Although herbs are usually regarded as delicate and aromatic, most suitable for culinary and medicinal applications, do not underestimate their power to boost your athletic performance. Instead of turning to heavily processed "muscle building" shakes or artificially sweetened sports drinks, which are ultimately a detriment to your abilities, seek these herbs that have been fueling strong physiques for centuries.
You will be at your maximum capacity for strength, endurance, and alertness with these four herbs. Whether supplemented, sprinkled on your food, or sipped in tea, you will notice a difference.
1. Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
Loved by athletes and bodybuilders, maca helps improve strength, increase stamina, and enhance concentration.
Its hormone-regulating properties also help restore testosterone levels, which usually get depleted after a workout, but are essential for proper muscle growth. Furthermore, maca contains both complex carbohydrates and protein, so it is great for providing the necessary macronutrients needed to support said growth.
2. Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
Cat's claw is one of the most effective anti-inflammatory herbs currently being studied, thanks to its impressive content of flavonoids, tannins, and a unique compound known as pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids or POAs. It is said to be one of the most potent herbal anti-inflammatory substances discovered to date.
The anti-inflammatory prowess of POAs can help athletes shorten their recovery time between each training session, especially after high-intensity or interval training. Additionally, they can prove beneficial for those who wish to remain active in their 60s and beyond, since cat's claw consumption will also support healthy joints and prevent arthritis.
3. Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
Not to be confused with American or Siberian ginseng, Panax ginseng or Chinese ginseng is the one you need for outstanding athletic performance. The main active ingredient in ginseng are ginsenosides, and they have been found to fight anxiety and fatigue as well as increase stamina, allowing for sustained physical activity.1
Likewise, they may also act as a brain-enhancer, thus improving your reflexes and reaction times. It is a great alternative to caffeine for having adequate energy levels.
4. Guarana (Paullinia cupana)
Guarana exerts a stimulating effect in the human body, promoting physical endurance and alertness. It also helps reduce pain and increase the metabolic rate, thus suppressing hunger and contributing to weight management.
The main active compound in guarana is guaranine, which is chemically identical to caffeine. Guaranine not only has the ability to slow down the onset of fatigue symptoms, but also increases resistance to pain.
Whether you play sports, lift weights, run marathons, or cycle around the park, these herbs for endurance and athletic performance are worth incorporating into your daily routine. They are becoming increasingly popular as scientific research verifies what has been known about them since ancient times. So, hesitate no more! Rely on herbs to boost your athletic performance. They will not leave you disappointed.
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Cat's Claw
- NYU Langone Medical Center, Maca
- MedlinePlus Herbs and Supplements, Ginseng, Panax
- Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Pharmacological activity of Guarana (Paullinia cupana Mart.) in laboratory animals, 1997
- Journal of Ginseng Research. (2017). Effects of ginseng on stress-related depression, anxiety, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Retrieved September 15, 2021 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5628357/