It is a matter of legend and fantasy in cultures across the globe: the quest to live forever. Many sought the fountain of youth. The ancient Vedic sages speak of a special procedure called kaya kalpa, which restores an aged body to youthful vigor. Ancient Chinese, Hebrew, and Egyptian sages reportedly knew how to live far longer than modern man, and anti-aging herbs were commonly used. Even though there were allegedly some remarkable means for rejuvenating the aged body, these cultures agreed that it was far better to prevent the aging in the first place. Therefore, all recommended balanced programs of diet and exercise. In China and India, this included specific kinds of stretching and movement. In all the cultures, fresh food freshly prepared was favored, and often anti-aging herbs as well.
Modern knowledge and anti-aging herbs
In modern times, we’ve come to favor certain kinds of exercise and foods. Among foods, those highest in antioxidants are generally considered the best. Any fruit or vegetable that is picked at the time of maximum ripeness, neither overripe nor under-ripe, is of significantly greater nutritive value than the same fruit or vegetable picked too early or too late. Cell walls are surprisingly rugged and able to resist problems in their environment. However, the fragile structures within cells are subjected to oxidation due to chemical or radioactive factors on a daily basis. What generally protects them is the presence of the big three antioxidants: superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione. While other antioxidants can and should supplement these “big three,” the reduction of these in the body directly correlates to most aging processes. There are specific interventions that can strengthen these “big three,” and it is now possible to take superoxide dismutase – the most important of the antioxidants – in pill form such that it gets through the stomach undisturbed. Equally important is the reduction of chronic inflammation. The body uses inflammation to deal with invaders such as pathogens, but low-level inflammation that persists for long periods of time is a serious problem and has been implicated in many of our health issues.
12 anti-aging herbs and lifestyle changes worthy of consideration
There are many wonderful foods and supplements of anti-aging herbs available along with lifestyle changes to counteract either oxidative processes, inflammation, or in many cases, both! Here are the top 12 ways to live longer and healthier:
1.Turmeric. This herb, often used as a spice, hails from India and has been consistently found to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In conjunction with three other Indian spices and green tea extract, it has been found to stimulate and up-regulate the production of the “big three” antioxidants.
2. The Mei Zen Cosmetic Acupuncture System for Facial Rejuvenation offers a unique and highly beneficial approach to looking younger and feeling healthier in the face. Contact your local acupuncturist to find out more.
3. He Shou Wu (AKA fo ti) is a powerful Chinese anti-aging herb for potentially reversing a loss of hair or graying hair, but more importantly, having general anti-aging and life-extension properties.
4. Super foods such as Goji, golden berries, and cacao all contain high levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants. They therefore protect against oxidation, and often have anti-inflammatory properties as well.
5. Resveratrol is one of the few anti-aging herbs to have captured the attention and general endorsement of the standard medical community in recent years, and many thousands of doctors take it themselves. This grape extract has been documented to extend healthy lifespan by 15% or more in rodent studies.
6. Oregano offers important antiviral and antifungal advantages, especially in the oil form.
7. Eating whole foods containing antioxidants is one way to gain not only the benefit of those that have been studied, but also the thousands that haven’t been studied, many of which will almost certainly offer health benefits.
8. Eating less sugar (sucrose) is important because sucrose surges your blood sugar, depositing fat and stressing all of your systems towards diabetes. You can substitute natural xylitol (birch sugar) for all uses except baking.
9. Fish oils offer many protective benefits, though even better may be the “parent oils” available from vegetable sources of Omega-3s such as chia seed and hemp seed extract.
10. Green Tea is a great antioxidant that helps with the oxidative processes in the body. If you are a coffee drinker try switching over to green tea. Remember, to receive the highest level of medicinal value out of your Green Tea never add cream, sugar or other adulterants.
11. Vitamin D and iodine are important nutrients that are often undersupplied in the average American diet. Vitamin D in particular seems to have an increasingly wide range of documented effects including protection against cancer.
12. Breath and movement are helpful to our sense of happiness and well being. Qi gong is an ancient practice that enables one to strengthen the vital energy of the body to combat stress and maintain health through breath and movement. Check your local Yoga studio, Acupuncture clinic, or martial arts studio to find a class or teacher.