Our energy levels fluctuate between different times of the day and periods of our lives. Sometimes we feel fine and are capable of undertaking our tasks but there are times that we just feel tired often for reasons we do not know.
Possible reasons for fatigue/weakness
- A poor diet that lacks the nutrients needed by the body
- Hormonal issues (imbalance, menopause, periods etc.)
- Lack of adequate body exercise
- Some medications etc.
- Nutrients deficiency etc.
We often have to balance school, work, parenting, marriage, relationships, businesses and many other energy-consuming tasks every day of our lives. It should come as no surprise that some times we need an energy boost to keep going. We all know that we cannot stop the train called life just because we are feeling tired.
Before we discuss on herbs, let us briefly touch on good sources of energy and bad sources of energy. This is because while some foods and routines can increase your energy levels, sometimes there is a downside to them after you get your energy high.
So what are healthy ways that we can improve our energy in our lives. They are:
This is very necessary for overall health and energy in the body. When we are stressed or tired during the day, take a quick nap to refresh yourself and give your body time to rest and refresh
Staying hydrated. Water is needed for most body functions and when we are not properly hydrated, our body starts to struggle with keeping up with us making us feel tired.
A healthy Balanced diet
Eat a healthy balanced diet that helps your body produce enough energy that you need for the day such as whole grains and legumes, fruits, vegetables, etc.
Avoid high sugar foods and drinks, caffeine, over-processed foods, etc. avoid skipping meals as fluctuations in blood sugar levels can also make you feel fatigued.
Exercise regularly. For many, they think of the gym when exercising is mentioned. However, what is actually meant is for a person to be in the habit of having regular moderate activity at different times of the day. You will then expended energy and your heartbeat rate increases thereby improving blood flow in the body.
This can be achieved with a 30 minutes walk, jogging, simple exercise like the ones we do in our primary school during PE (e.g touching toes), vigorous dancing, playing some sports e.g. football, basketball, running around with your children and playing, etc.
Find comfortable ways of incorporating some good exercise routines in your life to help increase and improve your energy.
The “bad” sources of energy are referred to as such because after the energy boost they give to the body, it is followed by an “energy crash” where one feels more tired, irritable, and weaker than before.
To prevent this crash, you will need to avoid high sugar-containing drinks, energy drinks in the form of soda and carbonated drinks, caffeine from coffee, Nescafe, etc. energy-boosting drugs, etc.
Energy-boosting herbs, supplements, and remedies
Taking note of the possible reasons for our fatigue, we should try and correct them for a more long-term and sustainable solution.
However, when we know we are mostly fine as much as we can tell. It’s just the occasional tiredness that happens every once in a while, here are some herbs available locally in Nigeria, West Africa, and many other parts of the world though, some are imported.
Plant part used: leaves
Guava leaves are almost tasteless and very safe for consumption. They are rich in antioxidants, anti-bacterial properties, anti-inflammatory properties, helpful tannin,s etc.
Guava leaves are not one of those plants that we go to the market to buy at least most of us here in Nigeria. This is because you can easily get them from a friend’s or a neighbour’s compound. If that fails, the local herbal market in Nigeria should have guava leaves though they will probably be powdered.
How to use:
- Boil a handful of the guava leaves in sufficient water. About 1/2-1 liter
- Sieve it when cooled.
- Take the warm water twice a day after meals
- use this herb for about 3-5 days
Boswellia dalzielii herb
Botanical name: Boswellia dalzielii
Hausa name: Ararrabi
Plant part used: Bark
This is a commonly used herb in Northern Nigeria for centuries and is embedded in the culture just like the use of kola nut in Nigeria. My mother tells me about how her parents and the people of then used to used theis herb whenever they feel any kind of weakness or tiredness because its effect is almost immediate.
Ararrabi has strong anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties and is a very common plant in the tropical and savannah areas of Africa.
How to use:
- You can boil about a 3-4 inches long piece of the herb (about the size of your forefinger) with adequate water for you for the day
- Sieve the herb and take it across the day as you wish.
- Repeat this for the coming days
- Do not take more than 3 days in a row
Note: Don’t take this herb continuously every day. use it only when you really need it because too much of it can affect your liver. I will even say, those with liver problems should choose from other remedies on the list to be on the safe side
- Place this herb in a cup or container and add adequate water that will be enough for you for the day
- After about 2 hours, decant some of the water to take and keep the herb in the remaining water
- You can take this herb throughout the day as you wish but not more for than 3 continuous days
Ginseng is an Asian herb that is said to be effective not just for energy and vitality but also for aging, stimulates brain function, Improves focus, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
There is a variety of ginseng herb species across Asia and most of them are used for energy boosts among others. Ginseng is a very strong herb which is why it needs to be taken in moderation and not over a long period of time.
Unfortunately, the ginseng herb is one of the most expensive herbs in the world. This is why many ginseng products contain filler ingredients or an inadequate amount of ginseng in the product for it to be effective.
So, be careful of the concentration or percentage of the ginseng herb you are using on the product pack. It is available in tonic, powder, drinks, and beverages. Choose whichever has a higher concentration of the herb in it.
*Caution- for those taking medications for depression, heart disease, and diabetes, it is known to interact with the prescriptions so, you will need a doctor’s guidance before using this herb or you can simply choose another remedy from this list.
How to use:
You will most likely buy It in it as a packaged product so just use it according to the directions on the product package.
Broadleaf fig herb
English name: Broadleaf fig
Botanical name; Ficus platyphylla
Hausa name: Gamji
Plant part used: bark
This plant is used is commonly used in Nigerian traditional medicine for it has many benefits and uses. It is used as an anti-malarial, energizer, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic herb among some. Today, we will be using it as an energizer and it is a relatively safer herb than Boswellia dalzielii for long-term use.
How to use:
- Boil a 3-4-inch piece of bark (like the average size of a forefinger) of the broadleaf fig in about half a liter of water
- Allow it to cool then sieve the tea
- Take the water extract twice a day morning and evening after meals
- Use this herb for 3-5 days
We often say cocoa most of the time but this time you will need to get the cacao powder. Their difference is that cacao powder is the wholesome powder from the cocoa bean which has minimal processing. The cocoa powder is the processed powder and less nutritive form of cacao after the cocoa butter and other important components have been removed.
Cacao powder has naturally occurring mild caffeine which boosts energy and is very high in magnesium (among the highest on the world food ladder) whose deficiency can be the culprit of low energy In the body.
It also improves memory, concentration, high in antioxidants etc. You can read more about cocoa here.
Remember the common Nigerian breakfast is a cocoa based beverage drink e.g milo, Bournvita, Ovaltine etc. we call tea and some bread.
On the pack of these cocoa heavy products, one of the main benefits it touts is that it gives you the energy you need for the day by just having a cup of it. This energy-boosting property can be attributed to the cocoa bean.
Kola nuts are known to Nigerians for many reasons as it is used for health, social and as a stimulant by the local population. This nut should be used in moderation too because it has very high naturally occurring caffeine which can be addicting.
It is used as a central nervous stimulant and a quick energy booster. This is something that I know of since I was a child. the grannies and grandpas, sometimes even the middle-aged use it every day. Back then, it used to be a sign of old age when one begins to chew this nut as a snack in their leisure time.
Remember that it stains the teeth so instead of chewing it as it is normally done, try blending it with some water and drink the extract
How to use:
- Chew about an inch or less of the kola nut when feeling tired or week
- You can do this in the morning and evening or whatever time is convenient for you. do not take more than 2 inches of the nut in a day
Just like iron, magnesium is very important for body function and maintaining your energy throughout the day. It is needed by the body in converting food to energy, muscle movement, nervous system operation, and about 600 more body functions.
You can try getting magnesium supplements from the pharmacy or health stores in your area. Their dosage should be as directed on the pack.
Magnesium rich foods are Whole grains and legumes such as beans, wheat, fonio, green vegetables, nuts and seeds, etc. Generally, foods that are rich in fiber are also rich in magnesium.
Some of us know that hemoglobin from our biology class is a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. To do this efficiently, sufficient iron in the body is needed to make this happen.
When you have iron deficiency, it cannot carry oxygen to the body tissues efficiently. This results in iron deficiency anemia and as we know one of the signs of anemia is fatigue and weakness.
Food sources of iron are fish, meat, beans, eggs, Dark- green vegetables, nuts, etc. Iron occurring naturally in foods might not be the best option if you are looking for immediate action. try iron supplements which will be more effective in increasing your energy levels.
Iron in large amounts suddenly in the body can cause an adverse reaction so only take this supplement according to the direction on the bottle. But in the long-run, try and incorporate more iron-rich foods so that you can stop taking the iron supplements.
Vitamin B helps in converting food into the energy that our body cells can use to function. It also keeps our cells healthy and helps guard the body against fatigue and weakness.
When the body is unable to absorb it from the food we eat or when it is low in the body, there is a tendency that you will feel some weakness.
Sources of vitamin B include animal products such as meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, dark green vegetables, seafood etc.
You can also opt for a more efficient dose of vitamin B which is the pharmaceutical tablets of the vitamin B complex (a combination of different types of vitamin Bs needed in the body) which can be bought in health and pharmaceutical stores easily.
Vitamin D is also popularly known as the vitamin we get from being exposed to sunshine. This vitamin is necessary in preventing muscle fatigue.
There is a misconception that we as black people don’t need vitamin D which is not true. So if you are feeling tired, take yourself outside to sit under the morning or evening sun not the hot afternoon sun which can damage your skin. Doing this can make you feel more alert and refreshed.
Meat, fish, cow liver, are all good alternative sources of vitamin D and You can also try vitamin D supplements for quick action and convenience.
We tend to go looking for an energy booster when we are overwhelmed with work or when we are feeling tell-all signs of being sick (even if we don’t know it yet).
Eating well, sleeping adequately, getting regular exercises, and staying hydrated are not always possible for us. If you are looking for an energy booster, you can use the remedies and herbs mentioned above. I am quite confident in their effectiveness.
Remember not to overuse the remedies because they are not as safe to be consumed in large quantities and for a long period. Feel comfortable using these recommended tips and remedies for the time being but remember to address the underlying problem for a more permanent solution.
Try and avoid the regular use of energy drinks for boosting energy because they can be dangerous for our health and many are addictive and make our body dependent due tot their high sugar and caffeine.
Some countries e.g UK have considered banning the sale of energy drinks to those below the age of 18 due to the threat it posed to public health. So tread carefully on those drinks and use them sparingly.
I hope you got what you came looking for and please rate this article down below so that we can improve our skills. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to talk to you in the comments below.
I hope you have a nice day and bye for now!