What Herbs Can Give Me Energy?Sean Russell
Stimulants Don’t Really Give You Energy!
In an era of coffee on every corner and caffeinated energy drinks everywhere you look, one would think we have all the energy in the world! At least that’s what the marketing machine is trying to tell you. So, why are so many of us lacking energy, exhausted after a normal day, and suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome?
Caffeine affects us in three ways. First it inhibits adenosine which causes a release of dopamine, noradrenalin, and glutamate. The release of dopamine gives that good buzz feeling from caffeine and is responsible for the addictive quality of it. The release of noradrenaline leads to stimulation in our cells and vasodilation in areas including the brain. Next, caffeine increases the release of calcium in our cells which can lead to the shakes and involuntary twitching of muscles. Lastly, caffeine has the ability to help reduce fat loss, however studies show you need really high doses of caffeine that aren’t in the normal diet. The same study also states that caffeine is toxic and is responsible for many deaths from overdose each year.
Herbal Alternatives to Caffeine
- Rou Cong Rong
- Dan Shen
- He Shou Wu
Herbal Stimulants are Not the Same as Caffeine
There are a few ways in which herbs can give you energy. Let’s talk about stimulant herbs, or herbs that have some stimulant effect to them. In western terms a herb is a stimulant by acting on adrenals, metabolic function, and central nervous system (including adrenaline and norepinephrine). However, herbs act upon these systems differently and less aggressively. The most ‘stimulating’ herb, Ginseng, could give you cognitive and physical improvement but it wont give you the shakes. The most common side effect of Ginseng is some flushing in the face. Additionally one of Ginsengs features is to actually REGULATE the adrenals to help you with energy by not allowing dumps through the day. Ginseng has been shown to lower blood pressure, while caffeine increases blood pressure. Lastly, caffeine is said to be fatally toxic around 10g in a day, which is about as much as 3 cans of high caffeine energy drinks have (like Bang Energy). Ginseng on the other hand would take 350g of Ginseng in a day, that would be nearly impossible to consume and incredibly expensive to buy.
How Herbs Help Increase Energy in Your Body
- Boosts Your Immune System
- Increases the Secretion of Certain Hormones
- Lowers Plasma Glycogen and Cholesterol
- Cardiovascular & Blood Tonics
Increasing your Energy with Herbs by Boosting Your Immunity
Your body is being challenged by outside viruses, bacteria, and other organisms all the time. When you are on the losing ends of these battles, more energy needs to go to fighting which leaves you run down and tired. We often interchange the word immunity with health in language, so when someone has better immunity we call them healthy or more healthy. This better resistance, or protection, allows us to use our energy how we want to which mimicks an increase or more steady energy through the day.
Best herbs: Astragalus, Ginseng, Goji Berry, He Shou Wu
These herbs enhance the immune system by increasing white blood cells & lymphocytes plus enhance cellular and humoral immunity.
Astragalus is the best overall immunity boosting herb due to its stimulation of all immunity systems and how safe and gentle it is on your system. Organic Astragalus extract powder is the best way to take this supplement.
Goji Berry benefits the eyes, increases T cells and suppresses tumor growths (Journal of Herbology and Toxicology, 1985; 2:127)
He Shou Wu / Fo-Ti increases T cells, white blood cells and macrophages. Buy Organic and high quality He Shou Wu powder and add to chocolate smoothies and shakes. (Ibid,. 5:24)
Ginseng increases reticuloendothelial system and total count IgM.
Additionally, you can read here to find out the Best Mushrooms to Boost Immunity
Using the Best Adaptogenic Herbs to Increase Performance and Energy
In addition to organisms trying to invade your body, you are being challenged constantly by stressors which affect your strength, adrenals, cognitive function, oxygen uptake, and liver function. Adaptogens help your body deal with and regulate these processes. You can see the word ‘adapt’ is in the name and this is exactly how they help. Our bodies aren’t always good at regulating processes and hormones in our bodies. By regulating and balancing your bodies functions you avoid energy dumps, afternoon crashes, and increase lung and cardio performance.
Best herbs: Ginseng, Schisandra, Eleuthro, Rhodiola, Rehmannia, Astragalus, Goji Berry
Schisandra is the best overall adaptogen. It stimulates and regulates your CNS, protects your liver, benefits digestion, is a lung tonic, and builds your immune system. The berry is sour and is best taken in a smoothie so use Organic Schisandra extract powder.
Ginseng is the best performance and energy enhancer. Ginseng benefits your central nervous system (CNS), increases cardiac performance, and protects the liver.
Eleuthro / Ci Wu Jia has a very exciting wide range of adaptogenic effects. Studies have shown Eleuthro to increase swimming time, resist cold temperatures, protect against irradiation, and increase white blood cells. Eleuthro extract powder will help boost your performance and give you energy improvement.
Rholiola was one of the best known adaptogenics, for thousands of years Rholdiola has been used to improve oxygen absorption and lung performance to treat and prevent altitude sickness in the Himalyan Mountains. Rhodiola is a favorite herb of mine, I really enjoy the smell and taste of this herb. This Rhodiola Extract Powder is very high quality and combines fresh Rhodiola with concentrate to give it a robust smell and taste while still being more concentrated than raw powder.
Rehmannia / Shu Di Huang has a whole list of benefits that it provides for blood quality and quantity, it is often known as the #1 herb for blood benefits. You need to use higher doses, so Rehmannia extract powder is a good choice to buy.
Astragalus is a big immune booster, but it also benefits your lung performance and cardiovascular system.
Goji Berry is a blood and lung tonic which is a great combo for anyone. You want a high polysaccharide content Organic Goji Extract, because it taste great you can eat it or mix it anyway you want!
Regulating Hormones Get Longer Lasting Energy and Increase Male and Female Hormone Production
Some herbs have the ability to stimulate hormones such as the thyroid, adrenals, and male & female hormones.
Best Herbs: Ginseng, Eleuthro, Schisandra, Cistanche
Cistanche / Rou Cong Rong increases secretion of hypothalamus, pituitary, and reproductive organs. With low sex hormones, or those out of balance you will not only suffer from low energy, but also depression and weakness. Cistanche is well known for helping with low sex drive for men and women as well as impotency. You need to take a good quality higher dosage, so a cistanche extract powder you can simply add to a smoothie or something is the best.
Ginseng moderates the adrenal glands and how they are affected, it also leads to better physical and mental performance (Planta Med, 1979; 30:43).
Eleuthro affects the thyroid, adrenal, and pancreas glands and helps regulate these functions.
Ginseng has a general overall effect of the endocrine system. Ginseng has the most noticeable effects on the Lungs as a tonic and the adrenals as a regulator.
Stimulate Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Uptake for More Energy Using Herbs
Your body gets real energy from food and oxygen. The first thing your body needs to do is break down food into sugars and fat in your bloodstream. Next, the sugars and fats in your bloodstream need to be used. These herbs increase the uptake of sugar and fats into your cells for use in the cells, this will increase short and long term energy.
Best herbs: Ginseng, Goji Berry, He Shou Wu.
Improve Oxygen Uptake and Blood Circulation for More Energy and Improved Performance
Increasing the quality of blood and improving the oxygen and cardiac output of your body will increase oxygen and nutrition to cells leading to an increase in energy and performance.
Best herbs: Ginseng, Dan Shen, Goji Berry, Cistanche
Ginseng is the best herb for performance and basically has an effect on your blood, cardiovascular system, heart, and brain. As you can see Ginseng was in every category, it is a very impressive herb. If you want to get the effects of Ginseng you need to use it in the same way as they study it. Buy Organic Ginseng standardized extract and use at 1-3 grams per day in a tea or smoothie, you will not be disappointed!
Dan Shen / Salvia Root benefits all things blood including the heart, the liver, and the blood itself. Dan Shen is well known for its circulatory and ability to reduce swelling which makes it great for diabetes as well as sports injuries. Dan Shen extract powder can be added to anyones daily regimen because it benefits everything and helps protect your heart!
Goji / Gou Qi Zi is red which shows its beneficial effects on the blood. Goji is a great addition to Dan Shen because while Dan Shen can be thought of as more beneficial to moving blood, the stickier and sweeter Goji Berry is better at generating and improving blood quality.
Cistanche improves performance for men because it has an effect of increasing testosterone. Any male can tell you that better levels of testosterone increase energy substantially.
“Remember that herbs are also not ‘one trick ponies’. They will affect your energy on many levels and you will see herbs listed in multiple categories.”
What About Using Herbs & Caffeine Together?
When used correctly, caffeine is an excellent tool for increasing physical and mental performance. Studies show that when used in doses of 1-2 cups of coffee per day there are minimal side effects and it can provide compounding effects when used with herbs. Both the herbs and the caffeine have better effects when used together, called synergy. Herbs and caffeine are tools to use, that when not overused can help you recover and simply improve your overall health and performance.
Whether or not you use caffeine, there are many herbs here that can naturally give you lasting quality energy. Choose as few or as many as you like and simply add some powder or extract powder of the herbs into a smoothie or protein shake of some sort. If you want to be creative or specific with your flavors, I will help you:
For berry and citrus flavors use: Schisandra, Astragalus, Goji Berry, Rhodiola
For peanut and chocolate flavors use: Ginseng, Astragalus, Rou Cong rong, Dan Shen, Eleuthro, He Shou Wu, Rhodiola
Vanilla flavors use: Ginseng, Astragalus, Eleuthro, Rhodiola
Many of these ingredients can be found in Organic and Lab Tested for from our Chinese Herb section.