Feeling a little frazzled, burnt-out, wired but tired? Yeah, that’s the sound of your adrenals fizzling out and begging for a bit of R&R. However, rest and stress free living practices aren’t the only way to support and rebuild your adrenal glands.
3 Adrenal Gland Support Tonics That Actually Work!
“Adrenal fatigue, in all its mild and severe forms, is usually caused by some form of stress. Stress can be physical, emotional, psychological, environmental, infectious, or a combination of these. It is important to know that your adrenals respond to every kind of stress the same, whatever the source.”
“As their condition worsens, it lays the foundation for other seemingly unrelated conditions such as frequent respiratory infections, allergies, rhinitis, asthma, frequent colds, and a number of other health problems such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypoglycemia, adult onset diabetes, auto-immune disorders and alcoholism.”
The purpose of the adrenals is to help the body cope with stress by responding with a fight or flight mode in order to survive a threatening situation. Long ago, this was an incredibly important tool for survival. Nowadays however, we’re faced with an onslaught of daily stress that keeps our body pumped full of cortisol (the stress hormone) which causes us to feel like we’re spread too thin, run ragged, and generally just burnt out.
It’s like no matter how much sleep you get it’s never enough, coffee has lost its ability to pick you up so you drink a lot more of it to no avail, and you find yourself blowing up at the drop of a hat or crying over the small stuff. You think to yourself, “But I’m only in my twenties, how is it possible to feel like I’m so much older?”. The answer? Your adrenals need some support and until you give it to them, you’re going to be on a never ending downward spiral of exhaustion.
So how do we reverse these effects? How do we start our healing journey to restoring optimal adrenal function? Today, I’ve got three adrenal gland support tonics that will help nourish, repair, and revitalize your adrenals so that you can feel like yourself again!
Adrenal Gland Support Tonic #1 – Lightly Salted Water (and Vitamin C)
Yeah. Salt. It sounds too easy and too good to be true but salt is one of the most healing remedies for adrenal gland burnout and this is why according to Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome:
“Water poses a specific problem for people with adrenal fatigue because they tend toward dehydration but can easily over dilute the circulating electrolytes (sodium, potassium and [chloride]) in their blood by drinking too much water. The balance of sodium and potassium significantly affects the symptoms experienced by people and drinking plain water alters this balance.
To help balance the ratio of water to sodium try adding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (sodium chloride) to every glass of drinking water. You will probably find that the lightly salted water actually tastes better than regular water if your adrenals are low because the salted water is more beneficial to your body. If you are feeling especially draggy or fatigued, add more salt to the water. If you have an aversion to salted water, then you probably need less salt or no salt in the water. Too much salt in the water will make you nauseated so adjust according to taste . . .
Our salt-phobic society has deprived millions of people struggling with adrenal fatigue of something that would decrease their symptoms and speed their recovery. They have taught their bodies to ignore the urge for salt because it is politically incorrect to salt food.”
Our fear of salt has essentially disrupted our sodium balance at a cellular level. When the adrenals are fatigued, they fail to regulate and produce hormones like adrenalin, cortisol, and aldosterone. It is this lack of aldosterone in the body that disrupts our sodium balance. This is why those with adrenal fatigue crave salty foods – it’s their body trying to restore balance!
Adding a pinch of high quality sea salt or Himalayan salt to your water is a great way to increase energy and pep throughout the day. You may find that adding some salt to your foods is incredibly appealing as well. Listen to your body and salt your food freely. Over time, you may find that you do not need to use as much salt on your food and will intuitively start using less of it in your water as well. This is a good sign that your adrenals are beginning to heal.
One of my favorite ways to get in healthy salt is by adding homemade sole (no, not the fish!) to my morning water. I highly recommend trying it!
Why Himalayan/Sea Salt and not Table Salt?
Unlike table salt, high quality sea salt and especially Himalayan salt contain high amounts of trace minerals which act as catalysts for hundreds of intercellular chemical reactions. In essence, they act as the spark plug that initiates the body’s production of neurotransmitters and are involved in its ability to burn and process carbohydrates and fats.
Of course, if salt is contraindicated by conditions like heart disease, hypertension, or kidney disease please consult with your doctor first before upping your intake of salt.
What about potassium levels?
For those with adrenal fatigue, potassium tends to be high while sodium levels are low. The adrenals have to work especially hard to keep these in balance and it’s suggested by experts to avoid potassium rich foods like avocado, spinach, sweet potatoes, coconut water, bananas, figs, raisins, dates, oranges, and grapefruit while healing the adrenal glands.
So where does Vitamin C fit into this?
Vitamin C is more concentrated in the adrenal glands than anywhere else in the body where it is used to produce all of the adrenal hormones, most notably cortisol. When you’re stressed, Vitamin C is quickly used up as your body reacts and releases stress-response hormones. When stores get too low, the adrenals “panic” and actually produce even more cortisol which immediately increases stress and anxiety levels. In this state of prolonged stress, the body is unable to stabilize blood sugar, blood pressure, or burn fat for energy. This leaves you feeling “wired but tired” and burnt out.
Vitamin C levels are also essential for immune support and the production of white blood cells and viral antibodies. Vitamin C also helps stimulate the liver so that you can eliminate toxins and environmental chemicals from the body so it makes sense to up your intake when the adrenals are literally burning through your stores.
The best Vitamin C supplement to use is an acerola powder which is dried at low temperatures so that it retains its bioflavinoid, pantothenic acid, and magnesium levels. Baobab and camu camu powder are excellent sources as well. I like to use this Truly Natural Vitamin C powder.
Here’s what you need to make a Himalayan salt and Vitamin C tonic recipe:
Upon waking, mix all ingredients together in a tall glass until well combined. Consume 20-30 minutes before breakfast.
Salt your water as needed throughout the day.
Adrenal Gland Support Tonic #2 – Adrenal Tincture
Aside from upping your healthy salt intake, herbs are another very important adrenal support system you shouldn’t forget about – particularly adaptogenic herbs.
Adaptogenic herbs. They’re herbs that nourish the adrenals and offer stress support so that you react to stress in the best way possible. There’s really no better way to explain it. Adaptogens do just that, help your body adapt – in case to stress!
There are many adaptogenic herbs to choose from and I recommend checking out the book Adaptogens – Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston and Steven Maimes. Within it, you can find even more options for stress support.
In the recipe below, I’ve chosen a few of the best adaptogenic herbs I could find for adrenal gland support and turned them into a convenient tincture that you can take with you on the go for use when stress hits you hard.
Here’s what you need to make an adrenal support tincture:
• A mason jar
• 80 proof vodka
• A nut milk bag for straining
• A dropper bottle for storage
• 2 parts eleuthero root – aka Siberian ginseng, eleuthero is known to help alleviate chronic fatigue syndrome, adrenal fatigue, stress, anxiety, and general symptoms of burnout. Eleuthero can interact with heart medications (Lanoxin) and should be avoided during pregnancy and nursing.
• 2 parts ashwagandha root – combats the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression, stabilizes blood sugar, boosts immunity, and increases stamina and endurance. Avoid use if you have hyperthyroidism, hemochromatosis (excess iron), take barbiturates, or are sensitive to nightshades.
• 2 parts schizandra berry – helps naturally balance hormones and improves our ability to deal with stress, anxiety, mental fatigue, emotional trauma, and depression. Schizandra also eases the overproduction of stress hormones. Do not take if you have an acute bacterial or viral infection.
• 1 part milky oats – eases nervous tension, emotional oversensitivity, and outbursts of irritability, anger, or tears. An excellent herb for rebalancing the endocrine system and supporting adrenal health.
• 1 part holy basil or rhodiola root – holy basil has been shown to reduce cortisol levels due to its high eugenol content which has been shown to reduce cortisol and help support liver, brain, thyroid, and gastrointestinal function. It’s also a powerful nerve tonic that has a healing effect for the whole body which relieves stress throughout the many bodily systems. Rhodiola has a similar effect but should be used with a bit more caution as it will give you a boost of energy to get through the day. This can often give people a false sense of healing and recovery and they will jump right into the hustle and bustle of things when what they really need to do is rest. Avoid both herbs during pregnancy or if you’re trying to conceive.
• 1 part licorice root – one of the best herbs for regulating and balancing cortisol levels. If levels are too low, it will boost the potency of the cortisol in your system which helps give the adrenals a break. If cortisol is too high, it will lower it. Avoid if you have hypertension, take MAOIs, use potassium-depleting diuretics, take digoxin, or are pregnant and nursing.
To make this adrenal support tincture, all you need to do is add each herb to a mason jar and top it off with 80 proof vodka. Allow the herbs to macerate for 4-6 weeks. Strain and bottle. Don’t want to make your own? Try this alternative.
Take one dropperful in the morning and one at mid-day as needed for up to six weeks. After six weeks, take a break for two weeks.
This can also be used to make an adrenal tea blend. Simply mix the herbs together and store them in a mason jar. To make tea, simple add 1 teaspoon of the mixture to a mug and pour boiling water over the herbs. Steep for 5-15 minutes and sip! This is a great way to take the herbs while you wait for your tincture to finish! Also, the ritual of having tea is in itself, a stress reliever.
This tincture/tea mixture is not considered safe to use for pregnant or nursing mamas!
Adrenal Gland Support Tonic #3 – Adrenal Smoothie Recipe
One of the easiest ways for me to support my adrenals is by adding a few superfood powders to my morning smoothie. It’s quick, simple, and they don’t change the flavor of the smoothie which is a plus in my book.
Here’s how to make the adrenal support smoothie:
• 1 ripe banana
• 1 ½ cups plant milk of choice (I love the toasted coconut almond milk by Califia)
• 1 scoop protein powder of choice
• A dash of ground cinnamon
• A dash of ground cardamom
• A pinch of Himalayan salt
• 1TB maca root powder – avoid if you have high blood pressure or heart disease
• 1TB reishi mushroom powder – do not take if you are on blood thinners
Blend until completely smooth and drink up! It’s really delicious!
Maca root powder is an amazing adaptogen with a slight nutty flavor that’s perfect for smoothies. It’s an excellent herb for balancing hormone levels and supporting the endocrine system. I love having it in the morning to help gently boost energy levels, regulate blood sugar, and reduce cortisol levels.
Reishi mushroom contains high amounts of pantothenic acid which is a key nutrient for adrenal hormone balance and is also an effective herb for those with adrenal burnout, nervousness, anxiety, and sleeplessness. It relieves stress and boosts immunity.
What have been your favorite adrenal gland support tonics? Please share in the comments below!
Need more info on adrenal support? Check out the articles below!
10 Signs You Have Adrenal Burnout and How to Treat it Naturally
10 Essential Oils that Fight Adrenal Burnout
How to Recover From Adrenal Fatigue
Aromatherapy Benefits and Uses: Adrenal Fatigue and Beyond