Many adults drink coffee and energy drinks to boost energy levels to get through the day. The FDA recommends consuming under 400 mg of caffeine daily (about 4-5 cups of coffee) to avoid harmful side effects. But many natural stimulants can help with that energy boost without pumping you full of caffeine. We’ll cover the top natural stimulants for energy that are generally safe to ingest.
Probably the most effective natural herbal stimulant, ginseng is a fleshy herb with a long root system. A clinical trial found that ginseng extract may increase energy, and another report stated that ginseng might improve cognitive thinking.
While it can be an effective natural stimulant, ginseng also has some side effects:
- Sleep issues
- Digestive issues
- Rapid heartbeat
- Blood pressure changes
- Severe skin reactions
If you decide to take ginseng, you may want to start with a small dose to reduce side effects.
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Ashwagandha is a shrub found in Asia and Africa that is classified as an adaptogen. Some studies have found that it can increase brain function and increase energy levels. It is most commonly taken as an extract because it is more potent than the leaves.
Ashwagandha is a relatively safe herbal stimulant to take. But people with autoimmune diseases and pregnant women should avoid it because it can raise blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
Guarana is an extract commonly found in energy drinks because it is a natural stimulant containing caffeine, saponins, and tannins, known for boosting energy and brain function. A current study found that guarana can also improve memory and alertness when taking a dose of 75mg.
Guarana is proven to be relatively safe to take, but some people have reported side effects of increased heart rate and anxiety when taken in large doses.
Used in traditional medicine around the world, Rhodiola Rosea is an herb that has been proven to increase alertness and endurance. Other studies have found it can reduce mental fatigue and improve brain function.
Rhodiola Rosea is safe to take with little to no side effects. However, if you choose to take Rhodiola Rosea, you need to be wary of the manufacturer because the FDA has issued several letters in 2021 because of purity, unwarranted health claims, and not being an approved drug.
An amino acid found in green tea leaves, L-Theanine is often extracted and used as a food additive or supplement. A study found that L-Theanine can improve brain function and stimulate the mind, creating a relaxed but alert mental state. Another study found that L-theanine can improve attention and reaction time when given 200 mg diluted in water to healthy adults suffering from high anxiety.
A natural stimulant, L-Theanine, is safe to consume in doses up to 900 mg for eight weeks. Occasionally, people experience mild side effects, including headaches and sleepiness. Pregnant or nursing women should not consume L-Theanine.
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A natural herb found in China and Indonesia, Gotu Kola is a herbal stimulant used to help boost brain power. A scientific study found that Gotu Kola extract can improve cognitive impairment after stroke when given doses of 750-1000 mg. A different study found that it may boost learning and memory in mice.
Because it is an herb, Gotu Kola isn’t regulated by the FDA but is safe in doses less than 1000 mg. Some people experience mild side effects, including upset stomach, headache, and dizziness.
Yerba Mate is an herbal tea from South America. Like coffee but with a chocolate flavor, Yerba Mate has less caffeine than coffee but is more potent than traditional tea. Studies have proven that caffeine is a natural stimulant that can boost learning, performance, and alertness.
People prefer Yerba Mate to coffee because it can cause fewer jitters, but you should only drink it occasionally. Drinking Yerba Mate can cause severe headaches, high blood pressure, and prolonged use can cause cancer.
An extract of the Ginkgo Biloba leaves, Ginkgo Biloba, has been used medicinally for thousands of years. While some studies have found that Ginkgo Biloba may be a natural stimulant with some health benefits, more clinical studies are needed to validate these initial studies.
Ginkgo Biloba is safe for most people to take in moderate doses. However, some minor side effects, such as dizziness, headache, upset stomach, and allergic reactions to the skin have been reported.
Six Ways to Boost Energy Naturally
Natural stimulants are great on days when you need a boost. But here are six things you can do to increase your energy levels naturally without a stimulant:
- Get between 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Be Active and take breaks throughout the day to stimulate blood flow.
- Keep a regular schedule.
- Eat healthy foods that can help increase energy.
- Take a multivitamin to replenish and boost the necessary vitamins and minerals.
- Reduce stressful situations and relationships.
Natural Stimulants May Be The Boost You Need
If you’re trying to cut back on caffeine or are looking for more natural ways to boost energy levels, you can try one of the natural stimulants from our list. Before purchasing, be sure to research the products, potency, and testing because the FDA doesn’t regulate many herbal stimulants.
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