The days are growing longer and it's time to get back outside and get active. It's easy to understand how what you eat and drink can impact your body's performance, but did you know that you can optimize your active lifestyle with certain herbs as well? Herbs can support a healthy inflammatory response, improve stamina, and promote healthy recovery, among other benefits.
Include the following herbs in your daily routine to help your body perform better, whether your preferred style of movement is running, biking, backpacking, yoga, or a stroll in the park.
Adaptogens are a class of herbs which promote homeostasis and increase a person's resistance to stress. Some key adaptogens to consider for an active lifestyle include Rhodiola, Eleuthero, and Ashwagandha.
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)
In regards to athletic performance, Rhodiola has been shown to support healthy lactate levels and parameters of skeletal muscle damage after an exhaustive exercise session.
Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
Eleuthero has long been used by athletes to support endurance. This study showed that 8 weeks of supplementation (800 mg daily) supports healthy endurance capacity, heart function, and the metabolism of glycogen.
Ashwagandha (Ashwagandha somnifera)
Ashwagandha is another herb that has been shown to support aerobic capacity. Eight weeks of supplementation (500 mg twice daily) promoted healthy VO2 max and time to exhaustion.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric is well-known for supporting a healthy inflammatory response and studies indicate that curcumin, the active component in turmeric, may offset some of the performance deficits associated with exercise-induced muscle strain.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis) & Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
This 2014 study indicated that supplementing with Cordyceps and Reishi mushrooms supports the body's capacity to quench free radicals, thereby protecting them from oxidative stress and over-training discomforts.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
In addition to its hormone-balancing effects, research suggests that Maca root has the ability to support endurance in athletes. In addition to considering these herbs to facilitate an active lifestyle, support a healthy, balanced body by including a mix of strength training, aerobic training, and stretching into your physical routine. With a little planning, herbs can enhance and optimize your active, healthy lifestyle!
- The Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
- The Health Benefits of Eleuthero
- Turmeric: Spice Up Your Life
- Herb of the Month: Maca
- Adaptogens and Exercise
Writer Katie Gerber is a holistic health and nutrition coach serving clients locally in the front range as well as online. In 2014, she completed Aviva Romm's Herbal Medicine for Women certification. After thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2014 and the Colorado Trail in 2016, Katie decided to use her botanical medicine and nutrition knowledge to help fellow wilderness lovers seeking more energy and better health. She transitioned from her career as a pastry chef, and enrolled in the Institute for Transformational Nutrition. She now uses her lifelong passion for holistic health with her background in the culinary arts to help people live healthier lives, in alignment with nature. Katie writes for several publications and speaks at local events. When she's not writing and working with clients, you'll most likely find her in the mountains, in the garden, or in the kitchen testing recipes. Find out more about Katie, her articles, and her adventures at her website.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.