Herbs to Boost Athletic Performance
Herbal supplements have the potential to support a healthy lifestyle. Natural products like Kratom, hemp that help the body deal with stress and strain, and support healing, can be useful in the build-up to competition. Herbs that support mental functions may aid focus during important events. Energy-boosting herbs can be useful in any strenuous sport.
Here are just a few herbs that may boost your athletic performance and aid your ability to compete. Most of them can be purchased at any large pharmacy or health store.
Boswellia, Or Indian Frankincense
Boswellia grows natively in India and Northern Africa. Its Latin name is Boswellia serrata.
Boswellia is an anti-inflammatory herb that has deep roots in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Its sap is rich in a variety of beneficial organic compounds, including some that are being studied for antidiabetic and anticarcinogenic properties.
Compounds found in Boswellia may support heart health and brain health. Boswellia may help your body deal with pain, letting you focus better during intense competition.
Boswellia has been used traditionally to fight asthma, COPD, and other respiratory ailments. This herb may help some people breathe easier, and boost the amount of dissolved oxygen in the blood. This is especially important when you’re pushing your body to the limit.
Cordyceps is the term used to describe a group of medicinal mushrooms. The scientific name of the common variety is Ophiocordyceps sinensis. It is a thin, finger-like fungus native to China and Southeast Asia.
Many different species of Ophiocordyceps are under study for potential medicinal use. Compounds found in cordyceps may aid in treating ailments like cancer and diabetes.
Cordyceps are used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes, asthma, and respiratory afflictions. Some people in the US find cordyceps useful as an aid in weight loss.
A study conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that controlled doses of cordyceps can increase the amount of oxygen in the blood of some young adults. Having more oxygen in your blood is necessary for increased endurance.
Eleuthero Root, or Siberian Ginseng
Eleuthero is not American ginseng or ‘true’ ginseng, although it sometimes shares the name. Its scientific name is Eleutherococcus senticosus, and it grows in the cold climes of northeast Asia.
An adaptogen like other ‘gingers,’ eleuthero supports the immune system. It supports the circulatory system and brain functions as well. This herb has been used in traditional medicine as an aid for gaining strength, increasing bone density, and as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Studies indicate that eleuthero may boost the level of oxygen in your blood, aiding stamina and endurance. It was first used by Soviet athletes seeking an advantage over competitors.
Other studies on Eleuthero have shown it can lower blood sugar levels. It may interact with medicines used to treat diabetes, increasing their effectiveness. Use eleuthero with caution.
Green tea is a name for tea made from the dried leaves of several different plants. It differs from darker teas, or black teas, where the leaf is allowed to ferment. Green tea is harvested and dried in a way that maintains vital properties that would be lost otherwise.
Green tea contains many organic compounds. Among them are catechins, also found in fruits and other plants. Catechins are antioxidants that help protect cells by eliminating free radicals that can cause illness or promote aging.
Research has indicated green tea may help reduce blood sugar spikes after meals and increase insulin sensitivity. Green tea can boost your metabolism, and it can help your body shed fat. This makes green tea useful for people who want to lose weight.
Green teas have caffeine, so they can provide a welcome energy boost that could help get you through long, strenuous events.
Guarana is a common term for Paullinia cupana, a shrub that’s native to South America.
Guarana has been used for generations by native people of South America. It is part of many indigenous treatments and ceremonies. Some cultures use it for fishing, by pulverizing the entire plant in water. The juice released by the leaves, stems, and roots has a tranquilizing effect on fish, making them easy to collect.
Guarana is a potent stimulant that is high in caffeine. It can provide a powerful boost of energy. It also contains compounds that may help suppress appetite. These qualities make it popular in energy drinks and diet pills. Like green tea, it promotes fat burning and contains powerful antioxidants.
Mitragyna speciosa is the Latin name for the plant that produces kratom. It is native to Southeast Asia. Variant forms of kratom include red vein, green vein, and white vein varieties.
Kratom may provide several benefits to athletes. It boosts energy levels without caffeine, and it supports cardiovascular health. Its soothing aroma may help you relax and ignore the minor aches and pains that come from a good workout. This can help you heal faster.
Kratom may also help you maintain focus during intense athletic events when you need to keep your eye on the ball. It may elevate your mood, helping you maintain a positive attitude when the going gets tough.
Suma, Or Brazilian Ginseng
The Latin name for Suma is Pfaffia paniculata, a plant native to South America. It may go by other names, such as Hebanthe paniculata, Hebanthe eriantha, and Iresine erianthos. It’s all the same herb.
Suma root supports the immune system and may help reduce pain. It is a prized herb in traditional medicine, where its blood sugar-lowering properties have been used to treat diabetes and other ailments. It may lower cholesterol levels.
Suma contains beneficial compounds and potent antioxidants like ecdysteroids.
Ecdysteroids are a group of natural steroids. These compounds can be found in some plants, water animals, and insects. Ecdysteroids can act as anabolic steroids in the human body, and help increase muscle mass. This makes Suma and ecdysteroid-rich supplements popular with weightlifters.
Use Herbs With Care
Herbs can contribute to a healthy athletic lifestyle. Professional athletes should consider herbal products carefully. There may be restrictions to the use of certain herbs in competition. Before using any herb, make sure it is within the guidelines for your sport or event. Consult with a professional if you are unsure.