Should herbal teas be considered an important part of an athlete’s overall training regimen? Our answer is a resounding, YES! Athletes put their bodies through a lot of stress. Recovery from the daily cellular breakdown of muscle fibers and connective tissue can very easily result in energy blockages and training impediments. Athletes must be careful to take the time to restore balance and internal harmony by helping the body’s Qi or energy force to flow freely.
One method for helping the body maintain its energy balance, recover more quickly, and maintain vitality is to add specific herbal teas into your daily routine that are designed to bring balance to your body, boost your energy and immunity, support healthy adrenal function and blood sugar levels, and flood your body with an army of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals it needs to repair the daily damage being done by strenuous athletic activity.
There are so many benefits of so many different herbs and herbal combinations we could discuss, but we will going to focus here on 10 herbs that you can count on to support your athletic training goals. And these 10 herbs are present in the three new Athletic Training Teas we are introducing below.
But, first, here’s our list of 10 herbs for athletic training.
1. Huang Qi (Astragalus) - Astragalus is an adaptogenic herb and antioxidant that is used to combat physical and emotional stress and fatigue, and support healthy immune function. The herb contains anemia, which has been shown to improve blood counts. The herb is also used to help sustain normal blood sugar levels.[i] The University of MD Medical Center offers a much deeper view of the uses and benefits of Astralagus that can be viewed, HERE.
2. Gan Jiang (Ginger) – Ginger has a very strong heating action and is soothing to the stomach because it stimulates the production of stomach mucous membranes, stomach acid secretion and intestinal activity.[ii] It also has a stimulant effect on the central nervous system, cardiovascular system and respiratory system.[iii
3. Ling Zhi (Reishi) – Nourishes the heart and strengthens Qi and blood to promote restful sleep, healthy memory function, vital energy, and healthy appetite. Helps regulate the nervous system and support the immune system.[iv] Helps support healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, liver function, and maintain skin health and appearance.[v] Supports healthy lung function and contains antibiotic properties.[vi]
4. Rou Gui (Cinnamon Bark) – Produces an analgesic and sedative action,[vii] mildly stimulates the gastrointestinal system, enhances digestive functioning and relieves intestinal spasms and pain. Supports a healthy immune system and contains antibiotic properties.[viii] It is VERY warming in action especially in the low back and knees. Supports healthy sexual function and recovery from external or traumatic injury with blood stasis.
5. Dang Shen (Codonopsis) – Dang Shen is an adaptogenic herb that helps the central nervous system adjust to stress.[ix] It very soothing to the gastrointestinal tract, and is supportive of the immune system and of healthy blood cell levels.[x] It tonifies Qi and nourishes the blood.
6. Chen Pi (Orange Peel) – Chen Pi supports healthy lung function, and has analgesic, anit-inflammatory and astringent functions.[xi] Regulates Qi and supports healthy gastrointestinal function. (Read several of our blog posts on the many ways citrus peel can benefit your health, HERE.)
7. Lu Cha (Green Tea) – Supports healthy bone density, immune function and cardiovascular health. Improves athletic endurance, vitalizes metabolism and helps burn fat. (See many more benefits in our blog post: Three Ways Green Tea Can Make You a Superior Athlete.)
8. He Shou Wu (Polygonum) – Supports healthy cardiovascular function and cholesterol levels, retards aging process and increases life expectancy (in lab studies)[xii], stimulates the immune system, moistens the bowel and promotes healthy bowel movements, supports healthy endocrine function, promotes healthy sleep and has been said to reverse gray hair for many centuries.
9. Gou Qi Zi (Lycium Fruit or Goji Berries) – Supports healthy immune function, nourishes blood, supports health cardiovascular function, and supports healthy lung and gastrointestinal functions. Widely know now as a "super fruit" and for its high levels of antioxidants.
10. Wu Wei Zi (Shisandra) – Supports healthy lung function and normal bodily fluid levels (sweating, night sweats, thirst). Stimulates the central nervous system, supporting healthy mental alertness and reflex action. Supports healthy blood pressure levels, and stimulates the lungs to in increase the rate and depth of respiration.[xiii] Supports healthy reproductive capacity and contains antibiotic properties.
And now… (drum roll)…here are our three new training teas!!
Reishi and Astragalus Chai Tea
The powerful combination of Ling Zhi (Reishi) and Huang Qi (Astragalus) are an adaptogenic powerhouse providing unparalleled support for the functions of the body’s central nervous and immune systems.
Ingredients: Burdock Root, Ginger, Astragulus, Codonopsis, Reishi, Orange Peel, Cinnamon Twig, Peppercorns, Cardamom, Cloves
Put all herbs in a non-metallic pot with about 8 cups of water and cover. Simmer for at least one hour on the stove. Strain add milk, almond milk, rice milk, etc. and enjoy! Store leftovers in refrigerator and simply reheat as needed.
Reishi-Green Chai Training Tea
The combination of Reishi and Green Tea in the Reishi-Green Chai Training Tea provide a powerful support for the body’s endurance, cardiovascular output, energy levels, immune system and metabolism. This tea would also be a valuable nutritional addition to any weight loss program.
Ingredients: Reishi, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Cloves, Anise, Peppercorn, Cardamom, Green Tea
Decoct Reishi and spices for a minimum of 30 minutes, longer for stronger tea. Then turn off the heat, add Green Tea. Let steep for 5 minutes, then strain and store leftovers in refrigerator. (This tea will become quite bitter if left to steep). Adding a bit of ghee, coconut oil or grass fed butter can help to increase intake of healthy fats and add a creamy texture. Other great additions to this recipe are Burdock, Huang Qi (Astragalus), and Shan Zha (Hawthorn Berries).
Super Antioxidant Longevi-Tea
This is a superb combination of herbs historically known to promote longevity and anti-aging! These herbs support healthy respiration, reproduction, metabolism and energy levels, skin health, healthy blood pressure and cholesterol, immunity, hormone function and sleep-just to name a few!!
Ingredients: Wu Wei Zi, Gou Qi Zi, He Shou Wu, Shu Di Huang, Tian Men Dong
Combine herbs in non-metallic pot with 8 cups of water (more water can always be added if a less strong tea is desired). Cover, simmer, and decoct for a minimum of one hour. Strain and enjoy. Refrigerate leftovers and reheat as needed for up to one week. Add local or manuka honey if desired for taste and added health benefits.
***ALL THREE NEW TEAS ARE AVAILABLE NOW ON THE WEBSITE! CLICKING ON THE TITLE OF EACH TEA ABOVE WILL TAKE YOU DIRECTLY TO THE PRODUCT ON OUR SITE!***
Other Good Stuff...
If you are interested in being more creative and looking for other herbs to experiment with adding into these teas, check out 10 Super-Antioxidant Chinese Herbs and for still more ideas and more tea recipes, go to A Season For Teas or these 2 blogs for medicinal teas for summer and for fall/winter.
For educational purposes only
This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Please be advised:
You should always consult with your doctor
before making any changes to your diet or nutritional program.
[i] University of Maryland Medical Center, http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/astragalus. 7/23/16
[ii] Zhong Cao Yao (Chinese Herbal Medicine), 1988; 13 (11):17
[iii] Zhong Yao Xue (Chinese Herbology), 1998; 376:378
[iv] Xin Yi Xue (New Medicine), 1976, 3:140
[v] Xi Yao Yan Jiu Tong Xun (Research Journal of Medicine and Herbology), 1984; 12:22
[vi] Handbook of Chinese Herbs. Institute of Chinese Medicine, 1996
[vii] Zhi Wu Yao You Xiao Cheng Fen Shou Ce (Manual of Plant Medicinals and Their Active Constituents), 1986; 218
[viii] Zhong Yao Yao Li Yu Ying Yong (Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Herbs), 1983; 443
[ix] Zhong Yao Tong Bao (Journal of Chinese Herbology), 1986; 11(8):53
[x] Zhong Yao Xue (Chinese Herbology), 1998; 739:741
[xi] Chi Jiao Yi Jie Za Zhi (Journal of Barefoot Doctors), 1975; 4:11
[xii] Zhong Yao Yao Yi Lu Lin Chuang (Pharmacology and Clinical Application of Chinese Herbs), 1989; 5(3):19
[xiii] Zhong Yao Yao Li Yu Ying Yong (Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Herbs), 1983, 177