Kentlist, herb, health, immunity, digetion

Herbs for Rejuvenation and Energy

Herbal tonics and elixirs have been components of healing systems around the world for thousands of years. As people grow older, it is understandable that they seek out substances that promise to restore vitality and slow the aging process. Of course, if such a magic potion were reliable, we would have it in our water supply and there would be scant need for cosmetic surgeons. As we discussed, there is a growing recognition of the role of free radicals in the aging process. Biological molecules damaged by these reactive substances accumulate in cells and eventually interfere with normal functioning. Enhancing our ability to neutralize free radicals before they wreak their havoc is the basis of new treatments for several degenerative conditions including Parkinson�s disease. Alzheimer�s, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis.

We may learn that traditional herbal �tonics� provide value through their special chemical properties. The fruit of amalaki is one botanical substance that may deserve its reputation as a rejuvenative. It has been shown to be one of the richest sources of vitamin C available on earth. Studies in animals of formulas containing amalaki have suggested that it may confer protection against both heart disease and cancer. Ashwagandha, from the Ayurvedic tradition, and ginseng, from the traditional Chinese and Korean medical systems, are two herbs that play similar roles. Both are reputed to enhance energy and vitality, and are important rejuvenatives. The lore about these substances goes further, promising the recovery of the potency of youth. Is there a way to assess scientifically the claims of these almost mythical substances?

If we look at the idea of a rejuvenative from a modern perspective, what would we want it to accomplish? Simply speaking, we would like the herb to neutralize the damaging and degenerative effects of stress on mind and body. The Russians coined the term adaptogen to describe this protective effect. When animals are subjected to threatening situations, they respond with rises in stress hormones and weakness in the immune system. An adaptogen blunts the response of harmful effects of stress, and both ginseng and ashwagandha have shown some effectiveness in this regard. Whether this blunting of the stress response is due to antioxidant properties or some other effects is still to be defined. What is clear is that these tonic herbs have been around a long time and are likely to grow in popularity as our society ages.

In addition to tonic herbs, both traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda emphasize the tonic value of specific foods. In TCM, rice, walnuts, and grapes are considered to be rejuvenating. In Ayurveda, milk, honey, almonds, and clarified butter are viewed as having specific tonic properties. In both Ayurveda and TCM, tonic foods are not recommended until after one has undergone a detoxification program. As more westerners embrace these principles, it will be interesting to see ow we are able to integrate the concepts of detoxification and purification with our Western molecular medical model. If scientists take these ideas seriously enough to approach then with an open mind, we are certain that new discoveries of the healing value of natural substances will unfold.

Vision Direct Contacts Get 10% off gift baskets for all occasions. Use promo code: ZK-8979
ACTIVE? Try Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor