Dealing with chronic fatigue and low energy daily can be super frustrating-been there, done that. If you landed on this page because you wake up exhausted every day or because your brain isn’t what it used to be, you are not alone. More and more people (especially women) report that they lack the motivation and energy to live a life they love. Whether it’s modern life being modern life or environmental toxins coming from every angle-your adrenals could need some love. I’m sharing the best herbs for energy and adrenal health in this article.
Low Energy & Adrenal Fatigue: Why You Need an Herbal Supplement
Adrenal fatigue, also known as HPA axis dysregulation, happens when you’re stressed out for far too long. This can be low-grade chronic stress from anything from poor sleep to poor relationships to poor food choices. When your adrenal glands slow down cortisol production to help you from stress overdrive, low energy and chronic fatigue sets in. Beyond poor energy levels, you can also experience poor mood, salt cravings, lack of mental clarity, low libido, slow healing time, and more.
If this sounds like you, you may struggle with adrenal fatigue symptoms (take our quiz to find out). Like I said: been there and done that. I overcame adrenal fatigue five times (after each of my kids and once when I was living an unhealthy lifestyle. I know healing is possible. I know that reclaiming your energy is possible. It may seem overwhelming, but it’s necessary. And herbs are here to help.
The power of plants can not go unnoticed here. They contain powerful properties that can help stimulate physical endurance, brain clarity, and mental energy so that you can thrive. The herbs I am talking about in this article have a particular affinity for the adrenals and stress (the root of AF). If you’re ready to heal, let’s find your herbal ally!
8 Herbs for Energy & Adrenal Health
1 – Rhodiola
One of my favorite herbal supplements for creating resilience to stress and sustainable energy is rhodiola rosea. Rhodiola is an adaptogen that helps you adapt to all kinds of stressors: physical, emotional, environmental, and mental. Because of this, it’s one of my favorite herbs for helping heal adrenal fatigue at the root.
For centuries and even today, rhodiola is used to increase energy, stamina, improve athletic performance, and help manage depression and anxiety. If you are an adrenal fatigue sufferer (take our quiz to find out if you have symptoms), then you are not new to the constant low energy, low mood, and brain fog that comes with AF.
Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Siberian ginseng (eleuthero), Korean ginseng, Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), and American ginseng have all been shown to fight fatigue and promote energy. Components in ginseng like polysaccharides and oligopeptides are associated with lower oxidative stress and higher energy production.
Ginseng has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm oxidative stress that often accompanies adrenal fatigue. Studies also show that ginseng can help improve brain functions like mood, behavior, and memory.
Another important benefit of ginseng is that it may be able to boost immune function. One of the most important adrenal supplements, which I talk about in these podcast episodes, is one that boosts immunity.
3 – Schisandra
Schisandra is another adaptogen that I love for healing chronic fatigue. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that Schisandra is the emperor of adaptogens and can boost qi (pronounced chi), or life force, energy, and vitality.
Schisandra is a lovely liver cleanser that can help pull toxins and chemicals that make a liver sluggish. When the liver is sluggish, energy can be low, and mood can be unstable. If you are struggling with chronic fatigue, a liver cleanse might be in order!
As a natural hormone balancer, Schisandra helps to tamp down stress and balance adrenal hormones. Because adrenal fatigue is caused by chronic stress and HPA axis dysregulation, Schisandra can be an incredible ally for fighting stress and gaining energy.
I wrote all about Schisandra’s benefits and go into much more detail in this article. You can find Schisandra in our Beauty Collagen Complex. It wouldn’t be the powerhouse collagen it is without Schisandra. Add this delicious vanilla honey powder into your smoothies, lattes, oats, or coffee for potent benefits.
4 – Maca
Maca is another potent adaptogen that can support stamina, and increase exercise performance. In fact, maca is an effective, all-natural pre-workout and a great alternative coffee to the afternoon slump.
Beyond this, maca also has other benefits for those who struggle with adrenal fatigue. First, maca can help lower blood sugar. Many AF warriors struggle with blood sugar regulation. Another benefit is that it can help reduce cravings thanks to its high nutrient content. If you are craving salt and salty foods AND have chronic fatigue, you may be struggling with adrenal fatigue.
For a deeper dive on maca, listen to our episode: 5 Hormone Balancing Benefits of Maca.
5 – Ashwagandha
If you know me or have been reading my blog for a while, you know I am obsessed with ashwagandha! This popular adaptogenic herbal supplement for energy is having a moment-but don’t be fooled; this root has been used for 3,000 years to increase energy and calm stress.
It can keep cortisol levels in check and reduce inflammation, regulating your nervous system. This herb is a must for anyone who notices they get extremely tired after a minor stressor. Ashwagandha can help make you more resilient to stress and increase energy.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of ashwagandha for stress, hormones, and inflammation, check out this article by my husband Dr. Jones, and I wrote. If you’re itching to get your hands on some ashwagandha, our Beauty Collagen Complex has the best. Designed to help tamp down stress, balance hormones, and repair the gut, this vanilla-honey powder will make your healing journey a lot easier. Find it here!
6 – Cordyceps
Cordyceps is a fungus and one of my favorite adaptogenic herbs for energy. It boosts energy on a cellular level through adenosine triphosphate or ATP, a molecule that carries energy from food to cells! ATP is crucial for helping with physical endurance and energy. When you supplement with cordyceps, you increase your body’s production of ATP-enter more energy!
Another benefit of cordyceps for adrenal health is incredible immune system support from stellar antioxidant levels. These mushrooms are also wonderful at fighting inflammation which can often come from HPA axis dysregulation and stress.
7 – Gotu Kola
Gotu Kola is a primary herb often prescribed by herbalists for lack of energy and depression. It is the perfect alternative to caffeine as it helps with brain function but won’t ruin your sleep if drunk/taken in the afternoon.
Other benefits of gotu kola besides energy vitality include heart support, stress support, and skin radiance!
Alleviate fatigue and boost endurance with gotu kola to help heal the root of adrenal fatigue and chronic depleting stress.
8 – Nettles
Stinging nettles is another adaptogenic herb that can help replenish and rebuild adrenals for energy. As a nourishing herb, nettles floods the body with essential vitamins and minerals, supporting optimal functioning of the entire body.
I often recommend nettles to clients who are nutrient deficient (most!) and looking for a coffee alternative. When you have adrenal fatigue, coffee is the last thing you want to stress out your body and adrenals with. But the first thing you need is energy to function. Nettles is a gentle stimulant that can offer that morning energy burst to get your day started.
How to Use Herbs for Energy and Adrenal Health
You can find many of these herbs in dried form for a delicious infusion or herbal tea. I personally love to infuse a palm full of dried nettles overnight in cool water and drink it throughout the next day. Other herbs like cordyceps and maca can often be found in powdered form and added to smoothies or morning elixirs. Schisandra is a berry that can be drunk as a slightly sour and invigorating tea. If that’s not your cup of tea-pun intended-you can find Schisandra, as well as ashwagandha, in our vanilla honey Beauty Collagen Complex. I promise it’s not sour and that you will fall in love. Rhodiola and ginseng can often be found in tincture or capsule form. I love to take rhodiola from gaia herbs for when I need to really dig myself out of the tired and sad trenches.
I hope this article has helped you find your herbal ally for energy and adrenal health! Shop our superfoods line to start getting your energy back ASAP.