Real age—your biological age—has little to do with how old you are in years. Most people age prematurely. This is avoidable. It is also reversible. Some of the reasons I have such a passion for herbs is: when you know what to use, they can slow biological aging, help restore balance, and improve how you look and feel, as well as how your body functions. Combined with regular detoxification and a natural diet low in carbohydrates and sugars but high in a wide variety of fresh vegetables and top-quality protein, herbs can rejuvenate your body in medically measurable ways: better circulation, increased resistance to illness as well as balancing emotions and bringing clarity. They also help you rediscover innate vitality, whatever your chronological age.
Each herb and plant works in its own special way. Some, like ginseng, garlic, and gotu kola are specifically anti-ageing in their actions. Others such as purslane and thyme together with foods like seaweeds, oranges, carrots, and green vegetables—are brimming with anti-oxidants and other phyto-chemicals. These are protective to your whole body as well as immune enhancing. They will help protect you from free radical damage that underlies both premature aging and the development of degenerative diseases.
Here are my favorite anti-ageing herbs:
- Gotu Kola—Centella asiatica—has been used for centuries in India to extend life span and enhance memory. Gotu kola, like many quality bulk herbs, is native to the tropical regions of Asia and Africa, particularly Sri Lanka and Madagascar. Traditionally, its leaves are dried and steeped in order to create a tea or infusion. Gotu kola is also easy to grow in your garden or in a pot in the kitchen window. It’s also easy to introduce into your life. Just add a fresh leaf or two or a teaspoon of dried gotu kola to whatever herb tea you are drinking. You can also put a few leaves into salad when you make it.
- Nori Seaweed—If you have never used sea vegetables for cooking, you have a wonderful discovery ahead of you. Not only are they delicious—imparting a wonderful, spicy flavor to soups and salads—they are the richest source of organic mineral salts in nature, particularly iodine. Iodine is the mineral needed by your thyroid gland. As your thyroid gland is largely responsible for the body’s metabolic rate, iodine is essential for vitality as well as protecting you from early aging. I like to use powdered seaweeds as a seasoning. It adds flavor and minerals to salad dressings, salads, and soups. Personally I’m excessively fond of nori seaweed, which comes in long thin sheets or tiny flakes. It is a delicious snack food that you can eat along with a salad or at the beginning of the meal. It has a beautiful, crisp flavor. I toast sheets of nori by passing it over a hob flame for no more than a few seconds. This brings out its wonderful flavor and turns it crunchy. The only problem I have with toasting nori is that one of my Burmese cats, Gus, is completely addicted to it. This means there is no peace while I’m making it. He can smell nori from far away, even when the kitchen door is closed. As soon as I open it, he devours a couple of big sheets that I have crumbled into tiny pieces for him.
- Green Barley—This is a dried form of the natural juice taken from young barley leaves. It must be to be organically grown, GMO free, and pesticide free. Rich in proteins, flavonoids, minerals, including iron, and vitamins such as K and B15, as well as chlorophyll and other nutrients, green barley boasts thousands of enzymes, not all of which are destroyed in the digestive process. Enzymes play important roles in anti-aging metabolic processes. It also contains a high concentration of superoxide dismutase (SOD)—an anti-oxidant enzyme. Sprinkle from 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon of green barley on to salads or mix into juices, miso broth or water.
- Purslane—Portulaca oleracea brims with anti-oxidants as well as vitamins known for their abilities to quench excess free radicals in the body. Purslane improves immune functioning. You can grow purslane in a vegetable patch or just about anywhere—even in window boxes, between the rose bushes, or wherever you have an extra bit of space. Add purslane to fresh vegetable juices or put it through a blender to make ‘live’ vegetable drinks.
- Ginkgo Biloba—improves circulation to your brain. European research confirms this. The leaves from this most ancient of trees restore memory, elevate mood, and quell anxiety. There are more than 300 published studies and reports that support the anti-ageing properties of Ginkgo. Its extract is used in Germany to treat everything from depression and cerebrovascular insufficiency to asthma, transplant rejection, and hearing loss. It is even added to expensive skin products to protect against environmental irritation. You can take ginkgo as an extract, tincture, or in capsules. I prefer a high potency herbal tincture—1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon 2 or 3 times a day.
- Horsetail—Equisetum arvense is the best natural source of the mineral silicon, which declines in your body after 35. Silicon is essential for you to maintain strong bones, prevent osteoporosis, firm your skin, and protect it from wrinkles and sagging. Horsetail is one of the world’s oldest plants. Organic horsetail tea is the best way to take this wonderful plant several cups a day. My favorite brand is organic, of course, and sells for less than US $12 a pound.
Make a friend of these herbs, use them daily, and you will be surprised at how much they can help protect you from early aging.
Here are some of the very best products:
Gotu kola herb, like many quality bulk herbs, is native to the tropical regions of Asia and Africa, particularly Sri Lanka and Madagascar. Traditionally, the leaves of such herbs are dried and steeped in order to create a tea or infusion.
Order organic Gotu Kola from iherb
Frontier Natural Products, Organic Powdered Barley Grass
Order Organic Green Barley from iherb
Frontier Natural Products, Organic Cut & Sifted Horsetail
Order Organic Horsetail from iherb