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Dietary Supplements: Herbs, Stress and Adrenal Fatigue


April 23, 2010 | Published by

Herbs for Stress and Adrenal Fatigue

Certain herbs that promote healthy adrenal function can be very beneficial during adrenal fatigue. The best herbs for supporting and reinvigorating the adrenals are adaptogenic ones that have a normalizing effect on the adrenal glands. They revitalize fatigued adrenals without over-stimulating them and help the body cope more effectively with stress. Four of the most useful herbs for adrenal fatigue and stress are described briefly below. Following that are a few words about herbs to be avoided during adrenal fatigue because they can delay or prevent adrenal recovery.

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

licorice rootThe herb best known for supporting adrenal function is licorice. Yes, the ingredient that gives that common black twist of candy its flavor is beneficial for adrenal glands (check ingredients as not all “licorice” candy contains licorice). This anti-stress herb is known to increase energy, endurance and vitality and act as a mild tonic. It has been used to ease drug withdrawal and stimulate the adrenal hormones for anti-inflammatory action. It is known to naturally fortify cortisol levels, arguably the most important hormone in stress and adrenal fatigue. Licorice has also been used to help decrease symptoms of hypoglycemia, a common side effect of decreased adrenal function. Wound healing, which can be slowed down by stress, has been improved by using licorice. Licorice can also soothe nervous stomachs, a common occurrence in people under stress. Both blood circulation in the heart and arteries and production of interferon- like substances by the immune system are stimulated by licorice.

There has been some concern that licorice increases blood pressure. This is because licorice may increase sodium retention and also partially block the conversion of cortisol into cortisone, which can produce higher amounts of circulating cortisol. Cortisol slightly increases contraction of the medium arteries and heart muscle causing blood pressure to rise. However, there is so little actual licorice in candy that consuming normal amounts is unlikely to produce any elevation in blood pressure. In any case, people experiencing adrenal fatigue typically have low blood pressure, so this is not usually a concern. The few who have both high blood pressure and low adrenal function can limit licorice intake and/or monitor their blood pressure to make sure it stays below approximately 140/90.

ashwagandha plant by Flickr user Hari Prasad NadigAshwagandha Root and Leaf (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha is an ancient East Indian herb with a history of therapeutic use dating back to at least 1,000 BC, probably because of its direct beneficial effects on adrenal tissue and function. Although it is also known as Indian ginseng, it is not related to ginseng. Traditionally, ashwagandha has been prescribed as a tonic for all kinds of weaknesses, as well as to promote strength and vigor. It has long been regarded as a rejuvenator and mild aphrodisiac. Because of its anti-inflammatory action, Ayurvedic physicians use it as the treatment of choice in rheumatic pains, inflammation of joints and other related conditions that are commonly seen in states of adrenal fatigue.

Ashwagandha is considered to be an adaptogen. An adaptogen is any substance that helps the body function more towards its normal level. Studies have shown ashwagandha is capable of normalizing cortisol levels, whether they are too high or too low. This herb is becoming recognized for its multiple health benefits and especially for its value in adrenal fatigue. However, in very high doses (above 35gms/day) ashwagandha can actually inhibit adrenal function.

Siberian Ginseng Root (Eleutherococcus senticosus)

siberian ginseng plant by Flickr user TattersSiberian ginseng, although not from Siberia and not strictly a ginseng, is good for women as well as men. It has a wide range of activities that help support and rejuvenate adrenal function, increase resistance to stress, normalize metabolism, and regulate neurotransmitters (which are important in modifying the stress response). It counteracts mental fatigue and is known to increase and sustain energy levels, physical stamina and endurance. With its antidepressant properties, Siberian ginseng has demonstrated its ability to calm anxiousness, improve sleeping, diminish lethargy, lessen irritability and induce a feeling of well-being. It has been used by Russian workers, deep-sea divers and Olympic athletes for better performance and by cosmonauts for stress and disease resistance, increased vitality and to counter depletion of the adrenal stress hormones.

In addition, it has been shown to normalize blood sugar, stimulate antibodies to bacteria and viruses, increase resistance to environmental pollutants, improve absorption of some B vitamins and decrease vitamin C loss. Although it has been shown to normalize blood pressure, it should not be used if blood pressure is very high. Siberian ginseng is more normalizing than stimulatory in its effects on the adrenals and, as can be seen by its actions, it can be an important aid for anyone trying to recover from adrenal fatigue. (See below for a cautionary note about Korean Ginseng Root [Panax Ginseng])

Maca (Lepidium peruvianum)

Maca has been recognized for centuries in Peru for its many health benefits, including its ability to increase stamina, energy and endurance, and improve the ability to withstand stress. This adaptogenic herb helps normalize the body’s response to stress, modulate cortisol levels, reduce the exhaustion that follows a stressful event, and protect the body against the negative effects of stress.

Additional Beneficial Herbs for Adrenal Fatigue

Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale) and Ginkgo Leaf (Ginkgo biloba) are two other herbs worth mentioning for their beneficial effects during stressful times. Ginger is another adaptogen for the adrenals that helps modulate cortisol levels. Gingko is a powerful anti-oxidant that helps protect the adrenal glands, the brain and the liver from inflammation and free radical damage that occurs during stress.

How to Take Herbal Preparations

The above herbs can be obtained and taken singly or ideally together, in liquid or dry forms. Always take the usual precaution of starting with low doses, and increasing the dosage slowly when using herbal preparations. Because of the varying strength of herbal preparations, it is best to follow the instructions on all packaged herbs. If there are no instructions, a general rule for preparation of herbs is as follows:

Tincture (alcohol extracts): Take 10-15 drops in liquid three to four times per day. Tinctures are important sources of the beneficial ingredients in plants because some of the most active agents in herbs can only be extracted using alcohol. Water extractions or glycerin-based preparations may not have the potency of alcohol extracts. However, since a number of people with low adrenal function are sensitive to alcohol, they can briefly simmer an herbal tincture in some tea or water (place drops in 8 oz. of water, set on lowest heat for 10-15 minutes) to evaporate the alcohol before taking it.

Other Fluid Extracts: Take 5-10 drops in liquid three to four times per day.

Leaves: Steep (cover with boiling water and let sit off the heat) 1 teaspoon of dry leaves per cup of water for 15 minutes. Strain and drink. Honey or other natural sweeteners can be added to taste.

Root: Simmer (heat in water kept below boiling) 1 teaspoon of grated dry or fresh root for each cup of water for 15 minutes. Strain and drink. Honey or other natural sweeteners can be added to taste.

Caution! Just as there are herbs that are beneficial and restorative to the adrenals, there are herbs you should avoid if you are experiencing adrenal fatigue because they can worsen your symptoms, increase your recovery time, or prevent your recovery by further exhausting your adrenals. These herbs include the following:

  • Ephedra (or Ma Huang)
  • Cola nut
  • Strong black teas

Also avoid any herbs or teas containing stimulants, sedatives, or hallucinogenic substances, and any teas that over-stimulate the nervous system or the adrenals. Just because it is natural does not mean it is good for you. Strychnine, arsenic, aflatoxin and mercury are also all “natural” substances, but would not be desirable in the body. So avoid these herbs.

A cautionary note about Korean Ginseng Root (Panax Ginseng)

Panax ginseng is an herb more suitable for men than for women. Although it has been shown to help increase cortisol levels, clinical experience has shown that while men can usually take Panax ginseng with mild to significant benefits, women should be careful in its use. This type of ginseng, especially Korean Red, can have adverse effects in some women, similar to the adverse effects they experience with excess DHEA. These can include an increase in facial hair and acne. In men increased aggressiveness, irritability, or sexual excesses are signs that they are taking too much and should cut down or stop taking it. Men are advised to use it in small doses at first and build up gradually and women to avoid its use altogether.

Image credits: Ashwagandha plant by Flickr user Hari Prasad Nadig; Siberian ginseng plant by Flickr user Tatters

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  • Amanda Thompson says:

    Thank you Dr. Wilson for your great work in helping people who are suffering from Adrenal Fatigue. I read your book years ago and sell it at my store. Although I know the protocol very well, working with people who are stressed and on their way to Adrenal Fatigue or in the midst of it and dealing with rebuilding my adrenals, it’s nice to see a blog like this for a quick bump up on Adaptogens. Nature has given us these potent medicines for these times. Thank you again, you are a blessing, Amanda

  • Cindy Watson says:

    Thank you for this information. I am struggling daily with my Adrenal Glands, Low DHEA and almost no Progesterone. I just started seeing a Naturopath but no relief yet. Thanks again for the information,

  • Jade says:

    Hey, I was wondering if any of these herbs would be good for a person who has no adrenal function but is taking supplements. I was hoping that there may be a herb that increases the supplements effectiveness.

    • adrenalfatigue says:

      Hi Jade,

      These are herbs that can help support adrenal function and stress hardiness, though I am not aware of herbs that actually magnify the effects of other supplements. Thanks for your question!

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

    • Chris says:

      Ginger increases the bioavailability of herbs taken with it. Adding it to an herb or herbal formula is a plus.

  • Kite says:

    My experience with Siberian Ginseng, in a moderate dosage (from a reputable source):
    AMAZING boost in energy for about one week, followed by being EXTREMELY tired & unwell. No other changes in lifestyle or medication or viruses. At this time I had an ACTH challenge test, of the unsubtle variety. I was “borderline Addisonian” and my endicrinologist gave me a bottle of cortisone pills and her personal number in case I got a cold. I stopped taking the Siberian Ginseng, and I felt somewhat better after a while. A couple of months later I took another ACTH test, and was shown to be “normal” (the test uses a relatively high dosage of ACTH).

    I’ve been told it’s an adaptogen, but I suspect it acted pretty much like caffeine and pseudo/ephedrines has on me – draining/damaging.

    Other types of ginseng didn’t do much for my energy, so for those with more robust adrenal glands, perhaps Siberian Ginseng is the way to go? I’m not sure why it acted the way it did on me, and I’m fairly sure it wasn’t anything else that gave those symptoms. But I tell any naturopath who tries to give it to me, insisting it will help; please, really better not. Other things like liquorice are fine however! Ashwagandha may or may not have helped – I haven’t noticed much difference.

    • adrenalfatigue says:

      Hello Kite,

      Siberian Ginseng is in the family as regular Ginseng, but a different genus. It’s not meant to be a stimulant, but people react to herbs differently. Some people do not respond well to Siberian Ginseng. If it does not work for you, you would be able to take the other herbs separately (ashwagandha, licorice, maca). Hope this helps!

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • beth says:

    hi ,my holostic dr told me that i had low blod sugar problems and adrenals were not working.She put me on low carb & sugar diet.I felt better for awhile and lost some weight .each time i try to eat some sugar or carbs I feel like my b/s drops.Should i b taking somthing 4 adrenals.I’ve been having more vision changes also.

    • adrenalfatigue says:

      Hi Beth,

      If your adrenal glands are not performing at their optimal levels, it may benefit you to take adrenal support supplements. Changes in diet and lifestyle can also affect adrenal performance. Processed carbohydrates and sugars can work against the adrenals. Whole grains, healthy proteins, and brightly colored vegetables are examples of foods that can benefit the adrenals. To find out more about Dr. Wilson’s supplements for adrenal fatigue, visit our site or call our customer service team at 800-357-5027. Hope this helps – thanks for your questions!

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • crazyliblady says:

    Thank you for your blog, as it is very informative. I consume at least 2 liters of water daily to help keep my asthma in check, as well as 2 g of vitamin c a day, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), green tea, and occasionally ginger tea. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables as well as chicken and fish, eggs, and occasionally brown rice, but not much beef. I am gluten intolerant, so I do not eat any wheat, rye, or barley. I found out about my adrenal fatigue around 10 years ago, but only recently found out that it is likely due to: 1) candida, 2) overuse of antibiotics as a child and adult, 3) overuse of steroids as a child and adult, and 4) probably also too much caffeine. I will begin take Threelac, a supplement to get rid of candida, in about a week when I receive it in the mail. Because I also have asthma, I occasionally use ephedra for bad asthma attacks as a last resort. What would be a recommended plan of attack on an asthma attack if ephedra makes the adrenal fatigue worse?

    • adrenalfatigue says:

      @ crazyliblady,

      Thank you! As for your question on asthma: We can’t make recommendations on using ephedra for asthma, but we can offer a few helpful tips. With asthma, there is usually a food trigger and an environmental trigger, and dietary supplements could be of help. In addition, there is often low adrenal function that precipitates the asthma attack. One course of action is to check for food allergies. The most common food allergies that cause asthmatic attacks are wheat, dairy, peanuts, red dyes, and chocolate.
      People with asthma often have adrenal fatigue and need adrenal support in order to fully recover. In addition, barley grass taken as a dietary supplement has also been used successfully in people with asthma, as has lobelia.
      As far as environmental triggers, dust mites are a common allergen, as is dust. Natural immune support supplements, like Adrenal C and Nat-Stim, can help as well. Hope this helps – thanks for your questions and comments!

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

    • James says:

      I have got severe candida too and eventually realized its due too long term exposure to trauma and ptsd, ie the fight or flight response. What happens your adrenal glands get exhausted and the adrenals regulate your hormones and immune system. When they get worn out then your body has trouble fighting off infection and becomes loaded with candida and then food allergies. I am focusing my healing on trauma first be it childhood anxiety or abandonment issues while supporting my adrenals. Look up the SCD diet, and if you got candida you need to omit honey and even fruit from your diet.

  • Monique Copeland says:

    Hi, my enquiry is regarding my increase in afternoon 3pm and night time fatigue. I have had unexplained weight gain from 10 to 12 stonne in 2yrs. I have a underactive thyroid treated with 50mg throxine. I havent had any significant change in my diet in any way in that time. I have had adrenal exhaustion treated several years prior to going on thyroxine. I do have low blood sugar if I dont eat healthy food betw meals. I do take Liquid Iron Tonic on lead up to period and Hairy Lemon supplements with guarana and ginseng (ascent brand) some mornings. I drink 2-3 black tea with honey every day. 1 coffee most days with 2 sugars. I take Mega Vit B most days espec on lead up to period. Is it best to get Cortisol checked through Saliva Test??Help…..Monique; frustrated

  • AliK says:

    Thanks for all the helpful info on herbs for adrenal fatigue! I found out I had adrenal insufficiency and hypothyroidism about a year ago and have been on hydrocortisone pills twice daily and Armour Thyroid twice daily. I noticed a bit of improvement but not much and have kind of plateaued now. I’m trying to get into a naturopath and also a new endocrinologist but I wanted to know if I can go ahead and take these supplements along with the meds I’m already taking??

    • Hi AliK,

      Dr. Wilson’s adrenal fatigue supplements can be taken alongside many medications and other supplements. We do work with a lot of practitioners who recommend the adrenal supplements alongside steroid/hormone treatment. To be sure, you can always show what you’re taking to your new practitioner. Hope this helps – best of luck in your health!

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • pat moragne says:

    I have a question. I had my cortisol saliva test done . I cannot find a web site to compare them to because the tests are done in different numbers. The results are as follows : 7a.m 1.049 / noon .0160 / 4:30 ish .025 / and 11pm .020
    Can you please tell me what that means? Am I low or high? All results I found on web sites had different numbers, and it is hard for me to tell what my adrenals and cortisol levels are. I am planning a visit to a doctor with the results, but I ‘m not sure he is 100 % knowledgeable about the adrenals. I need to know before he prescribes a lot of supplements that are not going to help me. I am the one who has diagnosed my adrenal fatigue. He put me on 60mg of Armor thyroid. He told me 3 years ago that my problem was reactive hypoglycemia. I agree, but still have not felt like I would like to after 3 years. I am very fatigued all the time, wake up at about 3 or 4 am every night, and have trouble getting back to sleep. I have severe leg and foot cramps, which I am taking 99mg of potassium and lots of calcium ( the amount allowed). I take good vitamins from Women to Women, and Adaptisol ( for adrenals). It’s just not enough. Please help me!!! I eat a carb free diet ( only good carbs – greens, etc.), no sugar whatsoever, no pasta, rice, bread, etc. No caffein. I have followed this diet for 3-4 years now faithfully.!!!! Thank you very much for any help you can give me. I truly appreciate it!!! Pat Moragne

  • Denis says:

    Hi my name is Denis,
    I suffer from extreme fatigue for a number of years now, I have dark circles around my eyes, my vision can get somewhat blurred and when I stand up I feel light headed for a few seconds. Medical doctors have done many blood tests and scans on me and tell me that the scans are all clear and the bloods are all normal. I had an early morning (non-fasting) cortisol test done, result was 442. I had a synacthen test done and told I do not have Addisons disease.
    Could I be suffering from adrenal fatigue?
    Can I be helped and brought back to normal energy levels?
    Any info or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Your sincerely,

    • Hi Denis,

      We aren’t able to tell you if you’re experiencing adrenal fatigue or not, though we can point you in the direction of some things that could help. We have a database of healthcare practitioners who may be able to help you out: simply go to this link, enter your state and click search:
      If chronic stress or adrenal fatigue is an issue, you may want to check out Dr. Wilson’s book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome. It’s a great starting resource on the effects of stress and adrenal fatigue on the body.
      Hope this helps – thanks for your questions!

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • Jeanie Cross says:

    Dr. Wilson,
    Thank you for this blog.
    I have reactivated virus levels that cause chronic fatigue. I recently had tests that showed my cortisol/adrenal situation was fine. Within a month of the testing I had an emergency type skin inflammation that turned out to be a heavy overgrowth of a non-dangerous staph. Before test results came back, I received an intramuscular kenalog injection and took a course of four 15mg doses of prednisone over a 2 day period. The very bright red skin on my entire neck and chest turned to a small, mild rash. I have not taken antibiotics for the skin infection.

    But now I’m scared that my immune function will be too altered by the drugs. My question is what supplements should I take, or perhaps foods should I eat? Please name them separately as I already take supplements. Thank you so much for any help.

  • Stacy says:

    I appreciate the info here so much! The one thing that really confuses me is why it is OK to take Maca. I used to make the powder into a hot drink, but now that I am experiencing adrenal fatigue I thought it would not be OK to have a stimulant like maca. If anyone can help me understand I will be very grateful.

  • Jane says:

    Thank you so much James for your book! What a life saver. The Siberian Ginseng is brilliant , it gives me such a sense of well being. I take many of the other supplements you mention in yr book and I am slowly but surely recovering. Now I can understand why (in the last 10 years) I have not been able to cope with the smallest of issues. I have felt so fatigued and could not understand how other people could work a full time job when I could barely drag myself out of bed to drop my youngest daughter at school. Cooking dinner at tea time became an impossible event and we lived on things that were quick and easy to put into the oven. I now enjoy cooking and can easily cook and think at 5pm – it’s just so wonderful to be a PART OF LIFE again! Thank you

  • Sunny says:

    Have a question: I have been Dx with AIH, my Liver MD suggested prednisone, which was a disaster. I seeked out intergrated MD ( Dr R), Dr R suggested supplements plus supplemental IV infusions. I was feeling pretty good especially after glutamine infusion, then I stared peptide injections (Sam HS), which kept my liver numbers close to normal range. Had another biopsy and Liver MD suggested budesomide, thinking that this medication targets the liver, I had every side effect the could be. I had to have a compound pharmacy make 1mg capsule (med capsule only come in 3 mg), for withdrawal, finally got if Bud and now I am now staring back with peptide injections but very expensive (insurance won’t pay for them), the peptide comes in England.
    I may be in denial, but I am thinking my adrenal glands are causing all this havoc. I had total hysterectomy about 35 yrs ago and also had a very stressful up bringing, I am thinking my adrenal glands have been so taxed that they are suffering and with the previous steroids, my adrenal glands are struggling.
    What do you thnk? Could this be a possibility?

    • Hi Sunny,

      That is a good question. We aren’t able to say or discuss what the root of your problem is, but we can refer you to our distributor in the U.K., Nutri-Link ltd. They may be able to connect you with a healthcare practitioner who deals with adrenal fatigue and related conditions who is qualified to examine your situation. You can make practitioner inquiries at this email address:

      Hope this helps – thanks for your question!
      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • Ross says:

    Hi there,

    I’ve had a cortisol stress test (saliva) done, and it’s shown my cortisol levels to be mildly elevated throughout the day, although my DHEA mean is within the normal range.

    In this situation, would it be suitable to take adrenal rebuilder to give my adrenals a bit of help, or would it be wiser to take some adaptogenic herbs to bring my cortisol levels down into normal range?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Ross,

      Adaptogenic herbs can be helpful, but be mindful of what you are taking. For example, studies show licorice can affect cortisol/blood pressure levels. Dr. Wilson uses licorice in his Herbal Adrenal Support Formula, but offers a licorice-free version, Herbal HPA. You should also benefit from the Adrenal Rebuilder.

      Hope this helps – thanks for your questions!
      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • Melissa says:

    Hello. This site has been so helpful. I have just been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. The blood work for the adrenals came back as a 7 and the nurse told me it should be between 10-25. I have low salt and potassium. However, my blood pressure is extremely high, and they can’t seem to find the right combination in meds to bring it down. I haven’t tried any of the herbs that have been listed here yet. I was just wondering if there is anything different I should do because of the extreme high blood pressure. I am taking max dose of Lisinopril -HCTZ and 2.5 mg of bystolic and my blood pressure still won’t go below 140/125. My doctor wants me to see a specialist.

    • Hi Melissa,

      As a precaution, you should avoid taking licorice if you have high blood pressure. This is one of the reasons why Dr. Wilson made a licorice-free version of his herbal adrenal support, called Herbal HPA. It contains ashwagandha, maca, and eleutherococcus.

      Hope this helps – thanks for your question!
      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • Rhonda says:

    What would be good for me to take.. I have serious hypoglycemia at night. It doesn’t matter what I eat sugar/no sugar during day or a good meal at dinner or a snack before bed.. regardless of whether I have something in my stomach I will wake at two with a rapid heartbeat and if I don’t eat something it will continue and in an hour I will be in hypoglycemia and the morning I will feel like I have a serious hangover. So for me.. I think I have low progesterone due to peri-menopause.. this in turn is using up my cortisol at night. I cannot take progesterone for it because it only will help for a short while. then I have to stop it during my period anyway and this is when my hypo/waking at night is the worst. I’m developing heart diesese from all this that has been going on for years. I research on the internet for everything since I do not and refuse to see a doctor who cannot help me. So what is the advice on a protocol I could do to rectify this. I just can’t live with this anymore.

  • Wendy says:

    Ginseng in any form doesn’t agree with my adrenals, nor does maca (I find that maca feels like it is pushing the thyroid, therefore draining the adrenals). Things that have worked for me is the circadian T-3/dessicated thyroid method (I did backslide a bit after doing it but it helped enormously, but I believe it did make me gain a little weight after stopping) and also the guaifenesin protocol (aka mucinex) which they use for fibromyalgia. I don’t know exactly why it works, but it does for the joint & muscle pain. My suspicions are that adrenal problems might be connected to a syndrome in chinese medicine named phlegm/dampness.

  • Bee says:

    Hi, I ordered Korean ginseng, Rhodiola, Ginkgo Biloba, Astragulus, and Eleuthero, Ashwaghanda and L-Theanine. I believe I should not take the Korean ginseng, Eleuthero and Ginkgo together. But can I take them separately during the same day? Or should I pick one until I run out then switch?
    As for the rest, can I take them all at the same time?

    And as a female, am I better off not using the Korean Ginseng at all? I don’t like the idea of facial hair and acne! Thank you!

    • Hi Bee,

      In his book, Dr. Wilson does warn women about taking Korean ginseng, as it’s an herb more suitable for men. As for the rest of the herbs: it’s difficult for us to say. Dr. Wilson’s herbal formula contains ashwagandha, maca, licorice and eleuthero, but none of the others that you mentioned. If these are herbs you have not taken before, it may be best to start with a small amount of each to be cautious against adverse reactions.

      Hope this helps – thanks for your questions!
      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • Bee says:

    Thank you! I gave the Korean Ginseng to my brother and I have been taking the Eleuthero. It’s helped me with focusing at work and endurance. I have had some mild diarrhea though. I was taking 1000 milligrams, so I cut back to 500 milligrams. But I still have the same thing about an hour after taking it. Should I cut back more? Or will I eventually get used to it?

    • Hi Bee,

      It is possible that your body reacts differently to Eleuthero. You can try reducing the amount again, but it may be something that, unfortunately, your body is unable to tolerate. It may also depend on the form and source of Eleuthero you are taking. Some people do have adverse reactions to certain herbs. Hope this helps!

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • Nimo says:


    Great blog, very useful thank you for all the information.

    I have just had my saliva test results for my cortisol levels and I was shocked that they are lower than I thought, flat line, no raise of cortisol throughout any point of the day. I have all the symptoms of adrenal fatigue and in some ways am relieved everything I have been complaining about for the last 3 years falls under the umbrella. On the other hand feel overwhelmed with change, information, opinions and the worst thing of all a long recovery. My head space is not good at the moment, I can’t concentrate and my brain fog is crippling so to try to fake all thus on is quite tough as I dint know where to start.

    I have some questions that I hope you can help with on herbs. I have bought a few powders of the following: maca, Siberian ginseng, gingko biloba. I have got licorice root tincture too.

    What is a recommended dose? I have been adding Siberian ginseng and gingko biloba to morning smoothies 1 tsp of each. I had stopped taken maca as was told it was too stimulating. I have been taking 5ml of licorice root.

    Is there a certain time if day these are better? Can I over do the superfood adaptogens?

    I hope you can help me.

    Many thanks

  • Orestis says:

    In the article above I see references to the use of honey as a natural sweetener amongst others. It is also implied as reccomended to take honey with some herbal teas etc.
    Is taking honey something that Dr. Wilson endorses? I have been on a full nutritional re-balancing program for some time now and have not taken any honey whatsoever, but would like to incorporate in my diet, especially for treating my young kid now and then. 🙂

    A direct clear answer would be highly appreciated. Thank you for the time you spent in replying to our queries. It is indeed appreciated.

    • Hi Orestis,

      In his book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, Dr. Wilson recommends using honey in several recipes, including the Adrenal Recovery Soup. Even though honey can be a beneficial, natural sweetener, eating anything in moderation is key. That said, Dr. Wilson does recommend using honey when a sweetening agent is needed or desired (as long as one isn’t allergic to it, of course). Thank you for writing, and let us know if you have any further questions!

  • Alison says:

    Maca always gives me acne. Now I am supplementing with DHEA and progesterone and have had no adverse reactions of this kind to them. Rhodiola feels nice to take but I am wary of it because it can suppress testosterone. I have almost no T at all so I don’t want to take anything that might keep it down, as with licorice also. Withania is lovely and I always feel more resilient taking it, likewise most ginseng, except the Panax. I agree with you that this is not great for women, because I know guys who seem to thrive on it but it just revs my adrenals and leaves me feeling burnt out.

  • Theresa says:

    I have recently been diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica. Was, of course, prescribed PREDNISONE 5 mg twice a day. Is it OK to take MACA root along with it? I would appreciate any feedback on this combination. Thank you!!

  • Sierra says:

    I have tried various combination adaptogenic herb products this year and they give me insomnia, causing me to wake up around 2-4am and unable to get back to sleep. This starts on day 2 of treatment and persists for months after discontinuing it. I have low cortisol (AM serum is 6-9 range). I tried going on hypothyroid hormones (NDT and then T3 only) but unable to tolerate them and reverse T3 went higher on NDT and only slightly decreased on T3-only before anxiety, brain fog and low energy got the best of me so I stopped taking it. I have low progesterone and am taking 40mg oral daily (1-28) to help with insomnia but am going to switch to the cream on days 14-28. I read your book and started eating nuts before bed and that seems to stop my heart from pounding when I wake up between 2-4am but it’s not enough to let me sleep through the night. I still wake up at that time and my thoughts prevent me from returning to sleep, though they are not as anxious as before. I am going to try your Adrenal Rebuilder but was wondering if I should also get an adrenal cell extract with cortisol to take before bed, as recommended in your book. Are you planning on releasing a new edition soon? Seems like many of the supplements you sell are not in the same doses as listed in the book (Specifically the B vitamins).

    • Adrenal Fatigue Team says:

      Hello Sierra,

      Thank you for writing. We’d recommend consulting with a practitioner before using anything that includes hormonal content. There are some differences between the book and the final versions of Dr. Wilson’s supplements. You can read a detailed description of these differences on our website here:

      Dr. Wilson is working on another book, but there is no release date at this time. We hope this helps. Please ler usk now if you have any further questions.

  • Dawn says:

    I have been very unwell for 3 years with severe orthostatic intolerance (POTS) high adrenaline symptoms & non-psychogenic anxiety. My cortisol was high (at ilness onset) and my aldosterone is undetectable. Fludrocortisone makes me feel worse, but licorice root capsules 2 x450mg daily were a miracle for several months, I was not normal but could function and had some quality of life. Then they stopped working. Is there any way I can get the magic back?

  • Kim says:

    Do you know of a product that has all of the recommendations?

  • Lucy L Barrett says:

    Hi there,
    i have all day very low cortisol tested one year ago and it has not risen since…upon trying cortex/rex and licorice my reaction was intense freezing legs and arm and chest weakness and labored breathing which continues even now 1 year later…with very low energy. my hypothyroid is treated optimally. and idea where to turn …i am afraid of what hydrocortisone might do to me.
    thank you for any info on what happened and how i might treat it.

    • Adrenal Fatigue Team says:

      Hi Lucy,

      Are you currently working with a healthcare practitioner? That may be the best place to start. We may be able to offer you a referral if you’re interested. If so, email us at along with your zip code. Thank you for writing!

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