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Best Chinese Herbs for Adrenal Fatigue

These days, trying to stay on top of a successful career, a clean home, a vibrant social life, and healthy habits can feel impossible. We burn the candle at both ends to try to have it all, which leaves many of us feeling burned out

As a result, conditions like adrenal fatigue are skyrocketing. Feeling a little overworked or overwhelmed has grown into a common syndrome that is robbing people of their focus, energy, and happiness. 

Thankfully, Chinese herbal medicine can help you overcome adrenal fatigue and get your energy back naturally.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is the term given to a group of symptoms related to long-term physical, mental, or emotional stress. The most common symptom is fatigue, particularly upon waking that lasts throughout the day. Intermittent “crashes” throughout the day are also common

In cases of adrenal fatigue, the body’s adrenal glands are overworked. The adrenal glands are small organs located above the kidneys that help us respond to stress. Their main action is producing and releasing cortisol into the bloodstream and initiating the fight-or-flight response. 

When we’re confronted with potentially dangerous situations, this is helpful! When it happens regularly during non-dangerous, everyday stressful situations (like traffic or checking email), this overworks the adrenal glands, over-stimulates the nervous system, floods our systems with cortisol, and leaves us with a host of symptoms.

While the causes of adrenal exhaustion are well-studied, adrenal fatigue as a syndrome is a relatively new condition that hasn’t become fully accepted as a medical syndrome. Still, many doctors, therapists, and researchers are working to understand more about the negative effects that chronic stress have on the body – including the concept of adrenal fatigue.

What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal Fatigue Treatment in Chinese Medicine

Treating adrenal fatigue with Chinese medicine requires a holistic approach. Rather than focus only on the adrenal glands, Chinese herbal medicine also improves kidney health, endocrine health, energy, immunity, and the body’s natural resilience to stress. 

Adrenal Fatigue and Kidney Vitality 

The adrenal glands are most closely related to the Kidney system in Chinese medicine. To have a healthy adrenal and Kidney system, we need a balance in yin and yang, specifically Kidney yin, Kidney yang, and Kidney Qi.

Unfortunately, chronic stress depletes all of these vital energies. Which imbalance you are most susceptible to will depend on your body’s constitution and the other health issues you might be facing. 

Adrenal Fatigue and Kidney Yin Deficiency

Adrenal fatigue with a root in Kidney yin deficiency is often accompanied by heat or dryness-related symptoms. You may struggle to sleep at night as your mind is reckless and anxious, despite feeling exhausted. You may notice that you feel more irritable and anxious, rather than tired. You may also notice signs like headaches and skin conditions that are worsened when stress and exhaustion are high.

Adrenal Fatigue and Kidney Yang Deficiency

Adrenal fatigue related to Kidney yang deficiency tends to come with other cold or yang deficiency symptoms. Along with feeling exhausted, you may also feel cold, lethargic, and just want to curl up and get cozy rather than face the day. You may notice digestive issues like bloating and loose stools.

Adrenal Fatigue and Kidney Qi Deficiency 

This pattern of adrenal fatigue is milder than the other two and relates mostly to energy. We tend to feel tired, sleepy, lethargic, fuzzy-headed, or simply unmotivated with low Kidney qi. Those with Kidney qi deficiency may also notice issues like low back soreness or weakness. When you can get enough downtime or sleep, you tend to feel better. 

Chinese Medicine and Adrenal Fatigue from a Western Medicine Perspective

Aside from balancing yin and yang, Chinese medicine has a scientific basis that supports those with adrenal fatigue. Here’s how Western medical research views the benefits of Chinese medicine for adrenal health:

Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands secrete too much cortisol in response to daily stressors. Studies show that Chinese medicine calms the nervous system to ease reactivity, reduce the frequency of adrenal cortisol release, and reduce overall stress. 

According to research, several different Chinese herbal compounds were found to regulate the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal gland axis, thereby changing stress behaviors that correspond to adrenal fatigue.

Studies show that adrenal fatigue symptoms like high blood pressure, insomnia, weight gain, brain fog, and anxiety can all be alleviated with the help of Chinese medicine.

Best Chinese Herbs for Adrenal Fatigue

As with all conditions, there is no single Chinese herb for adrenal fatigue because each person (and their root cause) is different. But, when you understand your symptoms and the pattern of imbalance they reveal, you can find a formula that is best suited to you

Chinese Herbs for Adrenal Exhaustion and Adrenal Health

If your main symptoms are fatigue and general stress, a balanced formula that supports adrenal health is for you. 

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Xiao Yao Wan
This popular stress-relief formula is a relatively mild way to strengthen the Kidneys and reduce the stress of the adrenal glands. It is a good choice for those with Kidney Qi deficiency and Liver Qi stagnation, who usually struggle with everyday tension, irritability, and work-a-holism.

Triple Stress Relief Tea
Stress is a major contributor to adrenal fatigue and weakness. Keep stress at bay throughout the day with a cup of Triple Stress Relief tea. This also works well when your adrenal fatigue is accompanied by anxiety or insomnia. 

Chinese Herbs for Chronic Stress and Adrenal Fatigue 

If you suffer from high levels of chronic stress, or are going through a particularly challenging time, these herbs can help. 

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Yu Dai Wan
This formula highlights rehmannia root, or Shu Di Huang, a key herb to balance the Kidney system. It is a particularly helpful formula for women who suffer from adrenal fatigue, stress, and PMS or menstrual irregularities. It balances the Kidneys, Liver, adrenal glands, and encourages healthy circulation to support the nervous system and reproductive system.

Real Mushrooms Lion’s Mane
Lion’s Mane is a medicinal mushroom that helps improve your cognitive function. Taking this regularly may help you feel more productive, focused, clear-headed, and at ease during your day, which reduces stress and tension. 

Chinese Herbs for Energy and Adrenal Fatigue

Chinese herbs help to fight the most common symptom of adrenal weakness: fatigue. 

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Shi Quan Da Bu Wan
This formula helps to deeply strengthen the Kidneys and is best for balanced constitutions or those who tend more towards Kidney yang deficiency (with symptoms of cold, exhaustion, and lethargy). It can also be used as a general tonic to prevent the premature aging that stress can cause.

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang
Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang is a classic formula that boosts energy naturally and helps you feel more uplifted. If adrenal fatigue makes it hard for you to get going in the morning, or you also suffer from sore muscles, dizziness, or brain fog, this formula can help. 

Get Natural Relief for Adrenal Fatigue with Chinese Medicine

Whether you suffer from adrenal fatigue or simply want a better way to manage your stress and protect your health, Chinese herbal medicine can help.

So, if you had 10% more energy, what could you achieve? Put your goals in the comments below, then shop our collection of formulas designed to reduce stress, fight fatigue, and restore your natural energy. 

Share the Health Benefits of Chinese Herbal Medicine

About the Author

Kaitlan Downes, MSAOM, L.AC

Kaitlan Downes, MSAOM, L.AC

Kate Downes is a Chinese medicine practitioner with a passion for herbal medicine. In fact, it was her love for plant and earth medicine that first drew her to study Chinese medicine.

Kate has a MSAOM (Master of Science, Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine) certification and practiced acupuncture in Indianapolis, IN for five years before packing her bags to roam the world. In order to stay in touch with the wellness community and continue to help others thrive with herbal medicine, she transformed her work from face-to-face patient care to spreading wellness through words. Her life as a remote herbalist and writer has allowed her to work with a variety of wellness brands, health pioneers, and her wonderful clients. She has a special interest in working with women’s health.

Kate thoroughly enjoys writing educational and useful pieces for Best Chinese Medicine. Her goal is to help the public gain a better understanding of the wonders of Chinese herbal medicine so they can be empowered in their own quest for natural, vibrant health.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi. I spent 16 years studying TCM, but I was totally exhausted at the end: rhinitis, bronchitis. I am 66F now. I used to boil herbs when I had my own bathroom.
    I switched to patent remedies.
    (I keep many for use as needed.)
    My main problem these days yes I can ride my bike like always, but it wipes me out!
    I am bipolar w ADD. I want to do my prostrations practice but I stopped due to lack of energy.
    LA Chinatown sold me 2 dynamite remedies: “Brain & Sleep” that helps my ADD! & “Longevity Plus” for circulation for nervy fingers at times.
    I am never without Bi Yan Pian!
    What you guys sell that I need is the “Swellex Extract.” The ladies at the old Man Haeng Ginseng (sadly closed) gave it to me for bronchitis, but those 26 botanicals make my GI tract feel invincible!! But lately I cannot find it in LA Chinatown Herb Shops. Buddha bless Dr. Wu who opened on Ord recently. They sold me “Qu Shi Qing Du Wan” Anti-Itch fx. I took it to clear a wee rash on my L breast. Yes!!!
    From 2cm to 1cm and gone!!!
    Going to finish the bottle!
    Buddha bless FoShanUnited pharmaceutical Imp&Exp Co., Guangdong China! Thank you!

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