Reverse Aging with Plant Power

Reverse Aging with Plant Power

Dr. Niveditha Navin

Aging results from continued damage of our cells over time, and slowing this damage has been a focus of scientific research for decades. There are many factors that influence how we age, such as lack of sleep, oxidative stress, poor diets, degenerative diseases, genetic mutations and DNA damage.  The good news is, we now have more tools than ever at our disposal to help delay the negative effects of aging, some of our most powerful allies are found in nature. 

Dr. Michael J Balick, vice president at The New York Botanical Garden explains, “Mother Nature is a brilliant chemist.” Certain plant compounds found in nature have been used for centuries and are known for their wide range of activities such as immune function, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Including these plants and herbs in our diet helps slow down the process of aging, build muscle tone, sleep better and appear younger. 

Plants contain active compounds, such as vitamins, carotenoids, terpenoids, polyphenols, alkaloids, tannins, and saponins, that act as antioxidants, and help treat multiple ailments that contribute to aging. 

Plant Therapy For Longevity 

When we talk about herbs for longevity the focus is often on Asian herbs such as Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurvedic medicine.  Many of these herbs are used in cooking or are available as teas, infusions or supplements. The list is exhaustive but a few noteworthy herbs are outlined below.

Herbs and spices to fight inflammation and improve overall health 

Inflammation is a natural part of the immune response to fight infection and repair damage from injuries but excess inflammation is associated with the risk of degenerative diseases that hamper the quality of life. 

Ginseng
  • Ginseng - Ginseng and its active components prolong lifespan due to its stress relieving and antioxidant properties. It regulates multiple organ systems like the cardiovascular, nervous, immune and skin health.
  • Curcumin/tumeric - we can’t talk about herbs for longevity without mentioning this powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spice. Turmeric helps keep the immune system in check by boosting immunity and prevents excess inflammation involved in many chronic conditions. Research suggests that turmeric plays a role in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease, metabolic conditions, neurological disease, cancer and skin diseases.
  • Spirulina - Algae loaded with vitamins, iron, potassium, zinc, calcium and contains a powerful plant-based protein called phycocyanin that has antioxidant, pain-relief, anti-inflammatory, and brain-protective properties. Spirulina also helps improve anemia and immune dysfunction in older subjects. 
  • Neem - Since time immemorial,  Neem has been used as an immunity booster. It is effective in keeping the body safe from harmful pathogens, thanks to its anti-viral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Neem purifies the blood by flushing away toxins.
  • Ginkgo biloba (Coniferae) - traditionally used for respiratory disorders and to improve memory and alertness. It is also used to treat poor blood circulation and tinnitus.
  • Moringa - Rich in proteins, vitamin A, minerals, essential amino acids, antioxidants, and flavonoids, moringa supports a healthy and active immune system. It is known to prevent and treat a series of chronic diseases—including inflammatory diseases, neuro-dysfunctional diseases, diabetes, and cancers.

 

Nature’s Gift For Younger Looking Skin 

There is always this eternal desire to look younger, however over time skin loses its volume and, therefore, its youthfulness. This is partly to do with the fact that the production of collagen depletes with age. A plant-based diet high in vitamin C, beta-carotene, lysine and antioxidants helps reversing skin aging.

Strawberry
  • Blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries are all loaded with antioxidants, which save cells from premature aging, promote collagen production and help the skin stay supple and healthy. White lupin seed, wheat/ rice ceramides, hops extract, witch hazel extract and chlorella help improve skin elasticity.
  • Licorice extract, olive leaf extract, chinese rhubarb extract, Aloesin, a compound isolated from the Aloe vera, rose hip extract help with skin depigmentation.
  • Green tea extract, pomegranate extract, grapefruit extract and rosemary extract helps prevent skin photoaging.

    Herbs for energy and vitality

    Maintaining youthful muscle structure for as long as possible not only helps to improve mobility in later life as well as keeps us looking toned and youthful.

    Cordyceps
    • Cordyceps - A highly revered medicinal mushroom that increases energy, athletic performance, endurance and reduces fatigue. 
    • Jiaogulan or gynostemma - Jiaogulan acts like a magician because it stimulates the body to produce its own Superoxide Dismutase(SOD), Glutathione, and Catalase which helps protect against early ageing. Helps improve performance endurance and reduces fatigue. 
    • Rhodiola - The plant’s root is helpful for boosting energy by decreasing cortisol levels. In addition, it has been found to decrease both mental and physical fatigue, helping with things like physical performance, feelings of exhaustion and brain fog. 

      Natural Sleep Enhancers

      Chamomile
      • Chamomile - The calming effect of chamomile is attributed to an antioxidant called apigenin, found in abundance in chamomile. Apigenin binds to specific receptors in your brain that may decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.
      • Valerian root - Valerian root promotes sleep and reduces anxiety by inhibiting the breakdown of GABA in the brain, resulting in feelings of calmness and tranquility. Valerian root also contains the antioxidants hesperidin and linarin, which appear to have sedative and sleep-enhancing properties. 
      • Tart Cherry - Research has shown tart cherry extract increases sleep time and sleep efficiency for people with insomnia and those who drank tart cherry juice at morning and night were able to extend sleep by more than an hour each night.  

        Flood your body with powerful nutrients

        Plants and herbs are powerful  and act as a remote control to our genes. So let's grow older but not age, by nourishing ourselves with some of these anti-aging herbs that can help us stay healthy and naturally young.

        About Dr. Niveditha Navin

        Dr. Navin is a clinical research specialist, who holds a degree in dentistry. After completing her postgraduate diploma in clinical research, she has experience working as a clinical affairs specialist in the pharmaceutical industry. She is passionate about medicine and wishes to carve a distinct niche in the field of research.

         

        References

        • Dhanjal, Daljeet Singh et al. “Plant Fortification of the Diet for Anti-Ageing Effects: A Review.” Nutrients vol. 12,10 3008. 30 Sep. 2020, doi:10.3390/nu12103008
        • Ram Kumar Sahu, Amit Roy, Munglu Matlam, Vinay Kumar Deshmukh, Jaya Dwivedi and Arvind Kumar Jha, 2013. Review on Skin Aging and Compilation of Scientific Validated Medicinal Plants, Prominence to Flourish a Better Research Reconnoiters in Herbal Cosmetic. Research Journal of Medicinal Plants, 7: 1-22.
        • Selmi, Carlo et al. “The effects of Spirulina on anemia and immune function in senior citizens.” Cellular & molecular immunology vol. 8,3 (2011): 248-54. doi:10.1038/cmi.2010.76
        • Kou, Xianjuan et al. “Nutraceutical or Pharmacological Potential of Moringa oleifera Lam.” Nutrients vol. 10,3 343. 12 Mar. 2018.
        • Panda, Ashok Kumar, and Kailash Chandra Swain. “Traditional uses and medicinal potential of Cordyceps sinensis of Sikkim.” Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine vol. 2,1 (2011): 9-13. 
        • Guadagna, S et al. “Plant Extracts for Sleep Disturbances: A Systematic Review.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2020 3792390. 21 Apr. 2020.
        • Fernández S, Wasowski C, Paladini AC, Marder M. Sedative and sleep-enhancing properties of linarin, a flavonoid-isolated from Valeriana officinalis. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 Feb;77(2):399-404.

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