Your alarm goes off and it’s a struggle to get up. You have a full day of things you need or want to do but feel too tired to do them. After your morning coffee, you have a little more energy, but that wears off by noon. In the afternoon, you start to feel drowsy and turn to another cup of coffee or 8-hour energy – giving you a short boost. Then you hit the wall.
For centuries, people have turned to the prized Chinese tonic herbs, known as adaptogens, to replenish their energy reserves naturally, support the immune system and adrenals and bring the body back into balance. These are five of the most prized energy-boosting herbs to restore your vital energy.
Ginseng is not a stimulant but rather an adaptogen that supports the body’s natural response to stress, anxiety and physical and mental exertion. It helps replenish depleted adrenals and enhances energy, memory, focus and overall vitality. A recent double-blind study tested the effectiveness of panax ginseng in patients suffering from fatigue. The study concluded that patients taking ginseng experienced increased energy as well as greater improvement in cognitive function and lower levels of free radicals in the blood.
Cordyceps is one of the most valuable mushrooms for supporting the immune system, increasing energy and endurance. Research has shown that Cordyceps increases energy by raising ATP levels (the primary energy carrier in all living organisms), by lowering levels of lactic acid (which make us feel tired) and by increasing insulin sensitivity which gives cells more access to fuel for energy and also lowers one’s risk for diabetes in the long run. It is also a powerful tonic for the lungs.
Rhodiola is an adaptogen that strengthens the body’s response to physical, mental, and emotional stressors. In a study with physicians on night call it was shown that the rhodiola group had a significant reduction in stress-induced fatigue as well improved physical and mental performance. Rhodiola also improves exercise performance and endurance by activating the synthesis or re-synthesis of ATP and stimulating energy repair processes after exercise. In addition to increasing energy, Rhodiola enhances healthy sleep, lifts depression, reduces anxiety and helps keep blood sugar in a healthy range.
Eleuthero, also known as Siberian ginseng, can boost energy, sharpen mental concentration and help improve strength and stamina. It is a prized herb for athletes to naturally enhance their performance. Studies of Eleuthero’s effects on human performance show that the plant increases tolerance to a broad range of stress factors, including heat, noise and increased exercise. The extract of the eleuthero root increases energy, work output, endurance, athletic performance and mental alertness. It also shows remarkable protective benefits under conditions of oxygen deprivation, so it is beneficial for people who will be going to high altitudes.
As an adaptogen, gynostmma (or jiaogulan) increases energy, endurance, stamina while reducing mental and emotional stress. It also helps stabilize blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity. Considered the “herb of immortality,” gynostemma is also known to extend longevity, support the immune system, lower cholesterol, lower high blood pressure and improve heart function.So turn your fatigue into energy with these powerful herbs. You can try any of these herbs individually by boiling them in a tea. But there is a formula: Supreme Immune Tonic by Six
You feel unusually tired. You start sneezing. Your nose runs and you have a tickle in your throat. Chances are, you’re getting a cold and the virus is starting to multiply in your nose. And whenever you sneeze, thousands of globules loaded with viruses are expelled into the air. Welcome to the world of the common cold.
The common cold is the leading cause of doctor visits in the United States. In one year, the U.S. population contracts approximately 1 billion colds and this accounts for more missed work and school days than any other illness. Because there are over 200 different kinds of viruses that can cause a cold, by the time our body has learned to recognize one virus by its structure and prepare antibodies that will attack and destroy it, along comes another virus with a slightly different structure. This is why it is difficult for the immune system to defend against the common cold and why medical researchers have not been able to find a cure yet.
While a cure for the common cold has eluded scientists, there are some natural treatments that work extremely well to stop a cold in its tracks. The following are the most effective natural treatments for a cold.
Cold Nip is a combination of three classical Chinese formulas that have been used successfully for years for the common cold with the addition of three anti-viral herbs: Andrographis, Isatis leaf and Isatis root. Isatis leaf, Isatis root and Andrographis have long been used in Chinese Medicine for upper respiratory infections and have been shown in recent research to have potent anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. Chinese Medicine maintains that if you activate the protective defense of the body, the wei qi, the virus will not penetrate. So you want to start Cold Nip right away. People report that if they take Cold Nip at the first signs of a cold, it usually stops it before it has a chance to take hold. If the virus has penetrated to the sinuses, throat and lungs, Cold Nip will still help relieve symptoms and shorten the duration. It is also effective when used preventatively in crowded areas or when flying in a plane where a multitude of viruses are circulating throughout the cabin.
Supporting your Immune System:
One way to avoid getting a cold in the first place is to support your immune system. Supreme Immune Tonic has the kings of the Chinese herbs that will help support the immune system on a deep level. Take 2 capsules twice a day during the winter months if you are susceptible to colds and the flu.
Neti pot: Since viruses replicate in the nasal passages, help your immune system to move them out by using the neti pot two to three times a day. Add a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of baking soda. The salt water restores moisture to nasal passages, lessens the inflammation of mucous membranes, washes out existing pathogens while both salt and baking soda make the environment inhospitable to the viruses and bacteria. Make sure you tilt your head at the right angle so that water only drains through the opposite nostril (you do not want it to drain back through the nose and throat). After using the neti pot on each side, blow your nose several times. All discharges should come forward and out – do not snuff up into the sinuses. Saline rinses are highly recommended by National Jewish Health; however, they recommend using boiled or purified water to ensure against the risk of bacteria or amoebas in tap water.
Gargling with Salt water: This is effective for a viral sore throat and helps reduce the soreness and shorten the duration of a sore throat. Both viruses and bacteria struggle to survive in a high-salt environment.
Probiotics: Current research indicates that taking a daily probiotic during the winter months helps prevent contracting upper respiratory infections.
Zinc helps the immune system function more effectively. Research suggests taking 15 mg 2-3 x day at the onset of a cold will help stop a cold and reduce the symptoms and duration. Oral zinc is recommended over zinc nasal sprays since several people have experienced a loss of smell with zinc nasal sprays.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) can be effective when every cold seems to go to the chest and turns into bronchitis. NAC thins mucus and has mucolyptic and expectorant properties.
What to eat and drink when you have a cold?
Every morning squeeze the juice of one lemon into warm water and add a teaspoon of raw Manuka honey. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, but avoid dairy and orange juice since they seem to increase the amount of mucus. Freshly squeezed carrot and vegetable juices are also recommended, and a good homemade chicken soup with plenty of vegetables and shiitake mushrooms will support the immune system and also make you feel better.
With these natural recommendations, you should be able to say good-bye to your cold if you catch it early enough or at least reduce the symptoms and shorten its duration.
Kathy Thorpe, CHom is a Classical Homeopath and a natural health writer and blogger who has been writing about alternative approaches to health and wellness for the past ten years. Prior to that, she taught English at U.C. Berkeley and at the University of Colorado. She can be reached at 303 583-0179