Do you know what one of the most underrated ways to use herbs is? For fitness! We’ve all used herbs to ease the occasional bout of tension or digestive distress, but plant medicines are also great at keeping our bodies strong pre, post, and even during workouts. You may be surprised to find out that plants and exercise are a powerful duo that have a long, long history together.
Restorative herbs have been used for thousands of years, to improve vitality, stamina, and longevity. Things that motivate many of us to keep moving our bodies! The term “adaptogen” was coined just over 70 years ago, in 1947 by a scientist named Dr. Nikolai Lazarev in the Soviet Union. The intention was to find plants, from all around the world, that would help the body increase its resistance to stress in hopes to promote overall performance. While these restorative plants are useful for stressful and stimulating lifestyles, adaptogens were initially researched to promote stamina for people serving in the military. This is why these plants are now commonly used by athletes and herb lovers alike.
It’s also important to note that adaptogens aren’t the only herbs we look to for supporting vitality and peak performance. Our herbal recommendations change depending on the person or activity. Simply put, whatever body system (ex: cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal) is stressed by the activity, we aim to support it. If we’re prepping for a big race, we focus on building stamina with adaptogens like eleuthero and schisandra ahead of time.
When we’re getting our heart rate up regularly, we support with cardiovascular tonics like cordyceps and hawthorn. And when we wind down after a strenuous race, we apply ginger and arnica topically to strained muscles and sip on turmeric tea to support a healthy response to inflammation associated with an active lifestyle.*
Our herbal teas are great companions when heading to the gym, doing yoga, getting active in nature, or to enjoy after moving and shaking post dance class. We love to brew our teas ahead of time and bring chilled in a canteen or use the tea in place of water in a shake or smoothie. This takes little time and effort and makes infusing herbs into your busy schedule a little easier.
There are endless ways to keep your blood pumping, but we find the most important thing is to engage in movement practices that bring you joy, so you’ll stick to them! Our herbalists have put together a list of herbs that will help keep your body moving, promote stamina, and ease any extra tension or support a healthy response to inflammation that comes from an active lifestyle.* See the full list below.
Herbs for Workout Support
Arnica (Arnica montana): An herbal flower that speeds and supports the healing of minor bruises, aches, pains, and more. It’s used topically in salves, oils, or gels, and internally as homeopathic medicine.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis, C. militaris): An adaptogenic mushroom that promotes stamina, enhances the body’s ability to resist occasional stress, and aids in healthy cardiovascular function.* Frequently used in powdered form to infuse into morning lattes and smoothies.
Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus): An energizing adaptogenic root that supports the adrenal system, boosts endurance and restores mental alertness.* Try it in Urban Moonshine’s Energy Tonic tincture.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale): A versatile rhizome that can be applied directly to the skin after strenuous exercise. To make a compress with our Ginger tea, steep 2-3 tea bags for 10-15 minutes, chill, and apply topically with a heavy wash cloth to soothe muscles. For more detailed information on how to prepare a compress, check out our article Cold Herbal Compresses.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis): Free-radical fighting green tea is also known for its energy-boosting caffeine that will help you go the distance.* We make many different types of invigorating green tea blends, including Green Tea Peppermint and Green Tea Matcha.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria): Unique active compounds in this plant make this a soothing herb that is perfect to quell discomfort after exercise or strenuous activities.* Try it in our Turmeric with Meadowsweet & Ginger tea and new Hemp+Herb Joint Health tea.
Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.): The hemp plant contains a wide array of beneficial compounds that provide relief throughout the entire body. Try it paired with a variety of medicinal herbs in any of our three new Hemp+Herb teas!
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.): A medicinal berry and cardiovascular tonic containing bioflavonoids which support good circulation and a strong heart.* Try it in our Hawthorn with Hibiscus tea.
Schisandra (Schisandra sphenanthera): An adaptogenic five-flavor berry that will help you thrive by promoting peak performance and vitality.* Try it in our EveryDay Detox Schisandra Berry tea.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa): A vibrant rhizome that supports a healthy response to inflammation post-movement.* Try it in our Turmeric with Meadowsweet & Ginger tea.