Fatigue at any time feels like a weight and a burden. We can't be the energetic curious, creative people we are. Our joy also can get robbed by fatigue and the mood or attitude can sink us down. Not too many truly happy people are exhausted. How can herbs help us to renew and rebuild when we are feeling the weight of fatigue?
There are many reasons for it, in fact fatigue isn’t an “it” but a deficit. How does this happen? Overwork is big one especially in our culture and the pace at which our lives are lived is staggering. We do way too much. Staying up too late, night after night scrolling on phones or watching endless whatevers ostensibly to relax imbalances our sleep chemistry and then when we collapse sleep eludes us or wakes us in the middle of the night.
Poor nutrition is depleting and robs our bodies of what it needs to have vitality. Low level illnesses or ignored stresses, even poor posture and not enough exercise and bundle together as well to create fatigue. I don’t need to go on. Let’s talk about how herbs can help but always do check with your chosen health care provider to make sure there isn’t an underlying medical condition that needs attention.
Adrenal Fatigue is the first piece we should talk about. In subsequent blogs I’ll try to cover some of the other contributors and how herbs can help.
ADRENAL FATIGUE – There really are stages of this phenomenon from wired and tired all the way to 'I can’t get off the couch' tired. It’s a spectrum. Finding the right adrenal formula or single herb for oneself is a trial and error process, but here are some great tried and true herbs that support the adrenals to secrete their chemistry in a balanced and supportive way rather than racing us around the game board.
Rebuilding overused adrenals requires commitment, hydration, lifestyle and dietary change and most of all, time. From a few weeks after a stressful period, caregiving, or work situation up to 18 months after a long haul from illness, raising a family and working, etc. etc.
SOME HERBS TO SUPPORT OUR ENERGY STORES AND INCREASE OUR VITALITY
Eleutherococcus previously called Siberian ginseng, is a great renewer for these tiny almond sized organs that sit on top of our kidneys. It can be used as a single herb daily as a tonic or with Licorice as an afternoon pickup instead of sugar and caffeine which ultimately are depleting. Because it can increase energy most people benefit from not using it in the evening so that a natural sleep rhythm can be encouraged.
Also, taken in formulas like our Adrenal Support Formula with a few other support herbs like Ashwaganda, which supports good sleep. Ashwaganda is the ginseng of India and has so many uses and has been used for millennia. Its name means it gives strength or the strength of a horse. A gentle restorative tonic, less stimulating and slower working than Eleuthero, it also can be used as a single or in formulation. It is a slow steady renewing strengthening builder that supports all the body’s structures and functions, a true tonic herb.
Another East Indian herb that can partner with Ashwaganda in a formula is well known now as Tulsi or Holy Basil. This wonderful tea or extract, is stress relieving and is very nutritive as well and over time can improve the way we respond to the million things thrown at us in everyday life. Give this herb several months or longer to really change you.
Nettles, growing everywhere now here in the northeast is the ultimate nutrition herb to build blood and vitality with its chlorophyll, and mineral rich chemistry. Milarepa the great Tibetan master lived on Nettles in the Himalyan mountains until he started look green and fuzzy like the plant, it is said. Fresh, as a cooked potherb, deep emerald green tea and of course as an extract as a single or with these other adrenal supporting friends.
The seeds of the Nettle gathered in the Fall are a powerhouse Adrenal tonic too used in small amounts for short and longer time. They can be gathered by anyone, but if you have toughed Stinging Nettles you know that the formic acid in the hairs can bite so gloves are a help! I actually brought my stiff cold achy fingers during cold early spring gardening back to function by rubbing in the nettles. The anti-inflammatory chemistry helped me to feel better. It stung a lot but after a few spring and summers my hands never bother me anymore.
Schizandra Berry, the five taste herb, is a great supporting herb for the adrenals. Mixed in an adrenal formula or just with Licorice, it really is a moistening, harmonizing herb that always makes me smile and its so delicious.
Licorice nourishes the cortex of our adrenals, the outer part of the tiny organs and this can help when we are really low and flattened, beyond just wired and tired to exhausted. Too much Licorice can cause blood pressure to rise so if your BP is higher than it should be, only use deglycyrrhized licorice or very small doses. Otherwise this herb is safe and nutritive and has an extraordinary number of great uses.
The newest Adrenal supporting herb in the repertoire is Rhodiola. It can be perfect for some people and too stimulating for others so try it on and see how it works for you. I like to use it best as a part of a formula so that it is harmonized by the actions of the other herbs.
We will be posting a new Adrenal Support formula very soon that we are excited about. (It will be called Adrenal 2.) Look for it and try it and do let us know what you think. We are always happy to hear from you. After all, you are why we do this!
Next month we will continue the discussion of Fatigue and talk about some other causes so look for our next blog post. Be Well and don’t let the madness get to you. Be more loving, more kind, especially to yourself.
My name is Bonnie Bloom and I am a clinical herbalist. Plants give us clothing, shelter, food and medicine. They are an intrinsic part of our earth ecology, diverse and essential. They breathe our carbon dioxide and generously give us oxygen. Where would we be without them.