More people are recognizing the essence of a healthy lifestyle and regular workout but those intense training sessions can leave you sore and tired for the whole day. What’s more important than regular workout is the way you recover after workout. Having sore muscle can be really frustrating for working guys.
Mother earth has blessed us with some wonderful herbs that can help your body in different ways, these herbs can help in reducing soreness, boosting the production of growth hormones and can provide vital nutrients to the body.
Whether you are a pro-athlete or regular fitness enthusiast, an effective post-workout recovery routine should not go unrecognized if you are looking to improved strength, performance, and endurance.
How post-workout recovery herbs work?
Daily workout is not enough to improve performance, you need to feed you with the right food and supplements to help it recover fast and develop into a stronger being. Factors that affect strength, energy, and post-workout recovery:
- Production of anabolic hormones
- Promotion of better sleep
- Reduction in inflammation and swelling
- Supporting joint health
- Improves energy levels
- The reduction in stress and anxiety
- Healthy blood circulation
Most of the people are not the pro-athlete and have daily jobs to focus on. These powerful herbs will helps in improving the overall quality of life.
We will be discussing the wide variety of herbs today to give you more flexibility to choose the best available supplement in your country.
11 Post-workout recovery herbs
#1 Cat’s claw
The herb got its name because of its thorns resembling cat’s claw. It grows wild in the Amazon rain forest and other tropical areas of Central and South America.
Cat’s claw is a powerful herb that has been used to cure many ailments since the Inca civilization.
Cat’s claw contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties that are found to reduce swelling in arthritis. Other historical uses of includes the prevention of viral infections, and to stimulate the immune system.
A study (1) to determine the proposed anti-inflammatory properties of cat’s claw found improvement in the reduction of pain and inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of the cat’s claw can be proven helpful in reducing post-workout swelling and tenderness.
Especially beneficial for someone who experiences post-workout joint pain.
#2 Tribulus Terrestris
One of the most beloved herbal supplements in the fitness industry. It’s also known as Puncture Vine, Gokshura, and Goat’s Head in different parts of the world.
It has been widely used by many bodybuilders to improve testosterone levels, sleep quality, muscle development, and libido.
Traditionally, Tribulus has been used for centuries to reduce swelling and improves the urinary tract (2).
A 90-days study (3) conducted to observe the changes in sexual health and testosterone levels in men. It concluded that Tribulus (Gokshura) delivered positive changes in sexual health and improved testosterone levels by 16%.
- It enhances the testosterone levels which results in faster recovery and improved development of lean muscle tissues.
- Tribulus is also known to improve sleep quality which allows better healing time to the body.
- May helps in reducing pain and inflammation after intense training (4).
My favorite natural testosterone booster that is proven to improve the recovery time and minimize soreness.
A study (6) published in the journal of sports and health science, conducted on 60 healthy individuals. Volunteers were divided into two groups, one group was supplemented with 600mg of fenugreek per day.
Results demonstrated significant anabolic and androgenic activity as compared with the placebo. Subjects who were given fenugreek showed significant improvements in body fat without a reduction in muscle strength.
Another study (7) conducted on a group of 30 men found a significant improvement in muscle development and fat reduction.
- It helps in boosting the anabolic hormones that play a vital role in accelerated recovery.
- The supplement improves the energy levels which improves the overall quality of life.
- Fenugreek is also found to improve joint health and reduce soreness (8).
In the western market, Eucalyptus is widely used in oil form for a variety of conditions. As a kid, my mom used to rub eucalyptus oil on my chest to relieve cough and viral infections. I never knew, I will be using it as an active post-workout therapy.
Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil in how to water bath can help in relieving pain and stiffness from muscles. It is also a great oil to add into your aromatherapy oil diffuser, it will help in reducing stress and achieving restful sleep.
- Plant leaves contain tannins, a compound that is found useful in relieving swelling and pain.
- Its effectiveness in relieving joint pain makes it the best recovery solution after heavy compound lifts (squats, deadlifts).
- It’s sleep-promoting properties also support the recovery process.
Asian food culture has been prominently using ginger in their daily food recipes. It’s not a spice that only tastes good, it delivers some promising health benefits too. Chinese Stir Fry Dishes, Thai curries, Indian curries contain plenty of ginger.
Ginger contains strong anti-inflammatory properties than work really well in reducing soreness and pain.
Some early studies (9) have shown some promising effects of ginger in reducing pain and inflammation. In Chinese medicine, ginger has also been used to improve blood circulation which promotes a better supply of nutrients and heat.
In another human study (11), 75 infertile men were supplemented with ginger for three months. Researchers observed a 17% rise in testosterone levels and their levels of luteinizing hormone had nearly doubled (12).
Including ginger in daily food habits may lead to faster recovery and better libido levels.
Another herb that has been a part of ancient Ayurveda. It has been primarily used to relieve stress and anxiety.
Do stress and anxiety affect your body’s capability to recover? Yes, Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D. says, psychological stress may extend the healing time for up to 25 percent more.
Ashwagandha is also known to improve serum quality (13) and testosterone levels in males.
Additionally, another study (14) conducted on the effects of Ashwagandha on exercise performance revealed some extensive information. The study reports that ashwagandha supplementation is associated with significant increases in muscle mass and strength.
Ashvagandha is helping your body to recover faster in a multidimensional way, it is helping in improved exercise performance, improving strength, boosting testosterone levels and lowering stress hormones.
I can not expect anything further from a single herb.
#7 Green Tea
Yes, one of the most popular refreshment drink for any fitness enthusiast, Green tea contains antioxidants that help in reducing inflammation and eliminating free radicals from the body.
Scientific research (15) published in Elsevier gave us one more reason to love green tea. Researchers observed green tea to help in reducing muscle damage and potential help in exercise recovery.
Additionally, green tea also contains a compound that improves the energy levels and metabolic rate, hence assists in trimming down stubborn fat.
Swapping your caffeinated drink with a green tea is definitly a healthier choice. Green tea can assist in boosting energy levels, getting rid of free radicals and now has been scientifically proven to improve workout recovery as well.
# 8 Turmeric/curcumin
Another staple item in every Indian kitchen. Turmeric has been known for its anti-inflammatory properties and other medicinal values.
In a study (16) in people with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug.
It’s a supplement that should be taken by everyone (physically active or inactive). It will help in achieving accelerated recovery but also improves the cardiovascular and cognitive function.
Some people don’t like garlic because of its bad smell. Garlic contains “allicin”, it’s a compound that reducing stress levels.
High-stress contributes to slow recovery post-workout recovery and a decline in testosterone levels.
Additionally, garlic also helps in fighting the common cold and helps in weight loss.
When levels of stress hormones are drawn back to healthy levels, the body’s natural testosterone production can get to the optimal level as well.
#10 Horny Goat Weed
Horney goat weed has been used as a part of ancient Chinese medicine to treat erectile dysfunction and naturally boost testosterone levels.
This herb increases the nitric oxide levels in the body that results in better blood flow and a better supply of nutrients throughout the body and sexual organs.
Apart from helping with Erective dysfunction, Horny goat weed is also proven to have positive effects in fighting osteoporosis (21). Additionally, it’s also helpful in treating high blood pressure, fatigue, atherosclerosis, and brain health.
Its a great post-workout recovery supplement for elderlies who are also suffering from ED and high blood pressure.
#11 Shilajit Extract
Another medicine from the ancient Ayurveda. Although it’s not exactly a herb, but it has got some extraordinary effects on men’s vitality, energy, and recovery.
Its a sticky substance found in the rocks of Himalayas. In ancient Indian culture, Shilajit has been used to treat many diseases.
Prominently shilajit has been used to treat infertility, low testosterone levels, chronic fatigue, loss of muscle mass and improved longevity.
Basically, its a medicine that can help in overall well being.
Many pro athletes are known to supplement with pure shilajit extracts to enhance sports performance and boost testosterone levels.
Science-backed tips to faster recovery
Enough talked about the best herbs to improve the recovery period but there are few other factors too that play important role in accelerating the recovery process.
Its a time when your body produces growth hormones, 6 hours sleep is not enough for the best recovery. What’s the best sleep duration? For the optimum production of growth hormone, your body requires 8-hours of restful sleep.
You can not expect the supplements to do all the work for you, a balanced diet is a key to achieve your dream body goal.
No recovery herb will work in the absence of a balanced diet. Concentrate on high protein and high carb diet for the best recovery.
Active recovery routine:
I understand you had a killing workout session, now what? Now some cool-down period or active recovery routine can help in reducing the symptoms of DOMS.
Active recovery routines like swimming, jogging, foal rolling, yoga, etc assists in relieving stress and improving blood flow throughout the body. Active recovery also flushes the lactic buildup which results in accelerated recovery.
Alcohol is bad for your recovery process. It dehydrates your body that makes the recovery process harder to achieve.
Additionally, Alcohol doesn’t help you achieve restful sleep.