Boost From a Bottle

Photography by: Mike Lorrig
Boost From a Bottle
Ginseng
How it Works
"Ginseng builds stamina so your body can adapt to stress better," says Babal. It may also stimulate immune function.

Cautions
Overuse, especially with caffeine, can result in sleeplessness, water retention, and high blood pressure. Interacts with blood thinners and anti-inflammatories.

Forms
Of the three types, Korean ginseng is overstimulating, says nutritionist Sally Kravich, who prefers Siberian ginseng or, for those with sensitive systems, American ginseng.

Dosage
Extract: 100 to 200 mg per day. Root: 1 to 2 g a day. Tea: 3 to 4 times daily.

Gotu Kola
How it Works
This leafy herb fights brain fatigue and strengthens blood vessels, which improves circulation, says Babal.

Cautions
Headache, skin rash, and sunlight sensitivity may occur in rare cases. High doses can cause nausea.

Forms
Add fresh gotu kola to salads, or use the liquid extract in a 1:1 dilution; the freeze-dried herb is less potent.

Dosage
Potency varies, so consult the label. Bauman usually suggests 1/2 tsp of diluted extract 3 times daily.

Green Tea
How it Works
The caffeine in green tea stimulates the central nervous system. "Green tea is a better choice than coffee because it has antioxidants," says Kravich.

Cautions
Large amounts can upset the stomach. Avoid caffeine if you have a weak heart, kidney disease, overactive thyroid, or anxiety disorder.

Forms
Decaffeinated forms tend not to have the same therapeutic profile, says Bauman. To get the benefits without the caffeine, use green tea extract.

Dosage
Mix 1 tsp of leaves in 1 cup of hot water. Add licorice to sweeten and strengthen the flavor, or Siberian ginseng for an energizing combination, says Bauman.