Shennong Ben Cao Jing (The Classic of Herbal Medicine) is the earliest material medica extant in China, containing 365 entries on medicaments and their description. Among them, more than 100 are classified as “noble herbs”. In other words, they are considered totally harmless and good for restoring or improving health or well-being. So, what are the best anti-ageing herbs to take? Here are the top 10, according to TCM practitioners.
1. Ginseng. It has long been used in traditional medicines because it has a wide range of pharmacological activity. Medicinally, it is best for toning people’s Qi. Ginsenosides or panaxosides are the main physiologically active substances, making up around 5.6 per cent. They are a class of natural product steroid glycosides and triterpene saponins and so far more than 40 kinds of monomers have been isolated. By the way, protopanaxadiols (Rb1, Rb2, Rg3, Rh2, and Rh3) and protopanaxatriols (Rg1, Rg2, and Rh1) are believed the main pharmacologically active ingredients. Studies have shown that panaxosides can enhance immune system, combat cancer, delay aging process, boost energy, make skin look younger, and so on.
2. Ganoderma Lucidum or Reishi. This herb is better known as Lingzhi in China. This is not just another ‘mushroom’ but a miraculous herb in the eyes of ancient Chinese. Modern research has confirmed that reishi is a potent regulator of the nervous system, respiratory system, and cardiovascular system. More importantly, it is able to optimize immune response, scavenge free radicals, balance the metabolism, and so on. As a result, it has a direct impact on the human aging process.
3. Panax notoginseng. Also known as pseudo-ginseng and Tian Qi, it is one of the best Chinese herbs for anti-aging and longevity. Modern research has found that notoginseng and its cousin ginseng have things in common on the chemical composition, pharmacological effects and clinical applications. Surprisingly, the former even has higher ginsenosides content. Medicinally, it can dilate blood vessels for better circulation, reduce vascular resistance, increase cardiac output, slow heart rate down, decrease myocardial oxygen consumption, lower capillary permeability, and the like. So, compared to its cousin it works better on prevention and treatment of vascular disease.
4. He Shou Wu. Also called Fo Ti, this highly revered tonic herbs are known for its ability on keeping hair from going gray. In fact, this is also one of awesome anti-aging herbs for longevity. The study found that it promotes the growth of nerve cells, which makes it an ideal adjuvant therapy for neurasthenia and other nervous system diseases. Besides, it can also regulate serum cholesterol, lower blood sugar, improve the ability of liver cell transformation and cholesterol metabolism, and inhibit reactions promoted by oxygen or peroxides.
5. Eleuthero. It is also called Ci Wu Jia and “Siberian Ginseng”. Traditionally, it is used to improve the health of bones and joints, enhance immune system, fight insomnia, aid stamina, and so on. Today it is better known as an ultimate adaptogenic agent. The study found that it could rejuvenate human body, fight fatigue, keep the body healthy, regulate the nervous system, endocrine system, cardiovascular system, kill the bacteria, fight infection and inflammation, and more.
6. Rhodiola. Rhodiola is not found in ancient herbal remedies. That’s to say, this is one of newly found Chinese anti-aging secrets. Modern pharmacological and clinical studies have found that rhodiola has a tonic effect similar to ginseng. In other words, it strengthens the nervous system, fights Hypoxia Consequences, improves depression, inhibits cancer cell growth, enhances immunity, and helps stay younger and healthier.
7. Goji Berries. Also known as Lycium barbarum, these fruits are considered one of the most nutritionally dense fruits in the world by some believers. They have similar adaptogenic properties of ginseng. So, this antioxidant-packed superfood is often used to boost the immune system, prevent atherosclerosis, help live longer, lower blood sugar, maintain a healthy heart and circulation, promote the growth of new liver cells, improve overall physical and mental “tone”, protect against cancer, and so on.
8. Royal jelly. Royal jelly is the gem of bee products because it is rich in many nutrients. It can promote protein synthesis, promote cell growth, enhance the body’s metabolism, and increase tissue regeneration. At the same time, it is packed with superoxide dismutase (SOD), one of the most powerful natural antioxidant enzymes in the body, and vitamin C and E. So, it is one of the ancient Chinese beauty secrets for better skin.
9. Gynostemma. It is called Jiao Gu Lan in China. As an adaptogenic herb, it is good at bringing the whole body back into balance. Japanese scientists found that a variety of its components have similar composition to part of ginsenosides. In recent years, gynostemma has been confirmed to help skin refreshed and youthful, reduce fatigue, combat cancer, support the endocrine system, improve immunity, lower cholesterol and transaminase, heal ulcers, relieve stress, help calm nerves, stop pain, and more.
10. Astragalus. It is called Huang Qi in China. TCM believes that the spleen and stomach are the “acquired foundation of life” and astragalus is one of the best Qi tonics. Modern research has found that astragalus not only expands coronary artery, but also improves myocardial blood supply, boosts immune function, and delays the onset of aging to extend the healthy life.