The more energy and motivation you have, the more likely you’ll accomplish your goals. In addition to getting enough sleep and eating well, here are 10 natural herbs, backed by science, that will help to boost your energy levels and motivation:
1. Tongkat Ali
This plant from Malaysia is considered a natural energizer, helping to alleviate fatigue by boosting your testosterone production. It has also been used as an aphrodisiac; studies in men have shown an increase in sperm concentration, motility, and sexual drive.
It also blocks excessive cortisol production; cortisol is released in response to stress and has the negative effect of turning your testosterone into estrogen. Less cortisol and more testosterone means more motivation and energy.
An unusual natural “herb”—Cordyceps is actually a fungus that lives on certain caterpillars in the high mountain regions of China. It is considered an adaptogen herb, with stress-fighting and fatigue-reducing properties.
At the 1993 Olympic games, Chinese athletes stunned the world when they broke five world records in running. They were tested for drugs after authorities were suspicious of their performances, but they were all clean. However, the athletes did admit the secret to their performance was an extract of cordyceps.
Resveratrol is found in the skin and seeds of red grapes. The high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties found in resveratrol are known for boosting the functioning of your brain’s neurons, which helps you to think and feel better. Resveratrol also helps to restore injured brain tissue and prevents further tissue aging.
Also known known as “horny goat weed” or “yin yang huo,” barronwort is a flowering herb used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
According to studies, extract of barronwort has positive effects on the brain’s nervous tissue—reducing mental and physical fatigue, and memory loss. A healthy functioning brain will boost your energy and motivation. Barronwort is also known to improve sexual performance, joint pain, and arthritis.
Native to the Amazon, the shrub contains more antioxidants than green tea. Antioxidants boost energy by protecting the nerve cells in your brain. Guarana also contains catechin, which neutralizes nerve cell damage caused by free radicals, a by-product of oxidation (your body’s metabolizing process).
Bodybuilders use guarana to limit the buildup of lactic acid and prevent muscle soreness. Guarana’s energy boosting abilities are also due to the fact that it contains twice the caffeine content of coffee.
6. Maca Root
The ancient Peruvian root-vegetable is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, 20 amino acids and fatty acids. Maca is another “adaptogen herb,” helping your body adapt to life-stressors such as a busy schedule, demanding job, or illness. Maca also helps balance hormones, boost memory and focus, increase fertility, heighten sexual function, and relieve menopausal symptoms.
Maca contains iodine, which helps your thyroid gland produce hormones. Iodine supports healthy metabolism, balanced moods, healthy blood pressure, and may be useful in preventing cancer.
There’s been a resurgence in fenugreek use due to its aphrodisiac and energy boosting qualities. The leaves and seeds of the ancient plant are loaded with vitamins and minerals and known to boost mood, help lower blood sugar levels, and fight certain types of cancer.
Fenugreek seeds are used to improve overall well-being, being rich in minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, copper, zinc, manganese and magnesium.
8. Asian Ginseng
Asian ginseng is another “adaptogen herb,” known to enhance feelings of well-being and improve physical and mental functioning.
In a double-blind study, the group receiving 40mg of ginseng demonstrated better mental performance, less fatigue, and responded with greater overall improvements in quality of life.
People have used the fruit, leaf, and root of this plant as medicine to treat sex problems in women—low libido, arousal difficulties, lubrication problems, and orgasm troubles—and also for erectile dysfunction and infertility in men.
Tribulus is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and memory improving qualities, and has also been used by athletes to boost energy and performance.
10. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a lemon-scented herb that comes from the same family as mint. It is known for relieving stress, reducing anxiety, overcoming insomnia and sleeplessness, and boosting cognitive function.
For lemon balm’s stress relieving and energy boosting effects, try a daily tea made with one full dropper of tincture or 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried herb steeped in 1 cup of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes.