As we move through life we start to become aware of how important it is to take care of our bodies; after all, where else do we have to live?
While some people may turn to the latest anti-aging creams and guzzle down heaps of vitamin tablets for every little ache, pain, and wrinkle, wisdom from the Eastern world is creeping into our healthcare regime.
As a society it seems like we’re becoming more aware of the benefits of adding herbs and spices into our meals, from the anti-inflammatory turmeric to the sugar balancing cinnamon. Now we can even turn to herbs to help increase our life expectancy. The top 6 of these include Gynostemma, Luo Han Guo, Astragalus Root, Goji Berry, Schisandra Fruit, and Siberian Ginseng.
Gynsotemma is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it improves adrenal system health, helping to manage the body’s response to stress and increasing its ability to cope with anxiety and fatigue. Originating from Asia, gynostemma has been thought to restore balance and equilibrium in the five main systems in the body: digestive, cardiovascular, nervous, immune, and reproductive.
It is high in saponins, which lower cholesterol, are good for the immune system, and help fight forms of cancer. Gynostemma is also an antioxidant, is potentially antidiabetic, helps with weight control, and enhances longevity.
2) Luo Han Guo
Used in Chinese medicine, Luo Han Guo is known as a longevity fruit, as well as its ability to naturally sweeten foods. Its health benefits include antioxidant properties, reducing obesity, and its anti-histaminic effects. Luo Han Guo has been used in the treatment of chronic cough, sore throats, heat stroke, and Epstein Barr virus.
3) Astragalus Root
Again used in Chinese medicine, astragalus has been taken for centuries as a restorative tonic. Due to its adaptogenic qualities it has been found to improve energy, is anti-aging, and enhances the immune system during colds, blood disorders, HIV/AIDS, and cancer. Astragalus has been used to treat fibromyalgia, diabetes, overall weakness, and can protect against heart disease. It has also been used to treat asthma, arthritis, and nervous conditions, stimulating the liver, lungs, spleen, urinary, and circulatory system.
While benefits for astragalus root are amazing, it’s actually been recommended that pregnant and nursing women as well as those with an immune disease do not take this herb.
4) Goji Berry
The goji berry, or lycium barbarum, has many health benefits ranging from a decrease in the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration to improving sexual function and fertility. Goji berries are considered a fruit and an herb and have around 20 different vitamins and minerals, 18 different amino acids, and antioxidants that fight off free-radicals in the body. Due to the high amounts of beta-carotene found in them, consuming goji berries can also promote healthy, glowing skin. They can protect the eyes and boost the immune system, and the juice has been found to improve energy and gastrointestinal function.
5) Schisandra Fruit
Schisandra fruit is also known as the five-flavored berry due to the fact that it’s salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and pungent all at the same time. As a longevity herb it has been found to hinder the aging process, fight fatigue, increase energy, and enhance libido. As an adaptogen it has both mental and physical stress reducing properties, boosting physical performance, which is highly beneficial for athletes. Studies have shown that extracts from the berry and the fruit itself have improved performance in skiers, gymnasts, and runners, and has additionally enhanced concentration, alertness, and memory in students. Schisandra fruit has beneficial effects on the liver, helping in the treatment for hepatitis.
6) Eleuthero Root/Siberian Ginseng
Eleuthero, or Siberian Ginseng, has been used in the treatment of joint pain, muscle spasms, insomnia and sleep problems, and fatigue, in addition to it being an adaptogen. Some people have been known to use Eleuthero to increase athletic performance and concentration, help treat the side effects of chemotherapy, boost the immune system, and help with ADHD, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s.
These amazing herbs can be found in their whole form or made into a combination tea, which can be consumed on a daily basis. However, if you have any pre-existing health conditions or you are pregnant or nursing, it’s recommended that you consult with a physician before experimenting, just in case of side effects, as these herbs can be extremely powerful.Gynostemma photo by Dr.T. Voekler on Wikimedia