10th June, 20205 min read

Do popular natural remedies for fatigue actually work?

Do popular natural remedies for fatigue actually work?
Medical reviewer: Healthily's medical team
Author: Georgina Newman
Last reviewed: 11/06/2020
Medically reviewed

If daily life is taking a toll on your energy levels, there are things you can do to bounce back.

Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep can all help if the tiredness you’re experiencing is lifestyle-related.

But natural remedies for tiredness or fatigue have become fashionable in recent years and you may be tempted to see if they’ll give you the energy boost you’re looking for.

If you are considering one of these natural remedies, it's worth exploring the science behind them first -- and whether they actually work.

Natural remedies for tiredness

Ginseng supplements

This herbal supplement is an age-old remedy for fatigue as it’s thought to improve energy and general wellbeing. It’s often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, for example.

There is some evidence that American and Asian ginseng may help to improve fatigue in people with chronic illness, but more research is needed before ginseng can be considered a reliable natural treatment for fatigue.

Oral vitamins

Maybe you’ve heard that a multivitamin a day will keep your tiredness at bay? This may not be the case, as you can normally get all the energy you need from a balanced diet.

Taking vitamin tablets won’t usually help to provide an energy boost unless you’re low in a particular vitamin.

Eating a balanced diet

Iron

A lack of iron can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia, which may leave you feeling fatigued. If you are low on iron, iron supplements should help to make you feel less tired.

However, it’s still better to get the nutrients you need from a healthy, varied diet, so unless you’re low on iron, you shouldn’t need to take supplements.

You should always check with a doctor before taking iron supplements.

Vitamin B12

This vitamin helps prevent a type of anaemia (vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia) that can make you feel tired. Many people may lack vitamin B12, and as it's mainly found in animal products, anyone following a vegan diet is more likely to be low in it.

People often feel more energised after taking B12 supplements. However, there’s no evidence to suggest that taking B12 supplements can give you an energy boost if you’re not deficient in this vitamin.

IV vitamin therapy

IV vitamin therapy is an increasingly popular commercial treatment that allows vitamins to be directly absorbed into the bloodstream via an intravenous (IV) drip. These drips are reported to increase energy and even help you recover from a hangover.

But there’s no real clinical evidence to suggest that vitamin drip injections offer any health benefit, nor that a nutrient boost given in this way can directly help your fatigue.

There are also risks linked to this type of therapy -- too much of any vitamin can be harmful to your health, while the method of injecting anything into the bloodstream can cause an allergic reaction or infection.

Peppermint oil for fatigue

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is sometimes used as a dietary supplement for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but can the sweet aroma of peppermint oil also serve as a quick cure for fatigue?

There is some evidence that some essential oils, like peppermint, may help to improve energy and relieve tiredness, but it’s limited. Only a small clinical research study found that peppermint oil can be effective for improving performance during exercise and reducing fatigue, and that was in 12 exclusively male young students.

It’s important to note that there may be health risks associated with taking too much of any remedy, so it’s always best to check with a doctor or dietitian to see if any of these natural remedies are safe for you to use.

Reduce fatigue by getting better sleep

One of the best natural remedies to beat tiredness or fatigue is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep -- and making sure that sleep is good quality.

Try these 4 tips to help you get the right kind of sleep:

  1. Get up at the same time every morning.
  2. Go to bed a little earlier if you need to catch up on missed sleep.
  3. Avoid screens, exercise and heavy meals close to bedtime.
  4. Keep any daytime naps to a minimum.

Getting better sleep

Lifestyle changes to beat tiredness

The most popular natural remedies will do little to help your tiredness. Instead, making changes to your lifestyle could have a big impact. You could focus on:

When to see a doctor about tiredness

If you’ve made the necessary lifestyle changes and you’re still feeling fatigued, it may be time to see a doctor to check that your tiredness isn’t caused by a medical condition.

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Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.

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