Herbs: Nature’s Fountain of Youth
Madalyn Johnson (left) and Kathleen Gould (right)
It seems aging is a two-edge sword. At the same time our bodies start aging, we are also at a place in our lives where things are beginning to slow down. Our children are leaving or gone from home and our hectic family lives have quieted down. We may be retiring and now have more free time to do the things we “put on the shelf” when we were younger and too busy to explore. It is no longer what we have to do, but more about what we chose to do, like writing, music, traveling and gardening. The catch is that to be able to do these things we need to have a strong mind and body, along with a positive spirit.
Throughout our lives, the cells of our bodies are constantly being sloughed off and replaced with new ones. Our job is to give our cells the right nutrients for strong cell restoration. Poor diet, environmental pollutants, prescription drugs, stress, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies prevent good cell restoration and create many of the chronic illnesses so prevalent in our society today.
Positive, joyful and loving thoughts are vital throughout our lives. Quantum physics and science have proven how a positive, loving attitude and being of service to others strengthen and support a healthy immune response, as does spending time in nature.
Nature it seems is where the fountain of youth resides. Whole high-quality herbs found in nature are packed full of all the vitamins and nutrients we need for a healthy body, skin and hair as we age. Herbs and medicinal mushrooms are the original and true superfoods; they are packed with age-defying free radical scavengers to support supreme healthy cell restoration.
Medicinal mushrooms are great for immune health and also helping the body adapt to stress. They are full of antioxidants (which protect your body against free radicals) and have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties to help your body build natural resistance against various diseases, toxins and viruses. Each mushroom has its own special benefits depending on its own unique blend of polysaccharides, which work to fire up your immune system in different ways. Eating mushrooms is great, but because of our busy lifestyles, many folks are opting for an extract or tincture form where many mushrooms can be combined.
Here are just a few of the possible benefits of medicinal mushrooms:
- Cancer-fighting longevity foods
- Help fight infections (anti-viral/anti-bacterial)
- Lung and kidney tonics
- Prevention and treatment of autoimmune imbalances, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease
Note: Look for dual-extraction products. This extraction method uses both water and alcohol. Water extracts the immunomodulation properties, whereas the alcohol extracts triterpenes—adaptogens.
Skin and hair problems are some of the first signs of nutritional deficiencies. High-quality herbal teas are packed full of vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, free radical scavengers, and antioxidants, and because they are foods, these nutrients are completely absorbed and utilized by our bodies. Look for herbs like horsetail, oat straw, raspberry, nettles, dandelion, burdock, and the list goes on.
Making a tea with a combination of any of these is always helpful, or in the case of mushrooms, adding the powder of chaga or reishi to your morning smoothie is an easy way to get your daily dose. If you are a coffee drinker, adding a teaspoon to your morning joe is a good way to incorporate these medicinal mushrooms.
As the cooler weather begins to return, adding these anti-aging herbs to your soups, beans, sauces or stews is easy and very effective, especially for those picky eaters in your house. Simply put a few of these herbs into a small muslin bag and throw in your pot to infuse your meal with goodness.
Here are some ideas of what you could mix together and put in a muslin bag:
- Slices of astragalus root
- Slices of reishi mushroom
- Nuggets of chaga mushroom, dried
- Turmeric slices
- Dried onion
- Garlic powder
- A variety of peppercorns (great for helping in absorption of nutrients)
- A bay leaf
- Parsley and thyme
Any or all would work wonders and add depth to your recipe. Easy day-to-day use could make a huge difference in your journey.
Youthfulness is created from the inside out, so think joyful, happy thoughts; eat well; ingest high-quality herbs; and laugh lots and lots!
Kathleen Gould, registered herbalist, and Madalyn Johnson are proprietors of SW Herb Shop and Gathering Place. Gould has been an herbalist for 30-plus years and has extensive experience in herbal medicine. For more information, call 480-694-9931 or visit SWHerb.com or Store.SWHerb.com.