Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG
Herbs are very useful additions to your workout protocol. Herbs are rich sources of nutrients, including trace elements that may be hard to obtain otherwise. Some herbs have energizing effects that can help with weight loss or with increasing your stamina during demanding workouts. Nourishing herbs are rich in protein and low in calories. They can improve oxygenation of blood and muscle tissues during hard workouts. Let’s take a look at some of the best herbs for enhancing your workout.
Spirulina can be added to smoothies. Plants with similar benefits include chlorella or wheat grass juice. These plants are protein packed powerhouses of nutrients. They enhance the oxygen carrying abilities of your red blood cells. This action, always important, is especially helpful for long or strenuous workouts.
Ginger is an herb that benefits the entire body. It helps the other herbs to work better, and may help with weight management as it has a thermogenic effect. Ginger is a tonic for the circulation, reduces inflammation, and is rich in antioxidants.
Adaptogens are herbs that have been studied extensively. Many of the tonics that have been used in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries are adaptogenic formulas. Adaptogens are an unusual group of herbs. They help the body to handle stress better. By stress, I do not mean just emotional stress but the everyday wear and tear that the body sustains, especially during workout periods. Adaptogens are being used for the treatment of many serious and chronic illnesses, but we will see which ones are most useful for your workout and how adaptogens help the body to maintain equilibrium. They are safe and effective for long term use.
Eleuthero used to be known as Siberian ginseng. It is not a ginseng at all but has very subtle and important actions. During the Space Race, Eleuthero was used by Soviet cosmonauts and Olympians to increase their endurance. It has been shown to decrease the effects of toxins as well. This is important during workouts as your body produces waste products at a higher rate during vigorous exercise. Detoxification is aided by the use of Eleuthero. Eleuthero is energizing and helps the body to use glucose effectively by regulating the effects of insulin on the body. Eleuthero will help you to sustain your energy levels during exercise.
Ashwagandha is also known as Indian ginseng. It prevents the loss of vitamin C and cortisol, which can occur during exercise. Ashwagandha relieves stress in the body and aids anabolic activity. It helps modulate cortisol, glucose and adrenal hormones. Studies show that ashwagandha may improve psycho motor skills.
Gotu kola is another Ayurvedic herb that is considered an adaptogen. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, and improves mental focus and enhances vitality.
Try adding some of these herbs to your workout protocol. Your strength and endurance will be enhanced. You will suffer less from fatigue. You will be more focused. Your workouts will be more enjoyable and beneficial than ever before.