Have you ever had one of those days where you felt tired, exhausted, or drained even though you may have slept through the night? Many people have days like this far too often, and some even feel this way every single day. Fatigue can be caused by a variety of root issues, but the good news is most of them can be addressed and supported with relative ease. In this post, I’ll be sharing some information with you about how stress and strain relates to energy levels, and sharing some of my favorite herbal tea for fatigue recipes as well.
What Causes Fatigue?
At its core, fatigue is a lack of energy. It happens when we don’t have the nourishment, energy, or foundation we need to get through the day with our usual vigor. Fatigue can happen occasionally when we don’t get a good night’s sleep, when our diet takes a turn for the worse, or when we engage in new or strenuous activities. When fatigue becomes chronic, it’s often a sign that our bodies and minds aren’t being given the support they need to succeed.
In my experience, the number one cause of consistent fatigue is stress. People often don’t realize how much stress can actually harm us. While we’re focusing on the tension, stress is sapping our energy reserves and taxing the organs and glands that help keep us up and active during the day. High stress levels maintained over a long period of time make it hard for us to get deep, rejuvenating sleep. Stress can also impact how well we’re able to take nutrients from food, cope with change, handle problems, and recover from injury and illness. The bottom line is that stress is typically at the root of most types of fatigue – either in an acute or chronic way. This means that if we successfully work with our stress and find healthier ways to be, the fatigue can often heal itself so we can feel great again.
You’ve probably heard people talk about ‘adrenal fatigue’ being a leading cause of fatigue issues in general. While this term is not one that’s accepted among most allopathic medical professionals, it may have at least some aspects of accuracy. The adrenal glands, located atop each kidney, are responsible for making hormones that help us respond to stress and cope with it when it comes up. If we live a high-stress life or deal with issues like chronic anxiety, worry, or depression, the adrenal glands have to work overtime keeping us as steady and safe as possible. Over time, their function may not be as effective as it should be. This leaves us exposed to stress and burned out in no time.
The Adrenal glands also help generate energy from foods, regulate our sexual prowess, help regulate when we sleep and when we wake up, and a host of other important things. As you can see, adrenal health is extremely important – and it’s not wonder why the adrenals and fatigue go hand-in-hand.
My Favorite Herbs For Fatigue
As you may have guessed, the herbs I love to work with for fatigue often support daily energy and vitality while also nourishing many of the organs and glands involved in wellness – the adrenals being one of the most important. These herbs cover a wide spectrum of uses, and not all of them will be right for every person. Refer to the recipes below to find a combination of herbs that might be a good fit for your unique kind of fatigue.
Nettles Urtica urens; Urtica dioica
I start my list of herbs for fatigue with one of my top favorites – Nettles. This common herb brings so much to the table it’s a wonder people don’t enjoy it every single day – and I think we should!
Nettles is a wonderful Western tonic herb to help strengthen and uplift the Qi, vital life energy, in our bodies. It’s a powerful nutritive herb that helps nourish our bodies and minds with the good things we need to feel our best every day. It also offers astringent actions which help gather and align our energies.
American Ginseng Panax quinquefolium
Similar in nature to Chinese Ginseng but with some very important differences, American Ginseng is a gentle, easy to use, and reliable energy tonic that many herbalists rely on. Unlike its Chinese counterpart, quinquefolium is not stimulating – a very important point to consider when adrenal fatigue is a factor.
Ginseng has the wonderful ability of finding our deficiencies and either fixing them itself, or inspiring us on how to make healthy changes. When there isn’t enough lubrication, fluidity, and adaptability in the body, American Ginseng can really shine. It is also considered to be a true Qi Tonic, meaning that it nourished, supports, and increases the presence and flow of vital life energy in and through the body.
Codonopsis Codonopsis pilosula
The root of this celebrate Chinese herb, known locally as Dang Shen, is a wonderful energy tonic that helps increase life energy and everyday energy in the body. It’s even milder than American Ginseng, so it can be a great daily tonic herb for people who are doing deep work on fatigue issues. It should be used in combination with aromatic herbs like cinnamon or ginger to help keep it warm and moving.
Licorice Root Glycurrhiza glabra; spp.
Whenever I get to talk about Licorice Root I get pretty excited. I love this herb, and I find creative ways to work it into as many of my herbal tea blends as I can in moderation. It’s got such a unique, sweet, balancing flavor – and its benefits seem endless!
I find Licorice Root to be wonderful for people who are fatigued because they have been running on high for too long. When stress burnout is the underlying cause of exhaustion, this herb is one of the first I turn to. It helps calm and soothe the nervous system, aids us in cultivating a healthier and more balanced sleep pattern, and is a true vital energy tonic. Perfect! Licorice Root also does amazing things for the digestive system, so it can help us get more energy-producing nutrients from the foods we eat.
Saw Palmetto Sabal serrulata
This unique plants is another one of my favorites. In addition to being an essential for men’s health and an addition to almost all of the herbal teas I create for men, it’s a great herb to turn to for fatigue.
Saw Palmetto helps bring back the vitality of life into our systems. It’s a tonic herb that helps warm, invigorate, and build up the body when we feel wasted. It also helps stimulate the parts of our bodies and minds that have become cold and stuck. For men dealing with fatigue, Saw Palmetto fruits in an herbal tea are a go-to for me.
Ashwagandha Withania somnifera
Another one of my favorite herbs, and one that I’ve personally been working with for several years. I love this root, and I am so grateful to the Ayurvedic healing system of ancient India for helping connect the world with its many benefits!
Ashwagandha is a relative of the tomato, and the root is used medicinally. It is extremely safe, gentle, and effective, and used consistently over time has proven to be one of the top tonic herb choices of many herbalists. Ashwagandha helps us get deep, restorative sleep at night while helping us feel calm, centered, and energized during the day. It seems to help us find the healing balance between our sleep and our wake, and it does so with gentle ease.
It also has true aphrodisiac properties which means it combines calming and soothing with some gentle stimulation of reproductive systems. This helps us love others and love ourselves more – good things when we feel tired and disconnected!
Green Tea Camellia sinensis
When you need a daily pick-me-up, turn to green tea. Avoiding intense and often toxic stimulants like coffee and refined sugars can be the single most effective thing you can do to fight fatigue over time. As mentioned before, taxing our adrenals and not getting the right kinds of nourishing foods is often the root of fatigue. By skipping the adrenal-draining coffee and sugar and going for the nourishing, centering, and supporting qualities that a good organic green tea offers, you’ll feel energized now and be providing long-term support for your whole system.
I have seen people enjoy 3-5 cups of good, organic green tea daily with no issues. Brew light for a little lift, or heavier if you really need a boost. Try to choose green, whole-leaf tea that has a wonderful fragrance and flavor.
Herbal Tea For Fatigue Recipes
Here are some of my favorite recipes to help support the balancing of fatigue while also offering up some nice everyday feel-good benefits along the way. Each tea has its own benefits, so choose the one that looks right for you.
Note: A ‘part’ can be any volume measurement you choose. If you want to make a big batch of tea, 1 part might equal 1 cup. If you want a smaller batch, 1 part might be 1 Tablespoon or ever 1 teaspoon. For example, 5 parts of an herb would be 5 Tablespoons if that was the measurement amount you chose.
Stressed & Exhausted
For those who know that there’s an issue with stress, anxiety, and strain that has led to feelings of fatigue and exhaustion over time, this herbal tea blend can make a wonderful daily tonic. I suggest enjoying this about an hour before bed since the focus here is to help you get restorative sleep that translates to a calmer, more resilient waking time.
5 parts Chamomile
2 parts Nettles
2 parts Licorice Root
1 part Lavender
1 part Ashwagandha Root
1 single Clove, optional for a very comforting and grounding addition.
Blend all. Steep one heaping Tablespoon in 8-10 ounces boiled water for 6 minutes. Cool to a safe temperature and enjoy. Served with honey this becomes an ever more robust tonic tea.
Daytime Fatigue Fighter
If you’re prone to worry, stress, or anxiety, this daytime sipping tea is a great option to help get you through the day without stimulants. It’s based on big nutrition and sustaining support – and it can help calm nerves while aiding in overall feel-good energy.
5 parts Mint
Note: Peppermint is best for ‘cold’, introverted type people; Spearmint for ‘hot’, fiery type people
3 parts Nettles
1 part American Ginseng
1 part Skullcap
1 part Licorice Root
Combine all herbs. Steep 1 Tablespoon in 8-10 ounces boiled water for 10-15 minutes, covered. Enjoy once comfortably warm. Add a bit of honey to sweeten if desired.
Balanced Energy Tea
When you need a real boost of energy without the frazzled, draining effects of stimulants like regular caffeine or chemicals – this is worth a try!
5 parts Green Tea
1 part Codonopsis Root
Steep 1 teaspoon of Codonopsis Root in 8-10 ounces boiled water for 10 minutes. Then, add in your preferred amount of Green Tea- anywhere from a teaspoon to a Tablespoon dependong on strength of flavor and effect. Allow the Green Tea and Codonopsis to steep for another 5 minutes. Enjoy once comfortably warm.
Fatigue Tonic Booster
Add this blend of herbs to your favorite herbal tea blend daily to get some wonderful tonic support for fatigue, adrenal health, and energy.
3 parts Nettles
1 part Ashwagandha
1 part Codonopsis
Blend. Add 1 teaspoon to your favorite herbal tea blend. Steep and strain as usual, and enjoy once the tea has reached a comfortable temperature.
Resources & References
Sargis, Dr. Robert M. An Overview Of The Adrenal Glands. EndocrineWeb.
Hansen, Fawne. What Are The Adrenal Glands?
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