Adrenal fatigue is a stress-related condition that can make you feel exhausted, stressed, and unable to cope with everyday stressors. Fortunately, there are many herbs for adrenal fatigue that can support both mind and body, and help find relief from symptoms on your road to recovery.
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Stress… It’s Literally A Killer
According to the American Botanical Council (ABC), around 90% of people have experienced some level of stress in their lives.
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s no wonder that so many people suffer from stress-related problems.
Furthermore, statistics indicate that 53% of adults report feeling frequently stressed at work or home.
It is not uncommon for individuals who experience chronic stress to develop adrenal fatigue as a result of an overstressed nervous system, endocrine system, and depleted levels of cortisol, the main stress hormone secreted by the adrenals.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue often occurs when a person experiences long-term or sudden/severe stress.
This stress response can lead to an overproduction of cortisol, adrenaline, and other hormones which can cause symptoms such as:
- insulin resistance
- brain fog, sleep issues
- imbalance in thyroid hormones
- weight gain
- aches and pains
- low immune function
- low blood pressure
If there is ongoing stress, this can lead to the body not being able to keep up with the overproduction which can then lead to an exhausted system where vital energy and endocrine hormone levels can actually bottom out, so to speak, causing what some refer to as adrenal exhaustion.
Stress hormone levels and symptoms vary from person to person and can depend on which stage of adrenal fatigue or exhaustion the individual is in.
If you’re experiencing adrenal fatigue symptoms, here are 11 herbs that can restore balance, support hormone levels, and adrenal health!
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
It is revered as a “divine herb” that can help people reduce stress by balancing cortisol and other hormones.
Ashwagandha is considered to be one of the best adaptogenic herbs and can be used as a standalone supplement or in combination with other herbs like Rhodiola and licorice.
This is a great herb for people experiencing chronic or acute stress.
Although very few side effects are associated with ashwagandha, it is recommended that people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or other health issues avoid taking it until talking with your health care provider.
2. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea is a medicinal herb that has been used by the Inuit people in Northern Europe as well as herbal healers in Russia for centuries.
The Siberian people have also used it as a tonic for physical and mental fatigue.
Rhodiola Rosea has been shown to improve mental performance, increase energy levels, and help reduce the effects of stress.
It is often recommended for people who suffer from adrenal fatigue or low cortisol levels.
Studies have shown that Rhodiola Rosea may help to:
- support cortisol levels
- improve sleep quality
- reduce fatigue
Due to its adaptogenic properties, it is often found in herbal combinations that support adrenal glands.
Rhodiola is best taken in the morning before taking breakfast while avoiding taking it late in the evening as it may interfere with sleep.
For some that are very fatigued, this herb may be too stimulating. While some people initially feel more energy when taking this, it can actually make certain people feel worse so please pay close attention to how you feel if you are taking this herb.
Skullcap is an herb that has a long history of medicinal use and is often used to ease anxiety, stress, and restlessness.
Skullcap is considered to be a great herb to calm the body and can be used in combination with other nervine herbs or those for adrenal support.
This gentle herb is perfect for relaxation, calming the stress response, and is generally safe for most people.
It is best taken in the evening before bed to promote relaxation and restful sleep.
Skullcap is not recommended for people with high blood or women who are pregnant or nursing.
Chamomile is a flowering plant that has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years.
It is commonly used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness.
Chamomile is a well-known herbal medicine that has been used for thousands of years.
It is a great herb for relaxation and can help to ease symptoms of stress and promote restful sleep.
Chamomile may interact with certain medications such as blood thinners, NSAIDS, sedatives, and others so please check with your health care provider before use.
Chamomile is a relative of ragweed. So, if you are allergic to plants in the daisy family, be sure to use caution or avoid this herb.
Lavender is a flowering plant that has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries.
It is best known for its anti-anxiety effect and has been used to treat conditions such as insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety.
Lavender is a great herb for relaxation and can be used both before bed and throughout the day for stress reduction.
Because it is so versatile, many people use this herb as a tea, in a bath, as an essential oil, or even as a room or pillow spray.
Lavender is considered generally safe but side effects associated with it may include causing headaches in people who are sensitive to it, skin irritation, or stomach upset.
Licorice is an herb that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
It is most commonly used to treat digestive issues but is often found in combination with other herbs that support healthy adrenal function.
In fact, this interesting herb was actually used to treat Addison’s disease until the 1930s.
Licorice has been shown to optimize cortisol, balance hormones, reduce negative effects of stress, and even help with mood balance.
While licorice sometimes gets a bad rap (it has been associated with causing higher blood pressure in some people), this herb is great for increasing energy, maintaining healthy hormones, and is even helpful for digestion, the respiratory system, as well as skin and teeth!
If you have a heart, kidney, or any other health condition or disease, please speak with your practitioner before use.
While many find licorice root to be a very helpful adaptogenic herb, it can be too stimulating for those that are very weak or fatigued. If this describes you, it may be better to start with a supplement that is more calming and supportive.
7. Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
Siberian Ginseng, or Eleutherococcus, is well-known medicinal plant that offers many benefits.
It is commonly used to treat stress, fatigue, and anxiety.
Ginseng is a great herb to help improve sleep, lessen irritability, and even act as a sort of anti-depressant by enhancing feelings of wellbeing.
The most common side effects associated with ginseng are gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
People who are taking medications such as blood thinners and insulin should avoid taking ginseng.
Also, while helpful for people with mild adrenal fatigue symptoms, this may not be appropriate for those in the latter stages and should only be used for a short time.
Ginger is a flowering plant with high levels of vitamin c that has been used as a medicinal herb by many cultures.
It is commonly used to treat digestive issues, promote relaxation, and ease symptoms of stress.
Ginger is also helpful for regulating cortisol levels as well as blood pressure and heart rate.
The most common side effect associated with ginger is that it can cause heartburn or gastrointestinal issues.
People who have liver or kidney disease, diabetes, or are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their practitioner before taking ginger.
Astragalus is a medicinal plant that has been used for thousands of years.
It is commonly used to treat adrenal fatigue, boost immunity, and ease symptoms of stress.
In addition to easing symptoms of adrenal fatigue, this adaptogenic herb is also known to support the digestive and immune system.
The most common side effect associated with astragalus is that it may cause gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
People who are taking medications such as blood thinners and insulin should avoid taking astragalus and, of course, speak to their health care provider.
10. Holy Basil
Because it is a source of antioxidants, Holy Basil can help reduce the negative effects of free radicals, which can contribute to adrenal fatigue.
It can also help to regulate blood sugar levels, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, and may be beneficial for managing the symptoms of adrenal fatigue because it is an adaptogenic herb with regulatory effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, breastfeeding, have low blood sugar, or take blood thinning medication, talk to your doctor before taking Holy Basil.
11. Stinging Nettle
Stinging Nettles are an excellent tonic for the liver and help to effectively cleanse the digestive tract and blood.
They contain special compounds called ‘saponins’ and ‘all-c-glucanes,’ which are effective in calming and balancing the endocrine system.
Nettles are also a rich source of vitamin c, iron, potassium, and magnesium, and contain fatty acids that can help balance blood sugar levels and reduce the symptoms of insomnia.
A stinging nettle infusion a great addition to almost any health care routine!
Pregnant women and those who take blood thinners or blood pressure medication should speak to their provider before using this herb.
Other Helpful Supplements That Can Support Healthy Adrenal Function
The plant world is full of plants and adaptogenic herbs that can help support a healthy body, but the 11 herbs above are not the only options.
Other commonly used herbs to help the adrenal glands and restore balance include:
There are also a number of vitamins, minerals, homeopathic remedies, and essential oils that have been found to lessen fatigue and brain fog, support the immune system, balance hormones, calm the nervous system, and increase energy.
FAQs About Herbal Treatment That Supports Adrenal Health
Still have a few questions about natural remedies to support the nervous system, healthy energy levels, mental clarity, and promote emotional balance?
I’ll try to answer a few of them here 🙂
1. What are the stages of adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is often described as having 4 stages.
These stages include:
- Alarm– a person experiencing stress may feel tired, but will often be able to live their normal life
- Resistance response-the body is making extra cortisol and it is becoming unbalanced. People in this stage often need a nap during the day and are starting to struggle to get through the day
- Adrenal exhaustion-many hormones are starting to show signs of unbalance, sleep may not relieve the feeling of fatigue, the person may be experiencing blood sugar fluctuations, blood pressure issues, heart palpitations, dizziness, and has trouble getting out of bed for more than a few hours.
- Failure-this stage can look very similar to Addison’s disease and is a medical emergency! A person in this state may experience electrolyte imbalance, nausea, vomiting, hypoglycemia, weight loss, and even difficulty waking.
2. What is the best natural remedy for adrenal fatigue?
Because the symptoms and causes of adrenal fatigue can vary from person to person, there isn’t one best remedy. The best course of action for someone suffering from adrenal fatigue is to:
- consult with your health care provider
- have appropriate tests (blood, urine, hair, and saliva testing is often helpful)
- eat a diet of healthy foods
- reduce emotional stress
- consider natural treatments
I wish there was a quick and easy treatment but if you’re experiencing extreme fatigue, it will often take a multifaceted approach.
But… if you’re looking for something that could help lessen symptoms of adrenal fatigue, support the endocrine system, and balance stress hormones while you work on the steps above, consider adaptogenic herbs.
(But, as with any herbal medicine, be sure to start with a low dose and increase slowly while paying close attention to how you feel!)
3. Can ashwagandha (or other adaptogens) cure adrenal fatigue?
Ashwagandha is a popular adaptogenic herb, and these herbs can be an excellent choice for adrenal support, but adrenal fatigue involves many body systems so one single remedy is unlikely to be the cure for most people.
Now, this isn’t to say that some don’t find relief from taking this herbal remedy, because many do!
But, as I mentioned before, if you want to truly support healthy energy levels, have proper thyroid function, hormone balance, mental endurance, blood sugar balance, and a strong immune system, adrenal fatigue treatment must consist of a multifaceted approach including mind, body, and spirit practices and remedies.
4. What food help with adrenal fatigue?
Just like with anything else, not every food is good for every person. But, even though each person has unique dietary needs, there are some foods that can help you fight adrenal fatigue and are generally considered healthy for the human body.
If you find yourself wondering, “what should I eat?”, consider starting with these healthy options:
- nuts & seeds
- grass-fed meat or wild-caught fish
- healthy carbs (sweet potatoes, squash)
Eating well can help keep blood sugars stable, support mental clarity, enhance immune health, encourage healthy hormone production, and is important whether you choose natural or conventional medicine (or a combination of both!).
5. Is adrenal fatigue the same as adrenal insufficiency?
Adrenal fatigue is a term that is used to describe the body’s inability to respond normally to stress.
It is a state of exhaustion that results from chronic stress and excessive levels of stress hormones in the body.
Adrenal insufficiency is a condition that occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones.
The condition can be caused by disease and injury, or the body’s autoimmune response.
Final Thoughts About Herbs For Adrenal Fatigue
If you are dealing with adrenal fatigue or have been told by your health care provider that you have this condition, consider adding the herbs outlined above.
These herbs have been used for thousands of years to not only support the adrenal glands, but the whole body, which is really the best course of action for recovery.
But remember- if you are struggling it is important to start one supplement at a time, start with the lowest possible dose (or even a half dose), and increase very slowly.
By doing this you will be able to lessen the possibility of overstimulation or side effects and become very in tune with your body and individual needs.
Wishing you good luck on your journey to better health!
Interested in learning more about adrenal fatigue? Check out the health section or the related articles below.
- What Is Adrenal Fatigue (+How To Fix It!)
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- Adrenal Cocktail: Nourish, Balance, & Recover!
- Proper Hydration: Essential For Adrenal Fatigue Recovery
- 11 Causes Of Fatigue + Tests You Need!
- Vitamin C For Adrenal Fatigue Recovery
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