Rev up your energy with herb power


Do you feel low and tired all the time? Is your age catching up with your energy stores? But then you are not that old either, so what could be causing the drain on your energy supplies.

There could be three pathways draining your oomph factor

  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Physiological

The most common physical and physiological causes of a low energy drive are anemia and a low thyroid. Other conditions that put a strain on your energy and vitality are diabetes, food intolerances, sleep apnea and being overweight. A condition called ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’ may also present in the form of endless tiredness and virtually no energy whatsoever. Similarly, some conditions that affect your sleep patterns may lead to a constant weariness and exhaustion as restless leg syndrome and generalized anxiety disorder. Some deficiencies make you prone to fatigue as Vitamin D and B12 deficiencies. If you are not in a habit of drinking water, simple dehydration could add on to the fatigue factor.

The psychological causes of tiredness and low energy are much more common than actual physical ones. The most prevalent of all psychological factors is anxiety leading to insomnia; it can be due to either negative events (job hurdles, financial stress, relationship problems) or positive ones (marriage, the birth of a child, moving to your new house).

“Feeling exhausted is so common that it has its own acronym, TATT, which stands for “tired all the time”.”

“At any given time, one in five people feels unusually tired, and one in 10 have prolonged fatigue, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Women tend to feel tired more often than men”

According to a survey carried out in the US women by WebMD, fatigue was one of the five top most health concerns among women.

How to define the term ‘fatigue’? If you keep on babbling about how tired you are, nobody will take you seriously, therefore, from a therapeutic point of view, one must be clear about the exact description

Fatigue is described clinically as “tiredness, diminished energy, mental exhaustion, or simply lack of motivation”.

Once the underlying cause is known, it is easy to follow a specific line of therapy.

So what are the options one has, to overcome this tired, fatigued and wiped out mode?

The fast track of our lifestyles provides us with options like energy drinks that are loaded with sugar, caffeine and other stimulants. While these options deliver an instant surge of energy, the vitality load is usually short-lived with side effects in the long run.

Let us get some herb power to combat the gloom of fatigue without any side effects of synthetic energy potions. Here is a list of herbs and plants that can help an individual in this regard, many of them are ‘adaptogen’ meaning that they enhance or rev up function when required and tone it down when called for.

  • Siberian Ginseng

The first in our list is Eleutherococcus senticosus, commonly known as Siberian ginseng, an adaptogen herb popular in Eastern countries including China and Russia. Despite the familiarity, it is different from Indian or Chinese ginseng with an active chemical called eleutherosides. The extract of this herb is known to boost the immune system with additional benefits of enhancing energy, vitality, and longevity.  

David Hoffman, a clinical herbalist in a book called  “Medical Herbalism: The Science Practice of Herbal Medicine”, notes that Siberian ginseng can be considered for prolonged use to ward off exhaustion and stress due to overwork on a long term basis without any side effects.

Different researchers have shown the effectiveness of Siberian Ginseng in improving memory, mental alertness, cerebral and physical performance as well as the quality of life in general. Its athletic enhancing property has made it a controversial supplement for athletes. Available as powder, liquid or solid extract, capsules or tablets, or simply dried root for tea, Siberian Ginseng is generally considered safe. However, women with estrogen sensitive cancers should avoid it. Individuals with heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, maniac depression and autoimmune disorders should also abstain from taking this herb in any form.

  • Astragalus

Astragalus root is one of the powerful immunity boosting herbs. It lowers the stress hormone, cortisol and is found to be quite significant regarding cardiac health and fighting tumors. The herb extract is a great aid in alleviating the side effects of chemotherapy.

A Chinese adaptogen herb, it is used in traditional Chinese medicine for stress relief, be it physical or mental. The anti-inflammatory effects of Astragalus are beneficial for heart health as well as its immunity boosting properties ward off cancerous conditions. Known as Qi-tonic, the dried root of the herb can be brewed into a tea that can help in conditions like chronic fatigue and weakness. The tonic aids in building up of stamina and endurance.

  • Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha also goes by the name of Indian Ginseng. An adaptogen herb, ashwagandha is extremely helpful in combating fatigue, relieving stress and enhancing stamina.

The many therapeutic indications of Ashwagandha are due to its neuroprotective, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, the extract is an aid in cases of diagnosed clinical stress with a mood improving and memory enhancing effects.

  • Maca root extract

Another adaptogen, Maca is hyped for its role in balancing the hormonal state of our body. This action is significant because hormonal disruptions can cause stress and fatigue of all kinds. This herb nourishes and stimulates your hypothalamus and pituitary gland to balance the production of hormones from the adrenal, pancreas, thyroid, ovarian and testicular glands.

The herb is available as a powder, liquid, capsule or tablet form, Maca is a great aid in cases of adrenal fatigue.

  • Rhodiola

Rhodiola is also known by its pet name, the golden root. Apart from its up shots of a fat burning agent, it also helps relieve fatigue and depression. It has excellent energy and brain boosting power that helps your body adapt to different stresses.

Rhodiola increases the sensitivity of our neurons to dopamine and serotonin, two hormones that share the important tasks of improving focus, memory, pleasure, and mood. Rhodiola also balances the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, which is responsible for signs and symptoms of physical and emotional stress.

  • Reishi

A rare mushroom found in China, it is also called the ‘elixir of life’. It helps boost the immune system, enhance energy and vitality along with reducing stress.

An adaptogenic tonic that is derived from a fungus that grows on trees, it modulates the adrenal and thyroid glands, helps reboot sleep cycles thus combating insomnia and reducing stress and fatigue.

  • Chaga

Another fungus that is adaptogenic in nature, with anti viral, anti bacterial and immune stimulating properties, chaga is enriched in selenium, vitamin B1, 2, 3. It acts as an adrenal support with its high anti oxidant content.

  • Devil’s club

Devil’s club or devil’s walking stick is a shrub of its kind with adrenal support properties.

Again, an adaptogen improves the level of stress and fatigue.

  • Wheatgrass

A glass of wheatgrass juice would send your energy levels to a higher pitch because of its ability to deliver oxygen to your blood circulatory system quite effectively.

It also delivers a hefty amount of vitamins and nutrients as iron, calcium, magnesium, different amino acids, vitamin A, C, and E.

  • Schisandra berry

Not very prominent but quite effective in reviving your energy stores, Schisandra berry is another adaptogen in our list. The berry grows in some parts of Russia and Northeast China and is used as a dry form in supplements. It is said to contain all five flavors in its profile.

According to some Russian studies, Schisandra berry is said to increase mental and physical performance. It enables the body to become stress resistant at the same time, reduces fatigue by increasing the body endurance.

There is a wide variety of herbs and plants beneficial to human life in one way or the other, this article being a diminutive insight into the subject. As with any supplement, if you are suffering from any kind of disease, a consultation with your physician is necessary and in case of an herbal supplement, specific guidance regarding individual case must be sought from an herbal specialist.


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