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Review Article Open Access
Stress is any physical, psychological and/or environmental stimulus capable of altering physiological homeostasis, and the ability to cope with such stressful stimuli is a crucial determinant of health and disease. Stress itself is a defense response of an organism to external factors activating several protective mediators but prolonged stress can be detrimental and have deleterious effects on the biological system. Stress in its different forms is capable of precipitating a variety of pathophysiological states and almost all organs/systems have been implicated. Conventional therapies though effective have a plethora of adverse effects and hence there is a dire need for developing better therapeutic options/strategies. The term adaptogen is used primarily to describe agents from herbal sources, which increase the resistance to aversive inputs and result in overall protective effects during stress. In recent years, adaptogens have gained considerable attention because of their safety, cost effectiveness and efficacy in stress modulating effects which could improve the quality of life in both diseased and healthy persons. This review will attempt to summarize and critically analyze the recent concepts in the area of such adaptogens and their evaluation methodologies.