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Herbs for athletes and sportsperson

Indian medicine lists a number of plants, herbs and fruit that can be used to improve a person’s health, stamina, concentration, and overall physical well being. A lot of interest is being generated in adapting these herbal remedies for medicinal purposes, but there is another aspect that has not been thought about.
Scientific tests are slowly verifying the positive effects of these various herbs on the human body. Could these same herbs not be used to nurture and nourish world class athletes and sportspersons? The possibility of using Ayurveda to improve a person’s physical capabilities for the purpose of sport was discussed at the Indian Sport’s Congress in 1994. However, since then, not much work has been done in this area, with most of the research work on herbs still being confined to the field of medication.

Let us take a look at some of the common herbs and fruit that are available in the Indian sub-continent, and assess their impact on improving the strength and endurance of an athlete. Plants like Holi basil (Ocimum sanctum), Satavari (Asparagus recemousus), and Winter cherry (Withania somnifira) are widely used in traditional Indian medicine and are known to improve health. They are regularly used, especially in rural India, to supplement the diet and maintain good health. With a little bit of research, it should not prove difficult to adopt these plants to improve the health of athletes and sportspersons. There is nut that is used by the Kani tribe in the state of Kerala in India that helps them to walk and climb long distances without getting tired. This nut warrants further medical research as the results could yield many dividends for sportspersons all over the world.

There have been some concerns that the use of such products could be construed as doping. The criteria for doping have been set down very clearly by the International Olympic Commission and according to this list only the following five substances are banned – Stimulants, Narcotic analgesics, Anabolic steroids, Diuretics, and Peptide hormones. Using natural products to increase the health of person can hardly be construed as doping in this context.


Herbal health is a long term commitment. Natural herbs can be a wealth of natural health remedies. Herbs are readily available and usually without any side effects unlike processed and manmade things.
Natural herb remedies and natural herbal remedies both can be very effective and long lasting in their effects. These herbs can be grown in your garden so you can control the quality of your herbs and it’s relatively cheap and satisfying.

Natural herbs can aid weight loss and provide your daily requirement for vitamins. Many practitioners believe that losing weight with natural herbs does not harm your body and can be a very effective way of losing weight.

Natural herbs help in restoring digestion, correcting imbalances in the body and fighting free radicals, all of which contribute to eventual and long lasting good health. Herbs help remove toxins from the body, allowing you to lead a longer and stronger life. Popular weight loss herbs are green tea, cayenne, bitter orange, spirulina or blue green algae, St John’s wort, guarana, guggul and ephedra. Green tea reputedly burns fat and sipping a few cups of green tea in a day can be quite beneficial. Cinnamon tea is also known to promote weight loss. Herbs like ginseng are very helpful for a long and fruitful sexual life. Ginseng is also known to reduce stress and fatigue.

There are even herbs like acai berry and bilberry which are touted as magic foods. Acai berry is packed with amino acids, antioxidants and essential omega fatty acids. Chock full of iron and fiber, these berries are great when added to white tea. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian therapy which largely relies on body types and different herbs and how to find the balance. In finding that balance, you get a healthy body.

Adding herbs to food can not only increase its taste but can also improve the way the food benefits and reacts in your body. For instance, using cayenne pepper or mustard in your food will not only add a spicy twist to your food, but will also help your body release endorphins, making you feel happy. The slight kick to your food can increase your metabolism up to 20 per cent which is always good news for your weight loss plans. The herb evening primrose can tell your brain it is full, therefore acting as an appetite suppressant. This herb even is used as a relieving herb for itches and rashes. Some herbal supplements also act as much need fiber in your diet. Tea of the stinging nettle is known for its anti allergy properties. The leaves and root of butterbur is used to also treat allergies, to lower cholesterol, and reduce risk for cardiovascular and cancerous diseases.

You should also be aware that while adding herbs to your daily diet is a great step, there are many manufacturers out there who claim to bottle and sell these herbs. You should be careful and read all the fine print about the herbs you purchase, before you ingest them.

Submitted on January 16, 2014