5 Herbs That Fight Fatigue, Improve Immunity & Boost Energy, from an MD
We are all bombarded with toxins on a cellular level every day, whether from the foods we eat, the environment, such as water or air pollutants, or our own stress levels. The most natural way to counteract this cellular stress and fight the fatigue that results? Herbs.
Herbs have the power to "relieve symptoms with specific mechanisms that counter cellular stress," according to Dr. Bill Rawls, who has written a book about how everyday herbs can help boost energy, strengthen immunity and promote overall wellbeing.
A medical doctor and OBGYN by training, Dr. Rawls become an expert in the science of herbs over the past 15 years and believes these natural world plants are as powerful at killing bugs in our system as some medicine. "We have been overlooking the most obvious thing under our nose," he says, "and that is the power of plants. Our pharmaceutical world is mostly ignoring it. But the science is out there now."
Dr. Rawls believes that if people just took a handful of herbs every day it would make a remarkable difference in their overall energy, digestive system, immunity, and wellbeing.
How an OBGYN Became an Herbal Doctor
Dr. Rawls found his way to a wellbeing lifestyle through herbal intervention in his own life. He now hopes to help others improve their energy, immunity, digestive health, and overall wellbeing by adding powerful herbal supplements to their daily wellbeing routine.
"I went into medicine but I.now think most of my job is as an educator," he says. After a lifetime of seeing patients and solving his own chronic illness, he believes that
most chronic diseases can be helped with more self-care, rather than more pharmaceuticals. His take: When a patient is seen by a doctor, the first goal is to medicate and mask his or her symptoms, whereas the best strategy is to heal on a cellular level, preferably by eliminating what is causing the symptoms in the first place.
When he suffered from a serious case of Lyme Disease that then expressed itself as fibromyalgia, all the gut-wrenching antibiotics didn't work to solve his fatigue or make him feel better. His joints ached and his mobility and energy were compromised. Taking more meds was not the answer, he decided, so he began to research the power of herbal remedies.
He has now written The Cellular Wellness Solution: Tap Into Your Full Health Potential With the Science-Backed Power of Herbs about how to use everyday herbs to treat your ailments and optimize your health. His five favorite herbs for better immunity, energy, sleep, and to fight aging, inflammation and general feelings of fatigue are among the most common herbs you can find. They include adaptogens like Rhodiola and spices like Turmeric.
Herbs Are a Part of Daily Self-Care
In the book, Dr. Rawls teaches the power of herbal treatments, and understanding herbs then offers his recommendations for diet and how to create a healthy environment for yourself. He proposes specific herbs to tackle most of the chronic problems facing Americans on a Standard American Diet that is high in junk food, meat, and saturated fat: Chronic inflammation, fatigue, digestive issues, poor sleep, compromised immunity, and so on. The goal is to move from managing illness to optimizing wellness.
"When I was an OBGYN I never dreamt I would become an herbalist," Dr. Rawls explained. But "four nights a week on-call I ended up getting run-down. And then I got Lyme Disease and Fibromyalgia, and they gave me antibiotics and it really messed with my gut. And so I followed my gut."
Dr. Rawls began researching alternative treatments, specifically herbs, and from there, he became fascinated with how to harness the power of herbs and use them to his benefit.
"All the scientific evidence pointed that these things have benefits," and he became his own best patient. After taking herbs for three months, his fibromyalgia cleared up, his energy returned and his symptoms, including an irregular heartbeat, had completed abated.
The Science of Herbs to Lower Cellular Stress
"Things people like me were speculating about 15 years ago we can now say with confidence, because of the research that is out there now," to support the use of herbs as an immune booster, to promote a healthier digestive system, and for fighting serious diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's," Dr. Rawls says. "Herbs work better than most probiotics at balancing the gut.
"When I started doing research, I realized, the science was good. And the cost of herbs is generally a fraction of what other treatments cost," especially for chronic conditions, Dr. Rawls adds. He grew more and more convinced that science-backed herbs could help others and researched further. The result is a life dedicated to teaching people about the power of herbs.
When you injure yourself, explains Dr. Rawls, say by spraining your ankle, you can use crutches and take the stress off it so it will heal. But on a cellular level, we are constantly under stress, from toxins in our environment and our food. And we never allow those cells to have less stress so they can heal.
"With herbs, we are putting ourselves on a new level: Herbs have anti-stress properties. The phytochemicals in herbs are helping protect us from that. Herbs can help us sleep better, fight off inflammation and infection and protect us from physical stress factors."
A word of caution: Be sure to research these herbs thoroughly and talk to your healthcare provider before taking them, as certain herbs can interact negatively with each other as well as other medications.
5 Science-Backed Herbs to Take Every Day to Be Healthier:
1. Rhodiola Rosea to reduce fatigue and restore energy and boost resilience
Rhodiola is one of the original adaptogens, meaning it lowers cellular stress.
Grown in a northern, harsh environment, it protects itself in the wild, and when we take it, it makes us more resilient, and more able to withstand chemical stress of any kind.
Rhodiola enhances cardiovascular function and protects nerve and brain tissue. Traditionally, Dr. Rawls writes, Rhodiola was used to improve work tolerance at high altitudes.
Research suggests that it may increase oxygen delivery to tissues, especially the heart. Rhodiola is energizing and boosts mood, counteracts depression, and promotes restful sleep.
2. Reishi mushrooms for immune support and to fight inflammation and viruses
Reishi is a shelf mushroom that you have likely seen growing like small fans out of the side of trees if you go walking in the woods.
Rainbow or rusty in color, Reishi mushrooms have been studied in Japan and found to have remarkable anti-cancer properties, immuno-modulating properties, and antiviral properties, so they help fight everything from infection to tumor growth.
One major benefit of Reishi is that it helps improve sleep, by promoting calm and reducing high-stress levels. "Reishi is not a good mushroom for food, but you can make a tea out of them, or more likely you'd want to take them as a supplement."
3. Turmeric for preventing arthritis, protecting brain health, and fighting microbes
"Everyone knows how great turmeric is," says Dr. Rawls. "In India, people consume on average a gram of turmeric a day. India has some of the lowest cancer rates and Alzheimer's disease, despite the fact that there is heavy pollution and turmeric has been tied to that fact." Turmeric has been shown to protect against neurodegenerative changes including those related to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, writes Dr. Rawls.
Turmeric has also been shown to help ease joint pain related to arthritis. It has been shown to protect liver cells, help[ promote the healing of stomach ulcers, and have anti-microbial properties against common bacteria including staphylococcus and viruses including herpes and strains of HPV.
"In my opinion, discovering these links between microbes and cancer makes it important to look to herbs such as turmeric, which may be part of the solution," writes Dr. Rawls in his book.
4. Gotu Kola for anti-inflammation, brain function, and healthy skin
Related to the parsley family, Gotu Kola is a general tonic that supports increased longevity. Gotu Kola has been found to support nerve function and balance within the central nervous system. It works by promoting GABA, a mood regulator in the brain, and helps boost memory and cognition.
Gotu Kola is also an immune helper since it helps the immune system manage stress, and helps in healthy circulation, which helps give skin its natural glow. For better brain health, as an immune booster and a skin revitalizer, Gotu Kola makes the list as an all-around health aid.
5. Milk Thistle to help our liver rid toxins from the body
We are all bombarded with toxins every day, many of which we never see. By one count there are 200,000 toxins in our environment that weren't there 100 years ago. Milk thistle has been shown to help the body generate new healthy liver cells.
"In your 20s you have nice beefy red liver," explains Dr. Rawls. "In your 50s and 60s, your liver takes on a mottled look, where fat cells replace liver cells." Some people get what's called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Milk thistle can protect and help repair the liver, even after chemotherapy, one study found.
Basically, milk thistle helps your body replace liver cells. It does this by supporting healthy glutathione and other antioxidant levels in liver cells
If you want to add one other, try Shilajit, which is not an herb but fermented minerals and phytochemicals that can be found in the crevices around rocks at high altitude environments. Shilajit has been used for hundreds of years to promote health and longevity in civilizations around the Himalayas, Dr. Rawls explains.
Shilajit is an all-around winner, since it helps support optimal gut function and promotes overall fitness and endurance, adds Dr. Rawls.
Shilajit improves skin health by stimulating collagen and is a mitochondrial energy booster, which is how the body converts energy in the cells. Shilajit has also been shown to support brain and heart function, immune function, and immune system function.
These are just a few of Dr. Rawls' favorite herbs to take daily but there are others that work for fighting bacteria and improving gut and digestive health, as well as boosting energy.
Bottom Line: Take These 5 Herbs to Boost Energy and Help Fight Cellular Aging
Our cells are stressed on a daily basis. Herbs help them heal and promote wellness, says Dr. Bill Rawls. Rather than treat illness, we should first support wellness, and herbal supplements can go a long way to help the body have more energy and stay healthy on a cellular level.
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