By PT Staff, published on March 1, 1998 - last reviewed on June 13, 2012
Today's modern lifestyle requires a tremendous energy output. Caffeine andsugar are quick fixes, but neither is healthy in the long run. In the search for a way to maintain stamina, many health-conscious people are turning to herbal tonics and supplements. Certain energy-boosting herbs can provide profound long-term benefits for heath; they are known as adaptogens. They help your body adapt to internal and external stress, calming your nervous system if it is over-reacting, and giving it a gentle boost if it's sluggish.
The most popular adaptogen is ginseng, a root that comes in several varieties, such as Korean and Siberian. Siberian ginseng first showed up as a terrific stress-buster in Russian studies in the 1960s. In Chinese medicine, this herb symbolizes the vitality of the earth. It has a beneficial influence on the cardiovascular system, helping regulate blood pressure and cardiac rhythm. It also regulates the nervous system and increases alertness and energy. Another adaptogen is schizandra, a Chinese tonic herb used to help individuals recover from exertion and improve endurance. It is considered somewhat weaker than ginseng. Research suggests its calming effect on the central nervous system helps counteract the jitters if you've had too much caffeine.
Licorice, another amazing herb, is known to increase energy and to act like a natural cortisone, calming fatigue and allergies. Licorice actually helps your body preserve its own natural cortisone, stimulates your adrenal glands, and has has antibacterial properties. It should be noted that licorice can raise blood pressure in some individuals, so if you take this herb regularly, it's best to be monitored by your doctor to ensure health and safety.
Unlike caffeine or prescription stimulants, herbs work gently to give our bodies energy. Next time you feel you're dropping like a hot air balloon running out of gas, give the double espresso a break and try a few herbs on the rocks.
PHOTO (COLOR): "Oriental ginseng is a STIMULANT and SEXUAL energizer, while American ginseng is a POWERFUL restorative herb."