Herbs For Old Age

What is "old age" anyway? I define old age as feeling old. If I can't get up in the morning, step out on my balcony and stretch my arms into the air, and stand on my toes while I breathe in som fresh mountain air without coughing and ripping a tendon−then that is old age.

If I can't ride a bike, take a hike, lift my (someday) grandchildren, swim, laugh hard, stretch, or bend without pain and joy, then .... that's what I believe is being old. If you are going to live a long life, why not feel good living it? No one wants to be a mentally active adult person trapped in an invalid body when it could be prevented with proper care!

It is not the way life was meant to be lived! And who wants to look forward to burdening friends or relatives with having to take care of us, when we could have taken better care of ourselves and prevented debilitation in the first place?

The good news is that we now know that herbs can help you keep your mental and physical functions maintained. You can start now to prevent these disease from creeping up. In addition to the right nutrients, stay active, keep running or at least walking briskly, and old age won't catch up with you as fast!

Take a look at the active "older" people around and see what there is to learn from them. Many 50+ adults can run circles around inactive folks half their age and younger! An inspirational example is astronaut and political leader John Glenn. He passed strenuous physical fitness tests in his 70s and went into space again!

We can all do it, too. All the body needs to slow the aging process down to a more reasonable pace is to be provided the right materials. Some preventative herbs you can begin taking now include herbs rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances in food and herbs that fight against the damaging effects of free radical activity on your body.

The older you get, the more stress you have, the more toxins you ingest, the more free radical damage takes places. Free radical damage is one biggest factors in aging. Herbs rich in antioxidants include peppermint, sage, spearmint, rosemary, oregano, red clover, savory, and thyme.

Green tea is a great antioxidant drink. Consider having a cup or two of herb tea daily that includes any or all of the antioxidant herbs. Other popular herbs to hold back the hands of time include ginkgo biloba, gotu kola, American ginseng, evening primose oil, garlic, and milk thistle (preserves the liver).

Now, some of you might just want to help your elderly grandma or great grandparent with some herbs that will aid in some of their general discomforts and may be past the point of prevention, so let's take a look at how we can help these deat folks.

Fortunately, herbs come in so many different forms that there is an easy way for everyone to take them. Many times the elderly folks don't like to swallow pills and prefer a chewable or liquid form. As we age, especially after age 50, digestion is usually less than optimum (unless, of course, you have been maintaining your health with herbs!).

Folks into their 70s and 80s usually have very weakened digestion, and the liquid and chewable tablets will help them get better absorption than taking capsules or tablets. The next table lists some of the top herbs that can be taken daily by elderly people for a healthier life. No matter what your age, it's not too late to begin taking these supplements to prevent premature aging.

  • Liquid chlorophyll - Support digestion, easily assimilated, aids tissue repair, purifies the liver, works as a body deodorizer, and provides easily assimilated minerals. Add a tablespoon to a glass of water three times daily.
  • Chewable papaya and peppermint tablets - Supply enzymes that strengthen digestion and help break down proteins; peppermint is a stimulant for stomach acid secretions and aids digestion. Peppermint also acts as a stimulant and can help keep you more alert. Chew one or two tablets before and after meals.
  • Whole-leaf aloe vera - The aloe vera plant is one of the most widely utilized healing plants; not only is it a good remedy for external applications to soothe burns, but internally it also works to soothe irritated tissue, cleanse the bowel, and provide concentrated nutrition such as many B vitamins, 18 amino acids, vitamin C, and selenium. Add a capful daily to water or juice, or drink straight.
  • Ginkgo biloba and/or gotu kola - Both are brain tonics; ginkgo is used in Germany to treat Alzheimer's disease, and gotu kola helps rebuild energy, stamina, and memory. Studies show noticeable memory improvements within four to six weeks. These two herbs can be used together or separately.

Take according to directions. A tea can be made, but a standardized product will be found in a pill. Take caution if you are on prescription blood thinners, as both of these herbs can thin the blood. See your physician and your holistic practitioner before taking any herbs if you are on medications.

Herbs that can benefit us as we age and also that can prevent us from age-related health problems include:

  • Herbs that support the digestive and intestinal tract.
  • Herbs rich in minerals (many people get structural weakness, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, and other bone disorders in old age−and sometimes sooner if the proper nutrients are not furnished in the diet)
  • Herbs that feed and support the brain and that tone the senses

As you've read, it's never too late or too easy to begin taking herbs. So what are you waiting for? More thyme?