Youth-Herbs

Youth-Herbs ~ Healing Herbs

This is powerful stuff!

As many of you know, our mantra is "living longer and living younger".

And just how do we do that?

Well, plant hormones can help trick your 50-plus body into thinking it's still 30-something.

Ageless people usually use special herbs as part of their daily regimen.

The particular "vitality herb" changes as you travel the globe, but whether it's the healthy Hunzas in Pakistan or the ageless Austurians of Spain, many cultures use youth-herbs to stay young.

In China, it's often Angelica; in the U.S., it's Saw Palmetto and Sarsaparilla; in India, it's Fenugreek.

So what's up with these youth-herbs?

Do they really work?

It seems the answer is yes, but to really appreciate how they work, a basic understanding of hormones helps.

Hormones 101

Along with the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, which activate our reproductive system, the human body contains other hormones that activate the digestive tract, bone marrow, skin, and muscle growth.

At puberty, hormones help our body change dramatically.

As we age, hormone production slows, and our body again changes in response.

What we've learned through our research is that certain vitality-boosting herbs are rich in hormone-like compounds that enable hormones to work.

These herbs perpetuate youthful vigor by helping keep hormone levels up.

Clinical experiences indicate that these youth-herbs support the hormones that build muscle (androgens), stimulate blood cell production (erythropoietin), speed metabolism (thyroxin), regulate energy (adrenaline), and support blood sugar levels (insulin).

When taken over time, these youth-herbs can help diminish the symptoms of aging and improve general well-being.

People say that they feel better and stronger, and they even look younger.

When looking for an herb to power up a stay-young regimen, you need to find the one that combats your weaknesses with strength.

Here are a few that have been found to be especially promising.

The Menopause Youth-herbs

Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) was called squawroot by American settlers because it was a favorite herb of Native American women.

Used by doctors until the 1950s to treat various gynecological complaints, today the herb is primarily used to banish menopausal problems, especially hot flashes.

Significant scientific evidence confirms its traditional uses.

It's been found that, when used regularly, Black Cohosh reduces patients complaints about hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.

Stimulate Hormone Production with Youth-Herbs

In a study on animals, Black Cohosh stimulated the pituitary gland, the grand master of hormone production.

The pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal glands (the adrenaline, androgens, and cortisone factory), the thyroid gland (the thyroxin factory), and the sex glands (the estrogen and testosterone factories).

Black Cohosh contains at least three different compounds that appear, in the lab at least, to turn on hormone production at the pituitary level.

Herbal HRT Alternative

When estrogen levels decrease, certain tissues, including the skin and vaginal lining, lose their elasticity and suppleness.

During a woman's childbearing years, estrogen attaches to these cells and turns them on, so to speak, which helps keep them youthful.

But at menopause, the decline in estrogen causes these cells to turn off, which leads to a decline in elasticity.

Research reveals Black Cohosh to be a hormonal treasure chest.

Its compounds attach to cells and turns them on.

Indeed, fukilonic acid, a Black Cohosh constituent, has been found to increase proliferation of estrogen-dependent cells.

In 1998, the Journal of Women's Health published a review of eight black cohosh studies conducted on menopausal women.

Their conclusion?

Black Cohosh relieved their menopausal symptoms and is a realistic alternative for those women who choose not to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Staying Sexy, Longer with Youth-Herbs

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled comparative clinical trial involving 80 menopausal women, researchers found that the youth-herbs Black Cohosh was as effective as HRT at lessening the severity of hot flashes, memory loss, depression, and mood swings, as well as improving the thickness and elasticity of vaginal tissues.

Lessen Signs of Aging

In another human clinical trial, Black Cohosh and estrogen tablets were compared for their ability to reduce signs of aging.

The study showed that Black Cohosh improved vaginal mucous membranes, hair, and skin.

Menopausal vaginal dryness caused by poor mucous membrane lubricant production is remedied with the herb.

Using Black Cohosh

Take the youth-herbs twice a day.

Dried root ~ two 500-mg. Tablets/capsules

Tincture 1:1 ~ 20 drops

Tincture 1:5 ~ 1 teaspoon ]5 milliliters (ml)

Caution: Black Cohosh should not be taken by women with estrogen-dependent cancer, including breast, cervical, uterine, and ovarian cancer.

Women taking HRT should avoid taking this herb.

Find a Friendly Angel

Angelica (Angelica sinensis) is used by Chinese women to keep them strong and vibrant from puberty on.

Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine believe that Angelica makes periods less painful, enables conception, eases childbirth, and helps ensure an easier menopause.

Though these youth-herbs are used specifically to maintain healthy, young-looking skin, hair, and nails after menopause, research and clinical experience reveal that Angelica's activity is more than skin deep.

Digestive Stimulant

Digestive difficulties can arise as we age, with the culprit often being insufficient digestive enzyme production.

Angelica turns on the digestive juice glands, from the mouth to the stomach.

Youth-herbs & the Sex Hormone Booster

For some women, menopause is more than just hot flashes and mood swings.

Skin may become less supple, muscles less resilient, and joints less forgiving.

The youth-herbs Angelica is used to treat symptoms of diminishing estrogen levels.

In clinical practice, women have reported reduced hot flashes, increased sex drive, and improved skin quality.

In studies done on animals, researchers have noted that the youth-herbs Angelica activates estrogen-dependent cells, which suggests that these youth-herbs may have an estrogen-like action.

Immune System Stimulant

Your immune function lessens with age.

With fewer immune cells patrolling the body for foreign invaders (bacteria and viruses) and cancer cells, we become more vulnerable to infection and cancer.

Researchers have found that Angelica stimulates the production and activity of immune cells.

Free Radical Scavenger

Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals produced by the body that can accelerate the aging process by damaging the body inside and out.

Angelica compounds have been shown to bind to circulating free radicals, thereby rendering them harmless.

Using Angelica

Women should consider taking Angelica at menopause, then continuing for life.

Take it three times a day.

Dried root ~ two 500-mg tablets/capsules

Tincture 1:1 ~ 20 drops (1 ml)

Tincture 1:5 ~ 1 tsp. (5 ml)

Caution: Angelica thins the blood.

Do not use these youth-herbs if you have bleeding disorders and/or take medication that thins the blood.

Since it may be estrogenic, follow the caution for Black Cohosh.

An Old-Fashioned Tonic for Today

Nineteenth-century doctors believed that the fire of life burned brighter when people took the youth-herbs Sarsaparilla (Smilax spp.).

This youth-herbs root contains 3 percent steroids, which are probably responsible for the boost in general vitality experienced by people who use these youth-herbs regularly.

The Muscle Builder

If muscle weakness is an issue, Sarsaparilla may be the answer.

Bodybuilders use it to increase muscle growth.

In one study, cows fed corn and a sarsaparilla extract were found to produce lean muscle more efficiently.

Increased muscle formation under the influence of Sarsaparilla suggests that it may act as a muscle growth hormone.

Good Medicine for Creaky Joints

Some think creaky painful joints are part of the retirement package but Sarsaparilla may counter the problem.

Researchers investigated its effect in rats and found that it significantly reduced joint inflammation.

Using Sarsaparilla

Take the herb three times a day.

Tablet root ~ two 500-mg tablets/capsules

Tincture 1:1 ~ 20 drops (1 ml)

Tincture 1:5 ~ 1 teaspoon (5 ml)

The His & Hers Youth-Herbs

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a vigorous palm that's native to the southeastern US.

Colonial planters noticed that cows and pigs that reached beyond their corrals to eat the berries grew unusually healthy and fat.

They resisted illness, had richer coats, and readily put on flesh.

In time, doctors started to use these youth-herbs to increase the strength and weight of patients who needed to put on pounds after an illness.

Doctors now use Saw Palmetto to normalize sex hormones; they found that it increases sex drive in women and revitalizes their reproductive organs.

These youth-herbs have been called "old man's friend" because it slims down an overgrown prostate.

It's used in younger men to increase sex drive and remedy atrophied testicles.

Oddly, it's prescribed both for people who crave sex too much and for those with no sexual appetite at all.

Many Doctors rely on Saw Palmetto in clinical practice.

It's been found that many patients turn up looking sleek, well and feeling, shall we say, fully operational.

Male Sex Hormone Helper

Shifting hormone levels in men can lead to a swollen prostate and declining libido.

A string of convincing human clinical trials suggests that Saw Palmetto relieves conditions caused by changing hormone levels, most notably symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and poor sex drive.

Good Medicine for Muscles and Joints

As we age, our joints are prone to painful inflammation.

One study revealed that Saw Palmetto contains compounds that directly inhibit inflammation.

Aging muscles also tend to lose suppleness and vigor.

When Saw Palmetto is used regularly, muscles plump up.

I find that Saw Palmetto makes an ideal supplement for those whose moving parts are not moving so well.

Lose the Fuzz

The female body produces male and female hormones.

Some women overproduce male hormones (androgens); this can lead to hirsutism, or excessive hair growth.

As estrogen levels drop off at menopause, the condition can worsen.

Saw Palmetto has been shown to block the effects of androgen and may be a solution for women experiencing excessive hair growth.

Bonus: Fountain of Essential Fatty Acids

If the Fountain of Youth really existed, I'd bet that it would flow with essential fatty acids (EFAs).

These oils are critical for skin, hair, nail, and organ health.

The body requires EFAs to build new cells.

Replacing old, worn-out cells efficiently is the key to youthfulness and the good news is that research reveals that Saw Palmetto berries are rich in EFAs.

Using Saw Palmetto

Take the herb twice a day.

Dried berry ~ two 500-mg tablets

Tincture 1:1 ~ 20 drops (1 ml)

Tincture 1:5 ~ 1 teaspoon (5 ml)

Capsule ~ 160 mg standardized to 8:1 liposterolic extract

The Vitality Youth-Herbs

From North Africa to China, Fenugreek seed (Trigonella foenum-graecum)is used as the ultimate vitality-enhancing tonic.

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners give Fenugreek to people recovering from serious illness.

It's also used to boost poor sex drive and stop weight loss.

Fenugreek contains a variety of hormonelike steroids, some of which (trigofoensides, trigonellosides) exist nowhere else in nature.

Surprisingly, Fenugreek also contains two compounds, dioscin and diosgenin, which are also found in Sarsaparilla.

As a general vitality booster, Fenugreek has some very specific actions primarily, blood sugar and cholesterol reduction, which should interest baby boomers and their elders.

Cholesterol Reduction

As we age, blood fat levels inch up.

Our bad cholesterols (LDL and VLDL) and triglycerides rise, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Fenugreek counters this tendency.

In a human clinical trial involving 20 people between ages 50 and 65, taking either 12.5 g or 18 g of Fenugreek for 30 days resulted in a significant reduction in total cholesterol levels and specifically LDL.

Fenugreek was found to greatly reduce cholesterol levels in two animal studies as well.

Interestingly, the researchers observed a specific decrease in LDL and VLDL levels.

Diabetes Aid

Diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) is caused by insufficient insulin, the blood sugar-regulating hormone produced by the pancreas.

Along with age often comes rising blood sugar problems as a result of poor insulin production.

Fenugreek is a traditional treatment for diabetes that's been substantiated by contemporary science.

The Fenugreek compound 4-hydroxy-isoleucine was found to stimulate pancreatic insulin production in rats.

In a human trial looking at the effect of Fenugreek seed on insulin dependent (type 1) diabetes, the seed was found to reduce fasting blood sugar levels.

People with diabetes who were given it were better able to handle glucose in glucose tolerance tests.

Sugar in the urine is one of the defining features of diabetes, and the same trial showed a 54% reduction in 24-hour urinary glucose reduction.

In another human study, researchers found that people with type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes who took Fenugreek had reduced postmeal blood sugar levels.

Using the youth-herbs Fenugreek

Take the herb three times a day.

Seed ~ two 500-mg tablets/capsules

Tincture 1:1 ~ 20 drops (1 ml)

Tincture 1:5 ~ 1 teaspoon (5 ml)

Caution: If you have diabetes, consult your doctor before taking Fenugreek, and have him or her monitor your blood sugar levels on a regular basis.

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