Arnica (Arnica montana): Use externally as a muscle rub to treat soreness after exertion.

Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng): Ginseng combats fatigue and is believed to improve oxygen uptake and muscle recovery. Take this herb when you feel run-down from training and after the race for recovery.

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) and Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus): Intense exercise can suppress the immune system, leaving you vulnerable to illness. To boost your immunity, take these herbs in the few weeks of hard training leading up to the race, when your body is most fatigued.

Glucosamine: This supplement is popular among older runners suffering from joint pain. Glucosamine is reputed to alleviate the discomfort of osteoarthritis and promote joint healing.

Vitamins A: daily multivitamin and mineral supplement promotes optimal health. Of particular importance for athletes are calcium, to maintain bone strength; folic acid, linked to endurance; iron, for strength; and magnesium and zinc, for muscle recovery.

—D.S.B.

Source: Gayle Engels, education coordinator, American Botanical Council.