Did you know herbs were the only medicines used before 500 B.C? With such a long human history associated with herbs, it’s surprising that people do not know how herbs can affect the performance, healing, and recovery of an athlete, therein giving them a natural advantage. The herbal market is growing About one-third of all Americans use herbal supplements to improve their health and the herbal industry is increasing at a steady rate. Reuters states that the global herbal medicine market is expected to witness double-digit growth and the market is growing exponentially.
That is mainly because more light is being shed on the pharmaceutical industry and patients are now embracing herbal cures.
Some popular pharmaceutical drugs like aspirin and paracetamol have their history rooted in herbs. Pun intended. Medicines are based on herbs Aspirin originates from Willow bark extract. Willow bark became recognized for its specific effects on fever, pain, and inflammation in the mid-eighteenth century. In ancient times, antipyretic agents, which are used to prevent or reduce fever, were found in white willow bark and compounds contained in cinchona bark.
Cinchona bark was also used to create the anti-malaria drug quinine. Quinine itself also has antipyretic effects. That shows that herbs can be powerful.
What are herbs Herbs are plants with savory or aromatic properties that are used for flavoring and garnishing food, medicinal purposes, or for fragrances; excluding vegetables and other plants consumed for micronutrients. The active ingredients of an herb may come from one or many plant components, including roots, leaves, bark, fruit, flowers, stems, and seeds.
Herbs can have a variety of effects on the body. Milk thistle, for example, can be used for healing effects on the liver, while sarsaparilla can be used as a general tonic systemic influence, as it is an excellent blood purifier. There are also some herbs, such as Ginseng, that are known as adaptogens. Adaptogens are defined as a non-toxic substance and especially a plant extract that is held to increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functioning.
Adaptogens particularly aid in the adaptation to many types of nonspecific stressors, increase the efficiency of the healing system, and help neutralize the effects of overtraining, promote wellness, and speed recovery. Adaptogens such as ginseng and Ashwagandha are in my personal herb collection and aid my bodybuilding journey. Since adaptogens can help the body heal from stress and overtraining and speed up recovery, how can herbs help the bodybuilder level up? Herbs have helped me tremendously I have been bodybuilding on a plant-based diet for almost 7 years and using herbs since early 2013.
Now I have over 30 herbs in my collection. In the body, the results are not always directly linked to an action. For example, horny goat weed (Epimedium) will not directly solve erectile dysfunction, but it may solve issues of hardening of the arteries, which in turn will allow for better blood flow and oxygen to the body’s extremities, thus curing ED. Consequently, herbs can put the body in a better state to get a particular result, but the result may not be directly linked to the herb. A healthier being may solve issues you never knew you had.
The key benefits I have found from herbs are immune system boosting, I never get ill, I have better recovery and I can perform at a higher level in the gym and other places… Performance How can herbs help an athlete perform faster, stronger and better? Performance is determined by how the body is fuelled prior to, during and after exercise. There is not a one size fits all approach, with the below information be sure to do your own research and consult a doctor before trying these approaches. Sarsaparilla Sarsaparilla is a herb that has been used for thousands of years by native groups in central and South America.
The herbal benefits are taken from the root-derived by tinctures, teas, and supplements. Sarsaparilla has a lot of benefits for the body and from an athlete’s perspective, it contains Saponins: an anti-inflammatory chemical compound that naturally mimics effects of certain hormones, including testosterone and estrogen, given the taker potential benefits Sarsaparilla contains glycosides, which are a type of natural steroid. Some bodybuilders claim that sarsaparilla root helps to build muscle mass, acting in a manner similar to anabolic steroids although this has been proven scientifically. Sarsaparilla also contains diosgenin, which contains the hormones progesterone and testosterone, both useful in muscle growth. Sarsaparilla can also strengthen nerve fibers and brain, lung and spinal tissues. Maca Maca root is one my personal favorites, a must for my smoothies. It has a silky nutty taste to it. Maca is a cruciferous vegetable that is native to Peru. It is related to broccoli, cauliflower, and kale.
Other things worth noting is it is a good source of iron and an adaptogen. Maca root powder is a popular supplement among bodybuilders and athletes. Athletes have claimed it helped them gain muscle, increase strength, boost energy and improve exercise performance. One small study in eight male cyclists found that they improved the time it took them to complete a nearly 25-mile (40-km) bike ride after 14 days of supplementing with Maca extract. Currently, there is no scientific evidence to confirm any benefits for muscle mass or strength, but from personal experience, this herb can help give a natural advantage. Muscle recovery Anti-inflammatory herbs can help relieve the discomfort from sore muscles, which can speed up recovery time.
Herbs such as cat’s claw, Ashwagandha, and Burdock Root are my personal favorites. The herb, ginseng is good for athletes and bodybuilders because it helps the body adapt to physical stress through supporting muscle synthesis. Ginseng is an adaptogen herb (mentioned earlier) and ginseng helps the body cope with the strain of regular exercise without affecting appetite, mood, and sleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, ginseng helps boost energy levels, promote heart health and improve one’s sense of well-being. Put yourself in the best position to see benefits To get the most benefit from herbs it would be beneficial to ensure you are living as healthy as you can, that involves a balanced diet and good sleeping habits. Additionally minimizing stress levels and getting adequate sleep.