Aging is a fact of life. While we can’t turn back the clock, we can do our best to slow the relentless tick, tick, tick of the passing years.
The diet you eat for the next few decades probably is the most important factor affecting your health for the rest of your life. Women—eat your fruit and vegetables. At least, that’s the indication of a new study in a recent issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Women who ate between four and ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by between 20–30%.1
While stress accounts for a good share of medical office visits today, it has, in reality, been with us since the beginning of human life. That primitive body still responds to threats by producing hormones that change the physiological reactions—the famous “fight or flight” response. This response, which includes profound stimulation of the adrenal glands and sympathetic nervous system, also causes increased respiration, blood pressure, blood sugar and heart rate.
Don’t take brain function decline lying down. Get up and exercise. Duke University researchers maintain that aerobic workouts can improve high-level brain functions in those over 50.6
Ayurveda, the ancient holistic healing system of India, and the sister science of yoga, is well supplied with tonic-building herbs. The main goal of health care in ayurveda is long-term balance and prevention, so this method excels at the use of adaptogenic herbs.2, 3, 4, 5 These herbs are all widely available, and very safe, so spa clients, after discussing them with a physician, just might be interested in giving them a try. They include: ashwaganda root, shatavari root, licorice root, holy basil leaf, turmeric root, brahmi and amla fruit.
Herbal medicine focuses on reducing inflammation in the skin, healing the tissue of the skin if necessary and eliminating the source of the irritating wastes, called toxins by some, through the liver, kidneys and large intestine. According to traditional natural healing, green vegetables are an important tool in the treatment of inflamed skin. Any green vegetable will work—spinach, celery and cucumber—even green beans.
Chinese licorice root also helps reduce inflammation in the skin and is a staple herb for skin diseases in East Asia. This herb contains steroid-like substances, which, when taken internally, or even applied topically, rapidly provide relief.
Herbs that contain berberine as an active ingredient are getting serious attention for reducing inflammation of the skin, whether taken internally or applied as a cream.
Herbs in this category include goldenseal root, as well as Oregon grape root, which is the number one herb in England for inflammatory skin disease. Other herbs in this category include barberry root and coptis root. A recent study confirmed the benefit of berberine herbs in psoriasis.7
Aloe leaf is a popular remedy for skin healing when applied directly to the damaged skin in the form of a cream or gel. It certainly has caught on as a folk remedy for burns, abrasions and dermatitis.
The ageless mind
Some types of mental decline develop with exposure to toxins and to oxidizing chemicals in the environment. All of these appear to contribute to brain inflammation, scarring and mental decay. The brain can inflame from toxins, allergies, stress or low tissues nutrients. The process of inflammation creates free radicals that cause damage, which can contribute to senile dementia. These free radicals can be particularly damaging when brain tissues are deficient in antioxidants and other nutrients that ease the effects of chronic inflammation.