We have covered articles in the past that detail the use of Nervines regarding herbal and naturopathic foods. To review, Nervines are substances that affect (either in a stimulatory or a calming perspective) the nervous system of the human body (Examples of this are Chamomile, Peppermint, and Valerian). What about training?
Well, while you’re exercising, you can utilize herbal nervines that are excitatory or stimulatory. This is to effect an increase in circulating blood volume, concentration, and also to “fire up” the neurosynaptic nerve junctions so crucial to the interactions of neuromuscular functions.
Seriously, herbs such as Guarana and substances such as coffee (the caffeine) can have very positive effects on stimulating the circulation. Things to gauge are also the time of the day (morning, afternoon, or evening) you will exercise, and what you have eaten before the workout. A cup of coffee (depending on the type and the strength) averages anywhere from 100 to 165 mg of caffeine, with a max daily limit, advised of 400 mg. Now I’m here to tell you (and you guys and gals know how much I love coffee), this “ceiling” leaves some “wiggle room,” as caffeine is something your system builds up a tolerance to…with diuretic effects declining after you’ve been drinking it over a period of time.
Be advised: caffeine will have “synergistic effects” with other stimulatory herbs and foods. This means that combining it with other stimulatory substances will potentiate (add to or increase) its own effects. Guarana is taken to increase athletic performance, to increase cognition and energy, and for the libido. Guarana is a plant from South America whose seeds contain caffeine. It stimulates the CNS (Central Nervous System), and the heart, and contains both theobromine and theophylline, that mimic the effect of caffeine. It is very “powerful,” and must be used wisely in order to prevent taking in too much.
Taurine is an organic compound that can help the neurotransmitter system of the human body. It directly crosses the BBB (Blood-Brain Barrier) and is essential for cardiovascular and muscular function and development. It also keeps Magnesium and Potassium inside of cells and keeps Sodium out. A normal supplementation of this is safe at a dosage of 3 grams (g) per day.
These are supplements you can use prior to the workout, and then afterward. Calmative nervines, such as your herbal teas (Chamomile, Catnip, Peppermint, and Valerian are all relaxing herbs that can help you in your recovery time. Peppermint is very high in potassium, helps relax muscles, and is a crucial electrolyte that we utilize when conducting physical exercise or athletic activities. Please also refer to the article that I wrote on recovery post-workout, and you can utilize these tisanes (teas, if you wish) to help in that recovery process.
To summarize, there is no “quick fix” for your physical conditioning, but proper diet, exercise, and recovery will give you the start on the path toward wellness. Herbal supplements and nutritional aids such as those mentioned are “starters” for your consideration both pre and post workout and to help you recover, as well as maintain what you have. Stay in that good fight! JJ out!