Low energy can be caused by a number of underlying health conditions. Even your age can impact how much energy you have on a day to day basis. Certain hormone levels, the quality of your sleep, recurring illnesses, chronic pain conditions – all these can cause dramatic shifts in how much stamina you have.
Herbal remedies can play a valuable role in the overall process of healing and the long term maintenance of health. I often counsel people about ways they can incorporate traditional Chinese herbalism into their healthy lifestyles. When used properly and in conjunction with any other necessary treatments, traditional Chinese herbalism can help you boost your energy levels and make you happier, healthier, and more productive.
Astragalus (also called milk vetch or bei qi) is a small flowering plant that’s native to temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Several species of vetch are used in the herbalism traditions of Europe, the Indian subcontinent, and China. Of the more than 2,000 species of vetch found on earth, two native Chinese species of bei qi are used in traditional medical cures.
Bei qi is most frequently used to boost the immune system and thereby the body’s ability to manage stress. An immune system that’s busy fighting off illness is going to leave you feeling tired for no good reason; stress can trigger an immunological response with the same results. Boosting the immune system’s ability to resist and recover from illness will leave more physical energy available for other activities.
Dried bei qi root contains the most concentrated potency; this is what is most typically used in prepared remedies. You can find dried bei qi root in commercially prepared tea or herbal capsules.
Unlike the superstar ginsing, schisandra is little-known outside of its native country. Also known as wu wei zi or five flavor berry, this attractive red fruit contains some of the most potent healing properties of any Chinese herb.
Wu wei zi is known as one of the fifty fundamental herbs of traditional Chinese medicine. It is believed to have an astringent effect on the kidneys and lungs; it is used to treat diarrhea and certain other intestinal upsets. Five flavor berry is also said to relieve hunger, thirst, and fatigue by refreshing the body’s natural stores of energy. These berries can be eaten dried for a quick energy boost or added to boiling water to make a bright red tea.
Schisandra berries are very popular in East Asia where it is known by many names. The Russian people have developed a fondness for this special berry and now import sons tons of this special superfruit each year.
Of the hundreds of herbs and medicinal materials used in traditional Chinese medicine, I’m sure ginseng is the one that’s most well-known outside of China. It is used in numerous herbal remedies that can be purchased at any drug store or health food shop. Ginseng has been embraced by Western herbalists and consumers alike.
There are three primary species of ginseng: Panax ginseng, American ginseng, and Siberian ginseng. Of the three, only Panax ginseng is used in traditional Chinese herbalism. The other two have distinctive properties of their own so a person wishing to boost their energy levels won’t get the same effect if they select the American or Siberian varieties. Pay close attention to the labels of ginseng products. Even if a product claims to contain Panax ginseng, it may only be a small amount within a blend of more than one type of ginseng. It’s important to buy your ginseng products from a trusted herbalist or licensed TCM practitioner.
While most of the other herbs on this list are primarily associated with the promotion of physical energy, ginseng is renowned for its ability to boost mental energy as well as physical. Ginseng is frequently found in herbal compounds intended to aid memory and recall. Ginseng is also used in herbal supplements aimed towards athletes in training because of its ability to aid in the recovery stage of working out.
Also known as Ginkgo biloba, this is a unique non-flowering plant that has remained virtually unchanged for the last 250 million years; the species alive today has no living relatives. This renowned tree is also called the maidenhair tree or yin xing.
Gingko has numerous properties and, like ginseng, can positively affect your health by boosting your mental energy levels. Clear thinking and better recall can result from the correct use of gingko. It’s used in herbal supplement blends intended to improve cognition and overall mental performance. In fact, Western scientific medicine has shown that gingko has a positive effect on the memory of patients with dementia. Gingko is now recognized as one of the most valuable herbs within the entire body of traditional Chinese herbal medicine.
Bai fu ling
Mushrooms are used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine and one of the most versatile is bai fu ling, also known as hoelan, Wolfiporia extensa, and the poria mushroom. Bai fu ling can increase energy in several ways. First, it can help steady your energy levels by helping you sleep. In my practice I’ve seen poor sleep cause more problems for people than just about anything else. Specifically bai fu ling helps relieve insomnia and promotes a more restful sleep experience. Restorative sleep lets you enjoy a more consistent energy level through the rest of the day. This mushroom also helps you use your available physical energy in more constructive ways; bai fu ling is frequently used in remedies to treat anxiety, tension, and nervousness. Interestingly, bai fu ling is a traditional remedy for tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Jujubes have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries; the useful qualities of this fruit have been attested to in ancient records from India, Korea, Japan, and beyond. The red oval fruit grows on small trees throughout East Asia.
Jujube fruit is very high in vitamin C, which can help bolster a fatigued immune system. It’s similar to astragalus in this respect. The naturally high quantity of antioxidants help keep the body feeling vibrant and young; jujubes are even used in remedies intended to treat chronic fatigue.