I've Changed My Mind About Herbs
I know what you're thinking... that I must have decided that herbs aren't the best option. WRONG! I have realized just how much herbs can do. About a month ago, MediHerb of Australia came out with a new herbal combination product. I gave a sigh, put it on the shelf and decided I'd take a look at it when I had a minute. After 30 years of working with herbs, you get a bit jaded when a "new" combination comes out, even from such an amazing therapeutic herbal company as MediHerb. Then a week later, a colleague of mine reminded me that I had promised to go to a lecture by one of the researchers of MediHerb on Reversing the Aging Process. Well, the title alone made me want to roll my eyes and plead temporary insanity, but my friend was so excited to get away from her five kids for a couple of hours, i couldn't really say no, could I? So off we went and in the course of this lecture I learned more about the aging process than I thought even existed. Now on a daily basis, aging isn't something I pay attention to, because most of my patients are more concerned about eliminating their migraines, reducing their blood pressure or waking up in the morning without wanting to take their bed to the office. But the truth is that the aging process is actually cellular aging and death, and it can mean a lot more than how many wrinkles you have at 65. Here are just a few of the highlights:
When we are insulin resistent, sugars that are allowed to remain too long in the blood, actually attach to proteins to form antagonistic molecules that damage cartilage and other body structures leading to arthritis, fibromyalgia and potentially lupus.
Natural Killer Cells are essential to remove aberrant and damaged cells from the body so they don't create problems. As we age, these important cleansing cells decline in numbers leading to tumors, cysts and plaque formation.
Waste products from protein production in cells must be swept out of the system. If these toxins are left in the cells due to dehydration or low cellular activity, then they wil form plaques which will show up as brown spots on the skin, cardiovascular restriction and brain fog. Managing proteins is one of the most important aspects of healthy aging... in fact beta-amyloid plaque in Alzheimer's Disease is an aberrant protein.
Age-related disability is ultimately characterized by fraily: generalized weakness, impaired mobility and balance, poor endurance, declining cognitive function, loss of appetite, weight and muscle mass. Frailty is the most important factor in death shortly after bone breaks, osteo and sarcopenia, and severe disability with the aging process.
The latest research shows that the levels of defense molecules in the body is what protects the body from degeneration. Examples of these molecules include heat shock proteins, sirtuin, growth factors and cell kinases (try to say all that five times fast!).
So let's cut to the chase... the very same new product that I lackadaisically threw on the shelf is actually the result of years of herbal research and contains the five top anti-aging herbs: Japanese Knot Weed (we really should listen more to the Japanese about health!), Milk Thistle, Korean Ginseng, Masson Pine Bark and Ginkgo Leaf.
Now I know you have heard of a couple of those, but even I hadn't heard of Masson Pine Bark. Well here is why this formula is amazing:
Ginkgo actually helps proteins to "fold" correctly, an essential part of a protein becoming active. Aberrant proteins do not fold correctly. This is in addition to its known ability as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and in protecting cells from exposure to radiation.
Milk Thistle has long been known to protect the liver from damage, reduce insulin resistance, chelate heavy metals and protect the body from cancer.
Korean Ginseng also reduces insulin resistance preventing sugars from accumulating in the blood and has been shown in studies to reduce cancer rates by 50% in regular users. It has a particularly strong effect for smokers!
Masson Pine Bark has been involved in more than 70 clinical trials (where was I?) and has been shown to prevent osteoarthritis and to have strong antioxidant activity.
But the piece de resistance is Japanese Knot Weed (like I said, leave it to the Japanese) which has the highest level of an amazing substance known as resverotrol. And it is only one species of Japanese Knot Weed (polygonum cuspidatum) which activates defense proteins such as sirtuins while strongly decreasing cancer risk, osteoarthritis risk, cardiovascular risk and decreasing insulin resistence, all at the same time!
By now you would think I was snoring away, but he said one thing that really got my attention. In the fifty miles surrounding Hiroshima, following the devastation of the bomb, there was only one plant that survived within that radius... a ginkgo tree. The reason? Because the leaves of the ginkgo contained protective agents against radiation and pollution exposure. Those qualities are transferred to us when we take high grade Ginkgo leaf in therapeutic amounts.
So you can imagine that I ran back to the clinic and took all the bottles of HerbaVital off the shelf so I could really try it. And the results? I have more energy and a pre-cancerous mole has disappeared. Now given that I am fairly healthy, that is pretty amazing to me for one month, so you can believe that with all the research, I'm going to take 4 tablets of HerbaVital every day.
But the more important result is that I have a newfound respect for herbal combinations, and the use of herbs over a longer period of time. Some herbs truly should be just given for short-term therapeutic reasons, but there are herbs that research is showing us can give us a longer, healthier life. See, you're never too old to sit through what might be a boring lecture just to get that flashbulb of learning!