11+ Best Herbs for Adrenal Fatigue [Updated for 2021]
Feeling tired and weak from the moment you open your eyes in the morning?
Don’t remember the last time you were actually rested and full of energy?
Chances are, you might be suffering from adrenal fatigue. But don’t worry - there are ways to alleviate these symptoms.
Read on to learn more about adrenal fatigue and the best herbs for treating adrenal fatigue.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue happens when your adrenal glands can’t produce enough cortisol and other “stress hormones”.
When you’re under stress, your adrenal glands produce more cortisol to stay alert. Cortisol increases your blood sugar levels to provide more energy to cope with the stressors in your environment.
However, when you’re under constant stress (on a daily basis) your adrenal glands become less responsive and produce less and less cortisol.
In turn, you might experience symptoms like:
- Cravings for sweets
- Cravings for salty snacks
- Difficulty falling asleep in the night
- Difficulty waking up in the morning
- Low energy levels
- Low blood pressure
- Brain fog
- Weak immune system
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that many of these symptoms might be an indication for more serious conditions like adrenal insufficiency (a much more severe form of adrenal fatigue), diabetes, anemia, and kidney disease. You should consult your doctor in case you have some of these symptoms.
Adrenal fatigue is not officially recognized as a medical condition by the endocrinology society and most general practitioners. But it is acknowledged by alternative medicine doctors and naturopaths.
Even though adrenal fatigue is a debatable topic, its symptoms are real and you need to take care of your adrenal glands’ health.
For this purpose, you don’t need to reach for prescription medications.
Instead, you can use herbal supplements and adaptogens (plants that have the property to balance your hormones) to boost your adrenal glands’ health and restore your energy levels.
11+ Best Adrenal Fatigue Herbs
This herb can boost your energy and balance your cortisol levels. It also helps you cope with stress by significantly improving your stress resistance and the functioning of your nervous system.
The adaptogen can also improve your mood, memory, and concentration. You’ll notice a reduction in symptoms like anxiety and brain fog. Ashwagandha can help you reduce inflammation in your body and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Ashwagandha also balances thyroid hormone production and improves your metabolism.
Ashwagandha is available in powder and capsule form. However, the powder has a bitter taste. That’s why most people prefer taking it as a supplement.
Maca is an energy-boosting adaptogenic plant native to Peru (also known as Peruvian Ginseng).
Apart from amping up your energy levels, Maca can also improve your mood. The plant reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.
It is also widely used to boost fertility, libido, sports performance, memory, and learning abilities.
Maca can also restore the hormone balance of your pituitary gland and hypothalamus. Both organs are directly related to the proper functioning of your adrenal glands.
You can take Maca in pill or powder form. The powder has a slightly nutty flavor with a bitter aftertaste that many people dislike. Its taste makes the pill form a more preferred way to take Maca.
Eleuthero (also known as Siberian Ginseng) is another very popular adaptogenic herb. It can increase your energy levels and help you overcome tiredness more easily.
Eleuthero is also used for improving blood sugar levels because it helps regulate your body’s insulin.
It’s also a great herb for menopausal women because it promotes better memory and concentration. It also improves blood circulation and blood flow to the brain.
Better blood circulation can raise low blood pressure, which is another possible adrenal fatigue symptom.
You can find Eleuthero in capsule, tincture, liquid, or powder forms. Another option to take Eleuthero is to brew the herb in its dry form as a tea.
#4. Holy Basil
Holy basil (also known as Tulsi) is an Asian adaptogenic herb that can help you cope with stress more readily and reduce your overall stress levels.
The herb also reduces cortisol and improves your sleep quality. Holy basil can also reduce symptoms of anxiety and improve your cognitive functions.
You can take dried holy basil leaves and make tea with them. Keep in mind that the tea can have a slightly bitter taste which you can mask with a bit of honey. Or, if you don’t want to experiment, you can easily find it in a pill form.
#5. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea (also known as Arctic root) is an adaptogenic herb native to the colder parts of Europe.
The plant’s roots are traditionally used for the treatment of stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Rhodiola Rosea can improve your stress resistance especially if you’re dealing with stress on a regular basis (long-term stress).
It also fights off physical and mental fatigue and can improve your cognitive functions, physical performance, and sleep quality.
Additionally, this adaptogen can help normalize high blood sugar levels.
You can find Rhodiola Rosea in pill form or as a tea.
Schisandra is an Asian adaptogenic plant that produces red berries. Its berries are used for the treatment of various medical conditions like Alzheimer’s and liver disease.
It’s also an estrogen-boosting food because the berries contain the phytoestrogen ingredient lignan.
Schisandra is widely used to treat stress and symptoms of depression. It can also boost your immune system which tends to weaken when you’re under constant stress.
You can find Schisandra as a powder, pill, extract, in the form of dried berries, or as a juice.
Don’t take Schisandra if you’re taking other medications because the plant might reduce the effect of your medical treatment.
Licorice is a plant with numerous health benefits.
Licorice boasts over 100 plant compounds. One of the compounds, glycyrrhizic acid, stops the breakdown of cortisol in your body. It signals your adrenal glands to stop producing cortisol and gives them time to recover.
This will reduce the feeling of tiredness and stress you experience on a regular basis.
Licorice is also used for skin inflammation, stomach pain, sore throat, and for relieving some menopause symptoms.
Some people are sensitive to its active compound glycyrrhizin. So, before starting a licorice regimen, make sure to consult your doctor.
You can find licorice in pill or powder form, as a tincture, tea, or gel. You can also find the root in a dry or fresh form.
#8. Korean Ginseng
Korean ginseng (also known as Panax ginseng) is an Asian adaptogenic herb used to reduce tiredness and oxidative stress in your cells.
This herb is a great energy booster that can improve your physical endurance, mood, and memory.
Additionally, Korean ginseng has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can boost your immune system. This herb will increase your strength and you’ll be able to recover more quickly.
You can use Korean ginseng root for cooking, eat it directly, or use it to brew tea.
Or you can use the Korean ginseng extract as a pill, powder, or oil.
#9. Ginkgo Biloba
You might know Ginkgo Biloba for its properties to improve brain function, blood circulation, and heart health.
But the leaves of the Ginkgo tree can also be used for adrenal fatigue treatment. They can significantly reduce your anxiety and stress levels.
Ginkgo Biloba can also help you if you’re dealing with headaches, migraines, and PMS symptoms. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
You can find Ginkgo Biloba as a pill, tea, or liquid extract.
Astragalus is an herb native to China. It can strengthen your immune system which could be weakened if you experience constant stress and tiredness.
Astragalus is often used in combination with Eleuthero to fight off chronic fatigue.
You can use this herb to improve your kidney and heart health and to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Astragalus comes in the form of capsules, tea, and liquid extracts.
Skullcap is an herb that doesn’t directly affect your cortisol levels but it can reduce your anxiety and boost your mood.
Also, if you have a problem falling asleep due to high-stress levels, skullcap can promote better sleep quality.
Skullcap can also reduce inflammation in your body.
The herb has a sweet taste and you can take it in the form of tea, capsules, as a liquid extract, or a powder.
Rehmannia is a flowering plant used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Its benefits include improving your stress-coping mechanism and boosting your mood. Rehmannia can increase your energy levels and reduce the feeling of tiredness.
It’s also a good supplement to use if you suffer from anemia or kidney dysfunction.
You can take Rehmannia as a tea, powder, or pill.
For a more complete list of adrenal fatigue supplements, check out our article.
#13. Other Ways to Cure Adrenal Fatigue Naturally
You can also implement different lifestyle changes for faster adrenal fatigue recovery.
With a busy lifestyle and many chores ahead of you, it’s impossible to take stress out of your life completely. However, you can try to reduce it as much as possible.
For example, you can try to:
- Get some help with your chores. You don’t have to do everything on your own. If there are some small errands that your friend or relative can take care of, this can free up more time for you and reduce your stress.
- Emphasize on self-care activities. Make some time once or twice a week just for you and your favorite activities. This will help you to relax and feel better.
- Eliminate the activities that don’t bring you any value. Make a schedule of your week and obligations. Do they bring any value to you or anyone else? Can you skip them? If there are things you don’t enjoy and they aren’t useful to anyone, just remove them from your schedule.
Meditation, practiced around the world for thousands of years, is known to have a restorative and grounding effect.
Meditation can reduce stress and other adrenal fatigue symptoms.
And it comes with many more benefits:
- Improved emotional balance
- Better memory
- Better sleep cycles
- Increased self-awareness
Many people get discouraged by meditation at first because it’s hard to clear your mind from all thoughts. However, even 5 minutes of meditation a day can reduce your stress levels and make you feel more relaxed and energized.
Change Your Diet
Are you eating mainly junk food, refined carbs, and sugary snacks? These foods are the main culprits for imbalanced cortisol levels and blood sugar spikes that keep you up at night.
Instead, try to focus on:
- Healthy fats
- Whole Grain foods
- Lean meats
- Seeds and nuts
These foods will provide many nutrients to support proper adrenal function and will restore your hormone balance.
Also, try to eat often, don’t skip breakfast, and enjoy mid-day snacks beneficial for adrenal fatigue. This way, you’ll keep your energy levels steady and will avoid drastic blood sugar lows and highs.
For more on helping with adrenal fatigue through dieting, check out our article.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for normalizing your cortisol levels. Usually, your cortisol levels drop before going to bed causing you to become more calm and sleepy. But with adrenal fatigue, it’s exactly the opposite because your cortisol jumps up and down due to high-stress levels.
This might result in difficulty falling and staying asleep.
To improve your sleep quality try to:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same times
- Make your bedroom dark and cool to ensure good sleep throughout the whole night
- Avoid bright screens during the night
- Do something relaxing before going to bed
- Try taking natural sleep supplements
Adrenal fatigue is a debated condition in the medical world. However, the symptoms are real and you have to take care of your adrenal health.
To do that you can take herbal supplements that will help you feel more relaxed as they balance your cortisol levels.
This is an effective way to reduce everyday stress.
Stay healthy and strong!