Herbs aren’t only useful in the kitchen! Herbal supplements have been used for millennia to heal the sick and injured and even to heal and strengthen ancient athletes and warriors. Using herbs to help you in the gym might seem strange since we are more exposed to popular supplements such as creatine and whey.

Finding an herbal alternative isn’t as crazy as you think. Since science provides us with an increased knowledge of plant chemistry and efficient extraction methods, herbal supplements have become more concentrated and easily digestible. Herbal supplements can come in pill form, tinctures, powders, teas, creams, dried or fresh.

A Herb for Every Fitness Goal

Your fitness goal will dictate the best herbal supplements to consume. Below you will find a variety of natural herbal supplements to help with common health and fitness goals:

Strength Training

In regards to strength training or growing muscle mass, taking in enough calories and hitting your macronutrient ratios is essential – no herbal supplement will really help you with that! However, some herbal supplements complement a strength training routine by increasing testosterone. Free testosterone is important to maximise both your strength and muscle growth. Stinging nettle root is a herbal supplement which can help you get the most out of  your strength training regime.

Stinging Nettle Root 

Herbal Supplements - Nettle Root

Stinging nettle root is a safe and effective way for bodybuilders to utilize and increase testosterone. Instead of the glycoprotein sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) binding to testosterone as it normally would, it binds to the nettle extract. This allows more testosterone to roam freely within the body.

Also recommended: American ginseng

Muscle Recovery Aid

Muscle recovery is beneficial not only to sore muscles but also to torn or overstretched muscles. Use Arnica on your aches and you will be back to full strength in no time!

Arnica

Herbal Supplements - Arnica

Arnica is a flower made into a topical ointment or cream in which is then applied to the sore, bruised, or injured area. Arnica stimulates the blood vessels which provide circulation to the tender body part.

Also recommended: Ciwujia 

Weight Loss Support

To everyone’s dismay, no herbal supplement will simply shred fat off your body. Exercise and healthy eating are still crucial for losing weight. However, many herbs are great for supporting a weight loss regime by increasing energy and immunity while also decreasing cravings.

Green Tea or Green Tea Extract

Herbal Supplements - Green Tea

Green tea is composed of high levels of antioxidants and is also known for increasing metabolism and boosting energy. Try drinking green tea rather than soda or coffee. Green tea extract comes in a pill form but the most popular way to consume green tea is as a drink.

Joint Pain

Joint pain can occur due to a variety of different underlying issues such as arthritis, overuse, or even obesity. Depending on the source of your joint pain, different herbal supplements can relieve pain, swelling, or irritation. Turmeric is one herb which adds colour and flavour to your meals but also has healing properties!

Turmeric

Herbal Supplements - Turmeric

Turmeric can help to relieve pain in joints because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that turmeric root works just as effectively as ibuprofen when given to subjects with joint pain. Turmeric does come in a pill form but can also be added to many dishes due to its mild flavour.

Also recommended: Flax, burdock root

Immune System

Having a strong immune system is vital for anyone wanting to get in shape. If you aren’t healthy, you won’t be able to perform your best and get the most out of your workouts. Certain illnesses can also reduce your appetite which is never a good thing for anyone wanting to gain muscle!

Echinacea

Herbal Supplements - Echinacea

Echinacea, a flowering plant grown in the U.S. and Canada, is used most commonly to treat colds. Echinacea is strongly recommended to be taken as soon as cold symptoms develop because it boosts white blood cell count. Professionals do not recommend extended or long term treatment of Echinacea. Anyone with allergies to ragweed should stay away from Echinacea treatment.

Also recommended: Ginger

Energy/Stamina/Endurance

The need for energy is huge in our busy, modern lives with coffee shops around every corner and a variety of unhealthy energy drinks readily available. The most popular alternative energy fix you might come into contact with is ginseng.

Siberian Ginseng

siberian-ginseng-tea-400x400

There are a number of varieties of Ginseng: American ginseng (endangered), Korean ginseng, and Siberian ginseng. All three strains have different effects. For increasing energy, stamina, and immunity, Siberian ginseng is the perfect substitute to tea of coffee

Also recommended: Mate

References

[1] The Wonders of Herbs – Which Herbal Supplements Should You Be Taking

[2] Herbs to Aid Muscle Recovery for Weightlifting

[3] Herbal Medicine: Sports Herbs

[4] Herbs to Grow Muscle Mass

[5] Ten supplements you never thought of adding to your muscle-building regimen, but should

[6] The Doctor’s Remedy: Turmeric for Joint Pain

[7] Burdock

[8] Natural Herbs for Weight Loss

[9] Frequently Asked Questions About Echinacea

[10] Learn the Health Benefits of Ginger for a Great Immune System Boost

[11] Siberian Ginseng Benefits