Once upon a time, an Austrian businessman awoke exhausted, hung-over and in Thailand. Searching for a local energy elixir, he found a potent brew that gave him back his mojo and set him straight sailing for the day. The businessman tweaked this homegrown recipe and began marketing it, and today the strong and fruity beverage is the world’s top selling energy drink. Ever heard of Red Bull?
The quest for extra energy has been a cherished human pursuit ever since we needed a little extra “oomf” for the lion hunt or some increased stamina for berry-gathering season. Caffeine in its many glorious forms may be the most popular energy booster on the planet, but it can cause your blood sugar to drop sharply, deplete the adrenal gland and cause addiction.
For alternative energizers, try out these remedies from around the world and find the one that works best for you.
Emerging from the cold Caucasus Mountains of Siberia, Rhodiola rosea was also a popular energy enhancer in Ancient Greece and today is touted as one of the best “forgotten” energizers. Extracts of the root increase the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate, which deliver energy to the cells and therefore improve energy levels all around.
No household in India is complete without a jar of chyawanprash, an herbal jelly that is packed with energizing spices, herbs and other Ayurvedic ingredients. With a sweet and spicy taste of prunes and fruit, this dark jam is eaten on toast or by the spoonful every day by millions of Indians.
For thousands of years, gotu kola has been the herb of choice for increased energy as well as elevated mood in China. Also used extensively in India and Indonesia, gotu kola is a mild stimulant whose leaves are eaten fresh in salads, curries and cold tonic drinks.
Down under you can count on a delicious cup of Milo to deliver an added boost of energy. A thick chocolate and malt powder, Milo is mixed with hot or cold water or milk to create a nutritious drink that is fortified with vitamins and minerals and beloved by Australian school kids.
Ancient Greek athletes ate bee pollen to increase their stamina and strength, and recent USDA studies show that it can also protect the body against cancer. Full of glucosides (natural energy stores), vitamins and minerals, bee pollen is a powerful supplement for increased vigor.
Although the root known as Siberian ginseng originates in the icy region, it has been used medicinally for enhanced energy in Korea as well as China and Japan for over two thousand years. Siberian ginseng improves performance, reduces fatigue and best of all, increases energy levels over time. Try it in a tea.
If you travel to Peru to hike the amazing Incan ruins, you might be offered maca in the form of porridge or baked goods to nourish your body and help bolster your stamina. Available abroad in capsules or as a freeze-dried juice, this mountain root vegetable increases energy and may also be an aphrodisiac.