We are hearing a lot about herbs of late, and for good reason. Many herbs have been attributed to a higher and longer quality of life, and others have been deemed miracles in their healing abilities for the human body. Yet, the amount we know about herbs is severely lacking, and as such, we haven’t fully capitalized on their healing benefits. It’s time to change that fact, so lets start with the top 5 healing adaptogenic herbs and uncover their special healing properties.
Also known as the ‘magical grass”, the main active ingredient is known as saponins. These saponins are responsible for the adaptogenic qualities of this tonic herb.
The overall benefits of Gynostemma include:
- Invigorating (does not cause hyperactivity – not a stimulant)
- Calming (promotes a sense of peace – not a sedative)
- Anti-aging (antioxidant and more)
- Anti-inflammatory (not as a medicine, but to help reduce the factors that cause low grade, sub-clinical chronic inflammation experienced by all humans)
- Immune-regulating (not as a medicine, but to help support the normal healthy functioning of various immune functions)
- A respiratory tonic (improve respiratory efficiency)
- A digestive aid (Gynostemma is very soothing)
Gynostemma also has the ability to bring balance to the body under a wide range of stressful circumstances, and has developed a reputation in Asia as a major aid in weight management programs.
Definitely consider Gynostemma as one of the healing herbs you want to take as part of your daily regimen.
Derived from a perennial plant native to China, Mongolia and Korea, this plant’s root is dried, prepared into a tincture, tablet or topical treatment, and applied as a natural remedy for all kinds of health conditions, including fatigue, ulcers, liver toxicity, diabetes, blood pressure and circulation, and even cancer.
One of the features that makes astragalus so effective is the presence of a particular class of polysaccharides, which help to reduce inflammation, regulate blood flow and activate immune cells. It also has antioxidant effects, protecting cells against damage by free radicals, as well as adaptogenic effects, meaning it helps the body respond and adapt more positively to environmental stress factors, both physiological and psychological.
The most commonly cited benefits of astragalus are it’s ability to relieve symptoms of heart disease, diabetes, seasonal allergies and colds, recovery from cancer, and its anti-aging effect.
Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero)
This healing herb is famous for its ability to enhance physical and mental endurance, and to help us handle stress more efficiently due to being a gentle mood elevator.
Siberian Ginseng is known all over the world now as one of the best adaptogenic agents ever used by man. There just isn’t much else that can deliver so much wonderful raw working energy. It is truly the king of adaptogens.
Taken regularly, it enhances immune function, increases cortisone levels and anti-inflammatory response, and it promotes improved cognitive and physical performance. Eleuthero has also been successfully used in China to treat bone marrow suppression caused by chemotherapy or radiation, angina hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, neurasthenia with headache, insomnia, and poor appetite.
Siberian Ginseng is now commonly used by thousands of people who engage in high stress, high energy-demanding activities such as high altitude flying, long-distance sailing, working in high or low temperature environments or in deep water. So if you are an athlete or weekend warrior, you may want to try it out!
Lycium Barbarum (Goji)
Known in Asia as a premier “longevity and anti-aging herb," this delicious tonic fruit is a true superfood, rich in antioxidants. It is famous for enhancing strength, vision and beauty. Goji is also rich in immune-potentiating polysaccharides.
The high concentration of nutrients in this healing herb (or as many know it as, the goji berry) is extremely impressive: plant-derived polyphenolic antioxidants; carotenoids such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, and lycopene; vitamins C, B1, B2, and niacin; more than 30 essential and trace minerals, including zinc, iron, copper, calcium, selenium, and phosphorus; polysaccharides; and 18 amino acids such as isoleucine, tryptophan, leucine, and arginine. That list may help explain why goji berries have one of the highest ORAC scores on the planet!
In addition to this list, goji raises superoxide dismutase (SOD) levels (a free radical scavenger), that has been proven to prevent dame to the skin, eyes, pancreas, other organs and tissues, as well as reduce pain and inflammation in arthritis.
Reishi (Medicinal Mushrooms)
Reishi is a part of the medicinal mushroom family, and is often referred to as the herb of immortality and longevity.
Reishi is found in nature in densely wooded mountains of high humidity and dim lightning. It is extremely difficult to find as it flourishes mainly on trunks of dead plum trees, and of every 10,000 of these aged trees, you may find that 2 or 3 Reishi have growth.
In ancient times, Reishi was so successful that it’s results have been attested to in the oldest Chinese medical text, which is presumed to be over 2000 years old. This book has over 365 different kinds of medicine classified and explained. 120 of them are declared superior medicines, 120 are average, and the other 125 are fair.
This text stated that any amount of superior medicines can be taken as desired on a continual basis with no unfavourable side effects. Of all the superior herbs listed in the text, Ganoderma (Reishi) was rated #1!
Two of the most important compounds in the health benefits of this herb are polysaccharides and triterpenes.
Polysaccharides play an important role by stimulating the immune system, strengthening the cardiovascular system, improving liver function, and helping delay the aging process and improving the skin. Triterpenes and ganoderic acids are strongly associated with immune system support, hormone regulation, and stress reduction.