By Christina Major | 16 February 2020
Springtime brings cold, damp weather to most people. It's a time when we want to get out and do something, train in the outdoors, and get started again. But, after a long winter, we might be faced with stiff, achy joints and a little extra flab. These warming herbs can help get you moving again and get your body ready for training and moving around more this summer.
If you’re looking for a natural way to overcome athlete’s foot, dried Angelica root powder is a natural antifungal. Some species of Angelica are also used in dit da jow creams to reduce bruising. However, don’t eat it raw, because it is poisonous.
Most Westerners first heard of dit da jow from Bruce Lee when he co-stared in the movie Green Hornet. However, it’s been portrayed in many films. Dit da jow and many of these other herbs are as common as aspirin, so often did not get named in many Asian movies. The Asian views would know what it was, but Westerners found the exotic bruise past unique.
Astragalus supplements help increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. It's often added to soup stocks because it's a tasty addition and a great way to help get the supplement in. It's also good for viral infections and to help ward off the cold.
Burdock can help reduce inflammation in the body and found in many Asian dishes. It’s very high in nutrition and works as a liver and blood purifier. It's also a great snack, being high in carbohydrates to help during long training days and very filling.
Cinnamon is more of a long-term exercise recovery herb. It helps reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and muscle soreness when used regularly.Used together with ginger, some studies show that it can help boost athletic performance and reduce soreness.
Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng)
This herb was used by Russian athletes, soldiers, and cosmonauts because it’s an excellent way to help balance the blood. It can help increase stamina and longevity.
Excellent for the heart, garlic can help reduce blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. In ancient Greece, practitioners of Pankration were often given garlic supplements to help improve their athletic performance. Garlic can help fight off colds and improve bone density.
If there’s one food to eat above all others, it's ginger. In most Asian medicines, ginger warms the body and helps clear out the digestive system. When facing a long day of training, ginger tea is excellent for helping to keep your muscles warm and your digestive system calm.
American ginseng is better than its Chinese and Russian counterparts. It has a stimulating effect when taken regularly and can help the regenerative capacity of the bones and muscles to heal. It's best in tincture or supplement form daily.
Licorice is an adaptogen, with many of the active ingredients known to help inflammation and detoxifying capacities. Asian fighters often use it in remedies that help overtraining syndrome, recovery from sprains and strains, and muscle recovery. Licorice is also great for helping reduce coughs and colds, stomach and digestive issues, and arthritic problems.
Peppermint tea is often used by many athletes because of its anti-inflammatory properties and is a mild anodyne. It helps uplift the senses and brings clarity without stimulation. It’s favored in Indian martial arts for stimulating the digestive fires and cooling the head (keeping calm).
The quintessential male herb, saw palmetto helps keep testosterone balanced and muscles grow strong. For men looking to develop stronger muscles and quicker speed, a regular serving of saw palmetto everyday can help give you a boost.
Valerian doesn't help directly with training, but it does help you get to sleep and sleep better. Many athletes have difficulty getting to sleep and having a restful night's sleep, especially after a day of training. Using valerian can help you get to sleep faster which makes better use of your nighttime hours. Over time, valerian’s effects become cumulative and lower doses provide the same result.
Tart cherry juice is delicious and preferred by endurance athletes because of its ability to reduce inflammation, repair muscle damage, increase endurance, and improve recovery time after high-intensity exercise. It works excellent improving recovery with isometric muscle strength.
This is a great woman’s herb. Wild yam helps balance the estrogen-progesterone balance within the body. It can help reduce menstrual cramping and mood swings and help offset the amenorrhea effects of heavy training.