Foods & Herbs that Help Combat Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal Fatigue

Let’s talk about adrenals! I know a lot of people who are suffering from adrenal issues, usually referred to as adrenal fatigue or adrenal burnout. When you have adrenal fatigue, you always feel tired and run down, no matter how much rest you get. Frustrating right?

So, where are these adrenal glands and what do they do? Your adrenal glands are about 3 inches wide, pyramid-shaped, and sit right above your kidneys.  These glands produce hormones that help us deal with stress. The center of the adrenal gland is called the medulla. It produces the hormone adrenaline which results in epinephrine and norepinephrine. The outer part of the gland, known as the cortex, makes the hormones aldosterone, DHEAs, cortisol, and trace amounts of the hormones testosterone and estrogen.  These are busy little glands!

They’re also very important glands. They help you respond to stress, play a part in how strong your immune system is, regulate your body temperature, and help keep your blood sugar levels stable. If they are out of whack, you usually feel extreme exhaustion that never budges, lethargic, dizzy, depressed, and weak. To make matters worse, you may even incur allergies, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and abnormal body temperatures. Not very much fun at all.

Trouble with the adrenal glands is one of those aliments doctors have trouble recognizing, thanks to the grab bag of symptoms. It can put you on a pharmaceutical nightmare roller coaster of horror.  You can end up on all kinds of antidepressants and other band-aid pills that make you feel worse than when you started! I’m not going to go too much into the science side of things but definitely post any questions you have and I’ll be happy to answer.

Rainbow Salad with Honey Mustard Lime Dressing
Rainbow Salad with Honey Mustard Lime Dressing

Now it’s time to share some natural remedies that will keep your adrenals healthy, healthy, and pumping out those feel-good hormones.

First, make sure your diet is clean! That means cut out processed, high sugar or highly refined foods.  Stay away from any stimulants like caffeine, smoking, and alcohol.  They can really mess with your hormones. Try to eat lots of dark leafy greens, fresh fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, seeds, essential fatty acids like hemp seeds or flax oil,  sprouts, garlic, onions, and shitake mushrooms. Almonds, pecans, asparagus, spinach, turnip greens, and bananas are essential adrenal foods as they are great vegan sources of vitamin B and potassium.

Now lets talk about herbs. This is my area of expertise. I could write a book on it so I’m just going to give you some ideas on what has helped my clients and me. Please make sure that you always consult with your herbalist and/or naturopath before using herbs medicinally. Herbs are powerful tools that yield healing but effects will vary depending on your medical history and whether you’re currently on any pharmaceutical medications.

I struggled with adrenal burnout before I entered my holistic health journey. I was so frustrated and had no idea what was wrong with me. My doctors were clueless and kept trying to put me on Zoloft, an anti-depressant. There has never been a point in my life where I was comfortable taking pharmaceuticals but I was so desperate, I gave in.  It made things worst for me; I felt like a space cadet.  I stopped taking them and saw the Holistic doctor who inspired me to start my own journey in holistic healing.

Fresh Raw Ashwagandha Root
Fresh Raw Ashwagandha Root

Here are my favorite herbs for adrenal burnout:

Schisandra: Have you heard of it? It’s not a celebrity baby name—it’s an herb. Honest! It’s an adaptogen which is a fancy way of saying that it balances your whole body, not just a particular problem area. Schisandra can help your body deal with stress. Anything that promises a little boost against the effects of stress is worth trying, in my books.

Although you may not have heard of Schisandra before, it’s been used in Chinese medicine for years to help reinforce your “qi” or life force/energy.  Along with helping to reduce stress, it also fights anxiety and insomnia, and increases your energy Did I mention it can help with anti-aging, liver disease, boost your immune system, combat PMS, and more?

It’s such a small thing that does such a big job. It’s the kind of herb I take when I feel kind of blah and need a kick in the pants to get going. Try taking about 150 mg twice daily.  I love this stuff!

Ginseng: It’s got to be one of the most popular Chinese herbs. This aromatic root usually grows to about 2 feet long or more, and is often split at the end.  It’s has been long prized in Chinese culture as a cure for everything that ails you, from fevers to inflammatory illness to normalizing a women’s menstrual cycle. It’s also been treasured for is its ability to strengthen and balance your vitality.  Ginseng promotes mental and physical vigor, stimulates the central nervous system, and helps rejuvenate your adrenal glands!

Take about 200 mg twice daily to feel the effects. When you take ginseng, take it for 3 weeks and then cycle off for 2 weeks before starting again. Since you’ll be getting your energy naturally from the ginseng, you may want to cut down on the coffee and other sources of caffeine. Too much of a good thing can make you jittery.

Rhodiola: This amazing root has been used for centuries to enhance both energy and longevity. If you’re having trouble finding it, check labels for herbs sold as rose, arctic, or golden root. It’s similar to the healing powers to ginseng.  Rhodiola is a perfect helper for Adrenal fatigue as it helps promote energy on a cellular level (ATP). It harmonizes stress-hormone production to help create a peaceful mind, body, and spirit. The effects are compounded when combined with Ashwagandha Root. Take 200–500 mg, twice per day.

Ashwagandha Root: This comes from a shrub that is commonly used in Ayurvedic healing.  It is another adaptogen that helps balance your body and restore your adrenal glands. Used to build up your strength and vitality, it’s also is useful for anxiety, forgetfulness, normalizing blood sugar levels, and, of course, depression.  This herb is great because it will not cause drowsiness.  Try starting out at about 600 mg per day. The dose can be gradually increased up to 1000 mg per day if needed. Mix it in liquid.

If you need help to get going, try one of the herbs on the list. They’ll help combat fatigue and get those adrenal glands feeling better in no time flat. Please also keep in mind that because herbs treat the problem vs. covering up the symptom, it often takes anywhere from 2-6 months for results to follow, however when taken diligently they do their job very well.



My name is Nicole and I live in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada, where there’s an abundance of great tasting and healthy food. I’ve spent over 10 years on a predominantly raw vegan regime and I’m more than willing to share my experiences and opinions with you. I have to admit that I am also a skincare and super-food fanatic who believes that real, natural foods are the solution for longevity, anti-aging, health, and beauty. I’ve got loads of tips on beauty foods, herbs, and natural supplements for vibrant health and beauty, having spent years testing out what really works I share these on my free blog. Check out my very first book and free blog at, Vitamins for Beauty, which will help you glow from the inside out.The book guides through your local grocery store, showing you which foods & vitamins will keep you looking younger, with glowing skin and lustrous hair. When I'm not in the kitchen whipping up a new beauty recipe, out trying some new cruelty-free skincare, or shopping for local superfoods at the farmers market or Whole Foods, I can be found belly-dancing, doing hot yoga, shopping, giving myself a home facial, reading, writing, exercising, or boxing!You can also find me on Facebook