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ACTIVE BODIES' BEST SUPPORTIVE HERBS



Integrating movement into your daily life is crucial for optimum health, whether you are a weekend warrior, a competitive athlete, an active yogi, a weekend warrior, or a casual hiker. Whatever your degree of physical activity, continuing to be physically active can ultimately support a higher quality of life since an active body supports an active mind. The next stage is learning how to take care of your body when it is in this active period after you have found a fitness program that works for you. Taking care of yourself will certainly boost your longevity and success in physical activity.


Withania somnifera root, ashwagandha


The root of the plant known as ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is very versatile and has a specific position in Ayurveda. One of the best herbs for controlling vata, it is a rasayana, or herb of rejuvenation. Ashwagandha is a fantastic option for controlling excess vata and for constructing the power your active body needs because the vata dosha governs movement and excess vata can cause depletion. This regenerating root functions as an anti-inflammatory, adaptogen, nervine, muscle tonic, and immunomodulator. It is simple to understand why ashwagandha is a fantastic herb to assist busy bodies given its amazing profile.


Ashwagandha can be consumed as a pill, tincture, herbal ghee, or loose powder and is typically safe to consume in adequate doses (3-9 grams per day or 1-3 teaspoons) (Dass, 2013). There aren't many warnings about ashwagandha, however people who are sensitive to nightshades should exercise caution because it is a nightshade plant. Try adding 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ashwagandha to your smoothies, hot drinks (such hot cocoa or golden milk), and porridges because it has a mild, starchy flavor.


The root of shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)


Another ancient, multipurpose rasayana that blends in beautifully with herbs to promote busy bodies is shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) root. The traditional use of it in Ayurveda is to promote the sexual and reproductive health of women. Yet Shatavari has nutritional advantages for people of all sexes. The root functions well as an anti-inflammatory, adaptogen, demulcent, and nutritional tonic. Whereas ashwagandha has a warm energy, shatavari has a cold energy. It is particularly beneficial for people with warm constitutions or during warm months.



Moreover, shatavari is generally safe to consume in doses ranging from 3 to 30 grams per day (Dass, 2013). It is better to start with lower doses and work your way up, as is the case with many plants. Allowing the digestive system to acclimate to a new substance is always a good idea, and if using less herb is still helpful, all the better! Traditional preparation techniques, such as infusing in ghee or decocting in any type of milk, rather than extracting in alcohols as a tincture, may increase its effectiveness, though some people find the tincture useful as well. This is because some of the active constituents are fat-soluble (Bathija, 2014). Moreover, it is available as a capsule or loose powder. Any of the mentioned distribution techniques will enhance its nutritious qualities (Dass, 2013).



Those with a strong kapha constitution, those who experience excessive mucous, or those who have sluggish digestion may wish to use caution when taking shatavari because it is quite chilly, heavy, and sweet by nature (Dass, 2013). Beyond that, there aren't any significant warnings associated with shatavari. If excessive estrogen is a problem, consulting your doctor is advised as it may have estrogenic effects (Groves, 2016).


Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)


If you are especially interested in strengthening respiratory function, the Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) fungus is a great option. Reishi deservingly belongs on the list of plants that support active bodies. This helpful fungus can improve red blood cells, lessen fatigue, increase oxygen uptake, and regulate immune response (Groves, 2016). Not bad if you want to enhance endurance and feel your best! Reishi mushrooms are fairly rough while whole, therefore it's usually best to utilize them as a powder, pill, or tincture. Reishi can be a wonderful addition to food. Consider adding reishi powder to homemade truffles or hot cocoa since it pairs well with chocolate. Reishi is typically risk-free. Some individuals, though, have allergies to mushrooms. Also, it is wise to always cook mushrooms. Raw mushrooms can cause a variety of health problems, including digestive problems and life-threatening allergic responses. Moreover, frying mushrooms makes their fibrous, advantageous carbohydrates more easily absorbed.


Hawthorn berry (Crataegus species)


Speaking of oxygen use, if your exercise program is intended to be long-term, encouraging good heart and circulatory function is also a terrific notion. As a top herb for promoting heart wellbeing, hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) berry stands out among herbs that support active bodies. These tiny red berries provide a remarkable range of heart-health advantages, including the capacity to reduce inflammation, lower and control blood pressure, enhance circulation, strengthen the heart muscle itself, and increase blood vessel integrity (Groves, 2016). Hawthorn has a tart, sweet, and slightly warm energetic profile (Tierra, 1988).


Infusions and teas made with hawthorn berries are effective. Try combining hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) or rose hips (Rosa spp.) with dried berries like cherries, goji berries, or blueberries with other tart-tasting anti-inflammatories.


Hawthorn can also be consumed as a cordial, tincture, or capsule. 6–12 grams per day are advised as a herbal supplement for active bodies (Tierra, 1988). Hawthorn is typically quite safe but may interfere with drugs, especially those that treat blood pressure, so talk to your doctor if you use any of these (Groves, 2016).


Hawthorn cordial

The taste and advantages of hawthorn can be enjoyed in a warm, seasonal way with this recipe for hawthorn winter cordial. While it is not advisable to consume this before working out, a little glass by the fire on a cool fall or winter evening might be a great way to warm your body. The Celtic belief that hawthorn trees guard the entrances to the faery world in addition to being a heart and circulatory powerhouse emphasizes the tree's unique defensive ability (Suler, 2016).



Ingredients

1 cup of dried haws (Crataegus spp.) berries (up to 2 cups if using fresh berries) (increase to 2 cups if using fresh berries)

a teaspoon of cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) bark

2 glasses brandy

to taste, honey


Directions

This cordial is made using a traditional approach; no intricate measuring is required! In a big glass Mason jar, combine the cinnamon bark and dried hawthorn berries. For six weeks, store at room temperature away from direct sunlight with a brandy cover that reaches the jar lip.

After 6 weeks of infusion, pass the mixture through a cheesecloth or wire mesh strainer. Taste-adjust the amount of honey, store at room temperature, and consume sparingly.



Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis)


The cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) mushroom is a wise choice to add in your toolbox of herbs that are proven to help active bodies if you need assistance with both building strength and boosting energy. It can increase physical and mental stamina as well as respiratory function, and cordyceps has a mildly stimulating impact. The most popular way to take cordyceps is in capsules (1-4 grams per day), although it can also be taken as a loose powder (Groves, 2016). Cordyceps powder can be used to flavor smoothies, soups, and miso as a soup or broth base. Although cordyceps has a mild stimulating effect, it can be too invigorating for someone who is sensitive or prone to insomnia. If you've never taken cordyceps before, start out with a very tiny dose and take it before midday to offset any possible reduction in the quality of your sleep.


Root of rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)


Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) root is a quick-acting herb that is very helpful for supporting active bodies since it can increase cellular energy and enhance vigor, energy, and attention (Groves, 2016). While recuperating from injuries or infections, this root can be quite beneficial because it has regenerative properties as well. Although greater doses (500 mg) are suitable for short-term assistance, a dosage of 100 mg is a good quantity to take daily (Groves, 2016). There aren't many warnings for rhodiola because it's often used as a tincture or pill to assist active bodies. Be cautious when utilizing this root if you don't respond well to stimulants because it might have undesirable stimulating effects on some people, resulting in nervousness and sleep problems. Moreover, some people may not like the astringent flavor and texture of rhodiola (Groves, 2016). It would be preferable to take it as a capsule in that scenario.


Herbs for Healing and Rehabilitation

Even if you try your hardest to exercise thoughtfully, aches, pains, and injuries might still arise. Knowing how to restore and recover is essential if you do experience discomfort, pains, or inflammation as a result of your exercise regimen (as well as understanding what caused the pain and adjusting your exercise regime accordingly). Anti-inflammatory herbs and foods can be very beneficial.


Root of ginger (Zingiber officinale)


The root of ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a superb option. It is inexpensive, simple to locate, and versatile. It can be pickled, grated fresh into tea, or used to soups and stir-fries. Although ginger is well known for helping with digestion, it can also help with aches and pains in the muscles. Ginger includes gingerol, an anti-inflammatory substance that has been demonstrated to considerably lessen inflammation in muscles and joints (Dass, 2013). Ginger is thought to be warming and purifying when it is dried and powdered, yet warm and pleasant when it is fresh. The recommended daily amount is between 0.5 and 3 grams (Dass, 2013).


The next time your busy body needs a little support for stiff or hurting muscles and joints, think about brewing a cup of fresh or dried ginger tea. Moreover, ginger has advantages when used topically to joints and muscles as well as when made into a warming muscle salve. Although ginger is generally harmless, persons who are using blood thinners should exercise caution when consuming high amounts of ginger.


Polygonatum biflorum (Solomon's seal) root


The root of Solomon's seal (Polygonatum biflorum) is an exceptional herbal ally that can be applied topically and ingested. Solomon's seal is a buddy to your joints and a nourishing chi tonic due to its unique capacity to support strong and supple connective tissue (Groves, 2016). Solomon's seal has a long history of usage as a bone healer, general nutritive, kidney tonic, and heart tonic (Tierra, 1988). Jim McDonald, a herbalist, emphasizes Solomon's seal's amazing ability to treat conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system. He provides compelling anecdotal evidence for the root's ability to relieve tendinitis, arthritis, broken bones, strains, sprains, and joint dryness (mcdonald, n.d.). The recommended dosage of Solomon's seal is often simply a few drops of tincture to one dropperful taken a few times each day (Groves, 2016). Solomon's seal is a significant herb for active bodies, particularly if you suffer with chronic problems related to joints and connective tissue. This is true whether it is used as a tincture, salve, or topical oil. Solomon's seal root might even become a mainstay in your wellness toolbox for active bodies.


aerial parts of gotu kola (Centella asiatica)


A well-known nervine in Ayurveda, gotu kola (Centella asiatica), is frequently recommended when treating exacerbated pitta dosha in the intellect and emotions. Additionally, this spinach-like plant has lesser-known abilities like the ability to repair collagen, strengthen capillaries, and improve circulation (Groves, 2016). Overall, it is a fantastic herbal ally for your connective tissues, skin, and brain! With its cool energy and bitter, sweet, astringent flavor, gotu kola unquestionably deserves a position among herbs that promote active bodies. It is also perfect for people with pitta constitutions. Consider taking gotu kola as a tincture, pill, or infusion if you tend to run hot and have a competitive nature. The recommended daily dosage of gotu kola is 3 to 30 grams, and most people find it to be a harmless herb (Dass, 2013).


This fall, whether you want to hit the dance floor or the trail, remember that how you treat your body before and after doing out is just as essential as (if not more so than) what you do while exercising. Having a variety of herbs that support an active body can help you stay happy, healthy, fit, and vibrant for life because fitness is for life!

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