Regardless of the level of your physical activity, a healthy and balanced diet can significantly improve your physical performance, recovery, as well as overall wellbeing.
Frequently, athletes and those who regularly exercise supplement their diet with products that improve performance endurance, and recovery even further. However, those frequently have long-term negative side effects such as disrupting your natural hormonal balance.
As a result, many are looking for more natural and holistic substitutes for conventional sports supplements. Let’s look at 5 herbs that can have a beneficial effect on your physical performance and recovery.
Herbs which Can Boost Your Physical Performance and Recovery
One of the most studied herbs in the field of physical performance is ginseng.
It has been popular in traditional Asian medicine for centuries because of it's anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and stimulant effects to name a few.
Ginseng has multiple beneficial compounds such as:
- Vitamins A, B, C, and D,
- Minerals including magnesium, potassium, iron, and phosphorus,
- And more.
These compounds can:
- Reduce mental stress,
- Enhance cognitive performance,
- Boosts alertness,
- Improve immune system function,
- Stabilize blood pressure,
- Boost anaerobic performance,
- Inhibits oxidation,
- And more.
These qualities can help you exercise longer, remain focused and alert, as well as have easier recoveries.
Nonetheless, ginseng also has a few negative side effects, for instance, diarrhea and other digestive disorders, headaches, insomnia, rapid heartbeat and fluctuations in blood pressure. Ginseng can also interfere with certain medications such as insulin. Therefore, if you are taking any prescription medication or have high blood pressure, it is a good idea to talk to your physician before taking ginseng.
Hemp-derived CBD oil is rapidly increasing in popularity due to its powerful numerous beneficial properties. Many believe that hemp and cannabis are one and the same. That’s not the case. While they both come from the same plant family, hemp and cannabis have different properties.
Hemp products contain very small amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis that gives the feeling of “high. “Its levels are so low that you will not experience psychoactive effects, and it will not come upon drug tests.
In comparison with cannabis, hemp grows outdoors in moderate climates, is more resilient, and does not require great amount of energy. It’s easier to take care of and is better for the environment. After processing it, hemp fibers can be used to produce ropes, clothes, shoes, and other products.
CBD has numerous benefits. However, when it comes to physical performance, CBD can help with the following:
- Reduce inflammation,
- Reduce pain,
- Serve as an alternative to opioid medication and NSAIDs,
- Improve sleep quality,
- Improve gut health,
- Reduce stress and anxiety,
CBD is available in tincture form. There are also soft gels and edibles that contain CBD as well as a variety of topical products such as salves, balms, and more.
Kratom is a Southeast Asian herb that’s been gaining increasing popularity in the US over the past years. Kratom is a tropical tree from the coffee family. While some of its qualities are like those of coffee, kratom does have a lot more to offer.
According to studies available on kratom, there are at least 25 alkaloids and at least 40 total beneficial compounds in kratom. However, the most widely known effects of kratom are due to its two primary alkaloids:
- Mitragynine, and
Kratom comes in three different natural vein colors as well as a variety of different strains. Each of these has slightly different alkaloid content and different effects. However, people most commonly seek kratom to:
- Relieve different kinds of pain,
- Serve as an alternative to opioids and prescription medication
- Ease stress and anxiety,
- Improve focus and productivity,
- Improve sleep,
- Boost the mood, and
- Increase energy.
Based on what affects you are looking for; you would need to seek different strains and veins. People who do sports and work out can benefit from green and white vein kratom. It can help them remain calm and more focused as well as perform more reps or have the energy to last longer.
In addition to the above, kratom can also help deal with pain from strong and persistent chronic pain or muscle pain after an active workout. Red vein kratom provides the strangest pain relief while you can expect milder pain relief from white and green vein kratom.
Kratom can be taken in tea form as well as used topically, for instance, by applying kratom salve r balm to affected areas. Keep in mind though that kratom can cause constipation. Therefore, you should drink plenty of water, especially if you are physically active.
4. Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is an herb native to South America, where locals steep its crushed leaves and twigs to make tea and drink it to boost energy. Traditionally, they use a carved gourd and drink it through a special metal straw with a filter at its bottom. Its effects are like those of coffee and green tea, though yerba mate has less caffeine than coffee.
Yerba mate is rich in antioxidants and nutrients that have anti-inflammatory and other health-promoting properties. As a matter of fact, its antioxidant properties are stringer than those of green tea.
Though in very small amounts, yerba mate contains seven out of the nine essential amino acids as well as all the important vitamins and minerals that your body needs. It is not nearly enough to meet the dietary requirements of those; however, yerba mate can be a beneficial supplement to a healthy balanced diet.
Therefore, it can help with the following:
- Provide your body with extra vitamins, minerals, and amino acids,
- Boost energy and reduce fatigue,
- Enhance mental focus,
- Improve muscle contractions,
- Help your body burn more fat rather than carb reserves during high-intensity activities,
- Boost metabolism,
- Improve immune system performance and protect against infections.
You can buy crushed yerba mate leaves to make tea, but it’s also available in capsule form for easier use. Make sure to not take too much of it as excess use of yerba mate can cause side effects like those you may experience if you drink too much coffee.
5. Maca Root
Another plant native to South America, maca root powder is often referred to as a superfood. It contains 18 out of 20 amino acids and other beneficial compounds that can improve both overall health and sports performance.
Maca root powder can:
- Regulate hormones,
- Boost testosterone levels which can boost muscle power and growth,
- Eliminate excess estrogen in males,
- Enhance mood,
- Reduce blood pressure.
You can easily add maca to your diet by mixing it into smoothies, shakes, oatmeal, energy bars, and other baked goods. It is also possible to take it in pill form.
Which Should You Take?
Each of the five herbal products has a range of beneficial properties that can improve your health and physical performance and recovery in a variety of ways. Make sure to take your individual needs into consideration and experiment with a few to see what works best for you. Let us know which you like best.
Layla Nash is a fitness instructor and former gymnast. Having suffered from various injuries, Layla became passionate about a healthy diet and alternative healing methods. She found the most effective relief in kratom, and, together with a few friends who introduced her to it, started a blog about kratom. Since there is a lack of reliable information about the herb, it aims to spread information about kratom that can help others make informed buying decisions. You can find it at speciosaguide.com.