Medicinal Plants in Physical Exercise: A Review

Main Article Content

Nikole Costa Dias
Natália Pandolfi Marinho
Sandra Maria Barbalho
Adriano Cressoni Araújo
Claudia Rucco Penteado Detregiachi
Mauro Audi
Eduardo Federighi Baisi Chagas
Rogério Leone Buchaim
Daniela Vieira Buchaim
Elen Landgraf Guiguer


Background: The use of medicinal plants may have an effective action on the performance of athletes.

Aims: This review aimed to evaluate the effects of the use of medicinal plants and some phytocompounds on physical performance.

Methodology: MEDLINE/PUBMED and EMBASE were consulted following the PRISMA guidelines.

Results: Panax ginseng increases the anti-fatigue effect, decreases the stress promoted by the physical exercise, and improves muscular function through gene expression enhancement. Arnica montana has a crucial anti-inflammatory action showing relief of muscular pain a. Zingiber officinale has an anti-inflammatory and analgesic role on muscular pain, and it can be used to speed up the recovery of muscular strength after intense activity. Ephedra sinica is related to thermogenic and sympathomimetic effects, being able to increase the energetic state. Capsaicin increases the energetic expenditure due to fat oxidation, promotes the anti-fatigue effect, and enhances the athlete’s resistance. Caffeine has ergogenic importance related to its antioxidant capacity, and it improves mental alertness condition.

Conclusion: The nutritional supplementation with products derived from medicinal plants may be an efficient alternative to improve the athlete’s performance, being a natural substitute for synthetic supplements, which usually are forbidden in competitions.

Physical exercises, Panax ginseng, Zingiber officinale, Arnica Montana, Ephedra sinica, caffeine, capsaicin.

Article Details

How to Cite
Dias, N. C., Marinho, N. P., Barbalho, S. M., Araújo, A. C., Detregiachi, C. R. P., Audi, M., Chagas, E. F. B., Buchaim, R. L., Buchaim, D. V., & Guiguer, E. L. (2021). Medicinal Plants in Physical Exercise: A Review. European Journal of Medicinal Plants, 32(1), 1-21.
Review Article


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