Herbal Adaptogens

Holistic - Enlightening - Resilience

A historic, holistic and scientific understanding of the body's stress response and the role of adaptogens.
"No more doubts when using adaptogens" 
"...clarifies concepts and usages" 
" I now feel so much more confident when it comes to using adaptogens. "
"One can certainly practice herbalism without a knowledge of hormones and the neuroendocrine system, but the practitioner who masters this material can consider themselves sophisticated."
- Matthew Wood

The adrenals are special organs suited to the response to stress - which is called "adaptation." 

Discover the power of adaptogens like Siberian ginseng, ashwagandha, and rhodiola, enhancing your body's resilience to stress. Join us to unravel the science behind these remedies and transform your approach to well-being!
The discoverer of the functions of the adrenals, was Hans Selye, who selected the names stress and adaptation, observed that there were two different responses to stress, the anti-inflammatory and the pro-inflammatory, or the “general” and the “specific.” The latter responds to stress with an exact and specific reaction in distinct molecular, immune, thermoregulatory, nervous, and endocrine functions firing up, amounting to a specific local reaction. Selye called this the “local adaptation syndrome.” The anti-inflammatory pole, associated with cortisol, not only suppresses the immune system but causes a systemic (“general”) reaction that tones down the local responses. 

Basically, for the past thousands of years, we have been working on the specific or “local” response with herbs and other therapeutic tools. Russian scientists, developing Selye’s ideas, introduced the idea of strengthening ‘adaptogens,’ or remedies that operate on the other pole of adrenocortical action: suppression of the inflammatory response. 

These ‘adaptogens’ strengthen the ‘reading’ of the blood by the hypothalamic-pituitary, the signaling to the adrenals, or thyroid, with the resulting improvement in response to stress. They include Siberian ginseng (eleuthero), Chinese and American ginseng, spikenard (Aralia), ashwagandha, schizandra, rhodiola, and other now very popular herbs. 

Adaptogens have specific pharmacology, which also will be cited.


Support Materials

217 pgs of manuscripts from Matthew  

(not downloadable)

11 pg handout on Adaptogens by Phyllis

(not downloadable)

2.5 hours of teaching


Certificate included
(see more below)

Pay Once = One Year Access

1 year to view and review content, ask questions and discuss

This is for you if you...

want to understand the intricacies of stress responses, from anti-inflammatory to pro-inflammatory,  the body's "general and specific" approach to healing and how we can help the body be resilient.
desire a more profound understand of adaptogens and why they can be so effected.
value a integrative understanding of the body's adaptive mechanisms, for a holistic approach to health.

Upon completion, you will...

feel more confident in when and why to use adaptogens.
have a comprehensive understanding of stress dynamics, distinguishing between anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory responses.
have a list of herbs to go to when confronting a general or specific condition related to the adrenals and responses to stress such as low energy levels, immune function, fertility and more.


Matthew Wood, MS

Matthew Wood has been a practicing herbalist for over forty years. He is an internationally known
teacher and author with more than ten books to his credit, including The Book of Herbal Wisdom, 
The Earthwise Herbals, Holistic Medicine and the Extracellular Matrix, and A Shamanic Herbal 
(July 2024). Matthew has an MSc in herbal medicine from the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine 
(accredited, U. of Wales). He lives in the Midwest. 

Phyllis D. Light, MA 

As 4th generation herbalist, Phyllis started with lessons from her grandmother who taught from her Creek/Cherokee heritage. Phyllis has studied and worked with herbs, foods, and other healing techniques for 30+ years. She is the author of Southern Folk Medicine and co-author of Traditional Western Herbalism Pulse Evaluation.

Certificate Included

  • How to Get a Certificate

    • Complete course materials
    • Pass the test with a grade of 70% or better
    • Save or print your certificate!

    Available with subscription and individual course purchases.

  • Accreditation hours

    This course is a total of 5 accredited hours
    • 1 hour Materia Medica
    • 4 hours Basic Human Sciences

    *Please check with your accrediting agency whether they will accept accredited hours or certificates from the Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism
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Herbal Adaptogens

Explore stress responses, adaptogens, and transformative well-being with herbal adaptogens.

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