Links contained in this post and elsewhere on my website may include affiliate links. When you make a purchase through these links, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you. I only link to products and services that I love - and that I think you will love, too!

Read Time:3 Minute, 55 Second

Everyone’s talking about adaptogens for energy, but they aren’t the full story when it comes to herbs for energy! Several types of herbs support energy and keep fatigue at bay. These include antioxidant rich, caffeine containing plants like guarana and yerba mate (and tea and coffee!); Qi and Blood tonic herbs; and, of course, adaptogens.

The Foundation of Good Energy

Sleep and stress are often the first culprits if your energy is low. Once your sleep schedule is back in balance and you have a plan in place for managing stress, you may find that your energy level rising on its own!
It’s important to see your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. A poorly functioning thyroid, low iron levels, immune system problems, or even heart or respiratory ailments can sap your energy and make you feel tired.
But what if everything checks out ok and you want to explore herbs to support energy? Adaptogens and tonics are two types of herbs can play a key role in your herbal energy plan!

But first, let’s look at two herbs that are often billed as caffeine-free coffee alternatives – but are really just caffeine in disguise.

Guarana and Yerba Mate for Herbal Energy

I think a lot of people assume that being healthy means abstaining from caffeine. Coffee is central to this debate. Is it really bad for you? The pendulum swings back and forth every few years. Coffee does contain some useful antioxidants, but adding a lot of sugar and creamer probably cancels out any potential benefits.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with caffeine. Especially not if it comes from an antioxidant rich source like white or green tea. I enjoy coffee and tea in moderation and switch up my routine with yerba mate, too. But many people don’t realize that guarana and yerba mate both contain caffeine.

They are usually peddled as a natural energy boost. And they are – in exactly the same was as coffee! In fact, guarana has even more caffeine than coffee in a same weight comparison. Although some people claim yerba mate has a milder effect than normal tea because it contains mateine rather than caffeine, mateine is actually the same as caffeine.

Tonic Herbs for Energy

Tonic herbs fit into several categories. Those categories support the body in specific ways. Within the realm of tonic herbs, two types support energy levels. These are Qi tonics and Blood tonics. Qi is intricately linked to overall vitality and energy levels in traditional herbalism. Feeling weak and tired, having low immunity, and being short of breath are signs that Qi needs to be strengthened and tonified.
Several Qi tonics are also adaptogens. These include
  • codonopsis (Codonopsis pilosula)
  • astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)
  • ginseng (Panax spp);
Qi tonics also includes herbs like wild yam (Dioscoria batatas).
Blood tonics support energy in a more nourishing way. Within traditional systems, blood tonics are indicated with low energy accompanied by dizziness, paleness, and blurry vision.
Blood tonics include
  • white peony root (Paeonia lactiflora)
  • dang gui (Angelica sinensis)
  • rehmannia (Rehmannia glutinosa)

    Adaptogens for Energy

So, what’s the deal with adaptogens? Adaptogens help our bodies cope with physical, mental, and emotional stressors. Despite a reputation for being very energizing, some can be used before bed. They are on a spectrum from very energizing to calming.
Tulsi and ashwagandha are two adaptogens that aren’t very stimulating. Both are good ingredients in bedtime tea blends. On the other end of the spectrum, ginseng is one of the most energizing. In the middle are herbs like rhodiola and eleuthero.

My Favorite Tips for Herbal Energy

So how do you use herbs to support healthy energy levels? It all starts with a plan: do a lifestyle audit to examine what’s sapping your energy in the first place. After that, determine how you want to add herbs to your health routines. Do you want a tea you can settle down with and collect your thoughts over? Would you prefer capsules for on the go convenience? My top three tips are:

  • Enjoy tea and caffeine containing plants in moderation (if you like)
  • Take time to select a single adaptogen or a blend that resonates well with you
  • Talk to an herbalist about which tonic herbs might be good for you

Below, you can find some of my favorite herbal supplements for energy.

All the best,


Picture credit from Pixabay.

Previous post Exploring Herbs and Sleep
Next post Exploring Herbs + Digestion