When it comes to promoting muscle growth and improving strength, there are a number of all-natural remedies and practices that can assist in sustainable ways. In addition to designing dietary plans to compliment muscle growth, rotating muscle groups when working out, and getting sufficient rest to allow the body to recover, most people are aware of the benefits consuming high-quality protein can provide as the muscles rebuild. Complimentary to protein are other natural supplements like glutamine and creatinine, and when these are used in correct combination with the other practices of diet and rest, people can yield incredible improvements in muscle gains and overall growth. However, the piece of the puzzle that the majority of the bodybuilding and fitness world are unaware of is the power that herbal ayurvedic remedies can provide to promote protein synthesis and muscle strength.
Ayurveda and Fitness
This ancient Indian medicinal system is considered by many to be one of the oldest healing sciences, and is still practiced today all over the world. A common mantra innate to the practices of Ayurveda is the concept of balance – Ayurveda enables people to make conscious holistic health decisions that are designed to maintain this level of balance, both of the mind and of the body. When used to treat illness or unpleasant medical conditions, Ayurveda associates these conditions with an imbalance of the body’s internal energies, prescribing dietary changes, lifestyle alterations, and herbal remedies to bring the energies back to a balanced state.
However, in addition to its use when treating illness, ayurvedic practices can also help in improving physical fitness. In fact, Ayurveda teaches that regular exercise provides the body a powerful way to go through detoxification by activating agni – the body’s metabolic fire. Ayurveda is also fairly prescriptive when outlining optimal times of day to exercise, recommending that workouts should happen between 6-10 a.m. and p.m. due to the alignment with certain bodily energies that are predominant during these times. But beyond the lifestyle practices and diet Ayurveda recommends to improve muscle growth, there are a number of herbal remedies that can be both powerful and useful in helping people achieve their fitness goals.
1. Ashwagandha for Muscle Strength
This incredibly healthy wonder-herb is heavily engrained in Ayurveda’s practices, and has been used for thousands of years for a plethora of benefits it provides to both the body and the mind. The plant itself is a small yellow-flowered shrub that can be found in parts of North Africa and India, and is harvested for its roots and leaves. This herb also happens to be classified as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body naturally manage stress and adapt to stressful situations. Research has revealed Ashwagandha to be effective in reducing symptoms in people with anxiety disorders and chronic stress. Other studies have shown that Ashwagandha is effective in reducing blood sugar levels, lowering cortisol levels, and even as a supplement to cancer drugs (1, 2, 3).
However, in addition to all of these benefits and more, Ashwagandha is also known to be an effective supplement for increasing muscle mass and improving muscle strength. In fact, research has also shown that in addition to strengthening muscle activity, Ashwagandha also helped to decrease total body fat percentage in participants. Other research has revealed that Ashwagandha significantly increased testosterone level in male participants, contributing to the muscle strength improvements experienced by this group.
Taking Ashwagandha for Muscle Strength: take 600 milligrams per day with food, either mixed into hot water or by capsule
2. Shatavari for Muscle Strength
Shatavari is another herb that is known to have adaptogenic properties, and has also been used for thousands of years in ayurvedic medicine. This herb actually belongs to the asparagus family, and the powder extract is commonly taken orally in capsule form or mixed into hot water and enjoyed as a tea. Studies have shown that Shatavari contains powerful antioxidant compounds that help prevent cell damage from free radicals. Like Ashwagandha, this herb is also known to provide significant anti-inflammatory benefits, which aids in overall bodily wellness. Other benefits range from boosting the immune system and treating ulcers, to maintaining low blood sugar and helping to treat kidney stones.
Shatavari has also been studied for its ability to improve muscle strength and endurance. For example, one study observed that the supplementation of shatavari increased participants’ time to exhaustion by 40% by increasing the capacity of the muscle to utilize free fatty acids and spare glycogen. This presents the potential that shatavari not only helps improve muscle strength by improving efficiency, but reduces fatigue and improves endurance.
Taking Shatavari for Muscle Strength: mix one teaspoon of shatavari powder into hot water and enjoy with food every evening
3. Gokhru for Muscle Strength
Gokhru has historically been used in the Ayurvedic system to help treat cough, kidney problems, and asthma, but is also known to have other benefits as well, ranging from enhancing sexual libido to improving endurance levels. It does so by increasing the oxygen supply within the body’s blood circulation, allowing muscles to be used more effectively and efficiently. Research has linked the consumption of Gokhru with the reduction of athletic fatigue and an increase in muscular strength. Gokhru intake is also tied to the conservation of the musculoskeletal system and metabolic rate, which means that similar to shatavari, this herb is an ideal remedy for athletes who need a supplement that can increase strain tolerance and reduce fatigue when exercising.
Taking Gokhru for Muscle Strength: take 200 milligrams twice a day, preferably with food
4. Amla Berry (Indian Gooseberry) for Muscle Strength
Powder from this plant is made from the ground-up leaves and has been used in Ayurvedic practices for thousands of years, similar to ashwagandha and shatavari. It is generally regarded as an all-around beneficial herb for overall wellness, providing significant anti-inflammatory benefits and vital nutrient delivery to bodily cells. Many people also use Amla for hair regrowth – research has shown that the topical application of the herb has the ability to increase the rate of hair growth. With regard to muscle strength, studies have also shown Amla to be effective at inhibiting muscular hypersensitivity and inflammatory responses, producing the potential for this herb to help the body workout harder and sustain more intense workouts.
Taking Amla Berry for Muscle Strength: mix one teaspoon of Amla powder into hot water every morning with breakfast
5. Safed Musli for Muscle Strength
This Ayurvedic remedy is a rarer herb that grows in tropical environments in the Indian subcontinent. Similar to many of the other herbs mentioned on this list, Safed Musli is also an adaptogen, meaning that it helps the body adapt to stressful situations in a natural and sustainable way. Safed Musli supplements are used to help treat a number of conditions, including boosting sperm count and its use as an aphrodisiac. Many health professionals also associate supplementation of Safed Musli with increased testosterone, which is why it is a popular herb used to improve muscle strength. Research has also linked Musli with increased human growth hormone (HGH) production, making it an ideal herb for muscle growth and recovery.
Taking Safed Musli for Muscle Strength: take 200 milligrams two times per day with food
6. Saleb Punja for Muscle Strength
Finally, the last Ayurvedic staple commonly used to promote muscle endurance and strength is Saleb Punja – an herb that is known to speed up the synthesis of muscle tissue (which reduces the amount of time it takes to recover from workouts). According to research, Saleb Punja does so by naturally aiding in the increase of testosterone production, which in turn improves energy and strength levels. However, in addition to those benefits, it is also commonly used to increase libido, treat male infertility, and even stimulate the regeneration of skin cells (which can help repair bodily wounds and scrapes).
Taking Saleb Punja for Muscle Strength: talk to your medical professional or ayurvedic treatment specialist about appropriate dosage of Saleb Punja.