Ask The Pharmacist: How to get more energy without coffee

Suzy Cohen
The cost of a cup of coffee or other seemingly small outlays can exert a tremendous financial drain over time.

We all experience fatigue or low energy at some point in our lives. Sometimes it is temporary like after an all-nighter, or a bout with the flu.

Whatever the cause, fatigue is difficult to deal with. Also, one common but overlooked reason for fatigue is a missed diagnoses of hypothyroidism.

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Today, I’ll share my secrets for natural and effective ways to improve energy without Starbucks (wink).

B complex

A deficiency of the B vitamins harms your adrenal glands and is a frequent cause of fatigue and depression. There’s even a synthetic B vitamin made in very high doses and sold by prescription for depression called Deplin.

B complex is profoundly useful to make neurotransmitters and generate ATP energy production via the Krebs cycle. You need B12 to support thyroid production and get rid of homocysteine.

Licorice root

This ancient herbal adaptogen doesn’t care how you got fatigued, it only seeks to fix your exhausted adrenal glands by increasing your energy and endurance. Because licorice stimulates the production of cortisol, it also boosts thyroid hormone.

One cup of licorice root tea per day might be all you need. Using it for too long, or taking too much will induce headaches and hypertension.


Also known as Indian ginseng, this herb over a few weeks activates T4 to T3 thyroid conversion (good!) which improves energy and fat-burning capabilities. But ashwagandha should be taken at night -- at least at first -- because it causes drowsiness for many people.


Your body uses tyrosine, an amino acid, to make thyroid hormones which improve brain power and energy. Tyrosine is in many popular energy drinks and thyroid supplements. Dosage varies greatly from person to person, so start with 75 to 100 mg once or twice during daytime hours or it can cause insomnia. You can always increase from there. You’ll know you get too much if you feel shaky or get a racy heartbeat (similar to excessive caffeine).

Oat straw (avena sativa)

Known best as an effective tonic for hemorrhoids, oat straw may gently support thyroid function which in turn provides energy and fat-burning compounds.

It has a lot of natural calcium which helps your muscles and bones. In animals, oat straw triggered release of luteinizing hormone (LH) which increases testosterone and impacts ovulation.

Salads and greens

Eating steamed or sauteed greens is perfect, and of course a salad a day!

The green color of romaine lettuce, chard and collards comes from natural chlorophyll. There are also supplements and powdered drink formulas that contain seaweeds or cereal grasses which contain chlorophyll. This rapidly cleans your cells and creates energy.

Still want more energy?

There are coffee alternatives such as teas (black or green), coffeeberry fruit extract, yerba mate shots and guayusa (gwhy-you-sa) drinks and teas which all act similar to coffee in that they are stimulating, but milder.

These are nice because they have their own specific set of herbal health benefits.

Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit