GWhen I carry, there has always been a plethora of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in my kitchen cupboards. From herbs to dried mushrooms and white flower oil, popo (my grandmother in Chinese) always took these treatments whenever I was not feeling well. It is not the only one – for centuries, Chinese herbs have remained one of the oldest medicines for the prevention and treatment of diseases and are well known for their use in longevity.
“From the beginning of Chinese medical history, anti-aging and how to maintain health and well-being have been paramount,” says Mao Shing Ni, DOM, PhD, LAc, Chinese medicine Los Angeles. In Chinese culture, good health (and therefore longevity) is associated with harmony, the balance between yin and yang – which is often achieved with herbs.
“Nature or the beginning [of longevity] is to keep your body in balance and also watch your lifestyle “, says Liuhong Xu, LAc, gynecologist and TCM acupuncturist for Redmint in San Francisco. Xu states that herbs should be combined with lifestyle habits , such as healthy eating and exercise to bring the greatest health benefits.
“The relative ease with which the cultivation of medicinal herbs could be integrated into rural society has made regular consumption of herbs an essential part of life,” adds Kyle Yoshioka, LAc, author and content manager at Influential Point.
Because herbs can be so powerful, it is often best for beginners to work with a professional TCM or other trusted herbalist for expert advice before diving immediately. with medicines or other herbs and supplements. But if you’re interested in exploring Chinese herbs for longevity, TCM professionals are looking at some of the best you need to know — and how to incorporate them into your daily life.
Continue reading about 4 Basic Chinese Herbs for Longevity:
Also known as the “king of herbs”, ginseng is an adaptogen, also known as a substance that helps the body respond to stress and keep it in balance. “It helps the body manage its function during stress and helps prevent the aging process,” says Dr. Ni. It is also anti-inflammatory, making it useful for supporting health and preventing chronic diseases that can affect longevity.
How to use it: Ginseng can be processed into juice and tea. You can also enjoy ginseng in capsule or tablet form, making it easy to incorporate into any meal.
2. Huang Qi
Also referred to as the ankle, this Chinese plant is a driving force when it comes to protecting your body’s immune system, especially as you grow older. The plant has traditionally been used to treat a variety of ailments and disorders, including cancer and heart failure. “Another benefit is that it helps regulate the function of your immune system,” says Dr. Ni, although definitive scientific research on any of the benefits of the plant is minimal. Just note that while the ankle is generally safe to take in small doses, it may interact with immunosuppressive drugs.
How to use it: Dried ankle roots can be added to any broth to enhance your soup game. Check out your local Chinatown for these greens. When visiting a Chinese herbal store, be sure to use Pinyin’s name: “huang qi”.
This mushroom has a long history of use in China, Japan and other Asian countries. In Chinese, the name lingzhi stands for immortality. According to research, the mushroom has medicinal and healing properties that can enhance energy, increase memory and support healthy aging. “Lingzhi is very good because it boosts immunity,” says Xu.
How to use it: Add a lingzhi to a cup of warm water for refreshment. You can also find lingzhi powders and supplements.
4. Goji berry
Native to northwestern China, dried goji berry contains many health benefits, including anti-aging and immune-boosting properties. Its powerful antioxidant properties help relieve free radicals or stress-causing particles, which fight inflammation (and thus promote longevity).
How to use it: “You can eat goji berries raw or dried. My favorite way to use them is to add them to a teapot and drink the drink all day,” says Yoshioka. This berry can also be used in soups and herbal teas for a sweet and savory taste.
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