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Sensational Schisandra

Schisandra is an adaptogen that is native to northern and northeastern China. Its name comes from the fact that its berries possess all five basic flavors: salty, sweet, sour, pungent (spicy), and bitter. The Schisandra berries are used in traditional chinese medicine, where it is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs.

 

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Schisandra is classified as an “adaptogen” because it increases resistance to disease and stress.  It works to balance hormones naturally and therefore improves the ability to deal with stressors, both physical and psychological. It has also been traditionally used to increase energy, physical performance and endurance.

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It is also well know for its prowess in preventing early aging and increasing lifespan. Different cultures have had different uses for Schisandra.  Just look at the impressive list of conditions addressed by this amazing herb:

  • Normalizes blood sugar and blood pressure
  • Stimulates the immune system 
  • Liver detoxing and hepatitis  (The Chinese have developed a liver-protecting drug called DBD that is made from schisandrin, one of the chemicals in schisandra.)
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Asthma and chronic cough
  • Improves sleep
  • Helps relieve nerve pain
  • Prevents night sweats
  • Stops chronic diarrhea
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Excessive urination
  • Depression and irritability
  • Protects against memory loss
  • Improves vision
  • Relieves adrenal fatigue

Historically, schisandra was consumed as a tonic in tea form, but today you can find it in capsules and herbal beverages, which makes it easier than ever to use. Because it is an adaptogen, it can be taken long term without any negative side effects or risks.  In fact, it’s believed to work better and better the longer you take it, just like many other natural adaptogens.

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Schisandra berries may have five flavors, but it has at least 5 times that many health benefits.   Schisandra…an adaptogen for everyone!

 

5 Reasons You Need Reishi

Many people wonder how genies can live for so long.  Most assume it’s magic, but I’m here to tell you that it has more to do with adaptogens than with abracadabra.  One of the best herbs for slowing down the aging process is reishi mushrooms.

Reishi mushrooms may be relatively new to Western cultures, but this fabulous fungus has been revered in Asian societies for thousands of years and is one of the oldest symbols of well-being and longevity. Revered as the “herb of immortality” reishi mushrooms are classified as an adaptogen.  They can be found growing wild on plum trees and for centuries they were reserved for use only by royals.

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There are many varieties of reishi, the most common of which has a soft, cork-like texture and an ear-shaped cap that ranges in color from red-orange to black. The reishi mushroom has a rather bitter, woody taste, which is why it is traditionally prepared in a tea or as an extract. It wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that researchers began to rigorously study the medicinal properties of the reishi mushroom, which is known to the scientific community as ganoderma lucidum.

Due to its increased notoriety, the reishi mushroom is now cultivated commercially throughout the world.

Here are five scientifically studied health benefits of the reishi mushroom:

  • Life Span Extension – In 2009, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry published a study conducted in Taiwan that displayed the life span-extending properties of the polysaccharides found in the reishi mushroom. These unique molecules promote longevity by boosting immune system function and preventing abnormal blood vessel formations that could lead to life-threatening cancerous growths.
  • Defends Against Tumor Growth – The reishi mushroom has not only been shown to prevent the development of cancers, but research has indicated that the reishi mushroom may also eliminate existing cancer cells in the body. In 2010, Pharmacological Reports published a study that highlighted the role of ganoderic acid, a triterpinoid found in the reishi mushroom, in the inhibition of the development and metastasis of tumors.
  • Improves Liver Function and Detoxification – A 2013 study in Food and Chemical Toxicology used the reishi mushroom to reverse chemical-driven liver damage in mice. The same triterpenes that displayed anti-cancer properties in other studies appear to aid the release of free radicals and promote liver cell regeneration.
  • Promotes Heart Health and Balances Blood Pressure – In a study reported by Burton Goldberg in “Heart Disease,” 54 people with hypertension unresponsive to medication, taking reishi extract three times a day for four weeks was enough to significantly lower blood pressure.
  • Fights Allergies and Asthma – Laboratory studies suggest that reishi mushroom may have antihistamine effects. This has not been tested in humans.

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So, if you desire to live longer or just live better, I highly recommend you make ‘shroom for Reishi. The secret to longevity isn’t magic, it’s adaptogens like reishi mushrooms.

The Joy of Jiaogulan

Deep in the mountainous regions of southern China, herbal teas made from the adaptogenic herb jiaogulan have been consumed for centuries. Known as the “immortality herb,” the southern Chinese locals have utilized the herb to promote longevity and to cultivate a healthy lifestyle going far back into the early Chinese empires. Throughout the early days of herbal Chinese medicine, the herb was ignored due to the preference of ginseng and the isolation of the southern provinces from the central cities, but during the modern era it has seen a surge of popularity because of its proven adaptogenic effects. Starting in the 1970’s, studies about jiaogulan began being published in medical and herbal medicine journals, and the positive effects proven to be associated with the herb were astonishing. Throughout multiple rigorous studies, jiaogulan has been conclusively shown to assist the body in:

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· Regulating blood pressure – (Tanner MA, Bu X, Steimle JA, Myers PR (1999-10-03))

· Reducing unhealthy cholesterol levels – (Blumert, Michael; Jialiu Liu (2003). Jiaogulan: China’s “Immortality” Herb. Badger, CA: Torchlight Publishing. p. 42)

· Reducing stress on cardiovascular systems – (Chen, LF et al. (1990). “Comparison between the effects of gypenosieds and ginsegnosides on cardiac function and hemodynamics in dogs”. Chinese J Pharmacol Toxicol 4 (1): 17–20.)

· Maintaining optimal homeostasis – (David Winston; Steven Maimes (2007). Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Healing Arts Press).

With all of these proven health benefits, it appears that the stories of the “immortality herb” were not entirely inaccurate. You may not live forever with jiaogulan, but you will certainly live a longer and healthier life!

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