Aging brings many changes: physical, psychological, hormonal, even cultural. Wrinkles develop around our eyes, we forgot the occasional name and getting around isn’t as easy as it used to be. As we age, our immune systems also become less efficient, leaving our bodies more susceptible to free radicals. At this stage ini life, herbs can be a big help. Packed with antioxidants, these nine anti-aging herbs have been shown to boost brain power, protect eyes, relieve joint pain and treat a number of other age-related ailments.
Gotu kola improves memory and boosts brain health.
Ginkgo is one of a handful of go-to anti-aging herbs. Because it improves circulation to the brain, ginkgo can boost brain function as we age. Studies have shown that ginkgo helps improve memory, protect brain cells and repair nerve tissue damage in the brain. Take 120 mg two to three times daily.
Gotu kola is another anti-aging herb that can improve brain health. Long used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve memory, studies have shown that this rejuvenating tonic herb can increase mental abilities and behavioral patterns. Take 600 mg of dried powered leaves three time a day.
Milk thistle offers protection for aging livers. The high number of environmental toxins that we encounter every day puts extra stress on our liver, which is responsible for filtering out all those toxins. Milk thistle produces an ingredient called silymarin, which protects the liver by preventing damage and encouraging growth of new cells. Take 175 mg of this anti-aging herb two to three times a day. (For more on strengthening your liver to help it remove toxins from your body, check out this excerpt from Debra Lynn Dadd’s book “Toxin Free.”)
Milk thistle strengthens the liver, helping it to better remove toxins from an aging body.
Turmeric offers many benefits to an aging body. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory properties that make it useful for treating arthritis, improving brain health and preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Like milk thistle, turmeric also offers support to the liver. Take 1 gram of dried ground turmeric daily.
Bilberry protects our eyes from age-related degenerative eye disease by preventing damage to the retina and strengthening capillaries and connective tissue in the eyes. Bilberry is also high in antioxidants, which help prevent damage from free radicals. Take 240 to 600 mg daily.
Black cohosh: Aging also brings hormonal changes. For women going through menopause, this means hot flashes, migraines, mood swings and insomnia. Black cohosh can help regulate estrogen levels, balance hormone production and relieve menopause symptoms. Take 80 mg of black cohosh extract or 10 to 60 drops of tincture.
Turmeric can ease arthritis pain, improve memory and support the liver.
Saw palmetto: If black cohosh relieves the aging ailments of women, then saw palmetto is the anti-aging herb for men. Studies have shown saw palmetto to be effective at treating prostrate problems, particularly a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in which enlargement of the prostrate narrows the urethra, causing poor urinary flow, painful urination and other problems. Taking saw palmetto can decrease the size of the prostrate, relieving some of these symptoms. Take 320 mg daily.
Garlic: Apart from its antibacterial and antiviral properties, garlic is also good for the heart. Studies have shown garlic to help lower high blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels and prevent blood from clotting in blood vessels.
Ginger has many properties that make it a potent anti-aging herb. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can reduce pain from arthritis. Ginger is also well-known as a digestive aid and immune booster. Try making this simple ginger tea.
Images (top to bottom): Photo By DiT; Photo By Jan Kupracz; Photo By fkruger; All Courtesy Fotolia