Herbal Adaptogen Tonics Improve Energy

(Herbal Tonics to Improve Energy)


Are you wondering why you don't seem to have the energy to get through the day, or lack the vitality to enjoy leisure activities? Naturopaths explore many reasons for this common complaint.


A diet that is not meeting your individual needs is a likely cause in low energy. Deficiencies of nutrients such as water, high quality fats, B vitamins, Enzyme Co Q10, iron, vitamin C and magnesium can result in poor energy production. There may be mental health problems, infections, or other physical complaints that are contributing to general lethargy.


Naturopaths will give you a personalized plan to help you make changes in your diet and lifestyle to help you regain your zest for life. In addition, naturopaths are able to make a herbal tonic with herbs that will support and strengthen your body and improve your energy.


Many of the herbs used to increase energy are described as "adaptogens". Adaptogens help the body to "adapt" to a stress. The stress could arise from over exertion, over work, worry, or illness.


Adaptogens are powerful supportive agents against stress and the effects of stress. Adaptogens can initiate processes of regeneration of the body's tissues and fluids. They release innate resources of vitality in their efforts to invigorate and protect your body [1]. Herbal adaptogens increase tolerance to mental exhaustion and enhance attention and mental endurance [2].


Herbal adaptogens include Don Quoi, Gotu Kola [1], Withania somnifera [3], Liquorice, Rhodiola rosea, Schisandra, Siberian Ginseng and Panax Ginseng. Recent research has increased our understanding of adaptogens. Scientific evidence shows the herbs Rhodiola rosea, Schisandra, Siberian Ginseng, and Panax Ginseng increase endurance and mental performance [24].


Adaptogens are typically given over a long period of time to support the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands, which are glands involved in how the body manages stress. Research recently shows even single doses of adaptogens can increase mental performance and physical working capacity [5].


Rhodiola rosea

Both traditional use and recent research shows Rhodiola is effective for combating fatigue, and improving mood [678910]. One study found the stimulating effect occurred within thirty minutes and continued for about five hours [5].


Rhodiola rosea has been found not only to improve energy but to repair nerve cells associated with depression [11].


For many people stress triggers addictive urges. For some this may take the form of over-eating [12], for others  avoidance of food [13], or smoking [14] or recreational drug use [15]. These can all result in poor energy. Some very new research has shown that Rhodiola rosea can help in reducing all of these stress related behaviours [12131514].


The lack of side effects of most adaptogens means that energy can be improved without the likelihood of abuse [5]. In addition, adaptogen herbs when taken correctly can help improve sleep. 


There are many other herbs that improve energy by strengthening other parts of the body that are depleting energy. These are also called herbal tonics. Oat is used as a herb to strengthen the nervous system. Nettle or Wood Betony may be used when digestion or absorption of nutrients is poor. Chaste Tree or Sarsparilla are used to help to improve hormonal balance which can effect vitality.


Each herbal medicine is made to your individual requirements to support your body to gain the best possible health and vitality.


Contact Bay Health Clinic for more information or to book your consultation; call: 07 571 3226 or email: ask@bayhealth.nz


Original November 2011 copyright Jaine Kirtley MRN RN Reg. Nurse Reg. Naturopath



1.             Bartram T: Adaptogen. In: Bartram's Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: Robinson Publishing Ltd; 1997: 36-37

2.             Panossian A, Wikman G: Evidence-Based Efficacy of Adaptogens in Fatigue, and Molecular Mechanisms Related to their Stress-Protective Activity. Current Clinical Pharmacology 2009, 4(3):198-219. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/ccp/2009/00000004/00000003/art00004

3.             Singh N, Nath R, Lata A, Singh SP, Kohli RP, Bhargava KP: Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha), a Rejuvenating Herbal Drug Which Enhances Survival During Stress (an Adaptogen). Pharmaceutical Biology 1982, 20(1):29-35. http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13880208209083282

4.             Chan S-W: Panax ginseng, Rhodiola rosea and Schisandra chinensis. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 2011, 0(0):null. http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09637486.2011.627840

5.             Panossian A, Wagner H: Stimulating effect of adaptogens: an overview with particular reference to their efficacy following single dose administration. Phytotherapy Research 2005, 19(10):819-838. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ptr.1751

6.             Panossian A, Wikman G, Sarris J: Rosenroot (Rhodiola rosea): Traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and clinical efficacy. Phytomedicine 2010, 17(7):481-493. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S094471131000036X

7.             Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H: Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue — A double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine 2000, 7(5):365-371. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711300800550

8.             Hung SK, Perry R, Ernst E: The effectiveness and efficacy of Rhodiola rosea L.: A systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Phytomedicine 2011, 18(4):235-244. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711310002680

9.             Shevtsov VA, Zholus BI, Shervarly VI, Vol'skij VB, Korovin YP, Khristich MP, Roslyakova NA, Wikman G: A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work. Phytomedicine 2003, 10(2-3):95-105. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711304702007

10.           Abidov M, Crendal F, Grachev S, Seifulla R, Ziegenfuss T: Effect of Extracts from Rhodiola Rosea and Rhodiola Crenulata (Crassulaceae) Roots on ATP Content in Mitochondria of Skeletal Muscles. Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine 2003, 136(6):585-587. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:BEBM.0000020211.24779.15

11.           Chen QG, Zeng YS, Qu ZQ, Tang JY, Qin YJ, Chung P, Wong R, Hägg U: The effects of Rhodiola rosea extract on 5-HT level, cell proliferation and quantity of neurons at cerebral hippocampus of depressive rats. Phytomedicine 2009, 16(9):830-838. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711309000798

12.           Cifani C, Micioni Di B MV, Vitale G, Ruggieri V, Ciccocioppo R, Massi M: Effect of salidroside, active principle of Rhodiola rosea extract, on binge eating. Physiology & Behavior 2010, 101(5):555-562. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031938410003227

13.           Mattioli L, Perfumi M: Rhodiola rosea L. extract reduces stress- and CRF-induced anorexia in rats. Journal of Psychopharmacology 2007, 21(7):742-750. http://jop.sagepub.com/content/21/7/742.abstract

14.           Mattioli L, Perfumi M: Evaluation of Rhodiola rosea L. extract on affective and physical signs of nicotine withdrawal in mice. Journal of Psychopharmacology 2011, 25(3):402-410. http://jop.sagepub.com/content/25/3/402.abstract

15.           Mattioli L, Perfumi M: Effects of a Rhodiola rosea L. extract on acquisition and expression of morphine tolerance and dependence in mice. Journal of Psychopharmacology 2011, 25(3):411-420. http://jop.sagepub.com/content/25/3/411.abstract