December 31, 2014

’Tis the season to stay out late and spend time with friends and family. If you’re a parent, or have just been burning your candle at both ends all year, the long afternoons filled with family gatherings can even be too much. Do you find yourself drifting in and out of the conversation or longing for a post-dinner nap? I envy the men of my family—somehow it is an accepted convention that they spend a large part of each get-together asleep in front of some game or another.

For the rest of house, making lackluster conversation and struggling to remain upright while working puzzles or playing board games after dinner, this is the point at which they reach for the coffee. I’ve never liked coffee, but now that I know how bad it is for already strained adrenals, I’m not going to pick up the habit out of desperation either.

The tradition of sipping a coffee after a large meal is so hard on the body. The caffeine in the cup tells our adrenal glands that we are in grave danger, setting off our fight or flight mechanism. There is a surge of adrenaline, yes, but you pay mightily for that energy. In order to muster more brain power and blood flow to the extremities, the body has to shut down non-essential processes. That large dinner filled with fat and protein that you just ate? Digestion is shut down, so it is no longer being processed. You now have a big rock sitting in your stomach that must be pushed through the system by way of gravity and luck. If you’ve done this often, the inevitable burping and feelings of indigestion come next.

If you’d like to avoid the coffee this year, here are a few natural supplements that you might try.

1. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

3 Natural Ways to Boost Your Energy - Photo by Dan Iggers/Flickr (HobbyFarms.com)

This common street tree is the last remaining member of the oldest plant family still living on Earth. The leaves, when used in a tea, tincture or capsule have been found to support brain health and increase energy by providing greater oxygen flow to brain cells. The tree can be grown in just about any kind of soil in full sun. It’s a slow grower, so it can take a few years before a harvest of leaves is available.

2. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.)

 

3 Natural Ways to Boost Your Energy - Photo by Carmen Eisbar/Flickr (HobbyFarms.com)

Hard to grow unless you live in the topics, this natural stimulant is one of my favorite energy sources. C. verum is helpful with arthritis and inflammation and C. cassia is helpful in managing blood sugar levels. It also provides another much-needed bonus of increased energy.

 

3. Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

3 Natural Ways to Boost Your Energy - Photo by Kerry Wixted/Flickr (HobbyFarms.com)

This woodland plant is endangered, but you can manage a small patch on your property to harvest a continual supply of roots. Ginseng root is an adaptogen that supports the whole body in fending off stressors. It’s invigorating and encourages a healthy metabolism. Used over time, it can enliven all the systems of the body. Be sure to buy from sustainable sources only.

Whether you grow your own or simply buy it, choose a natural pick-me-up to save your health this holiday season.

Get more help growing and using herbs from HobbyFarms.com:

« More of the Prescription Gardener »


Filtered Under Crops, Herbs

Next Up