Many men dream of having a muscular body the likes of Dwayne Johnson, Chris Hemsworth or Kevin Hart (Lol.. just kidding). A muscular body is not just attractive; it improves a man’s confidence and denotes that he is fitter and healthier than ever.

Muscle growth however does not happen overnight. It takes months and maybe even years of consistent bodybuilding efforts to come about such an attractive body. Often, you will need something to give you an added push to aid your efforts. This is where muscle growth adaptogens come in.  

What are Adaptogens for Muscle Growth?

Bodybuilders and those who are intentional about their body use some medications to help them improve their gym performance and enhance their muscle tone. Sometimes, these medications are synthetic, often having deleterious side effects. Sometimes, however, these medications are natural, obtained from plants, and lack detrimental side effects that characterize synthetic pharmaceuticals. These natural bodybuilding aids are known as adaptogens 

Adaptogens, in simple terms, are medicinal herbs. They are non-toxic plants with potent medicinal properties. Adaptogens primarily act as stress relievers, helping the body to adapt to various biological stressors and reducing the effect of this stress on the body. 

Adaptogens have been used since ancient times in traditional Indian medicine, where they found use in curing various ailments. Their use was revived during the second world war by Soviet toxicologist Nikolay Lazarev who experimented on and recorded some of their applications. Since then, adaptogens have gained massive popularity, stemming from their non-toxic nature and effectiveness for various purposes, including promoting muscle growth. 

Adaptogens and Muscle Building

Using adaptogens as enhancers by Olympians, bodybuilders, and athletes has become popular. During the Cold War, it was recorded that Rhodiola, an adaptogen, helped improve endurance in stretching and aided quick recovery after workouts. 

Adaptogens help to reduce stress levels, improve attention, and enhance endurance and strength. By doing so, adaptogens allow athletes and bodybuilders to push themselves past their normal weakness levels and push further in their workouts. This extra push allows them to build muscles faster and more efficiently. 

Adaptogens also work internally to limit cell damage caused by oxidative stress. This allows for the cells involved in muscle growth to be assembled more efficiently, thus promoting more efficient muscle growth. 

 

Which Adaptogens help Muscle Building?

Different adaptogens help with muscle building. However, some specific adaptogens can help your body relax, increase your endurance during workouts, forestall diseases, and give you more strength. These adaptogens include:

Sarsaparilla root

 

Sarsaparilla root

Sarsaparilla root from the Sarsaparilla plant is a potent medicinal herb. Sarsaparilla root is widely used for treating skin diseases, kidney disease, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and rheumatoid arthritis. Sarsaparilla root also reduces stress, and helps with many other health conditions. Chemicals present in sarsaparilla root help reduce pain and inflammation; they are also found helpful in increasing endurance and the treatment of cancer, psoriasis, digestive problems, fluid retention, gonorrhea and syphilis.

Asides its medicinal use, this root is used as a flavoring agent in foods, drugs and beverages. 

 

Side Effects

Sarsaparilla root is typically safe when taken by mouth. However, when Sarsaparilla root is used in large amounts, it may cause stomach and kidney irritation. It can also worsen kidney disease conditions and should thus be avoided in such persons. 

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should avoid its use since there is no reliable information regarding its safety. Sarsaparilla root dust can worsen asthma symptoms in asthma patients.

 

Interactions

Sarsaparilla root may interact with other medications like digoxin, worsening its side effects in the process. This plant root also interacts with Lithium, increasing its side effects.

 

Dosing

There is no specific dosage for Sarsaparilla root – its dose is dependent on factors like the user’s age and health conditions. However, for safety, you must use it according to the product label or consult your doctor before use.

 

Wild Yam Root Adaptogen

Wild Yam Root

Wild yam root is a plant that acts as a natural DHEA. It contains diosgenin which helps in creating estrogen and DHEA. Wild yam root is a source of steroids used in treating inflammation, pain, asthma, weakness, psoriasis and other related health conditions. It is also used as a natural alternative for treating hypoestrogenism in the body, thus finding use in treating menstrual problems, infertility, menopause and estrogen-related other conditions.

 

Side Effects

Wild yam root is safe to use by mouth for up to 12 weeks. When used in large amounts, it can cause effects like vomiting, stomach upset, and headache. 

Pregnant and lactating women should avoid using wild yam roots because there is no reliable information regarding its safety. People with hormone-sensitive conditions like breast cancer, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and others should also avoid using wild yam as it might worsen their condition.

 

Interaction

Wild yam root interacts with estrogen pills, lowering their efficacy and should be thus avoided when using such pills.

 

Dosing

There is no appropriate dosage for the use of wild yam root. You should follow the product label instructions and consult your physician before using it.

 

Saw palmetto Adaptogen

Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto, also known as Serenoa repens, is used in making medicine for treating different ailments. Saw palmetto helps to reduce the levels of dihydrotestosterone. Thus, it effectively treats; male pattern baldness, symptoms associated with enlarged prostates, and sexual dysfunction, and also prevent complications from prostate surgery.

 

Side Effects

Saw palmetto is generally safe when taken by mouth for up to 3 years. It is also safe to use rectally for up to 30 days. 

Side effects of saw palmetto may include dizziness, headache, nausea, and diarrhea. Pregnant or breastfeeding moms should avoid this herb since it may be harmful to their babies. Persons undergoing surgery should also avoid saw palmetto for about 2 weeks prior to their surgery to prevent extra bleeding that may result during and after surgery. 

 

Interactions

You should be cautious when using saw palmettos with medications that slow blood clotting, estrogen medications and contraceptives.

 

Dosing

Saw palmetto should be used in doses of 320-960 mg by mouth daily for up to 3 years for adults. 

Siberian Ginseng adaptogen

 

Siberian Ginseng

Siberian Ginseng is a popular adaptogen used in improving the body’s overall health condition. It is used to strengthen the immune system, reduce effects of stress and fight diseases. It is also used to treat diabetes, male erectile dysfunction, common cold and flu and to reduce the severity of herpes simplex virus type 2 infections.

 

Side Effects

One of the most common side effects of Ginseng is that it causes trouble sleeping, thus affecting your circadian rhythm. Other effects include headache, breast pain, dizziness, drowsiness, mood changes, anxiety, stomach upset, menstrual problems such as unusual vaginal bleeding etc. Ginseng may cause fluctuations in blood pressure.

 

Interactions

Ginseng may interact with warfarin, antiplatelet drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDs, MAO inhibitor, immunosuppressants, diuretics and other herbal products like fenugreek and willow bark. These interactions may be fatal, making it necessary that you speak to your doctor first before using ginseng. 

 

Dosing

You should consult your doctor before using Ginseng or follow the prescription on the product label. Do not give Ginseng to children as it is not safe to use.

Damiana leaf adaptogen

 

Damiana leaf

Damiana leaf and stem are medicinal herbs popularly grown in Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. Damiana leaf is used to  treat stomach upsets and other health conditions like obesity, sexual problems that prevent satisfaction during sexual activity, asthma, diabetes, headache, constipation, symptoms of menopause and pre-menstrual syndrome, 

Damiana leaf contains chemicals which stimulate the nervous system, helping to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. It’s actions as an adaptogen helps to increase endurance and improve athletic performance. 

 

Side Effects

Damiana is safe to use when taken by mouth in a considerable amount. However, it can cause convulsion, similar to rabies or strychnine poisoning, after being used in large amounts. Pregnant and lactating mothers should avoid using Damiana leaf to be on the safe side. It can also affect people with diabetes, and it should also be avoided 2 weeks before surgery.

 

Drug Interaction

You should be careful when using damiana leaf with other drugs like antidiabetes, as it can worsen the diabetic condition.

 

Dosing

The dose of damiana depends on several factors, such as the user’s age and health conditions. You must follow the prescription given on the product label or consult your doctor.

 

Licorice Root Adaptogen

Licorice root

Licorice root is an herb that contains glycyrrhizin. It is a potent adaptogen that is also effective in treating inflammations, relieving cough, and healing gastric ulcers. Licorice root also helps treat eczema, swelling of the liver, mouth sores, and several other conditions.

 

Side Effects

Licorice root is safe to use in normal amounts. When taken in large amounts, they can worsen conditions like heart disease, leading to heart attacks. They may also worsen symptoms of kidney disease. 

Licorice root may cause miscarriage or premature delivery when used by pregnant women. This root might be unsafe for lactating mothers since there is no evidence to support its use. People with heart conditions, hormone-sensitive conditions, high blood pressure, muscle condition, kidney disease, and sexual problems should avoid using licorice roots.

 

Interaction

Licorice root should be avoided with drugs like digoxin, estrogen, warfarin, cisplatin, midazolam and paclitaxel, as its interaction with these drugs may be potentially lethal. 

 

Dosing

Licorice root should be used by adults in doses of 100-990 mg by mouth daily for 2-24 weeks.

Fenugreek Seed adaptogen

 

Fenugreek Seed

Fenugreek seeds help to stimulate insulin and delay sugar absorption in the stomach. Fenugreek seed also helps in treating diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity and also improves levels of testosterone and estrogen.

 

Side Effects

Fenugreek is generally safe when taken by mouth for up to 3 years. You can experience side effects like diarrhea, stomach upset, bloating, and gas. It should be avoided in pregnant women, lactating mothers, children and before surgery.

 

Drug Interaction

It interacts with drugs like antidiabetes drugs, warfarin, and theophylline.

 

Dosing

Fenugreek seed powder should be used in doses of 5-10 grams by mouth daily for up to 3 years for adults. Fenugreek seed extract should be used in doses of 0.6-1.2 grams by mouth daily.

Conclusion

Adaptogens can assist your muscle building efforts to give you that admirable physique you desire. The adaptogens listed here have shown excellent efficacy for building muscle. Other adaptogens like Avena sativa, Rhabdiola and Ashwagandha also show efficacy in muscle building, 

While adaptogens are natural and non-toxic, ensure to consult your physician before starting any one to avoid interactions that may occur with any other medication that you take, or health conditions you might have. Importantly, stick to the dosage regimen for the adaptogen you are using to avoid suffering from side effects that may keep you away from your exercise routine. 

References

How herbs are related to gain

Sarsaparilla- uses, benefits and more

Wild yam- uses, side effects and more

Saw palmetto- uses, side effects and more

Siberian ginseng oral- uses, side effects and interactions