Herbs Medicine For Aging

Many problems can arise due to age-related changes in the body. Although there is no individual test to measure these changes, a thorough physical exam and a basic blood screening and blood chemistry panel can point to areas in need of further attention.

When older people become ill, the first signs of disease are often nonspecific. Further exams should be conducted if any of the following occur:

  • diminished, or lack of, desire for food
  • increased confusion
  • failure to thrive
  • urinary incontinence
  • dizziness
  • weight loss
  • falling

Garlic (Allium sativa) is helpful in preventing heart disease, and improving the tone and texture of skin. Garlic stimulates liver and digestive system functions, and also helps manage heart disease and high blood pressure.

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) supports the adrenal glands and immune functions. It is believed to be helpful in treating problems related to stress. Siberian ginseng also increases mental and physical performance, and may be useful in treating memory loss, chronic fatigue, and immune dysfunction.

Ginkgo biloba works particularly well on the brain and nervous system. It is effective in reducing the symptoms of such conditions as Alzheimer’s disease, depression, visual disorders, and problems of blood circulation.

It may also help treat heart disease, strokes, dementia, Raynaud’s disease, head injuries, leg cramps, macular degeneration, tinnitus, impotence due to poor blood flow, and diabetes-related nerve damage.

Proanthocyanidins, or PCO, (brand name Pycnogenol), are derived from grape seeds and skin, as well as pine tree bark. They may help prevent cancer and poor vision.

Green tea has powerful antioxidant qualities, and has been used for centuries as a natural medicine in China, Japan, and other Asian cultures. In alternative medicine, it aids in treating cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol, heart disease, infection, and impaired immune function.

Several scientific studies have shown that antioxidant benefits are obtained by drinking two cups of green tea each day. In Ayurvedic medicine, aging is described as a process of increased vata, in which there is a tendency to become thinner, drier, more nervous, more restless, and more fearful, while experiencing declines in both sleep and appetite.

Bananas, almonds, avocados, and coconuts are some of the foods used in correcting such conditions. One of the main herbs used to treat these problems is gotu kola (Centella asiatica). It is taken to revitalize the nervous system and brain cells, and to fortify the immune system. Gotu kola is also used to treat memory loss, anxiety, and insomnia.

In Chinese medicine, most symptoms of aging are regarded as signs of a yin deficiency. Moistening foods are recommended, and include barley soup, tofu, mung beans, wheat germ, spirulina, potatoes, black sesame seeds, walnuts, and flax seeds. Jing tonics may also be used. These include deer antler, dodder seeds, processed rehmannia, longevity soup, mussels, and chicken.

Aging is unavoidable, but major physical impairment is not. People can lead healthy, disability-free lives throughout their later years. A well-established support system of family, friends, and health care providers, along with a focus on good nutrition and lifestyle habits, and effective stress management, can prevent disease and lessen the impact of chronic conditions.