Shennong Herbal, named after the legendary originator of Traditional Chinese Medicine, records 262 medicinal herbs used in China, including Asian Ginseng, Astragalus, and Reishi.

495 CE

Shaolin monks use Reishi to enhance meditation and concentration.

790 - 1100 CE

Rhodiola is popular among the Vikings, who use it to enhance their physical strength and endurance during their conquests.

1000 - 1100 CE

The Khanty People of Western Siberia drink Chaga tea to improve digestion and detoxification, and even use it as a soap to cleanse skin sores. In the 12th century, Tsar Valdimir Monomakh of Russia, who was a widely known Chaga lover, is said to have used Chaga to cure his lip cancer.


Soviet scientist, Dr. Nikolai Lazarev, officially coins the term “adaptogen” during his pursuit for the perfect, all-natural, performance tonic for the Soviet Union during the Cold War.


Soviet researchers, led by Dr. Lazarev and Dr. Brekhman, discover Eleuthero to be a remarkable adaptogen, which paves the way for thousands of clinical studies and trials on Eleuthero and other adaptogens.


It is estimated that more than 3 million people in Russia are using Eleuthero extract regularly. Eleuthero is also used by Russian athletes to prepare for the Olympic games in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.


Eleuthero is included in the space program for cosmonauts. Rhodiola is also widely used by cosmonauts to help cope with motion sickness and enhance mood while living under stressful conditions.


Rita Levi-Montalcini and Stanley Cohen win the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for the discovery of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), a protein that grows, maintains, and proliferates neurons in the brain. Lion’s Mane has been linked to the production of NGF.


Two unranked Chinese athletes break multiple world records in swimming competitions, and Chinese women runners win 6 of 9 track meets at the world championships in Germany. They were initially tested for banned substances, but none were found. Their coach later revealed that the athletes took a special drink made from Cordyceps, which he believed was the secret to their success.


Dr. Brekhman formulates Prime One to enhance physical and mental performance, which includes Eluethero, Schisandra, Rhaponticum, Rhodiola, and Licorice. In 1996, Prime One is used by more than 150 American athletes at the Summer Olympic games in Atlanta.


There continues to be promising new research and clinical studies on adaptogens and natural nootropics, like Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Ashwangandha, Rhodiola, Bacopa, and more. It’s gained popularity among biohackers, athletes, and wellness enthusiasts alike.


WYLDE ONE launches their Adaptogenic Elixirs to bring you high quality, trustworthy, easy-to-use adaptogenic products–giving you the best of the past and the present.