Supporting Athletic Performance and Recovery with Herbs

Athletic performance and recovery hinge on various factors, including diet, training, rest, and mental resilience. While conventional nutrition and training strategies are the main focus areas, herbs to assist optimal athletic performance and aid in recovery have gathered increasing attention. My husband has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years and has trained “us normal folk” all the way up to World Champion MMA fighters and Olympic athletes. He is constantly reading, researching, and learning about supplements to support a body in the most natural way possible.


Here are several herbs that athletes might consider incorporating into their routines when seeking out their performance goals and to assist recovery.



Ashwaghanda (Withania somnifera)

Known as an adaptogen, ashwaghanda helps the body adapt to normal stress and exertion. It is a consideration for optimal stamina levels, minimal stress levels, and helping overall athletic performance. Studies have shown that ashwaghanda can support cardiorespiratory endurance and sustain muscle strength​. Professional MMA fighter Derek Brunson has reported continued positive results in his performance and recovery when incorporating ashwaghanda into his supplement routine! ​Typically consumed as a powder, capsule, or liquid extract, ashwaghanda can be added to smoothies or taken directly. The recommended dosage ranges from 300 to 600 mg per day. For example, adding a teaspoon of ashwaghanda powder to your morning smoothie can be an easy way to include it in your daily routine.

Rhodiola Rosea

Another powerful adaptogen, Rhodiola Rosea, is known for assisting with energy levels and peak mental clarity. It aids physical performance by supporting maximum oxygen efficiency and maintaining muscle health during strenuous activities. Russian athletes have used Rhodiola Rosea for decades to assist with their competition performance and endurance​. A standard dose is around 200-600 mg per day, taken 30 minutes before exercise to maximize its benefits. Adding Rhodiola extract to a pre-workout drink is a simple approach.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent antioxidant compound. It helps muscle comfort and supports effective recovery after intense workouts. Curcumin also helps with joint health, which is crucial for athletes (and indeed everyone!). According to sources, NBA player Stephen Curry incorporates turmeric into his diet to help manage and maintain a normal bodily response to exercise, in his case, from basketball's physical demands​. Turmeric can be added to food, taken as a supplement, or consumed as a tea. Did you know that combining it with black pepper helps curcumin absorption? A typical dosage of curcumin supplements ranges from 500 to 2,000 mg per day. 

Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

Ginseng is sought out for its ability to maintain good energy levels and cognitive function. It helps maintain energy levels and optimal oxygen uptake. Korean athletes are known to consume ginseng for its supportive properties to athletic performance​. Ginseng is available in various forms, including capsules, powders, and teas. The recommended dose is about 200-400 mg per day, often taken before training sessions. Consider taking a ginseng capsule with your pre-workout meal for energy support!

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger is widely recognized for its properties. It helps sustain muscle comfort and normal recovery following intense physical activity. Ginger also aids digestion, which can particularly interest athletes focusing on nutrient absorption. Professional marathon runners often consume ginger to help with muscle comfort and recovery after long runs​. Ginger can be consumed fresh, as a tea, or in supplement form. A daily intake of 1-2 grams of ginger is generally considered effective for its benefits. Add fresh ginger slices to hot water for a soothing and restorative tea after workouts.


This medicinal mushroom is known for its ability to help with optimal aerobic capacity and endurance. Cordyceps help to maintain ideal ATP production, the energy currency of cells, therefore assisting stamina levels and continued peak performance. Chinese Olympic athletes have used cordyceps to maintain their endurance and overall competition. Cordyceps are available in capsule, powder, or liquid extract form. Athletes typically take around 1,000 to 3,000 mg per day to maximize its performance-related effects. Mix cordyceps powder into your post-workout protein shake.

Beetroot (Beta vulgaris)

Beetroot is rich in nitrates, which help ideal blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles, particularly useful for high-intensity sports. Beetroot also aids with normal muscle wellness, post-exercise.  Cyclists and runners often drink beetroot juice before competitions to help prepare their bodies for the activity and recovery phase. Beetroot can be consumed as juice, in powder form, or as part of the diet. Athletes often drink beetroot juice 2-3 hours before exercise for optimal benefits. The equivalent of 500 ml of beetroot juice or about 6-8 mmol of nitrate is recommended. A simple way to include it is by drinking a glass of beetroot juice before your workout.

Maca (Lepidium meyenii)

Native to the high Andes of Peru, maca root is known for its stamina and energy-supporting properties. It helps endurance, maintains energy, and supports hormone balance, which can be particularly suitable for female athletes. Peruvian athletes have traditionally consumed maca to maintain their stamina and performance at high altitudes​. Maca is commonly available as a powder, which can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, or other foods. A typical dosage is about 1.5 to 3 grams per day. Mix maca powder into your morning oatmeal for an energetic start to the day! 

Boswellia (Boswellia serrata)

Also known as Indian frankincense, Boswellia has powerful properties. It helps to sustain muscle comfort, making it useful for athletes recovering from intense workouts. Boswellia has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to support joint health​. Boswellia is often taken in capsule form, with a standard dose ranging from 300 to 500 mg three times a day. 



Incorporating herbs into an athlete’s regimen can provide a natural and effective way to support performance and recovery without turning to synthetic alternatives. With the right balance of training, nutrition, and herbal support, athletes can achieve their peak performance, recover more efficiently, supporting their health and competitive edge in the long run (**groan-bad pun!). We don’t all need to be Olympians to see herbs' positive support, but their power and adaptability to provide individualized care at any level is pretty impressive!



Written by Amanda D.
The Digital Duchess of Europe
aka Digital Assistant & Quality Support
Learn more about our team here




Check out this athletic lung support:

ClearLungs® Sport takes our original ClearLungs® formula and spins it for athletes with extra herbs to support lung capacity for performance and endurance. Individual ingredients encourage blood flow and oxygen uptake and help you do your best daily.



Lopresti, A. L., Smith, S. J., Malvi, H., & Kodgule, R. (2019). An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine (Baltimore), 98(37), e17186. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000017186. ResearchGate

Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Joshi, K. (2015). Body weight management in adults under chronic stress through treatment with ashwagandha root extract: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 20(4), 295-301. doi:10.1177/2156587214568330. PubMed

Panossian, A., & Wikman, G. (2009). Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity. Current Clinical Pharmacology, 4(3), 198-219. doi:10.2174/157488409789375311. PubMed

Kunnumakkara, A. B., Bordoloi, D., Padmavathi, G., Monisha, J., Roy, N. K., Prasad, S., & Aggarwal, B. B. (2017). Curcumin, the golden nutraceutical: Multitargeting for multiple chronic diseases. British Journal of Pharmacology, 174(11), 1325-1348. doi:10.1111/bph.13621. PubMed

Wilson, P. B. (2015). Ginger (Zingiber officinale) as an analgesic and ergogenic aid in sport: A systematic review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29(10), 2980-2995. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000000939. PubMed

Reay, J. L., Kennedy, D. O., & Scholey, A. B. (2005). Single doses of Panax ginseng (G115) reduce blood glucose levels and improve cognitive performance during sustained mental activity. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 19(4), 357-365. doi:10.1177/0269881105053281. SAGE Journals

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