Are you worried about altitude sickness because you’re travelling to Machu Picchu (or another high-altitude location)? Maybe you’re familiar with the practice of chewing coca leaves to help combat altitude sickness while trekking Andean or other peaks that can leave you with a killer headache, gasping for air.
And while coca leaves are popular and mostly safe, coca is potentially problematic for those who struggle with addiction. Though weaker than cocaine, coca leaves are the precursor to the highly addictive and illicit drug. Coca leaves also have the potential to harm teeth and gums.
Prevent Altitude Sickness: an alternative to cocoa leaves (or another option to cocoa leaves)
If you’re looking for an alternative to coca or auxiliary support for altitude sickness, there are several adaptogenic herbs (aka adaptogens) that can help. Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress, be it physical or mental.
A popular adaptogenic herb used by Peruvians in high-altitude villages is maca. Several research studies have proven maca’s efficacy for helping the body adapt to high altitude. In addition to its effectiveness for mitigating or negating the effects of oxygen deprivation at elevation, maca has shown its potential in several other positive outcomes.
One review of maca, titled “Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands,” published in Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine concluded, “Maca is a plant with great potential as an adaptogen and appears to be promising as a nutraceutical in the prevention of several diseases. Scientific evidence showed effects on sexual behavior, fertility, mood, memory, osteoporosis, metabolism, and the treatment of some tumor entities.”
Maca, also called “Peruvian ginseng,” may help increase serum oxygen. According to folklore, when the Spanish conquistadors settled in the Andes, their domesticated cattle and horses fared poorly in the high altitude; native mountain villagers recommended maca, and consequently, the conquistadors’ animals thrived.
Prevent Altitude Sickness: a list of beneficial adaptogens
Many other adaptogenic herbs are beneficial for several conditions. Other adaptogens that can help the body adapt to high altitudes (their ancillary benefits are in parenthesis) include:
- Gynostemma Pentaphyllum, aka Jiaogulin (lower blood sugar & cholesterol levels, encourage lean muscle gain, contains anti-inflammatory properties, wards off depression, lowers blood pressure)
- Lycium Barbadum, aka ‘Himalayan Goji’ (anti-aging, skin/hair/nail growth, eye health)
- Euterpe Oleracea, aka Acai (blood purifier, cancer cell growth prevention, etc.)
- Panax Quinquefolius, aka American Ginseng (fatigue, immunity, memory, cardiovascular health, etc.)
- Schizandrae Chinesis, aka Wu Weizi (anti-stress, mental clarity, etc.)
- Glycyrrhizae Uralensis, aka Asian Licorice Root (detoxification, etc.)
- Radix Astragali, aka astragalus (immunity, heart health, anti-viral. etc.)
- Paulinia Cupana, aka Uaranzeiro (physical endurance, etc.)
- Ganoderma Lucidum, aka Reishi Mushroom (anti-cancer properties, etc.)
Sun Horse Ultimate Energy Formula contains many of these adaptogenic all-natural herbs and are formulated with the whole essence of the herb, not just the extract, in order to increase potency and effectiveness.
The herbs listed above, and those in Sun Horse, can also help the body ward off edema (which may occur at extreme altitudes) and other poor blood circulatory conditions.
Prevent Altitude Sickness: a review of scientific proof of adaptogens
A review of adaptogenic herbs’ efficacy on mountain sickness is documented by the Institute of Traditional Medicine and includes references to several research studies.
If you have any questions about altitude sickness or adaptogenic herbs (or how to use adaptogenic herbs to avoid getting mountain sickness), please contact us and our founder, adaptogenic herb expert, Daniel Moriarty, will be happy to assist you.Button