Adaptogen Focus Groups

Defining and Measuring the Traditional Naturopathic concept – Adaptogen

Who is doing the Research?

Our names are Dr Jon Wardle (University of Technology Sydney), David Casteleijn (Endeavour College of Natural Health (ECNH)) and Sophia Gerontakos. I (SG) am a current Honours student in Naturopathy at ECNH.


Ethics approvals:

ECNH: HREC: 20181217-SG-1;

What is this research about?

This research is to identify the herbal medicine practitioners understanding of adaptogens and how they are being used and measured in clinical practice. We also aim to clarify how the concept of adaptogen is being taught by herbal medicine educators and where the knowledge has come from.  This research has been informed by a lack of discussion of the concept in traditional texts, and a lack of modern evidence capturing adaptogenic activity.

What does participation in this research involve?

I will invite you to participate in a focus group (discussion) of 6-10 herbal medicine practitioners and educators that will last between 1-2 hours. Questions will be asked about the research topic and the group will be offered the opportunities to respond. The focus groups will be recorded and transcribed for use in research, but any data collected will be anonymised. The participants may have the opportunity to claim continuing professional development through their association. The data collected from these groups will inform the Honours project and thesis of Sophia Gerontakos aiming to clarify the adaptogenic concept and develop a domains-based criteria for how to measure the action.

Participation in the focus group requires that you fulfill the following inclusion criteria:

  1. Hold an advanced diploma of Naturopathy and/or Western Herbal Medicine (WHM) or a Bachelor Health Science in Naturopathy and/or WHM
  2. Have a minimum of 5 years clinical experience
  3. Speak fluent English
  4. Are able and willing to give your written consent.

Are there any risks or inconveniences?

Yes, there are some risks/inconvenience.  The research will take up to two hours of your time and will involve travel to where the focus groups are being held. The research has been designed so that there are very few risks. Although responses form this study will be anonymised and respondents informed of confidentiality requirements, it is possible that the researcher conducting the interviews and your fellow respondents may be able to identify you. However, any information you provide will be anonymised for the purposes of this study and will be unidentifiable by any other parties.

What will happen to the information I provide for this research?

Paper-based transcriptions will be anonymised and stored in a locked filing cabinet.  Electronic based recordings will be stored on a password protected hard drive in a locked filing cabinet.

Do I have to say yes?

Participation in any research project is voluntary. If you do not wish to take part, you do not have to.

What will happen if I say no?

If you say no to participate in the research project, there will be no penalty and we thank you for your time so far.

If I do say yes, can I change my mind later?

Yes you can. There will be no penalty if you decide to withdraw from the research project, and you may withdraw any time up until the group you are participating in has been conducted.  After this time, it will not be possible to withdraw your responses from the recordings and transcriptions, however you will not be identified.

What if I have concerns or a complaint?

If you have any concerns about the research project, you should contact a member of the research team as soon as possible on 0424 465 919. If you wish to make a complaint about the research project or the research team, please contact the relevant member of the approving Human Research Ethics Committee and quote this number (20181217-SG-1).

If you would like to express interest in participating in the research please email the Research Contact Person below

Research contact person

Name:  Sophia Gerontakos


Phone: 0424 465 919

Complaints contact person

Endeavour Human Research Ethics Committee

Make an appointment today:

Call reception on 07 3166 1549 or book online:

Contact details:

Suite 15c
(second floor Taylor Medical Specialists Centre)
40 Annerley Rd (Mater Hill)
Woolloongabba Q 4102
Phone: 07 3166 1549
Further details, see Contact Us

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