Homemade Energy Drinks: Natural Recipes – Power, Focus & Speed

Homemade Energy Drinks
Heidi Moretti Author circleHeidi Moretti, MS, RD
Clinical Registered Dietitian
Functional Medicine

Instant | athletes | coffee substitutes | students | smoothie | reviews | lifestyle tips

Homemade Energy Drinks, Story in a Nutshell

  • In this post, I will share with you some of my favorite homemade energy drinks recipes using natural whole foods and herbs.
  • Products covered: Ginseng Fuzion drops, Tulsi tincture, Coffee Break, Cordyceps, Living Greens, Cacao Elixir.
  • We’ll also discuss some of the key fundamental lifestyle consideration for good healthy energy.

All these DIY recipes are easy to make using common natural ingredients that also caffeine free. Some of these natural ingredients are very well studied and shown to help boost energy and support:

  • Physical and mental performance
  • Brain function
  • Focus and memory
  • Better cope with stress.

If you are a fan of energy drinks such as red bull, monster, or others, make sure to read my thoughts on common store bought sports drinks and energy drinks. (Towards the end of this article).

Long story short, making your own  homemade energy drinks is always a much better idea in terms of health, effectiveness, safety, and budget. In this guide, we’ll focus on your time with quick options.

Reasons You’re Feeling Low In Energy

Reasons You're Feeling Low In Energy

Before we dive into the recipes, an important note about energy drinks.

I see SO many clients who desperately seek out energy just so they can stay awake and focused through the day.

When seeking energy to fuel the day, I like to think beyond just an energy drink or coffee, and consider if there’s an actually problem that may cause low energy.

If you always feel you need “something” to energize you, then perhaps it’s time to look deeper, and find the cause. Possible causes of fatigue or low energy may include:

  • Diet (for example low calories, sugar crashes, food sensitivities)
  • Nutritional deficiencies (for example B12 or iron who play a major role in energy production)
  • Sleep (not enough or poor quality)
  • High stress
  • Depression
  • Mitochondria issues: especially as we get older.
    If you are above 40, make sure to read my guide on: mitochondria supplements.

Bottom line: if you have been battling with low energy for awhile, I highly recommend you should go and see your doctor to make sure there’s an underlying issues causing it.

Homemade Energy Drinks Recipes

Homemade Energy Drinks Recipes

Here are some of my favorite homemade energy drinks recipes that can help to naturally boost your energy levels and support your physical and mental performance.

Keep things simple: Energy drinks don’t need to be complex to be effective. They need to be easy and quick with easy to use items. So you can use these as effective tools when needed, rather than spending hours in your kitchen.

Listen to your body: Just like any food, or supplement,  not everyone responds the same. So always allow room for variations to find the magic formula that works best for you. The recipes below do offer a great starting point.

The Instant Energy Drink: The Power of Ginseng

The Instant Energy Drink: The Power of Ginseng

Looking for a quick “natural lift” (caffeine-free), but are at work, on the go, or away from your kitchen?

I’m so impressed by ginseng health potential and research data, I think it may very well be the (caffeine free) coffee of the future. While completely caffeine free, most people who try ginseng really love how it improves energy, stamina, and mental performance.

So here’s is a quick homemade energy drink recipe with some options.
I will also share some more info on the different types of ginseng and the main way they work. You are likely to know them by different names. Maca and Ashwagandha for example, are actually different types of ginseng.

The Instant Energy Drink

My favorite when I am on the go:

Instant Energy Drink

  • Ginseng Fuzion drops (1 dropperful)
    a combination of five types of organic ginseng shown to support energy, stress, focus, mood.
  • Purified or spring water (300-500 ml, hot/cold)

When I am out: I often replace water with 300-500 ml coconut water for electrolytes and hydration support. You can simply add the one dropperful of Ginseng Fuzion in your coconut water bottle and carry with you.

Keto diet: if you are doing Keto: replace the coconut water with:

  • 300-500 ml of unsweetened almond milk
  • 15 ml of coconut oil or MCT oil (start with 5 ml to avoid digestive issues due to too much MCT)

Know your herb: Ginseng

While all the types of ginseng are known to support energy, each may work a little different with additional capabilities. You can try each type by itself, or combine them together, as they tend to complement each other.

  • Korean Ginseng: Energy & Fatigue
    also known as asian ginseng, red ginseng, or panax ginseng
  • Ashwagandha: Energy, Endurance & Stress
    also known as indian ginseng
  • Maca: Energy & Mood
    also known as peruvian ginseng.

Ginseng Fuzion drops are easier to add to drinks or water, saving you the need to make tea, or buy each kind separately. Its not always easy to get good sources of organic ginseng. This formula only uses organic extracts.
All you need is to carry the small bottle with you.

Homemade Energy Drink for Athletes

Homemade Energy Drink for Athletes 

Athletes and people who are more active often need more nutrients, electrolytes and calories to support performance.

When working with athletes, we always pay special attention to what happens after the workout, to help the body heal and recover afterwards.

The homemade energy drink recipe below may offer a great starting point.
Take 30 min before your workout.

For ideal athletic performance, note that the ingredients and serving size may be different from one person to another. (Think of a 120 pounds female runner, vs. a 250 pounds bodybuilder).

  • Ginseng Fuzion drops (1 dropper)
    for energy, performance, balance the stress response of intense workout.
  • Coconut water (300-500 ml, electrolytes and hydration)
  • ½ lemon juice (alkaline forming in the body)
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan salt (helps support muscles and hydration. Bodybuilders may notice better “pump” during the workout)

Endurance athletes:  add 1 scoop of Cordyceps Mushroom.

The research suggests that cordyceps can improve oxygen uptake into tissues, delay fatigue by improving oxygen kinetics and and increase training volume, particularly in endurance athletes.[1,2]

As with all herbs and medicinal mushrooms, the source matters. If you consider cordyceps, it is best to get yours for an organic source that guarantees it is grown under the best conditions, including third party testing.
A good example is cordyceps by medicinal foods.

Coffee Substitute Energy Drink

Coffee Substitute Energy Drink

Coffee substitutes are everywhere now and for a good reason: coffee is perhaps the most abused substance in the world!

Don’t get me wrong. There are still  many benefits reported from drinking coffee. The problem is the abuse. Many people find themselves in trouble after consuming way too much caffeine.

Below is my favorite homemade recipe, using the famous Hawaiian Medicinal Foods Coffee Break. It’s a mix of medicinal mushrooms and herbs shown to boost your energy, support your immune system, help your body cope with stress, reduce inflammation and even have some anti-aging benefits.

Combine all ingredients and enjoy.  This is probably my favorite drink of the day.

energy drink homemade coffee

  • Coffee Break (1-2 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Iced coffee lovers: mix 1-2 tablespoon with your favorite nut milk.
  • For added brain support, add 15 ml of coconut oil or MCT oil (start with 5 ml)

Trying to stop drinking coffee is not always easy and can cause nasty withdrawal symptoms. If this sounds like you, you may want to see my article on how to stop drinking coffee.

Homemade Energy Drink for Studying

Homemade Energy Drink for Studying

Got an important test or an important deadline to meet? When it comes to studying, always consider the type of energy you need to help you get the job done.

Mild & long lasting: Rather than that explosive energy and alertness you would normally need before a workout, for studying you probably want a more mild energy that will keep you focused for several hours.

Calm: Almost everyone these days experience some sort of anxiety or stress before a test or a deadline; certain adaptogenic herbs can help to ease the stress. So you feel calm yet focused.

Also, get enough sleep: According to research, sleep deprivation can prevent the encoding of items in short-term memory and can impair your entire decisioning making and reaction time. So not sleeping enough before an exam in order to achieve more can significantly backfire.

For this homemade recipe (hot or cold tea):

  • Tulsi Tincture (1-2 dropperful):
    Calming, yet energizing, tulsi (holy basil) is one of ayurvedic medicine most studied herb known for its ability to calm stress, balance mood, and naturally boost physical and mental energy.[3]
  • 1 cup of spring or purified water (hot or cold)

Use before and during studying. May work very well together with Coffee Break.

Homemade Energy Drink Smoothie

Homemade Energy Drink Smoothie

Brain, energy, and gut health, this recipe has it all. It may require a little more time compared to the previous recipes, but if you like to make smoothies at home, you may find this recipe very rewarding and quite easy to make.

Homemade Energy Drink Smoothie

Brain, energy, and gut health
Prep Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Homemade Energy Drink Smoothie
Servings: 1
Author: Heidi Moretti, MS, RD

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients

  • ¼ to ⅓ cup wild frozen blueberries neuroprotective and antioxidant effects in the brain
  • 20-25 grams organic vegan protein powder such as hemp or pea protein
  • 1 medium banana energy and flavor
  • 1-2 cups almond milk or your favorite plant based milk
  • 1 scoop Hawaiian Medicinal Foods Living Greens energy, detoxification, gut health with probiotics, live enzymes
  • 1 scoop Hawaiian Medicinal Foods Cacao Elixir energy, mood, and chocolate flavor

Instructions

  • Blend all ingredients and enjoy

Popular variations:

  • One tablespoon of  chia seeds with less nut milk (one cup) to make a pudding (soak chia overnight or at least for 15 min with the nut milk).
  • Add other fresh nuts and seeds.

My Energy Drinks Review: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

My Energy Drinks Review: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In our fast-paced world that is infused with a load of stress, extra calories, yet plenty of nutritional imbalances, it is no wonder we all reach a point where we have some sort of an energy crisis. So we look for energy drinks.

In this article, we covered some great and healthy homemade options (“The good”). But…you are now out and about and need a lift. What about store bought options?

The Ugly:

There’s a reason why we often carry these natural drops of Tulsi and Ginseng when we are out. Most energy drinks on the market today give people more than just energy: synthetic ingredients and additives that may do some long-term damage. Not to mention, most have loads of refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup which are linked to disease.

Excuse my sarcasm, but the irony here, is that even the sugar free energy drinks that claimed to support fat loss have artificial ingredients that may be linked to diabetes, or disrupt your gut microbiome.

The Bad:

What about the all natural energy drinks or bars? They often have too much sugars or have stimulants that can cause side effects and may be unhealthy.

Stimulants can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, make you feel jittery, and while you may have a great few hours of energy and focus, you are likely to crash hours later. Then what? Take another of these energy drinks?

Another common issue with stimulants, is that the energy you get is not always consistent, and can completely backfire. Especially when abused or used long term.

Beyond Energy Drinks: Lifestyle Tips

Beyond Energy Drinks: Lifestyle Tips 

To get more energy in your life, the fundamentals of health should always be your starting point.  A balanced lifestyle can fuel your day with long and lasting energy, and prevent the afternoon slump in energy.

1: Your diet: nutrients & calories

When it comes to energy, food is the best medicine. While a topic by itself, here are some key dietary guidelines for good energy:

  • Avoid sugar spikes: Stay away from high carb foods or processed foods that can cause blood sugar spikes and energy fluctuations.
  • Key foods for sustained energy include low glycemic fruits (berries), fresh nuts and seeds, and fatty fruits like avocados.
  • Eat enough calories: I see many people who undereat due to busy lifestyle. When we don’t eat enough, the body naturally goes into survival mode and slow things down. The result: low energy.
  • Watch for nutritional deficiencies: always best to have your levels tested. Low levels of B12, or iron for example, may cause low energy.

2: Sleep is the best energy drink

Sleep is essential to good energy, and both quantity (at least 7 hours for most people) and quality matter. So you may miss an hour here and there, but it doesn’t take long before lack of sleep catches up and affect every aspect of our life.

3: Manage Stress

Initially stress causes us to be alerted and energized. Overtime, however, chronic stress can drain our adernals leading to extreme fatigue.

Have your stress under control, and be mindful to how it affects you. Try to include meditating, yoga, stretching, and getting some movement during the day.

Exercise is a known potent natural way to energize the body and mind. While a good challenge is always a great, avoid overtraining as it can have the opposite effect.

Read Next

Herbs for Energy: for a natural clean energy that lasts. No caffeine, no jitters, no crashes.

Herbs for Energy: Natural Clean Boost without Stimulants

Herbs for Energy
Heidi Moretti Author circleHeidi Moretti, MS, RD
Functional Medicine Nutritionist
Herbal Medicine Expert

Ginseng | Korean Ginseng | Ashwagandha | Maca | Rhodiola | Schisandra | Peppermint | Recipes

When seeking natural herbs for energy to fuel my day, I like to think beyond coffee. Don’t get me wrong. Coffee has its benefits and can offer a quick boost. The problem is that ongoing caffeine use takes its toll on our body’s sleep-wake cycle.

Eventually we end up feeling stressed out, exhausted and fatigued. Then we need to drink more coffee. It’s that famous caffeine vicious cycle so many people fall into.

Time to take a deeper dive into one of my favorite topics: natural herbs that promotes clean energy that lasts. No caffeine, no jitters, no crashes.

Adaptogenic Herbs for Energy

The herbs I’m going to mention here are adaptogenic herbs, meaning they can naturally help the body adapt to stress.

Adaptogenic herbs regulate energy in the body and improve the cellular energy transfer. Simply put, they allow the body better utilize oxygen, glucose, lipids and proteins to provide us with a steady supply of energy.[1]

The amount of research on these herbs is very impressive. It’s exciting how natural herbs have so much to offer to improve our energy, quality of life, health and wellbeing.

Last thing before we get started: while all the herbs I will mention are found to be both safe and effective, as with any nutritional changes, always check before use with your healthcare provider.

The King of Herbs for Energy: Ginseng

Best Herbs for Energy

I’m so impressed by ginseng health potential, I think it deserves a separate article, one article for each benefit. And there are many of them.

To summarize the evidence, ginseng has a long traditional use with thousands of studies that evaluated its different capabilities. In this article, we’ll focus on its benefits for energy, physical, and mental performance.

Traditional use:
Known as a general tonic, ginseng has been used to boost physical performance, enhance sexual function, encourage general vitality, and promote longevity.

Modern science:
According to research, ginseng and its active constituents, ginsenosides, can increase energy production and improve physical and mental performance. In In addition. ginseng has been extensively studied for its ability to promote healthy immune system function, support central nervous system health, control diabetes, and even benefit neurological disorders.[2]

The Three Types of Ginseng You Need to Know

Best Herbs for Energy Ginseng

Ginseng is a powerhouse herb for energy. Most people who try ginseng really love how it improves energy, stamina, and mental performance.

And the best part? Ginseng doesn’t have any caffeine. It won’t disrupt your sleep. In fact, according to some studies, ginseng can actually improve sleep.

In this article I will discuss the three most popular types of ginseng and their pronteital benefits for energy. All types are so common, chances are you see them under different names every day:

  • Korean Ginseng also known as asian ginseng, red ginseng, or panax ginseng
  • Ashwagandha also known as indian ginseng
  • Maca also known as peruvian ginseng.

While all these types are known to support energy, each have additional different capabilities. You can try each type by itself, or combine them together, as they tend to complement each other.

Ginseng Fuzion which includes all the three types of ginseng is a great example. The liquid drops make it really easy to use, so you can add it to your water, teas or other drinks while on the go.

See the recipes section in the end of the article for some easy to do recipes. No blender is required.

One more thing. Make sure to give ginseng some time to work. As in any natural herbs for energy, not everyone responds the same or need the same serving size. Start low, see how your body responds, and go from there. Especially if you are trying to reduce your coffee intake.

Korean Ginseng: Herb for Energy & Fatigue

Korean Ginseng Herbs for Energy Fatigue

The most common ginseng type used for energy is korean ginseng, also known as asian ginseng, red ginseng, or panax ginseng.

Several studies found that korean ginseng stimulates energy consumption in skeletal muscle and liver. In fact, due to its potent yet gentle effect on energy, the medical community considers korean ginseng as a promising treatment for fatigue in people with chronic illness.[3,4].

In addition to its ability to increase energy levels and reduce fatigue, ginseng may also support healthy weight loss. According to research, ginseng can promote fat metabolism, regulate blood sugar and reduce appetite.[5]

Ashwagandha: Herb for Energy, Endurance & Stress

Ashwagandha

My personal favorite of the adaptogen herbs is ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) also known as indian ginseng.

I often encourage my clients who battle with stress and fatigue to try this herb as a natural way to support their energy and calm their stress levels. They usually come back and report a resounding love for this wonderful plant.

Ashwagandha is a traditional ayurvedic medicine that has become very popular nowadays as a natural supplement for our stressful lifestyle.
Most people who try ashwagandha like its balancing effects. It can relax you and at the same time give you energy.

Due to its potential as a natural herb for energy, ashwagandha is a well studied herb as well. Several studies found that ashwagandha can improve endurance, cardiorespiratory fitness and sense of wellbeing. [5,6].

The benefits of ashwagandha go above and beyond energy. Additional human studies showed that ashwagandha was able to normalize the stress hormone cortisol, improve quality of sleep, reduce food cravings, and even strengthen the muscles.[7,8]

You can supplement ashwagandha as a whole root or in an extract form.  I personally like to have ashwagandha powder added to my tea or as a part of my coffee substitute recipes. You can also mix ashwagandha into your smoothies or foods.

Ashwagandha is a very clean and safe herb with very few side effects reported. With that said, there were a few individual cases of hyperthyroid. While it wasn’t clear if these were actually related to its use, it is always best to speak with your doctor before. Especially if you have hyperthyroid concerns.[9]

Maca: Herb for Energy & Mood

Maca Herbs for Energy

Perhaps most popular for its purported sexual enhancing effects, maca (Lepidium meyenii) is also known as a potent herb for energy. I like to combine maca together with ashwagandha due to their synergistic effect.

According to research, maca contains a group of carbohydrate molecules called polysaccharides (MPS1 and MPS2) that have anti-fatigue effects.[10]
A large clinical trial found that red and black maca enhanced energy and increased overall mood and sense of well-being.[11]

Maca is available in both powder or extract form. If you consider using maca powder, make sure it is either boiled or gelatinized for best absorption.

Fun fact about maca: this herb is actually a cruciferous vegetable!

Rhodiola rosea: Herb for Energy & Stress & Brain Function

Rhodiola Herbs for Energy

Any review of the best clean herbs for energy will never be complete without the adaptogen herb Rhodiola rosea. Originating in Russia and cold european climates, rhodiola has long been used to battle stress, reduce fatigue, boost energy and promote mental clarity.

On top of these traditional uses, rhodiola is another example of a natural herb for energy that is extensively studied. And I mean, a lot of studies. Rhodiola truly shines in its ability to boost energy, enhance exercise performance and improve cognitive function. Yes, we are talking about one herb that does all these together.

To give you an idea, here is a quick summary of some of the research:

Boost energy

Rhodiola supports natural energy by increasing AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an enzyme that plays a role in cellular energy. In clinical studies, Rhodiola was able to effectively reduce fatigue related to stress.[12,13]

Improve exercise performance

Rhodiola rosea was able to improve exercise endurance performance as well as lung capacity in a clinical study. This includes an ability to reduce the perceived effort of exercise, making it seem easier.[14, 15]

In addition to its ability to boost exercise performance, Rhodiola can help the body better adapt to the exercise. Muscles had less damage and less lactate after exercise in male athletes who received Rhodiola.[16]

Improve cognitive function

A meta-analysis of 36 studies found that Rhodiola was able to optimize key neurotransmitters and improve learning and memory function.[17]

Schisandra: Tonic Herb for a Balanced Overall Energy

Schisandra Herbs for Energy

Next on the list of herbs for energy is one of chinese medicine famous tonic herbs, Schisandra. Also known as magnolia berry, this powerful adaptogen herb is recognized by its ability to promote a well balanced energy.

Several studies have suggested that schisandra can improve physical endurance and cognitive/behavioural functions, which can be linked to a general anti-aging potency. In fact, many researchers believe that schisandra can regulate mitochondrial biogenesis. Mitochondria are the parts in our cells responsible for making energy.[18]

In general, schisandra is a great herb to add into your daily routine.  Many people combine it with ashwagandha and rhodiola for a balancing overall effect. While schisandra is considered safe for most people, you may want to avoid if you have reflux, intracranial pressure, or epilepsy.

Fun fact: the name schisandra translates to five-flavor-fruit due to its unusual combination of five flavors.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint Essential Oil

If you haven’t noticed how peppermint awakens the senses, you should give it a try.  Simply inhale its aroma and feel how it energizes you almost instantly!

Several studies actually explored the potential of this aromatic herb to boost energy. According to research, peppermint essential oil enhanced exercise performance and improved memory and focus.[19,20,21]

While a little bit of peppermint is good, more is not always better.  You only need to inhale a little bit of the essential oil and see how you feel. While everyone may respond different, if you find that peppermint does give you more energy, then you definitely want to have a small bottle of peppermint in your gym bag!

Peppermint sensitivity can occur in some people, so always use caution.

Herbs for Energy – Recipes

You can combine all these herbs for energy in your water, drinks, teas, smoothies, juices and even meals.

Ginseng Fuzion which I mentioned earlier makes it easy due to its liquid form. Here are some easy recipes you can use while on the go.

Try to mix 1 ml of Ginseng Fuzion with:

  • Pre workout:
    Beet juice or pomegranate juice to enhance exercise performance, increase blood flow and improve focus
  • Cutting down coffee?
    Mix with green tea (hot or cold) to support your body as you reduce your coffee intake
  • Coffee alternatives:
    Mix with chicory root
  • Post workout:
    Mix with coconut water, a vegan protein powder and BCAAs to help balance cortisol levels, hydrate your body and support protein synthesis and recovery
  • Gentle energy during cleansing:
    Cleansing doesn’t mean low energy. Mix Ginseng fuzion with your favorite detox tea.
    See: Candida Tea Recipe for an example of a detox antifungal tea recipe that includes green tea, coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, and lemon.

Final Thoughts

Adaptogenic herbs offer a safe and effective natural way to power your day, improve your physical and mental performance, and help your body to better adapt to stress.

As in all herbs, the source matters. Make sure to choose reputable brands that stand behind the quality and purity of their herbs. Always check with your doctor before using. If you are pregnant, you should generally avoid herbs, since most herbs weren’t tested on pregnant women.