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Herbs for Energy

Immune, Stress, fatigue | February 13, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

Immune, sleep conditions, exercise

Herbs for Energy

Fatigue involves the constant feeling of tiredness or weakness, that can affect us both physically and mentally. It is one of the most common health complaints affecting Australians each year, as 1.5 million of us seek advice from our Dr to help find out why we are so tired. Herbal medicines have been used for centuries, all over the world to help lift energy levels and bring balance back to the body. 

How herbs work for fatigue

Many herbs that help to increase energy levels are often referred to as adaptogens. They work by increasing our tolerance to mental, physical or environmental stress. They are also called tonics, helping to restore normal physiological function to the whole body. Herbs typically have many additional benefits and may also assist liver, immune and nervous system function, among many others.

How to take them

Herbs can be taken as a tea, liquid extract or tablet/capsule. It is recommended that you buy a good quality product, as reputable companies only use good quality herbs and confirm this by testing batches before using in their formulations. Many companies also use herbs that have undergone clinical trials so that you can feel more confident about getting the results you desire.

As some herbs have interactions with medications and side-effects, it is recommended you consult a naturopath/herbalist before using.
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Popular herbs for energy

Siberian Ginseng

A popular adaptogen herb that helps with chronic and even mild fatigue that is related to stress. Not only does it help to boost your energy levels but it also helps boost your immune system, helping to fight off infection. It is a great herb for people who experience ongoing stress and just wants to feel less anxious and have more energy. You may also find Siberian ginseng called Eleutherococcus Senticosus, which is its full botanical name.

Panax Ginseng

Commonly referred to as Korean ginseng, this herb has been traditionally used in Asian countries to enhance vital energy. Panax ginseng has grown in popularity to one of the most well-known medicinal plants worldwide. It is indicated for people who feel weak, tired, with a loss of physical stamina.

If you’re feeling mentally fatigued then Panax Ginseng has also been shown to enhance cognitive performance, improve memory and concentration. This variety of ginseng is a popular medicine for people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. Research has shown that it has a positive effect on fatigue due to its antioxidant and adaptogenic activity. It is also well suited to people who have chronic immune deficiencies and conditions.

Withania

Also called ashwaghanda and winter cherry, this lovely tonic herb, is best suited to people who are suffering exhaustion due to stress. Withania helps to support the nervous system, acting as a mild sedative to reduce the effects of anxiety. It helps to reduce inflammation and blood pressure, and can be taken at night to promote a restful night’s sleep. If your tired due to low iron levels, Withania can be taken in conjunction with iron supplements to help increase levels.
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Oats

Perhaps next time you’re thinking what to have for breakfast for an energy boost, consider having a bowl of porridge. Oats are rich in nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium and amino acids, all of which the body needs for energy.

Oats can help you cope in times of stress and may assist with depression and insomnia. They can be a simple addition into the diet with profound effects on the nervous system.

Schisandra

The seeds and fruit from the Chinese magnolia vine, is typically taken to increase physical and mental endurance and increase memory and concentration. Schisandra can also be taken for disorders that affect the nervous system including shingles, depression and dementia. It is a liver tonic and an antioxidant that protects the liver from disease, toxicity, damage or insufficiency.

Rhodiola

Rhodiola is a remarkable herb that that has a wide and varied history of uses. It helps to strengthen the nervous system, fight depression, improve energy levels, enhance immunity, aid weight reduction, improve memory, elevates the capacity to exercise, and even increases sexual function. There is strong scientific evidence available for rhodiola, which improved attention, cognitive function and mental performance in fatigue and in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Kola Nut

Native to north-west Africa, Cola nitida or kola nut, is an evergreen tree that produces nuts in large multiseeded follicles. They are collected when ripe and white in colour, turning red upon drying. The kola nut was formerly used in cola-based beverages as it naturally contains caffeine and theobromine. It in indicated in people who are suffering from depressive states with general muscular weakness. It acts by working not as an adaptogen but as a central nervous system stimulant, helping to lift mood and energy levels quickly. Kola nut can be used for students just before an exam, energy for athletes before an event or just for someone needing a fast pick me up. Kola nut is not advised to be used long-term and in high amounts.

Astragalas

One of the most important “Qi tonifying”, adaptogenic herbs from the Chinese materia medica. Over the centuries, it has been prescribed for general weakness, chronic illness, and to increase overall vitality.

Astragalas also acts as a tonic for the heart, kidneys, spleen and the whole body.  If you feel that your immune system needs a helping hand and you also feel constantly tired, then this is the herb for you.

Conclusion

Adaptogenic herbs such as Siberian ginseng, Panax ginseng, withania, schisandra, rhodiola and astragalas can be used to gently lift energy levels, particularly in those who feel the effects of stress. Oats can be used as part of the diet and kola nut for a quick energy boost on the odd occasion. It is best to consult a naturopath/herbalist when selecting herbs so that side-effects are minimised.

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References

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/fatigue

Thomsen M (2005). Phytotherapy desk reference 3rd ed. Michael Thomsen, Australia

Panossian A, Wikman G. Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity. Curr Clin Pharacol. 2009 Sep;4(3):198-219

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19500070

Kim HG, et al. Antifatigue effects of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. PLoS One. 2013 Apr 17;8(4):e61271

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3629193/

Starin D. Kola nut: so much more than just a nut. J R Soc Med. 2013 Dec;106(12):510-2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3842857/

Astragalas membranaceus. Monograph. Altern Med Rev. 2003 Feb;8(1):72-7

http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/8/1/72.pdf

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