Herbs That Support the Adrenals

Our adrenal glands produce the hormone adrenaline, or epinephrine, which increases the rate of our metabolism when we are under stress. This chemical reaction was an important biological adaptation in situations where heightened awareness could save us in life threatening situations, such as being stalked by predators. But today, much of our stress comes from workplace situations that are hardly life threatening. The daily nature of stress in modern life takes its toll on our adrenals, causing a condition called "adrenal fatigue." Fortunately, there are a range of medicinal herbs that can help to revive fatigued adrenals and restore adrenal function.

Siberian Ginseng

Siberian ginseng, also known as eleuthero, is an herb traditionally used in Chinese medicine to help restore energy levels and boost immune function. Because overtaxed adrenals create fatigue, this herb can be useful for the purpose of counteracting the feelings of depletion and exhaustion that frequently accompany compromised adrenal activity. In addition, Siberian Ginseng's ability to stimulate the immune system similarly helps to correct some of the effects of adrenal fatigue.


Licorice root can help to inhibit the breakdown of hydrocortisone, a steroid produced by the liver that stimulates the conversion of protein into glucose. This process fuel's the body's energy production and helps us to maintain physical and emotional equilibrium in stressful situations. By interfering with the body's natural process of breaking down hydrocortisone, licorice helps to give the adrenals a rest and an opportunity to recuperate from excessive activity. If you have high blood pressure, however, you should avoid using licorice to combat adrenal fatigue because it can increase blood pressure levels.


Nettles, often considered invasive weeds, can also help to restore adrenal function. Like Siberian Ginseng, nettles restore overall energy levels and immune system function, working to counteract some of the debilitating consequences of adrenal fatigue. By supporting the everyday functioning of our metabolism, nettles take some of the pressure off of the adrenal system, which takes over in stressful situations and often finds itself in a loop where it cannot let go. Adrenaline is a backup energy system which takes the place of the primary system in stressful situations. By restoring the primary system using nettles, you can allow your secondary--adrenal--system to regenerate.