Immunostimulants and Adaptogens from Plants

  • Hildebert K. M. Wagner
Part of the Recent Advances in Phytochemistry book series (RAPT, volume 29)


The terms “immunostimulants” and “adaptogens” both describe drugs capable of increasing the resistance of an organism against Stressors of variable origin. Both types of drugs achieve this enhancement primarily by nonspecific mechanisms of actions. Immunostimulants generally stimulate, in a non-antigen dependent manner, the function and efficiency of the nonspecific immune system in order to counteract microbial infections or immunosuppressive states. Adaptogens are believed to reinforce (increase) the non-specific power of resistance of the body against physical, chemical or biological noxious agents. With respect to the mechanisms of action immunostimulants influence primarily the humoral and cellular immune system, whereas adaptogens are thought to between the immune and endocrine system it is very often difficult or impossible to discriminate between the two mechanisms of action. Therefore, it is not surprising that both classes of drugs can influence both systems at the same time.


Viscum Album Echinacea Purpurea Coriolus Versicolor Plant Drug Corticosterone Serum Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Wagner, H. 1990. Search for plant derived natural products with immunostimulatory activity (recent results). Pure & Appl. Chem. 62: 1217–1222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bauer. R., Wagner, H. 1990. Echinacea. Handbuch für Ärzte, Apotheker und andere Naturwissenschaftler. Wiss. Verlagsgesellschaft Stuttgart.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bauer, R., Wagner, H. 1991. Echinacea species as potential immunostimulatory Drugs. In: Economic and Medicinal Plant Res., vol. 5 (H. Wagner, H. N. Farnsworth, eds.). Academic Press, London pp. 253–321.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bräuning, B., Knick, E. 1993. Therapeutische Erfahrungen mit Echinacea pallida bei grippalen Infekten. Naturheilpraxis 1: 72–75.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bendel, R., Bendel, V., Renner, K., Carstens, V., Stolze, K. 1989. Zusatzbehandlung mit Esberitox N bei Patientinnen mit chemo-strahlen-therapeutischer Behandlung eines fortgeschrittenen Mamma-Karzinoms. Onkologie 12: 32–38.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wagner, H., Jurcic, K. 1991. Assays for immunomodulation and effects on mediators of inflammation. Methods in Plant Biochemistry (ed. K. Hostettmann) Academic Press (London) 6: 195–217.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Stimpel, H., Proksch, A., Wagner, H., Lohmann-Matthes, M.L. 1984. Macrophage activation and induction of macrophage cytotoxicity by purified Polysaccharide fractions from the plant Echinacea purpurea. Infect. Immun. 46: 845–849.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wagner, H., Proksch, A. 1985. Immunstimulatory drugs of fungi and higher plants. In: Economic and Medicinal Plant Res. (H. Wagner, N. Farnsworth, eds.). Academic Press, London, p.113–153.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wagner, H., Kreher, B., Jurcic, K. 1988. In vitro stimulation of human granulocytes and lymphocytes by pico-and femtogramm quantities of cytostatic agents. Arzneim. Forsch. Drug Res. 38: 272–275.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hajto, T., Hostanka, K., Gabius, H.J. 1989. Modulatory potency of the ß-galactoside-specific Lectin from mistletoe extract (Iscador) on the host defense system in vivo in rabbits and patients. Canc. Res. 49: 4803–4808.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Pettit, G.R. 1991. Bryostatins. In: Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products Vol 57 (W. Herz, G.W. Kirby, W. Steglich, T. Tamm, eds.). Springer Verlag, Wien-New York, pp. 153–195.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Eisemann, K., Totola, A., Jurcic, K., Pettit, G.R., Wagner, H. Bryostatins 1, 2 and 6 as activators of human granulocytes and lymphocytes-in vitro-and in vivo-Studies. Pharm. Pharmacol. Letters (in press).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wagner, H., Stuppner, H., SchÄfer, W, Zenk, M. 1988. Immunologically active Polysaccharides of Echinacea purpurea cell cultures. Phytochemistry 27: 119–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Luettig, B., Steinmüller, C., Gifford, G.E., Wagner, H., Lohmann-Mat-Thes, M.-L. 1989. Macrophage activation by the Polysaccharide arabinogalactan from the plant cell cultures of Echinacea purpurea. J. Nat. Cancer Inst. 81: 669–675.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Roesler, J., Steinmüller, Ch., Niderlein, A., Immendörfer, A., Wagner, H., Lohmann-Matthes, M.-L. 1991. Application of purified Polysaccharides from cell cultures of the plant Echinacea to mice mediates protection against systemic infections with Listeria monocytogenes and Candida albicans. Int. J. Immunopharm. 13: 27–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wagner, H., Nörr, H., Winterhoff, H. 1994. Plant Adaptogens. Phytomedicine, 1: 63–76.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Brekhman, I.I. 1980. Man and Biologically active substances, the effect of Drugs, Diet and Pollution and Health. Pergamon Press Ltd., Oxford.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Seyle, H. 1936. A syndrom produced by diverse nocuous agents. Nature 138: 32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Seyle, H. 1937. Studies on Adaptation. Endocrinology 21: 169–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bohn, B, Nebe, C.T., Birr, C. 1987. Flow Cytometric studies with Eleutherococcus senticosus extract as an immunmodulatory agent, Arzneimittel-Forsch. (Drug Res.) 37: 1193–1196.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Farnsworth, N.R., Kinghorn, A.D., Soejarto, D.D., Waller, D.P. 1985. Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus): Current Status as an Adaptogen. In: Economic and Medicinal Plant Research, Vol 1. (H. Wagner, H., N.R. Farnsworth, eds.), Academic Press, London, pp. 155–215.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Winterhoff, H., Gumbinger, H.G., Vahlensieck, U., Streuer, M., Nörr, H., Wagner, H. 1993. Effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus on the pituitary-adrenal system of rats. Pharm. Pharmacol. Lett. 3: 95–98.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hildebert K. M. Wagner
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Pharmaceutical BiologyUniversity of MunichMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations