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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.

Angelica

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

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

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

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.

Garlic

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.

Ginger

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.

Ginseng

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

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.

Mints 

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).

Saw Palmetto

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

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.

Wild Cherry

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.

Wild Yam

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.

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About the author

Christina Major is a Holistic Nutritionist, Naturopath, and herbalist. She owns Crystal Holistic Health, a nutritional consulting and writing business specializing in complementary and alternative medicine. She has over a decade of helping people find health, lose weight, and get off medications. Christina has practiced martial arts for 18 years. Staring with an eclectic group in college, she practiced Tang Soo Do and Tai Kwan Do for three years after graduation. After moving to Central PA, she began studying Taijutsu where she obtained a 2nd-degree black belt and studied the art directly under the Soke and top Shihan in Japan. She met her husband, a 5th-degree in class, where they enjoy giving each other bruises and kisses.

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