The days go by and you’re feeling fine. Then one day comes along, and you’re feeling fatigued. Completely tired. Your eyes lackluster and your body feels weak. Your motivation and creativity have decreased. You feel like a stick in the mud, literally. Fatigue can last for one day or even a year. It can also ruin your day, make you feel helpless and even a little loopy.
I Know Fatigue Well
While studying for my masters in Chinese Medicine, I was in school for 40+ hours/week, while also working 20+/week. The stress of studying, waking early, working, and wanting to have a little fun, wore me down. I know what you thinking. “Malerie, you were mentally and physically active for 60+ hours a week. Of course, you’re going to be fatigued and tired.” This is true. However, when I did have time to relax and sleep, I still felt tired. Why? Because my system was already taxed.
Mentally my brain never stopped. Even when I was relaxing. I was always worried or stressed about something. My day began and ended with fatigue. I felt clouded more often than not. I had a hard time making sound decisions, whether it was what to eat or a simple question on a multiple choice exam. Does this sound familiar?
Even though I wasn’t physically active for those 60+ hours, I was still stressing over this and that. That constant stress means that my adrenal glands were working all the time. Your adrenals produce your stress hormone. Stress was my default gear. When this happens, your hormones can go wacky, and, your sleep and energy can decline.
Before going from bad to worse, I leaned into the medicine I had been studying.
There’s an Herb for That
There’s an herb for fatigue! One that will shift your gear from constant stress and fatigue to feeling balanced.
The herb I am referencing is Astragalus root or Huang Qi according to Chinese medicine. Astragalus root is classified as a superior herb within the text, Divine Farmers Materia Medica. A superior herb is one that is edible, non-toxic and is intended to nourish life. It is known in Chinese herbal medicine to primarily tonify the bodies chi (Qi) or vital life force. By tonifying the body’s chi (Qi), the body can regain balance and harmony. In doing so, Astragalus root will also improve your immune function. A strong immune system possesses a bounty of white and red blood cells that will keep you healthy for many days!
In the west, this herb is known as an adaptogen. This means that Astragalus root helps your body adapt to stress, while also supporting it’s normal functioning.
Although western research on Astragalus root is slim, this herb has been used successfully in Chinese medicine for over 3,000 years. In addition to fatigue, Astragalus root can also be effecting in increasing endurance alleviating diarrhea, the common cold, high blood pressure, and even diabetes!
How to Use Astragalus Root
Astragalus root can be found at all major health food stores like Whole Foods and Earth Fare. They’ll carry the herb in pill and tincture form. Tinctures are exactions of the herbs compounds into alcohol. For questions about their products and dosage, please consult with the health food stores representative.
My best recommendation for the use of Astragalus root is to seek out a Chinese medical practitioner. Find a practitioner that practices herbal medicine. This meeting will open a discussion about your specific needs and desires. With this information, the practitioner will then be able to provide the appropriate dosage and duration for the use of Astragalus root.
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Don’t be surprised if your practitioner throws in a few herbal friends too! The use of Chinese herbal medicine has proven increased effectiveness in numbers.
This practice of combining two or more herbs together is known as formulation. In herbal medicine, a formula consists of herbs that will complement, enhance, and even direct the actions of the other herbs. This practice is similar to building a house! In order for the house to be constructed effectively, we need an architect, a builder, a painter, an electrician and a plumber.
Why Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicine is powerful. It teaches us that we can heal from the environment around us. We can also use herbal medicine to replace or reduce the use of pharmaceuticals and over the counter medications. Herbal medicine can be used for acute and chronic issues.
It is my intention to help you understand herbal medicine and it’s healing strength. I also hope that this information gives you the confidence to seek out a practitioner of herbal medicine.
For more on herbal medicine, check out these posts
Please share this post with anyone you feel would benefit. Knowledge increases a healthy body and mind.
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Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page.