When you think of sports, herbalism probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind, but the two complement each other surprisingly well. Whatever kind of athlete you are, there’s probably an herb out there that could help you recover quicker, perform better or improve your focus, so what’s to lose? In this article, we’ll go over some of the most loved and common forms of exercise and which herbs can help you enhance your game.
Long-distance running requires a lot of endurance and stamina, and the repeated stress of impact on the leg bones and particularly joints can cause problems, especially to those who aren’t living the healthiest lifestyle. The most common running injuries include shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome if you want to get technical) and Achilles tendinopathy (pain in the Achilles tendon). Popular herbs for runners include rosemary for reducing inflammation, ginseng root for increased stamina and endurance as well as ginger, which is very popular for its anti-inflammatory effects and can help to reduce the swelling caused by shin splints.
While golf is not the most strenuous of activities, it’s a lot more than just exchanging golf puns & jokes with your friends while putting a golf ball around. Knee pain, back pain, tendinitis in the wrist and rotator cuff injury are amongst the most common golfing injuries, and a lot of these pains can be reduced or prevented by herbal remedies. In particular, an herbal bath after a challenging round can help to prevent inflammation and promote repair, with herbs like basil, lavender, and mint to promote healing and the reduction of inflammation.
With bodybuilding, one of the main priorities is to gain muscle mass, without injuring yourself, or if in the event that you do injure yourself, maintain the ability to recover quickly. Once again, ginseng is a popular choice because it supports muscle synthesis as it is an adaptogen herb, which helps your body cope with the stress of everyday life, both physical and mental. Tribulus is another herb that is known amongst the herbalism community for improving muscle growth with few side effects. A big plus for aspiring body-builders.
Swimming is another hugely popular sport that requires physical strength from muscle while also retaining a lean physique, excellent coordination, strong breathing as well as visual and mental acuity. As a result, swimmers tend to benefit from herbs such as ginseng and ashwagandha, both of which promote the growth of lean muscle mass in the body. In addition, herbs such as rosemary ginkgo and mugwort can all help to improve mental clarity and thus improve swimming performance
Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that has become more physically-focused as it has moved to the West, but nonetheless still holds ties to its Hindu roots; in particular, its ties to Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, and thus yoga and herbalism are frequently seen together. Herbs such as evening primrose, cayenne and dandelion can all help to relieve pain, make stretching and healing easier whilst detoxing the body.
There are thousands of herbs with thousands of more applications. This is only a brief guide, but hopefully, it gives you a head start into the world of herbalism and how you can utilize the power of herbs to up your game, whether it be golfing or swimming.
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