Top Natural Energy Boosters

By Val Silver

Natural energy boosters provide the lift you need when you are fighting exhaustion and just have to get through the day. When your get up and go got up and went, the following top supplements and herbs for energy, along with wise time tested practices can help your body generate the energy and vitality you need. 

Two Kinds of Natural Energy Boosters

There are two kinds of natural energy boosters. Natural stimulants provide a quick pick me up. Deep energy builders generally improve overall levels of health and vitality over time, making it natural for your body to generate all the energy you need.

Natural stimulants can get you through a tough day. It is rarely a good idea to whip your tired body into action, but sometimes you need to keep going.

Stimulants work by revving up your central nervous system. They cause the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and speed up your metabolism. Your body is made to pump out more fuel, like pressing harder on the gas pedal of your car.

When you are in good health, low doses of stimulants like caffeine from a daily cup or two of coffee are generally safe.  When you are ill or depleted, even this may be a bad idea. You may get a quick lift, but your body's ability to generate sufficient vitality may drop even more in the long run.

You will be far better off in the long run if you practice habits that build energy and take natural energy boosters that build your energy reserves. These include healthful food and beverages containing vitamins for energy, supplements and herbs for energy. This is like putting good quality gasoline in your car. When your body gets what it needs, you will have plenty of short and long term verve. 

Herbs for Energy

Herbs act as natural energy boosters in one of two ways. They either act as natural stimulants and/or they help your body heal and build reserves through nutrition, toning properties, and stress-moderating constituents.

Stimulating Herbal Natural Energy Boosters

Herbal stimulants contain caffeine or other substances that give you an energetic lift. Unlike pure stimulant products and popular, powerful unhealthy energy drinks, they work much more gently when used properly. Unless over-processed, they also contain anti-oxidants, healthful constituents, and nutrients which support your health instead of just depleting it.  

Stimulant herbs include:

  • Coffee and tea containing caffeine. 
  • Guarana (Paullinia cupana) and Afrikan kola nut (Cola acuminata) which are often found in weight loss or energy products. 
  • Cacao contains theobromine which is similar to caffeine.  
  • Ephedra, a wonderful allergy and energy herb when used properly, has been banned in the U.S. because of hazardous side effects from overuse as a dieting supplement. 
  • Cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ginger.
  • The leaves of yerba mate, a South American shrub have more antioxidants than green tea. It has a 'green' taste and contains vitamins and minerals. Yerba mate is mildly stimulating because it contains one-third the caffeine of coffee. Interestingly, it appears to stimulate the heart (not the central nervous system) and has a relaxing effect on smooth muscle tissue.

Herbs That Support Energy Production

To support your body's deep energy production, the following groups of herbs can be very helpful. Some of these herbs also provide gentle stimulation.

Adaptogenic herbs are superb natural energy boosters because they protect your mind and body from the effects of energy sapping stress. They tone and strengthen body systems and support energy production and usage. They are safe to use for long periods of time. You can cook with them, make teas or tinctures, or take them as supplements. Tonic energy herbs include:

  • Eleuthero, or siberian ginseng, is a revered adaptogen. 
  • Cooling rhodiola is loved because of its many positive actions including easing exhaustion when endurance is needed.
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra, Glycyrrhiza uralensis) has a tonifying effect on the adrenals. These glands are often compromised due to chronic stress and over-stimulating a tired body to put out more energy.
  • Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera) is a very popular Ayurvedic herb reputed to increase energy, endurance and mental functioning, especially if you are fatigued from stress, overwork or nervous tension. It increase sexual vitality and energy and has anti-inflammatory properties which may ease energy-sapping pain.
  • Shisandra Berry (Schizandra chinensis) is an Oriental energy tonic known as "five flavors berry". It helps energy levels because it is a gentle stimulant that tones the adrenals, liver and central nervous system. It also promotes digestion so you can absorb nutrients and good sleep. 
  • American and Asian Ginseng have a reputation as herbs for energy. They are known for stimulating physical activity in weak, tired people and boosting memory. 

Nutritive Herbs consumed as foods or beverages in sufficient quantity make wonderful herbs for energy. They provide an abundance of minerals and vitamins for energy along with positive effects on different systems. Nettle and oatstraw infusions are incredibly healthy energy drinks. They nourish and build deep energy. Nutritious kelp supports your thyroid. Dandelion root stimulates the digestive system.

Supplements and Vitamins for Energy

If you are deficient in certain nutrients, or just need a little extra support, supplements and vitamins can help you replenish your energy stores. It is best if these nutrients come from food as part of a healthy daily diet, but if your diet is lacking or you are depleted, high-quality supplements can help rebuild your stores.

  • B vitamins are well researched natural energy boosters. They are important for supporting the adrenals, carbohydrate metabolism (a main source of fuel), neurotransmitter production and more.  Your body does not store these important vitamins for energy so it needs a regular supply. Get them from healthy food and B-complex capsules. Small amounts taken with meals are better than big doses that pass out in your (bright yellow) urine. B-12 deficiency is common among vegetarians and the elderly. It is best supplemented sublingually or via injections.
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)is important for heart energy, especially if you are taking statins, which depletes this essential compound. CoQ10 is found in every cell of the body, where it is a key player in mitochondrial energy production. 
  • The building blocks of protein are amino acids. They play an essential role in many body functions, including energy production. Your body does not store protein, so it will benefit from protein at every meal. Amino acids are found in most real food, meal replacement shakes, energy enhancement products, and body building supplements. 
  • Sugar is a natural energy booster, which is why people crave it when they are tired. Too much sugar will cause energy levels to plummet within a few hours. Enjoy natural sugars in a piece of healthy fruit or starchy vegetable. Combine with some healthy fat and/or protein for a sustained nutritious lift that will last for hours.

Drink up

Water isn't a vitamin or supplement, but it can work wonders if you are feeling fatigued. Even if you are a little dehydrated, you can feel foggy and drained of energy. Feeling tired is one of the first signs of dehydration and it doesn't take much of a water deficit to bring you down. Herbal tea, infusions, coconut water, green drinks and juicy fruit all help you hydrate, but plain water will get to your cells fastest.

Summary: For long term best results and a steady supply of mental and physical energy, figure out why you are so tired and then address those reasons naturally by eating the right foods, drinking enough water, using energy boosting herbs and supplements, and getting proper amounts of sleep and exercise. If you are chronically tired and don't know why, visit your doctor and rule out a health condition that could be behind your exhaustion.

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For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your health provider before using herbs and supplements if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a health condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

Top Natural Energy Boosters page updated 04/2020

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