Herbs For Longevity

Keep that youthful glow with rejuvenating botanicals famed for their contribution to longevity.

We all want to live long, healthy lives. Holistic health practitioners believe that many of the diseases that are conventionally accepted as being part of ‘getting old’ are actually largely due to an unhealthy lifestyle rather than a consequence of chronological ageing. But it’s never too late to change, even if we are advanced in years!

So how do we live well into our twilight years and, more the point, still enjoy radiant health? Here at Indigo Herbs we would answer: by taking advantage of the empirical knowledge of the ages. That is, with a wholefood diet, adequate sleep, exercise, relaxation, stress management and emotional/spiritual fulfilment – and by changing bad habits for good ones (you know the ones we mean!).

To boost our efforts there are many tonic and ‘rejuvenating’ botanicals – see the list below. Some of these substances have an ancient pedigree (several sacred scriptures refer to them) but only recently have scientific studies shown us why they are so good for us. Sometimes it is due to high levels of antioxidants, other times because the plant builds our resilience to the stresses and strains of daily life.

All our botanicals are pure, so you can be sure than what you put in your body will not add to the environmental toxins we are already exposed to in modern life.

 

Ashwagandha

(Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha Benefits

This Ayurvedic herb has been used for over 3,000 years in India as a rejuvenating tonic to improve overall health, vitality and longevity. With mental decline being amongst the most common signs of aging, many people are turning to the ancient wisdom of herbs to slow down or even reverse this process. Research studies in Japan have shown that Ashwagandha can regenerate nerve cells and dendrite growth throughout the brain and the body. New dendritic growth allows for faster and smoother neural communication, providing more "processing power" in the brain. This potent herb also improves communication between nerve cells and stimulates the body to heal nervous system damage. 

As well as powerfully stimulating the immune system, Ashwagandha elevates levels of Super-oxide Dismutase (SOD) and Glutathione Peroxidase - two of the most powerful antioxidants known. Many world renowned researchers, scientists and anti-aging experts agree that a diet rich in antioxidants is the nutritional secret to a longer and healthier life. 

 

 

Astragalus

(Astragalus membranaceus)
Astragalus

Astragalus has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine for longevity, to invigorate qi (vital energy) and to strengthen the body. New and exciting research is currently being conducted that shows that Astragalus does, indeed, have powerful anti-aging properties, slowing the aging process at a cellular level.

Astragaloside IV - a saponin of this powerful herb - has shown benefits in reversing cell damage and in activating telomerase, this addresses telomere shortening and slows down cellular aging. Telomeres are the protective ends of chromosomes that slowly shorten and wear out each time cell division occurs in the body - a process central to human aging. The theory is that telomeres act as a kind of countdown clock, so when they wear out, cell division stops and tissues quickly degrade and die. Telomerase enzymes work to renew telomeres, although they are not produced as the body ages over time.

Another saponin of Astragalus that is being extensively studied for its anti-aging effects is Cycloastragenol (CGA), thought to have even more activating potential on telomerase. Research suggests that CGA may have a wide use in the treatment of degenerative diseases as well as for aging. 

Astragalus root is most effective when taken long term, providing many benefits that can contribute to a longer, healthier life. 

 

 

Chaga Mushroom

(Inonotus obliquus)
Chaga Mushroom Benefits

The Siberians used Chaga Mushroom to boost physical stamina and attain a long life – it has been noted by contemporary Russians that in the districts where Chaga was used, there was no cancer. In looking at their close neighbours the Inuits (who did not use Chaga), their average life span was 40 – 50 years in contrast to the people from Siberian tribes who regularly lived to be 90 – 110 years old.

Chaga Mushrooms are also especially high in Super-Oxide Dismutase (SOD), this is an enzyme which reduces the damage done to cells by “super-oxide”, the most common free radical in the body. Studies have shown that SOD acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, with researchers now investigating its benefits as an anti-aging treatment as it is known that, as we age, SOD levels drop whilst free radicals increase. 

 

Cordyceps

(Cordyceps sinensis)
Cordyceps Benefits

Cordyceps has long been esteemed in Traditional Chinese Medicine for ability to improve energy, stamina, endurance and for its anti-aging effects. Powerfully antioxidant, Cordyceps increases the action of Super-Oxide-Dismutase (SOD), a potent antioxidant in the body. SOD will quench the free radicals and other toxins that can cause premature aging and degenerative diseases. 

Many world renowned researchers, scientists and anti-aging experts agree that a diet rich in antioxidants is the nutritional secret to a longer and healthier life. 

 

Fo-ti (Ho Shou Wu)

(Polygonum multiflorum)
Fo-Ti

This legendary herb is hailed as the "Cure for Old Age" in Traditional Chinese Medicine, with many tales attached to its age reversing super-powers. However, in more recent times, credible scientific studies into Fo-ti have found that it does indeed contain many substances that promote longevity. 

The Fo-ti root increases the production of the body’s master antioxidant, superoxide dismutase (SOD). Levels of this important antioxidant decline with age, leaving the body open to damage by one of the most dangerous free radicals – superoxide. Preventing this damage addresses the fundamental cause of aging - damage to the DNA by oxygen-free radicals.

To further boost antioxidant activity, it also contains the powerful antioxidants "stilbene glycosides". Combining these with the increased production of SOD is possibly the most significant function that fo-ti has for enhancing longevity.

Lastly, Fo-ti inhibits the MAO-B enzyme naturally. Many age related, degenerative diseases are associated with elevated MAO-B levels in the brain. Research shows that inhibition of this enzyme not only prevents age related biological changes, in one study it extended the average life span of rats by 39%. 

 

Ginkgo Biloba

(Ginkgo biloba, Salisburia adiantifolia, Salisburia macrophylla)
Ginkgo Biloba Benefits

The mighty Ginkgo Biloba tree is sometimes referred to as "the World's Oldest Anti-Aging Secret", and with very good reason too. So old that Charles Darwin called it a living fossil, Ginkgo is one of the most clinically studied botanicals having been evaluated in over 120 clinical trials. A high percentage of these studies examined the effects of Ginkgo on various age-related degenerative conditions. 

Many of these studies have shown Ginkgo to improve cognition and general mental health in healthy older adults. Its effect on cognition is due in part to the powerfully antioxidant "flavone glycosides" it contains - these plant flavonoids can alter the release and uptake of certain neurotransmitters and relax blood vessels, allowing for an increase in circulation and blood flow to the brain. 

More serious conditions such as Alzheimer's are thought to be caused by the breakdown of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. A new meta-analysis compared Ginkgo extract and pharmaceutical “cholinesterase inhibitors” in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers concluded that Ginkgo extract is a desirable treatment option for patients who do not tolerate cholinesterase inhibitors or would prefer a natural alternative.

 

Goji Berries

(Lycium barbarum)
Goji Berries

Once China's best kept longevity secret, the cat is out of the bag with the benefits of Goji Berries to health and longevity! They contain fatty acids, which can stimulate collagen production and retain moisture, resulting in younger-looking skin.

Goji Berries are also rich in antioxidant vitamins and phytonutrients that can support eye health. Zeaxanthin and lutein contained within these berries can be beneficial in protecting the retinal tissues, making them a great nutritional supplement for age related eye diseases such as macular degeneration - the leading cause of blindness in older adults. 

As we age our bodies produce less Human Growth Hormone (HGH), Goji is the only fruit that naturally stimulates HGH production. A 70 year old man only produces around 1/10 of HGH than is produced by a 20 year old, with this reduction being responsible for physical changes such as; muscular atrophy, fat deposition and less vital force. Goji Berries also contain sesquiterpene compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties and stimulate the pituitary gland and the pineal gland to produce growth hormone.

 

 

Gynostemma

(Gynostemma pentaphyllum)

People in the original local region of China where Gynostemma was traditionally taken were found to have longer life spans, less disease and greater vitality than just about any other people in the world. This discovery prompted Chinese and Japanese researchers to seriously study this herb, finding that certain plant saponins known as "gypenosides" seem to be responsible for the many benefits of Gynostemma. 

A combination of compounds in Gynostemma appear to stop the DNA from being degraded and broken down too quickly. Gynostemma has been found to stop and even reverse the process of erosion of the telomeres. Telomeres are the ‘end caps’ on strings of DNA, and the remaining length of telomeres is a major factor governing your remaining life span.  The effects of Gynostemma on telomeres make it one of the most powerful longevity substances ever known.

 

Mucuna / Kapikachhu

(Mucuna pruriens)
Mucuna Pruriens Benefits

Mucuna's main longevity benefits stem from the L-Dopa content in this herb. This amino acid helps to produce dopamine in the brain which not only elevates the mood, it stimulates the production of the Human Growth Hormone (HGH). It is extremely important to keep on producing this hormone if we wish to remain youthful and vibrant - most people have stopped producing it at around 50 years of age. 

Mucuna Pruriens also stimulates the production of melatonin and seratonin. A new study shows that melatonin is able to correct many of the age-associated malfunctions that stress induces in immune cells from older people. In fact, whether cells are from a person who is young or old, melatonin is highly protective against stress inducing cell death. Melatonin also stimulates HGH, making Mucuna a wonderful herb to take at bedtime for a restful nights sleep and the production of HGH. 

 

Oyster Mushroom

(Pleurotus ostreatus)
Oyster Mushroom Benefits

Oyster Mushrooms have been taken for centuries in China as a means of extending life.  

 

Reishi Mushroom

(Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi Mushroom Benefits

 The Reishi mushroom is one of the most valued plants in traditional Chinese medicine, and is described with Ginseng as one of the two most important elixirs.

 

Rhodiola Rosea

(Rhodiola rosea)

Rhodiola Rosea optimises the levels of serotonin and dopamine in your body, meaning reduced stress levels and fatigue as well as increased mental and physical performance.

 

Schizandra

(Schisandra chinensis)

Schizandra is documented in early Chinese texts as a superior herb capable of promoting overall well-being and enhancing bodily vitality.

 

Shiitake Mushroom

(Lentinula edodes)
Shiitake Benefits

Shiitake Mushrooms have traditionally been taken to keep the body healthy in order to live a longer, more healthy life.

 

Siberian Ginseng

(Eleutherococcus Senticosus)
Siberian Ginseng Benefits

In China it has an ancient reputation as a LOVE POTION. This is probably because of it's capacity to boost physical endurance, create stamina and endless energy in the user.

It helps the body adapt to an extreme environment and fight stress, in the form of exhaustion and physical overwhelm. As an aphrodisiac it stimulates the bodies wellbeing by sooth the over-adrenalised burn out experience and encourages stamina and strength.

Siberian ginseng stimulates the bodies natural stamina and physical prowess during love making.

 

Triphala

(Emblica officinalis, Terminalia bellirica, Terminalia chebula)
Triphala

Triphala is a very widely used blend of three fruit powders and is a cornerstone of Ayurvedic medicine.

Triphala is from the Rasayan (rejuvenation) branch of Ayurveda said to engender a youthfulness to both physical and mental health and increase happiness.