When you’re talking about the adrenals, there are a few major hormones at play.
- Adrenaline (aka epinephrine)
- Noradrenaline (aka norepinephrine)
As with anything, to best get results you’ll need to take a multi-prong approach.
Support the Kidneys
The first herb that occurred to me was He Shou Wu. This herb is specific to the Kidneys and is one of the very best for them. And by that, I mean in Chinese medicine terms, not just the organ itself.
The kidneys are the storehouse of jing. And the adrenals sit physically on top of the kidneys. I don’t think it’s possible to have excellent adrenal health without having the Kidneys in good shape as well.
There’s a saying in China that “It’s okay to become tired, but not exhausted.” Tiredness is fine. That’s just using your everyday Qi. But exhaustion taps into jing and depletes the adrenals.
Physiologically your cortisol goes up with more and more stress. This can lead to adrenal fatigue.
It’s not that stress is bad, in fact, we can’t live or grow without, but modern day living causes low levels of chronic stress, which is worse for the adrenals than a one time thing, like being chased by a tiger (which doesn’t often happen in modern day living).
But you can get to a breaking point where your cortisol then becomes low, when you’ve reached adrenal burnout.
In either case, He shou wu can be deeply restorative to this area. The jing energy has a big correlation to adrenal health.
Another great kidney option is prepared Rehmannia which is sometimes called “the kidney’s own food.”
Get on Adaptogens
The second place to go to would be the adaptogens. But you have to be careful here…
Many people use adaptogens a bit haphazardly. Many people take them as a way to combat stress and have greater energy. They do help with this for sure. However, if you take adaptogens to push harder in your life it can lead to more problems.
The best option would be to take adaptogens, while also making some lifestyle changes at the same time, to really reign your adrenal health back in. Here’s a few of the top adaptogenic herbs, though most of the herbs on our site have some adaptogenic effects.
- Maral Root
While there are many adaptogens for the best effect I think a blend of them, like our Spartan Broad Spectrum Adaptogenic Formula, may best assist.
Support Triple Warmer
In Chinese medicine, the triple warmer, or triple heater, is a meridian that isn’t based so much on an organ like most of the others but is more systemic. It definitely has to do with the adrenals, as it governs our fight-or-flight system, having an impact on metabolism and the immune system too.
There are a couple herbs specific to the triple warmer like licorice, gardenia fruit and bupleurum.
But mostly, in my opinion, calming triple warmer is about not becoming chronically stressed.
Make sure your sleep and eating are optimal, adding in a rejuvenating practice like meditation and/or feeling gratitude on a daily basis, and you should be able to get your adrenals working better in no time.
You can’t just take herbs and expect everything to get better. Here are some lifestyle and other tips that can help.
• Lay off the caffeine and other stimulants, especially coffee. While coffee certainly has its place, supporting the adrenals is not one of them.
• Do some form of meditation every single day.
• Exercise is good, but too much or too high intensity (and especially the combo of the two) is problematic. Keep your exercise easier. Moving meditations like walking, bodyweight flow or yoga can be great. I’m a big advocate of keeping your training relatively easy.
Of course, all the other basics that are true for everything, like better quality and quantity of sleep, proper hydration with high-quality water, and eating good quality and low toxin food are all important.