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Top 15 Natural Herbs for Energy & Vitality

Top 15 Natural Herbs for Energy & Vitality

Natural herbs can be an excellent way to supplement a healthy lifestyle and stay naturally energised. With the demands of today’s fast paced society, it‘s easy to rely on coffee and energy drinks to get through the day. The problem with this is that caffeine only provides a quick burst of borrowed energy, inevitably leading to a comedown that can make you feel exhausted and depleted.

There are many natural herbs that can be used to help revitalise and increase the body’s natural reserves of energy - without caffeine. While there is no sudden crash, the herbs can create a balanced sense of well-being. Plus, they do not cause addiction in the way caffeine does. The following herbs are our top 15 natural supplements that can help improve, maintain and revitalise the body.

Attention: We are not making medical claims about any of these products. This article was created for informational purposes only, based on research published by other externals sources.

1. Maca

Maca is a natural tonic and energiser that can be found growing the high and mountainous reaches of the Andes. It is used by the local Peruvian people as an aphrodisiac, super food and staple of their diet. As a result Maca is a very important plant to the people of Peru, both economically and culturally. The use of Maca dates back to the Inca Empire, where it was a reserve of the upper echelons of society, as well as a reward given to renowned warriors to help boost their fighting capabilities.

This safe and nutritious herb is now becoming a very popular dietary supplement and alternative to caffeine within Western societies. It is a perfect natural energiser and invigorator. It boosts natural energy levels, increases stamina and endurance, balances hormonbes, boosts testosterone, helps relieve menstrual problems, act as an aphrodisiac, and is even though to help with the symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety. These well rounded effects come hand in hand with a good dose of vitamins, minerals and other healthy acids – it is an all-round super food.

Maca

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2. Yerba Mate

Yerba mate is an energy drink nature happened to unleash upon us. It has been compared to tea and coffee in the sense that it is brewed for a stimulating uplift. Its taste has even been compared to green tea. Its impacts, however, are quite special.

The Ilex paraguariensis tree of South America bears leaves and stems that can be brewed to make yerba mate. This discovery by Guarani tribes took off among them, and now it is available for delivery from our online store. This will boost your mood with its caffeine, vitamins, and antioxidant properties. It can also be helpful for relieving pain and headaches. Do keep in mind that larger quantities can have a laxative effect, so don't overdo it. The minerals and nutrients of this drink could do a lot of good for one's health. There are even studies suggesting it can be helpful for treating obesity.

Yerba Mate

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3. Guayusa

Guayusa is among the many remarkable herbs discovered by tribes in South America. Ecuador has uncovered guayusa growing in its rainforests. The Amazonian holly tree (Ilex guayusa) from which it comes bestows the leaves with amino acids, antioxidants, and chemicals similar to yerba mate. Although, the taste of guayusa is comparatively smoother and less bitter. With farmers picking plants and selling them at markets, it helps a great deal with both generating income and rainforest conservation. It has been used for around 2,000 years, and to this day it's sold in markets in Colombia and Ecuador.

Guayusa

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4. Ephedra

Please note: Due to the unknown nature of Ephedra, and the potential health risks it poses, Ephedra is illegal in many countries including the Netherlands. Please ensure you are aware of the legal status of Ephedra in your country, and the risks associated with it.

Ephedra, also known as Ma Huang and Mormon Tea, is a classic stimulant that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 5000 years. However, the Chinese have used the herb not only as a stimulant, but much smaller quantities were prescribed for a variety of ailments; such as respiratory and urinary problems, as well as a bronchodilator. In traditional Chinese herbal medicine, the long term toxicity of ephedra has been recognised early, which is why is has been used only in small quantities and for limited duration.

Research into its effects have shown that it increases the metabolism, stimulates the brain, increases heart rate, promotes perspiration, and relaxes the respiratory system to make breathing easier. All of which can help to kickstart a sluggish system, or boost a healthy body. For this reason, it is often used as an aid to athletes, although it is a banned substance for many professional athletes as many sports organisations consider it a performance enhancing drug.

The controversy surrounding Ephedra is one that is largely debated. There is both scientific evidence that states it is safe, and that it is harmful. It is now a banned substance in many countries across the globe, and has been linked to heart attacks, strokes and death. The lack of further research into the subject makes it hard to comment on exactly how safe it is.

Ephedra

5. Guarana

Guarana is a common ingredient in modern energy drinks due to its high caffeine content. In its original form, it can still do a lot for your energy. It is stimulating, without bringing the intense energy coffee does. Guarana has been compared more closely to stimulating khat leaves.

Guarana tastes bitter and acidic on its own, but is healthy to take when dissolved in water. Consider that it promotes weight loss by increasing fat metabolism. It is also said to be good for mental health, sharpening alertness, memory performance, and even mood. Speaking of mood, it can work as a mild aphrodisiac. In reducing fatigue, it gives your body more energy for the immune system to fight bacteria.

Guarana

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6. Betel Nut

The betel plant is a big deal in India. The religious culture around Hinduism has placed special significance on this plant. Initiation ceremonies into the tradition of transcendental meditation include an offering of betel leaf to the memory of Sri Guru Dev Saraswati Brahmananda. 1st century Sanskrit texts refer to the betel nut as having 13 heavenly qualities. It is said to expel wind, kill worms, and remove phlegm. 

Its influence has since spread beyond India across much of Asia. For at least 4,000 years, betel nuts have been chewed. There is different cultural significance for the betel nut in different regions that consume it. While there are religious associations with it in India, it is an important symbol of marriage in Vietnam. In Malaysia, guests to a home are often offered a betel leaf and nut as a courtesy. Whatever significance it has for you, you could gain a lot from joining in and chewing some betel nuts.

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7. Suma

Suma is a tonic plant that has been used by the natives of South America for generations in order to maintain the endurance and stamina required for hunting. It was introduced to the US market as Brazilian Ginseng, although it is not actually related to Ginseng in any way.

Suma is a very well-rounded supplement, and can boost the immune system, increase endurance, improve natural energy, reduce inflammation. It should be noted this is not claiming to be a cure, and a medical professional should be sought for advice before taking.

It is these broad and well-rounded qualities that have so many people attesting to the energy giving qualities of Suma, revitalising them and improving their well-being as a whole.

Suma

8. Kratom Thai

It is possible to feel energizing effects from chewing Thai kratom in moderate quantities. The leaves of the kratom tree are so stimulating, they are sometimes used as an opiate substitute. Dosing is very important as it makes people sedated in higher concentrations. Lower doses generate a stimulating, uplifting buzz, but with a relaxing sense of contentment. Thai kratom is a particularly stimulating strain, with speculation it could have nootropic potential. This would potentially boost concentration and productivity of the mind to previously unseen levels.

There is certainly potential for it to displace addiction to other substances. Although it is dangerous to take this with a MAO-inhibitor, there are health benefits from responsible consumption in moderation. It has fewer side effects in comparison to coffee. The sweating, discomfort, and irritation of the bowels one gets with coffee does not happen with kratom. There is also a longer-lasting effect with kratom. It can thought to aid weight loss by suppressing appetite and reducing cravings for food. Try it yourself and see if it makes a difference.

Kratom Thai

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9. Brahmi

Brahmi is one of the most prevalent herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine and is renowned for its mentally stimulating effects. Found growing in the wetlands of Southern India and Australia, Brahmi is now building a reputation internationally as neurological tonic, and an alternative to the more commonly used energisers. It is considered a natural nootropic.

Brahmi is said to enhance cognition and improve memory, which is why it is often used by the elderly as an aid to keep their minds in shape. In addition to this, Brahmi is an effective adaptogen, helping people deal with stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression. The combination of these two effects causes the feeling of having a well-rounded vitality.

It is worth noting that due to the chemical composition of Brahmi, it should not be consumed on an empty stomach, as this can cause nausea, cramping, bloating and diarrhoea.

Brahmi

10. Ginkgo Biloba

Ancient Chinese medicine goes back thousands of years, incorporating one of the oldest types of tree in the world. The gingko tree is so old, it's even considered sacred in some Chinese folk traditions. Traces of the tree dating back a mind-blowing 270 million years have been found. It has stayed pretty much the same during that time, and has no close living relatives. With all that time for a distinct tree to develop its genetic heritage, its leaves have become very special.

A longstanding Chinese folk remedy is to use ginkgo biloba, or the leaves of ginkgo. Modern science has uncovered a host of antioxidant and free radical compounds in the leaves. These may have something to do with the effects reported by Chinese users. Ginkgo biloba was commonly used to treat respiratory conditions and improve blood circulation. It is also believed to enhance cognitive abilities such as memory. It certainly gives an energising buzz comparable to tea or coffee.

Ginkgo Biloba

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11. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, sometimes referred to as “Indian Ginseng”, is a traditional healing herb commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine on the Indian sub-continent. The translation of Ashwagandha means “smell of the horse”, that‘s because fresh roots smell like a horse‘s urine. It can be found growing natively in dry regions such as India, Northern Africa and the Middle East; but it can also grow in milder climates, such as parts of the USA.

Ashwagandha is a tonic, and is used to strengthen the immune system after illness, energise, and help users cope with stress and anxiety often associated with depression. It is these benefits that have seen it spread across the world as it has risen in popularity.

With this rise in popularity, scientists have become more and more interested in its effects. There is now a great deal of research available on the plant, which combined have found 216 medicinal benefits to using Ashwagandha. Some of these benefits include: lowering cholesterol, bolstering the immune system, combating stress, reducing anxiety and depression, stabilising blood sugar levels, and improving learning, memory and reaction time. It is these traits that make Ashwagandha a well-rounded supplement that can help maintain natural vigour.

Ashwagandha

12. Calamus

Calamus is a delightful herb to take. We would, however, advise pregnant and nursing women NOT to use it as it is a uterine stimulant. Other than that, there are no adverse side effects from moderate use. The positive effects of calamus have been known to humans for thousands of years. It appears in the Ayurvedic medicine of India to treat restlessness, fevers, and memory loss. It also appears in ancient Chinese medicine. By the Middle Ages, it had reached Europe. So what does it do?

These leaves can be chewed in a fashion similar to khat in Africa or coca leaves in South America. They can also be brewed for a tea that is more potent on an empty stomach. Calamus has even been burned as incense in Tibet in order to aid the concentration of those meditating. Calamus is generally considered to increase stamina, energy, and overall respiratory health while also having anti-anxiety properties. It is most commonly used to treat digestion issues.

Calamus

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13. Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola rosea, also known as “Golden Root”, has long been cherished by the Scandinavian countries for its tonic and energy giving qualities. It was used by the Vikings in order to increase strength and stamina, and was sought after by Chinese emperors who wanted to use it in their alchemical concoctions. It is a hardy plant that can thrive in cold and hostile locations, and its ability to do so was thought to be transferred to the user who consumed it.

It is still widely used today for these beneficial effects. In Russia it is used to help with fatigue, increase the attention span and improve memory. In China it is an everyday supplement used to aid professional athletes in training and improving stamina. Its ability to enhance mood and improve physical capacity make it a perfect natural remedy for anyone looking to boost and strengthen their own natural energy reserves.

Rhodiola Rosea

14. Ginseng

Ginseng has been used as a traditional herbal medicine for centuries in both Asia and the US. It is probably the most popular herbal supplement in the world. Most of its popularity stems from ancient Chinese medicine, where Ginseng Panax, the native species, has been in use as a overall health tonic for thousands of years. Due to its incredible popularity, wild ginseng has now been overharvested. Prices for Ginseng have reached astronomical levels, with affluent Asian businessmen paying more than 200‘000 USD for old, wild harvested Ginseng.

Ginseng is a tonic, and is used to improve the body as a whole, energising, improving stress resistance and bolstering the immune system. For this reason ginseng is usually used by those who are frequently feeling weak, fatigued and/or stressed; but it also makes for an extremely good supplement to complement and boost a healthy lifestyle.

Many believe that there are medicinal differences between wild ginseng and cultivated varieties. Also, there is a difference between the American grown (known as Panax quinquefolius) and Asian ginseng, with the latter being superior.

Due to its popularity, there has been much research into Ginseng. It has been shown that ginseng can provide energy and combat fatigue, improve cognitive function, reduce inflammation and may help prevent cancer. Although ginseng is safe to use, it can have unwanted side effects on rare occasions. These have been reported as headaches, nausea, elevated heart rate, difficulty sleeping, and restlessness.

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15. Kola Nut

The kola tree of West African rainforests is very important. Locals have long prized the caffeine-laden fruit of the tree. It would invigorate them to chew on the fruit called the "kola nut". There is now cultivation of this tree outside of Africa, particularly in California, Turkey, Italy, and much of southern Europe. It is little wonder this plant caught on, considering its effects. Extracts of kola, along with the coca leaf, were in the original recipe for Coca-Cola. The iconic brand retains that name to this day, but kola and coca are no longer in its recipe.

The fact that kola was a part of such a valuable recipe is something of a legacy in the world. Even before that, the kola nut was especially important to the Igbo people of what's now called Nigeria. Presenting kola nuts to guests was widely considered a sign of good will. There even emerged a saying, "He who brings the kola nut brings life". The kola nut offers a whole range of benefits. It boosts energy, metabolism, and immunity while promoting weight loss and respiratory health. It is also said to relieve migraines and gastric troubles.

Kola Nut

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Tonics, adaptogens and stimulants

There are three main groups of herbs that will serve this purpose - tonics, adaptogens and stimulants. While they all finally energize the body and mind, how they do it differs quite a bit.

Tonics

The word „tonic“ is nowadays mostly used for tonic water, which consists of water and quinine, a plant-derived alkaloid that has fever reducing, antimalarial, painkilling and anti-inflammatory properties. Tonic water is commonly used to mix cocktails, but tonic water has very little to do with a traditional herbal tonic. A plant or herb that is considered a tonic generally helps to increase energy through metabolic means, restore and maintain balance of homoeostasis, and increase overall resistance and immunity.

To qualify as a tonic, a herb has to be nontoxic even with prolonged use, have no contraindications and contribute to the overall longevity of the organism. In traditional Chinese medicine, great emphasis is placed on tonics, and more than 50 such herbs are in use. One of the best known tonics is the Ginseng root, which is revered as one of the most valuable and effective overall tonics.

Adaptogens

The term „adaptogen“ is fairly new, and herbs in this category are closely related to tonics, if not equal to tonics. While the term originally has been coined by Russian researchers to solely describe the effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus, the term has been quickly adopted and used for a wider range of herbs. Chinese medicine doesn‘t recognise this term, and it can be argued that only widespread lack of understanding for the properties of a true tonic led to the term „adaptogen“ in the first place.

Commonly, it is understood that the quality of adaptogens lies in their ability to adapt to the unique circumstances of the body - hence the name. The ability to adapt refers to the bi-directional action of a herb, meaning that it can both increase and decrease a range of body functions in order to restore homoeostasis and enhance well-being. However, this same quality is also a property of any true tonic. Pharmacologically, tonics and adaptogens are the very same thing, the difference ultimately comes down to terminology and perspective. As a consequence, from now on we will solely use the term tonic.

Stimulants

Stimulants, on the other hand, are clearly a different class than tonics. Stimulants do not, as opposed to tonics, create and maintain homeostatic balance. Instead, they trigger a well-defined and specific reaction, which occurs regardless of the condition of the body. In other words, stimulants to not adapt to the unique circumstances of the body, but they reliably perform a specific function.

Pharmacologically speaking, stimulants are unidirectional, meaning that they only work in one way, which can lead to over-stimulation, depletion and imbalance. However, when used carefully and punctual, they can deliver energy on demand. Well known stimulants are cocaine, caffeine, ephedra, and amphetamines.

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