Herbs and Superfoods for Sports Performance

Perform at your peak by including these amazing herbs and superfoods in your daily routine.

If you want to get ahead in your game, now is the time to take advantage of the 21st century ‘botanical revolution’. Today, herbs and superfoods from all around world are easily available – and Indigo Herbs has selected the best of them, at affordable prices.

Whether you’re an athlete, a bodybuilder, a gym bunny, or a yoga devotee, or just want to feel stronger and more energised, optimum nutrition is key. Added to a wholefood diet, our premium-quality botanicals will turbocharge your nutrient status.

Some of our botanicals are rich in easily absorbable amino acids – the building blocks of protein – and can help to build muscle. Others will give you an extra burst of energy to kick-start your workout, without stressing your adrenal glands with caffeine. If you want to raise your metabolism, increase stamina, aid recovery after exertion, or boost testosterone, Nature’s medicine chest has the answer.

Herbal powders can be added to juices and smoothies – why not try taking them before and after your training session? Alternatively, tinctures are a quick and easy way to get herbal power into your body. Browse the list below to see which ones are right for you.

As usual, a healthy diet and lifestyle is necessary to support the work of the botanicals – so eat your greens and make sure you get enough sleep!


Acai Berries

(Euterpe oleracea)
Acai Berries

Is Acai Berry really that good for bodybuilding and athletes? Acai, because of its unique quality as a high fibre fruit and because of its fatty acid content, means that it is great for those athletes and bodybuilders looking to cut back on carbs. There are very few fruits that have the level of fibre that’s found in Acai.

Together with a full vitamin, mineral, fatty acid, protein and antioxidant content, this fruit is a great food to incorporate into your training regime.

Acai is a South American berry that has supported generations of indigenous rainforest communities and continues to be an economic resource for many people of the Amazon basin.



Agave Nectar

(Agave tequilana)

Having a very low glycaemic index, Agave Syrup is a great replacement for sugar. This might be a consideration for athletes and bodybuilders since Agave is low in calories and releases its stored energy very slowly into the body, enabling blood sugar levels to remain stable.

Agave Syrup has quite a short history as a replacement to sugar but has been used as a food source since the Aztec Empire in South America.



(Prunis dulcis)
Almonds Benefits

Almonds are a fantastic source of natural protein and should be considered as a great between meal snack for athletes and bodybuilders. High energy, healthy fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium and folic acid are all found in Almonds in abundance making them a consideration for anyone looking for a natural boost in the gym.

Some of the earliest specimens of the Almond were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen dating from 1,325 BCE. Almonds is the official state tree of Kashmir and are revered in many cultures.



(Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha Benefits

How is this popular Ayurvedic herb good for bodybuilders and athletes?

Best known for its adaptogenic qualities that calm and rejuvenate, Ashwagandha can be taken as an effective antioxidant helping in the purging of free radicals from the body. Ashwagandha taken over a period of time can help in recovery from extreme exercise letting the body gain strength and be free from stress. Quicker recovery means being more effective in training.

Ayurvedic medicine, native to India, is over a 1,000 years old and has been tried and tested to help individual constitutions become stronger.



(Sida cordifolia)
Bala Benefits

The literal translation of Bala from Sanskrit means ‘strength’. This herb is said to naturally tonify the muscles of the body as well as release tension whilst assisting weight loss, boosting physical endurance and balancing the body.

Also known as an aphrodisiac, the Bala herb is a part of the massive system of Ayurvedic medicine that has been prevalent for more than 5,000 years in India.



(Musa )

The humble Banana is great to be eaten just before a hard workout and gives lots of slow release energy. Packed with Calcium, strong alkalizing properties and vitamin B6, Bananas can also help in regulating the bowel through their high fibre content.

Bananas are also known to re-establish electrolytes in the body after a long stint in the gym when a lot of salts are lost through sweating.

Bananas are thought to have been first cultivated around 8,000 BCE in the Kuk Valley in New Guinea. They were spread to different countries by trade and are now enjoyed by almost everybody the world over.



(Adansonia digitata)
Baobab Benefits

With strenuous exercise more free radicals occur in the body and a good natural detoxifying and immune boosting fruit to help neutralise them is Baobab.  

Gram for gram Baobab has about 6 times more vitamin C than an orange, a lot of dietary fibre and more than 12 different vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C is needed to help keep teeth, gums and skin healthy as well as keeping the immune system functioning well. 

The Baobab tree is thought to live for up to 1,000 years and in African culture is a symbol of strength, long life, wisdom and beauty.


Barley Grass

(Hordeum vulgare L)
Barleygrass Benefits

With such a feature packed nutrient protfile Barleygrass is a great all round sports aid. For athletes and bodybuilders this natural ingredient can support all aspects of health with its wide spectrum of benefits to the body

Barley grass is known to contain vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, chlorophyll, live enzymes and amino acids. It is thought to include a balanced ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrate necessary for a balanced diet. Barleygrass is easily assimilated throughout the digestive tract providing the body with optimum nutrition.

The young leaves of the Barleygrass plant have a tremendous ability to absorb nutrients from the soil, and are harvested at 12 -14 inches high.


Bee Pollen

Bee Pollen Benefits

As well as adding extra nutrition, Bee Pollen can counteract toxins and body stress associated with extreme exercise and bodybuilding. Dense amounts of energy are stored in Bee Pollen making it a vital natural ingredient rich in complex B vitamins, vitamins A, C, D, and E, plus beta carotene, selenium, and lecithin minerals, enzymes, amino acids and anti-oxidants. 

Adding Bee Pollen to a protein shake will enhance alertness and aid concentration levels to help you bring out your best in the gym.

Bee Pollen has been used since the times of ancient Egypt and continues to be a fantastic natural supplement with many different health benefits.



(Beta vulgaris)

Beetroot has always been a bit of a dark horse in terms of nutrition. For bodybuilders this purple root vegetable has been proven to improve the amount of nutrients that muscles receive during high levels of exercise. This is because of the amount of nitric oxide present in Beetroot that dilates the blood vessels and increases endurance.

Other than nitric oxide Beetroot also is packed with calcium, iron, vitamins A & C; also an excellent source of folic acid and a very good source of fibre, manganese and potassium.

Did you know that Beetroot leaves used to be preferred to the actual root? They are even more nutritious than spinach!


Brazil Nuts

(Bertholletia excelsa)
Brazil Nut

The Brazil Nut is a dense souce of protein, minerals,​ selenium and amino acids and can be a great snack for bodybuilders and athletes before training. With a rich creamy taste, Brazil Nuts can be quicly eaten for a burst of energy.

Brazil nuts come from South America and grow on the Bertholletia excelsa tree along the Amazon River. Some trees of Bertholletia excelsa are said to have reached more than a 1,000 years old.


Brown Rice Protein

(Oryza sativa)
Rice Protein

Brown Rice has always been seen as very healthy, nutritious and a filling addition to any meal. Now it's possible to get all the natural protein from Brown Rice in powder form. Using enzymes to break down the starch and a period dehydration, a powder is made from Brown Rice that can be up to 70% protein.

For those who are looking for an alternative to other protein powders, Brown Rice protein could be the answer to getting all the essential amino acids you need during a workout.

Especially made with vegetarian and vegan bodybuilders and athletes in mind.


Camu Camu

(Mycaria dubia)
Camu Camu

Working out and training can release higher amounts of free radicals into the body and so a good antioxidant is essential for combating the adverse effect of these harmful cells.

Camu Camu has a higher amount of natural vitamin C than any fruit on the planet and can be a great source of antioxidants for athletes and bodybuilders.

The Mycaria dubia shrub grows in Peru and Brazil and was only found to have a very high vitamin C content when the Peruvian government conducted a survey on Amazon fruits in 1957.



(Anacardium occidentale)

Cashew Nuts are a rich source of minerals, B vitamins and protein and can be an excellent snack before a strenuous workout or training.

In Brazil the juice of the Cashew Apple, which is the fruit that the Cashew Nut grows on the bottom of, is one of the favourite beverages and the nut is hardly consumed at all.



(Chlorella vulgaris)
Chlorella Benefits

Chlorella has been described as the perfect food because of its massive nutritional range and large amount of natural protein. Also of interest to bodybuilders and athletes will be Chlorella’s ability to relieve the body of toxins and the fact that it is very easily digestible.

All in all Chlorella gives energy and keeps the body circulating with top level antioxidants making sure that you get the most out of your training.

Cracked wall Chlorella was first researched by Dutch microbiologist M. W. Beijerinck in 1890 and has been a popular supplement ever since.


Devil's Claw

(Harpagophytum procumbens)
Devil's Claw Benefits

Devil’s Claw root is a great tonic for the joints. Prolonged use has proven to be very helpful for those with osteoarthritis and joint pain. In the same way, this herb could be of use to bodybuilders and athletes to relieve joints that are under strain from heavy exercise.

The San Bushman of the Kalahari desert have known about the Devil’ Claw and its uses for centuries. It has been noted that hardly any of them have joint pain and this could be because of the amount of Devil’s Claw that they consume.


Ginkgo Biloba

(Ginkgo biloba, Salisburia adiantifolia, Salisburia macrophylla)
Ginkgo Biloba Benefits

Gingko is an absolute necessity for athletes and bodybuilders. Added to a pre-training shake or morning shake, it increases blood flow and helps massively with circulation, which can give you extra power by allowing nutrients to get to the muscles.

Ginkgo is one of the most popular herbs in use today, originating in Asia. It is the oldest surviving tree on earth and it has been used traditionally to improve concentration and memory.


Goji Berries

(Lycium barbarum)
Goji Berries

Goji berries / Wolf berries are known as the ultimate tonic for longevity, within the Chinese medicine tradition. Goji berries have such a good vitamin and mineral profile that eating them as a snack before and after training or putting the powder in your smoothies will certainly boost energy levels.

They are thought to nourish Yin energy in the body, having a cooling and nourishing effect on the whole system. Goji berries have been used in traditional Mongolian, Tibetan and Chinese medicine for 1000s of years. 



(Tribulus terrestris)
Tribulus Terrestris Benefits

Tribulus Terrestris (also known as Gokshura) is widely used by athletes and bodybuilders as it improves stamina and endurance. Although it has yet to be confirmed, Tribulus Terrestris is also thought to increase levels of testosterone which could in turn help in building muscle.

It has also been found to alleviate symptoms of the menopause, such as hot flushes, depression and emotional instability. Tribulus Terrestris is best known to increase libido and sexual function in men whilst improving sexual performance and sensitivity for most women.

Tribulus Terrestris was made famous through the Ayurvedic medical system and has been used for centuries in India.


Green Tea

(Camellia sinensis)

Green Tea has many benefits; one of these being the fact that it relaxes the mind with its theanine (an amino acid) content but also enlivens the body. For bodybuilding Green Tea is thought to be beneficial for boosting the metabolism but also giving a lift through the caffeine content.

Also with a high antioxidant value makes Green Tea a superb all-round supplement for gym enthusiasts

Green Tea is a favourite of the Chinese and Japanese. In Japan there have been elaborate tea ceremonies for centuries making Green Tea preparation an art form.



(Paullinia Cupana)
Guarana Benefits

Pure, unadulterated Guarana has a very interesting action and can increase your mental alertness and stamina. In the gym this can contribute to longer lasting workouts enabling bodybuilders and athletes to go beyond their limits.

This herb is also said to be good for slimming down because of the unique action of its caffeine content. Guarana releases into the blood stream in a slower than coffee because of the tannins in its composition. This results in a long lasting alertness and doesn’t make the body crash after consumption.

Guarana is a South American plant that has been used extensively for centuries for many different uses. The Guarana fruit itself, which is the part used for the uplifting properties, has the unsettling resemblance to a human eye.



(Cannabis Sativa)
Hemp Benefits

Hemp seeds have a very high protein content as well as being full of beneficial fatty acids. For bodybuilders and sports enthusiasts this can be a very welcome addition to a pre workout smoothie helping build muscle mass and giving energy. What makes Hemp Protein so good is that it comes from a safe plant source and is especially good for Vegan and Vegetarian athletes.

Hemp contains all the 21 essential amino acids and three essential branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) which are responsible for around 40% of our daily expended energy.

Through a process of pressing to extract the oil from the seed, a by-product is a very rich powder that can be refined to make a superior protein powder.


Horny Goat Weed

(Epimedium sagittatum)
Horny Goat Weed Benefits

You may be thrown by the name and wouldn't think it would benefit body building, but Horny Goat Weed boosts testosterone significantly which in turn will increase your power and drive. Research has shown that Horny Goat Weed also protects against adrenal exhaustion and fatigue making this herb a very good aid in the gym.

The Chinese refer to the herb Horny goat weed as Yin yang huo, which means "licentious goat plant." The use of Epimedium as a medicinal herb dates back thousands of years. It is known as a warming herb that improves male fertility and massively increases sex drive. Epimedium received its more common name, horny goat weed, when goats grazing on the herb were observed to have significantly increased sexual drive.



(Moringa oleifera)
Moringa Benefits

The Moringa Tree is another tree that has been given the title of 'Tree of Life' because every part of it is so useful. For health, the Moringa Leaf is a great natural supplement being full of protein, minerals and vitamins including Vitamin B12 which can aid in sports recovery, energy levels and building muscle.

There's also a very high percentage of other vitamins including vitamin C, A, D and E.

The Moringa tree is multipurpose tree that loves to grow in hot climates. In Africa it is used as an emergency food for malnourishment because it is so high in essential vitamins and minerals.


Mucuna / Kapikachhu

(Mucuna pruriens)
Mucuna Pruriens Benefits

Mucuna pruriens (known in Ayurvedic medicine as Kapikachhu) has two actions that may be of use to bodybuilders or sports persons wishing to build muscle. The first is that it increases HGH (human growth hormone) which can help the body tonify muscles and break down fat. The second is that Mucuna pruriens is high in the amino acid L-Dopa which is effective in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

In India Mucuna pruriens has been a part of Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years where it has been traditionally used to treat a range of conditions.



(Urtica dioica)
Nettle Benefits

Nettle Root has been found to improve the movement of free testosterone in the body which may have great effect in helping build muscle and well as muscle tone.

Testosterone usually binds with sex hormone-binding globulin in the body but the bioactive lignans present in Nettle Root bind instead leaving the testosterone to freely roam the body.

Nettles have been used throughout history as a food, clothe dye, rope and a medicine. The oldest known recorded use of Nettle was in Denmark where Bronze Age shrouds were found made from Nettle fibre.


Pea Protein

(Pisum sativum L.)
Pea Protein

Through a special process of refinement peas can produce up to 80% protein per serving. Naturally fat free, this great supplement for vegan and vegetarian gym goers, Pea protein can also be useful for those who are sensitive to whey, dairy or soy based protein products.

Not many would think that the common pea would be so full of protein but peas are actually full of BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids) which are essential for building good muscle mass.


Pumpkin Seed Protein

(Cucurbita pepo)
Pumpkin Seed Benefits

Pumpkin seeds make a great snack and hold generous amounts of protein. After being pressed for their oil, the resulting cake can be milled into a 65% rich protein powder.

Containing BCAA’s and all essential amino acids bodybuilders and athletes who don’t want to take dairy, meat or soy based protein products can try this safe plant based protein.

Pumpkin Seeds are a staple in some countries and have also been linked to a healthy prostate in men.  


Rhodiola Rosea

(Rhodiola rosea)
Rhodiola Rosea Benefits

Rhodiola Rosea is a great Siberian herb that has been found to level off stress being experienced by the body and mind. For bodybuilders and athletes, Rhodiola Rosea has been found to boost endurance, maximise recovery times, improve muscle density and help the body cope with physical stress making your workout the best it can be.

Apparently this herb is used by the Russian Olympic team to great effect, maximising their potential in athletics and weightlifting.


Siberian Ginseng

(Eleutherococcus Senticosus)
Siberian Ginseng Benefits

Siberian Ginseng is an effective adaptogenic herb that can reduce body and mind borne stress. Other qualities include increased vitality in all areas of life. For athletes and bodybuilders, when taken every day, Siberian Ginseng can significantly increase energy levels and recovery times.

There are three types of Ginseng that all have similar properties. Korean Panax Ginseng, American Ginseng and Siberian Ginseng. The latter is of the same plant family but of a different genus.



(Arthrospira platensis, and Arthrospira maxima)
Spirulina Benefits

Spirulina is a blue-green algae and it contains a wide range of valuable nutrients. For sports enthusiasts, athletes and bodybuilders, Spirulina is of interest because it contains 65% easily digested protein, 18 amino acids and an array of nutrients enabling fast recovery times. This protein source is superior because it also has lower fat, lower cholesterol and no artificial growth booster chemicals like meat and dairy protein.  

Spirulina is the secret to success for vegetarian body-building.



(Triticum aestivum)
Wheatgrass Benefits

Wheatgrass has a nutritional profile that is literally stunning. For athletes and bodybuilders, Wheatgrass carries the elusive vitamin B12 and is also a superior supplement for boosting energy and vitality levels, combating fatigue, detoxification, eliminating unhealthy bacteria, balancing gut and bowel health, balancing ph levels in blood, treating immune system deficiencies, stabilising weight, metabolism and cravings and aiding cell regeneration. 

Wheatgrass was discovered to have an amazing nutritional profile by Dr. Ann Wigmore in 1958 and has since been a very popular with those wishing to add more greens to their diet.