Herbs for Athletes

People from all walks of life can rally behind the simple and true potencies of herbal teas. Like heroes of the Avengers or X-Men, each plant in the team of medicinal herbs offers its own unique set of super powers. 

I drink a cup of tea each night. It helps me unwind. Usually taste guides my choice. Sweet chamomile, yummy peppermint. Sometimes I use bagged tea, but in recent years I've been buying herbs in bulk. When I started doing this, I realized how many herbs are out there.

I began to wonder what herbs could help my body when fatigued. As an avid climber, I often come home exhausted from a day out or training in the gym. All athletes experience adrenal fatigue and muscle soreness. To follow are some of the herbs that can help heal the body after a hard workout.

**If you have any serious medical conditions, are using any medications, are nursing or pregnant, please check with your doctor before using any herbs.**


Nettle

Although nettle hurts if it brushes bare skin out in the wilds, as a tea and tonic it is esteemed as a famous longevity herb in Chinese medicine. Nettle works as its own multi-vitamin, offering, among other minerals and vitamins, zinc, calcium, potassium, iron, silicon, magnesium, and chromium—-all important nutrients for muscle growth and health. It can also stimulate metabolism, help with achy joints, as well as strengthen the kidneys and liver. Wowzas! All this in those stinger, mint-look-alike weeds growing alongside the trail.  

Marshmallow Root

Yes, there is a herb with the same name of that childhood campfire staple. In fact, pioneers would cook the root of the marshmallow plant with honey and make sore throat-soothing candies for their children. Marshmallow offers many of the same healing qualities as slippery elm.

It’s a great soother for internal and external inflammations, including digestive issues. Sometimes inflammation in joints comes from an imbalance in the GI system; common wisdom holds that anythings that helps the stomach helps the whole body. If your muscles are sore and tender, marshmallow root to the rescue!

Chamomile

We all know chamomile soothes the tummy. But did you know it can also help with muscle spasms and soreness from overuse? The cute little flowers work offer whole body relief. As a tea or oil, chamomile relaxes muscles and soothes anxiety. It’s also common knowledge that it helps you fall asleep. Sometimes, if I workout late in the day, my adrenaline spikes and I have a hard time going to bed. A cup or two of chamomile later and I'm more able to get the sleep necessary for recovery. 

Lemon Balm

Kin to mint, lemon balm tastes delicious and helps the body relax. It’s great for general exhaustion, and as an added bonus, it assists memory retention and can help you fall asleep. Plus, it has no known potential adverse affects, so if you’re feeling beat down, bottom’s up on the lemon balm.

Licorice Root

Licorice root tastes like candy. When used regularly, licorice root can help relieve adrenal gland fatigue. With the stresses of modern life and widespread use of adrenaline-releasing caffeine, most people probably have AGF to some degree or another. As with most things, more is not necessarily better—large quantities of licorice root daily is not recommended, and it’s important to take a break from licorice root every couple of weeks.

*Important: licorice root is not recommended for people with high blood pressure, heart, liver or kidney disease; it also shouldn’t be taken before or after surgery, nor if you're pregnant or breastfeeding. Please see this link for a complete set of potential side effects and for other cases in which it is not recommended. 

When used with knowledge and respect, herbs can prove revolutionary in your health routine. They work fine alone, but like Marvel super heroes, they work even better in concert. Enjoy!


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