Fight The Effects of Aging With Nature’s Healing Plants…

Aging is a fact of life, but how well we age is not always predetermined. The choices you make today, will affect how healthy or sick you will be tomorrow, in your 50’s, 60’s and even your 80’s.

Diet plays a critical role in your general health and wellness and especially in your older years, and nature has made great efforts to provide us with healing plants that can do a lot to fight the aging process.

Herbs and spices offer a variety of nutrients, and compounds that support the health of organs, beat oxidative stress that accelerates aging and prevent disease.

According to Wikipedia…

“Herbalism (also herbal medicine or phytotherapy) is the study of botany and use of plants intended for medicinal purposes or for supplementing a diet.”

Throughout human history, plants have been used as medicine. Archaeological evidence shows medicinal plants were used in the Paleolithic age, about 60,000 years ago and written evidence exists that herbal remedies date back as far as 5,000 years ago when the Sumerians compiled detailed lists of plants, along with various ancient cultures who created medical books known as herbals.

The World Health Organization reports that about 80% of Asian and African country’s populations use herbal medicine in some form as primary health care. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), herbalism is a staple.

Today in the Western world, modern medicine recognizes the practice of herbalism as a type of alternative medicine, and in the US and other countries, plant-derived compounds are used to make many modern prescription and over the counter drugs along with anti-aging skin care products.

8 Anti-Aging Herbs

1| Ginseng

In the West, the two most common forms of ginseng are American ginseng and Asian ginseng. Both of these herbs are excellent for fighting stress and its effects on the body, which are high and varied. Ginseng also boosts stamina and mental and physical performance.

The Chinese consider ginseng to be the Fountain of Youth, as they believe it to tone the skin, promote muscle health, boost sexual prowess and stimulated digestion and appetite.

2| Bilberry

Bilberries are small black berries that grow on various Eurasian species of low-growing shrubs in the genus Vaccinium.

Rich in antioxidants, they address many age-related issues degenerative eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Protection for the eyes stems from this plant’s ability to prevent damage to the retina and strengthen the capillaries and connective tissue in the eyes.

Its high antioxidant content also helps fight oxidative damage that accelerates aging, and encourages chronic disease.

Research has found bilberries to have anti-aging properties for the skin, to fight wrinkles and sagging.

3| Ginkgo

Solid scientific research has shown Gingko Biloba to improve blood circulation to the brain, helping to improve its function throughout aging. Gingko is believed to protect brain cells, repair brain tissue, and improve memory.

European research found gingko to help patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia conditions to be more sociable and more alert.

4| Black Cohosh

For women, aging brings with it key hormonal changes that results from menopause that features certain symptoms, like hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia.

Black cohosh is an herb that has been shown to help with such symptoms by balancing hormones and regulating estrogen levels.

5| Gotu Kola

The Gotu Kola plant is native to China, India, South Africa, and Indonesia. In India, Gotu Kola is taken to boost longevity and improve aging.

Gotu Kola has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to improve memory and mental abilities, and to treat wounds, psoriasis, eczema, and female disorders.

This herb enjoys a long and rich history dating back to prehistoric man. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is on the list of “miracle elixirs of life.”

Recent research (Evaluation of amygdaloid neuronal dendritic arborization enhancing effect of Centella asiatica (Linn) fresh leaf extract in adult rats; Rao et al) found Gotu Kola to improve memory, and alleviate anxiety and depression.

Gotu Kola (centella asiatica) is plentiful in nutrients, including beta-carotene, amino acids, fatty acids, and many potent antioxidants known as phytochemicals. The benefits of this herb for anti- aging stem from its antioxidant content that helps reduce inflammation, promote collagen production, stimulate cell growth, and build collagen that begins to diminish as part of the aging process.

A lot of research has shown this herb’s benefits for skin health, as noted in Phytomedicine,

“Centella asiatica has been subjected to quite extensive experimental and clinical investigations.”

For these reasons, it is now used in a many skin care products. Gotu Kola dried leaves are used to make tea.

6| Peppermint

Peppermint (Metha peperita) is known to help digestion and gastrointestinal problems linked to aging.

The peppermint herb contains key antioxidants that may help prevent chronic age-related disease, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

  • Most people enjoy it peppermint in tea form. It can be added to many drinks, desserts, and salads.

7| Milk Thistle

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) supports liver health as you age. The liver works hard to protect your health as it has more than 500 different functions within the body, some of the most important of which is the filtration of environmental toxins.

Milk Thistle produces silymarin that protects the liver from damage and promotes new cell growth.

8| Horsetail

Horsetail (equisetum arvense) is a plant that’s above ground parts are used to make medicine and herbal medicinal tea. WebMD reports that chemicals in horsetail may have anti- inflammatory and antioxidant and effects, both of which help improve aging by fighting oxidative stress that accelerates aging.

Common anti-aging uses cited by WebMD for this herb include

  • Balding
  • Joint diseases
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Weight loss

Horsetail contains a mineral called that’s stores deplete with age.

  • According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, silicon helps treat osteoporosis (age-related bone density loss), since this mineral is required for bone health.
  • Collagen is a protein that connects and supports tendons, skin, bones, cartilage and muscle, and silicon is a major component of collagen.
  • Silicon helps the body absorb calcium, which is required for bone, muscle, and nerve health and supports proper cellular activity.

Horsetail supplements side-effects and precautions: supplements can reduce vitamin B1 levels so supplementation (B1) maybe necessary to prevent deficiency; should not be used if you have heart disease, gout, diabetes or kidney disease; do not drink alcohol while taking horsetail.

Caution About Herbs

Herbs are powerful plants, all precautions should be taken before using them. Many herbs and supplements have not been tested for safety and their effectiveness is not always proven.

Some herbs have adverse interaction with certain medications and may not be indicated for certain medical conditions. The FDA does not regulate supplements.

It is important to consult with a trained and qualified herbalist to gain insight into proper dosage. You should also consult your doctor before taking any herbs.

18 Age Fighting Culinary Herbs And Spices

Many plants provide health-promoting antioxidants, such as phenols, and tannins.

One study, (Inhibition of protein glycation by extracts of culinary herbs and spices; Dearlove, et al) identified a direct correlation between phenol in herbs and spices and their ability to inhibit glycation and block formation of AGE compounds (AGEs generate small molecules that promote oxidative stress) that contribute to age related damage and elevated blood sugar levels.

The study concluded that…

“Prevention of protein glycation is an example of the anti-diabetic potential for bioactive compounds in culinary herbs and spices.”

Arguably, one of the key benefits of culinary herbs and spices is they provide antioxidants that prevent oxidative stress, that not only accelerates aging of the body, and its cells but also accelerates visible aging of the skin which manifests as fine lines and wrinkles.

Culinary herbs and spices are wonderful additions to a healthy lifestyle.

They add virtually calorie free flavor to food, which helps you enjoy healthy food more, assisting you in sticking to healthy diet. This benefit spills over into weight loss efforts, allowing those who are trying to lose weight to enjoy healthy clean eating that encourages them to stick with their plan.

As is key with any element of healthy eating, herbs offer their greatest benefits when they are consumed in their “whole” and unprocessed state.

1| Oregano

Oregano has antimicrobial properties that help fight colds and flus, but it’s most impressive acumen is its antioxidant content. Oregano ranks high among antioxidant super foods!

It has more than 20 times what is in potatoes, and 12 times more than what is in oranges.

  • Fresh oregano is a staple in Italian cooking, and is delightful in many dishes and recipes, including, salads, meat, fish, chicken dishes, and even in sandwiches.

2| Ginger

Ginger is another tasty herb that offers key anti-aging properties, including anti-inflammatory agents that can help reduce arthritis pain and support heart health.

Ginger is also excellent for digestion and helps alleviate nausea. Its anti-viral properties protect against harmful bacteria. It promotes immune system health and reduces risks for atherosclerosis as it lowers LDL cholesterol and prevents its oxidation.

  • Ginger is sweet, tangy and pungent, it adds flavor to just about anything, including marinades for fish and chicken. Marinated ginger is often served with sushi.

3| Ceylon Cinnamon

The most type of cinnamon sold in the US is the Cassia variety (scientific name Cinnamomom cassia), which is what you will likely find on your super market shelf. Ceylon cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka that’s scientific name is Cinnamomum verum and
verum means “true.”

Evidence shows that it is Ceylon cinnamon that offers the most therapeutic benefits mainly because it contains higher concentrations of the natural plant chemical blood thinner called coumarin.

One study (Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes; Khan, et al) showed cinnamon to greatly increase the metabolization of glucose, and also helped to lower levels of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.

The study concluded…

“The results of this study demonstrate that intake of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes and suggest that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

A 2012 review article published in “Diabetic Medicine” evaluated 16 different studies on Ceylon cinnamon citing its beneficial effects on complications related to type 2 diabetes, without any evident toxicity to liver and kidneys, though toxicity is an issue with cassia varieties of cinnamon.

Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties are also beneficial in alleviating arthritis and other joint pain. Ceylon cinnamon has powerful antioxidants, proanthocyanadins that are also found in grapes and green tea. Cinnamon also boasts essential antibiotic properties help prevent gum disease and tooth decay.

  • Ceylon cinnamon supplements are available (caution: not advised for people taking blood thinner medication), always ask your doctor

4| Fennel

Fennel seeds come from a fragrant plant that grows in the Mediterranean. They boost skin health and offer anti-aging properties because they are high in the UVB-protective phytochemical quercetin.

One study (Anti-ageing and rejuvenating effects of quercetin; Chondrogianni, et al) identified quercetin as a protein complex activator with antioxidant properties that promotes cellular health, lifespan, survival and viability of human fibroblasts, the connective tissue that produces collagen and other fibers.

  • Fennel seed is a versatile spice, with an anise flavor (though should be confused with anise, as they are not the same), it is often used in masala, beef dishes, salads and others.

5| Sage

There are more than 900 species of the sage plant, and it was declared Herb of the Year by the International Herb Association in 2001.

Sage has been used throughout history as medicine, today science seems to back some of those uses. As other herbs, sage is high in antioxidants to protect the body from free radicals that cause cell death, impaired immunity, chronic disease and oxidative stress that causes premature aging.

A study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, reported that 40 subjects who had diabetes and high cholesterol and who took sage leaf extract for 3 months showed lowered levels of fasting glucose, total cholesterol, triglyceride, and bad LDL cholesterol levels with an increase in levels of good HDL cholesterol.

The study’s researchers concluded that…

“Sage leaves may “improve lipid profiles in hyperlipidemic type 2 diabetic patients.”

A double-blind clinical trial that included 80 subjects with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes improved the blood fasting levels when given sage as compared to the control group.

Medical News Today reports that sage maybe a possible Alzheimer’s treatment according to one study that examined its effects. Sage extract or a placebo was given to patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease for four months. The group that received the sage showed improvement in cognition, and lower levels of agitation in comparison to the placebo group. Other studies have further shown that sage can also improve memory in young and healthy adults.

  • Sage pairs well with eggs, lamb, chicken, liver, polenta, shite beans, apples, pineapples, and onions. Sage goes well with lamb, pork sausage and other meats. It also adds flavor to salads, and is even used to make dessert, like ice cream and panna cotta.

6| Rosemary

Rosemary is a fragrant and flavorful herb that provides essential anti-aging benefits for your good health.

It is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help improve blood circulation, promote immune system health, and fight free radicals that cause oxidative stress, which accelerates premature aging.

A Japanese study from Kyoto University and presented at the 126th Annual Meeting of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan found that carnosic acid in rosemary helps prevent brain aging. Carnosic acid in rosemary was found in another scientific review to protect against nerodeneration in the hippocampus.

Medical News Today reported in 2015 that Carnosic acid protects against macular degeneration, which is the most common age-related eye condition.

In another study published in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology in 2012, scientists said they proved that the fragrance of fresh rosemary herbs enhanced memory function.

Rosemary may help maintain healthy blood glucose levels as protection from type 2 diabetes.

Another study (Anti-proliferative and antioxidant properties of rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis; Cheng, et al) found anti-cancer compounds in rosemary that appeared to stop proliferation of breast and leukemia cancer cells.

  • Rosemary is a very versatile herb that goes great with chicken, in salads, over vegetables and many other dishes.

7| Cardamom

Cardamom is tasty and nutritious:

  • Vitamin C
  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium

Cardamom contains key antioxidants to fight oxidative stress and naturally detoxify the body of dangerous toxins.

This tasty spice also has key benefits for the heart, where magnesium and calcium support healthy heart function and potassium promotes healthy blood pressure, and normal heart beat.

Cardamom is also a natural source of DIM and IC3, phytochemicals that help reduce risks for cancer by inhibiting the proliferation of hormones that are known to cause ovarian, prostate, and breast cancers.

  • Cardamom is strong and pungent in flavor and aroma with subtle hints of mint, smoke, and lemon flavors. Cardamom is widely used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine.

8| Turmeric

Turmeric (curcuma longa) is a bright yellow spice often used in Indian cooking, such as curry.

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin that is known to help reduce inflammation that accelerates aging, and is the reason that supplements are made with it to alleviate arthritis and other joint pain.

It is also believed to reduce risks of degenerative disease and reduce oxidative stress. Turmeric, like milk thistle also supports liver health.

Science believes curcumin to play a role in cancer prevention, and theoretically if you consider the fact that In India, where turmeric is a staple, rates of the four most common cancers are 10 times lower than in the US this makes total sense. Various laboratory studies have found curcumin to have anti-cancer properties.

  • Turmeric is used in curries and Indian cuisine; it is great in marinades for port and chicken.

9| Nutmeg

As you age, your skin begins to sag, and sink resulting in fine lines and wrinkles, as a result of the diminished natural plumpness of skin.

Studies show nutmeg to contain macelignan, an active polyphenol clinically proven to increase volumes of adipose (fat) tissue and promote new growth of adipose cells that decline with age, found just beneath the skin, helping to fill those fine lines and wrinkles for younger looking skin.

For this reason, numerous skin care lines are using this spice and others in their ingredients.

  • Nutmeg has an earthy, nutty flavor, a flavor often associated with the holidays as it is added to eggnog. It goes well with sweet potatoes, in stews, with pumpkin and tofu.

10| Garlic

Garlic has antiviral and antibacterial properties, its key ingredient allicin is offered in supplement form to support heart, and studies show it helps lower high blood pressure, and reduce LDL cholesterol.

  • Garlic of course goes into countless dishes, and is best for your health when eaten in its fresh and raw form.

11| Basil

Basil contains powerful flavonoids that protect cells from oxidative damage.

  • Fresh basil is another staple in Italian cooking. It has a fruity and unique taste and aroma, and is versatile for use in many dishes, it is the star of the very tasty Caprese salad.

12| Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper, the bright red spicy spice helps to boost immunity that protects you in aging. Additionally, it promotes a healthy weight by boosting metabolism through its thermogenic effects that can improve weight loss outcomes.

A healthy weight is key in successful aging, as obesity and overweight is highly linked to many chronic and deadly diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers.

  • Cayenne is used in hundreds of dishes, including meats, chicken, fish, soups, stews, and even desserts.

13| Cloves

Cloves promote digestive health and its essential oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties to fight muscle and arthritis pain.

Cloves have the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) Score of all spices, which means they have loads of beneficial antioxidants.

  • Cloves have a spicy aroma and taste, and are often associated with winter and holiday cooking.

14| Cumin

Cumin is an orange color spice often used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine.

Cumin’s anti-aging benefits stem from its high content of vitamin E that helps prevent premature skin aging such as fine lines, dark spots, and wrinkles.

The antioxidants in cumin help fight free radicals that not only accelerate aging of the skin, but also increase oxidative stress.

The Chicago Tribune reports that cumin powder is often recommended to people with poor memory, as it aids in the release of acetylcholine in the brain that plays a key role in memory retention.

Cumin also improves digestion. Cumin essential oils offer B vitamins that help alleviate stress and insomnia.

  • Cumin is a versatile spice that is often used in chilies, chicken dishes, soups, stews, curries, and lamb and meat dishes.

15| Mint

Mint is a refreshing herb that aids digestive health that often falters in aging and it also promotes detox of the body.

  • Mint is used in juicing, can be chewed fresh for wonderful smelling breath, in salads, and adds flavor to many drinks and dishes.

16| Parsley

  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12
  • Thiamine
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Vitamins A, C, E and K
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Folate
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Choline

The calcium in Parsley helps prevent the breakdown of amino acids that causes osteoporosis (age related condition where brittle bones cause fractures) and in general supports bone strength. The vitamin K in parsley further supports bone health as it improves calcium absorption in the body. Parsley contains myricetin, an anti-cancer compound that may restrict the growth of cancer cells.

Add fresh parsley to your salads, sandwiches, juicing, and chew it to fight bad breath.

17| Marjoram

Marjoram is popular in Mediterranean and North American cuisine.

Studies show compounds in marjoram activate cells that aid digestion that often declines with age.

  • Marjoram goes great in stuffing’s, sausage, poultry, pulse, and tomato-based dishes.

18| Thyme

Thyme is a rich source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that promotes the production of collagen, which declines with age in support of anti-aging skin.

Thyme is also a good source of copper, fiber, iron, and manganese, all nutrients that support optimal health in aging.

Thyme makes a great substitute for salt for improved heart health.

One study (Pharmacological evaluation of antihypertensive effect of aerial parts of Thymus linearis benth; Alamgeer, et al) found that thyme extract significantly reduced heart rates in lab rats who had high blood pressure, and also reduced their high cholesterol.

  • Thyme has an earthy and herbal flavor and works well in various dishes with chicken, pork roast, fish, mushrooms, wild rice, and others.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is a wide variety of herbs that support your good health and offer very real anti-aging benefits.

For healthy skin, and a healthy body, these plants are ideal for keeping you healthy, vibrant and disease free.

Stay well and take care!