Adrenal Fatigue Treatment: Use Nature’s Herbs

Reader Contribution by Kathleen Jade and Nd
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Adrenal fatigue treatment using natural herbal remedies is a wonderful way to take advantage of the healing power of nature. In our first blog Why Am I Tired All the Time?, we revealed the reason behind the profound connection between stress and fatigue, and how a simple at-home saliva laboratory test can be used to help you discover whether stress is the true underlying source of your persistent fatigue. Your body’s cortisol levels, measured in your saliva at different times during the day and night, can indicate whether your HPA-axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) is functioning normally or not. This HPA axis is your stress-response system, and when it becomes dysfunctional you have “adrenal fatigue” and begin to feel drained, burned out, and chronically fatigued. You may also have other symptoms such as sleep disturbances, unrefreshing sleep, depression, anxiety, irritability, or difficulty concentrating. If this sounds familiar, some natural adrenal fatigue treatment is in order!

Adrenal fatigue treatment helps you recover from stress-related fatigue

The good news is stress-related fatigue can be healed! While there’s no quick fix, it is possible to get your body’s stress-response system back in balance and regain your energy, even when stress has rendered you exhausted, and even if an adrenal fatigue test shows that you have a dysfunctional HPA-axis marked by abnormal cortisol secretion. The key to effective adrenal fatigue treatment is to consistently provide your body with the raw materials it needs to re-balance its HPA-axis. Much to the surprise of mainstream, conventional medical practitioners, clinical trials have validated the effectiveness of many natural fatigue remedies.

Herbs known as adaptogens are nature’s perfect adrenal fatigue treatment. Adaptogens are medicinal plants that have been shown to normalize body functions, strengthen systems compromised by stress, and increase attention and endurance in fatigue. They do this by re-balancing the HPA-axis; that is, by getting your brain, nervous system, and adrenal glands working in harmony again so that you can properly “adapt” to stressors. 

Rhodiola and Ashwagandha: two excellent herbal remedies for stress-related fatigue

Two well-researched adaptogens that are effective for adrenal fatigue treatment are Rhodiola and Ashwagandha.

• Rhodiola. The roots of this powerful little plant, known as Arctic Root, are fabled to be responsible for the extraordinary strength and

endurance of the ancient Vikings. Recent research has confirmed Rhodiola’s ability to act as a natural adaptogen, reducing physical and mental fatigue related to chronic stress. A study in individuals diagnosed with stress-related fatigue syndrome found that 288 mg Rhodiola extract twice a day for 28 days significantly reduced fatigue compared to placebo [1]. The rhodiola treatment also corrected the subjects’ morning cortisol levels and significantly improved their scores on tests of attention and memory. Other clinical trials using Rhodiola have also found statistically significant reductions in fatigue and improvements in many fatigue-related areas, such as physical fitness, concentration, mental performance, sleep patterns, motivation, mood, and general well-being [2]. Rhodiola is safe; it does not interact with other drugs or cause adverse effects. Look for a standardized extract containing rosavins and salidrosides in a 3 to 1 ratio, the same concentration in which these constituents naturally occur in the plant’s roots. Take your Rhodiola extract twice a day for a total daily dose of at least 576 mg.

• Ashwagandha. If you’re constantly “tired but wired,” Ashwagandha may be the natural adrenal fatigue treatment for you. Compared to Rhodiola and other adaptogens, such as Panax Ginseng, Ashwagandha is the most calming and the best for treating stress-related fatigue accompanied by symptoms of anxiety. In a recent clinical study, people complaining of high amounts of mental stress were given 300 mg Ashwagandha root extract twice a day for 60 days [3]. Test scores for physical-related stress symptoms (like fatigue) dropped by 76 percent, compared to only a 4.9 percent reduction in those taking the placebo. In the Ashwagandha group there was also a 70 percent reduction in anxiety and insomnia scores, a 69 percent reduction in social dysfunction scores, and a 79 percent reduction in depression scores, compared to reductions of only 11.6 percent, 3.7 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively, in the placebo group. Ashwagandha is botanically known as Withania somnifera and is commonly known as Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry. The roots of the Ashwagandha plant contain a broad range of medicinally important constituents like withanolides and sitoindosides that on the body’s nervous, immune, energy-production, and endocrine systems.

Comprehensive adrenal fatigue treatment using herbs, vitamins, and diet will help you get your energy back.

Making sure you’re getting plenty B vitamins and vitamin C is also critical for optimal adrenal function. To enhance the effects of natural fatigue-fighting adaptogens like Ashwagandha and Rhodiola, take a B-complex supplement and 500 mg of vitamin C twice a day, and include plenty of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables in your diet. For comprehensive adrenal fatigue treatment, it is also important to eat in a way that stabilizes your blood sugar levels as much as possible since adrenal fatigue taxes your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. So, skip the high glycemic foods like sugar and white flour and eat frequently, always including fiber, protein, and healthy fats in your meals and snacks. It doesn’t hurt to take some nice, deep breaths and spend time outdoors, either. Stress-related fatigue doesn’t improve overnight, but after a couple of weeks on an adaptogen, you should start feeling a difference in your energy levels.


1. Planta Med. 2009 Feb;75(2):105-12.

2. Phytomedicine. 2010 Jun;17(7):481-93.

3. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62.

Contributing editor Kathleen Jade, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Physician in the Seattle area where she conducts natural health research and writes for Natural Health Advisory Institute.  Contact Dr. Kathleen by commenting on one of her blogs. She has written a recently released e-Book Fatigue Causes and Relief: Natural Remedies for Excessive Tiredness and Chronic Fatigue.

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