What every man should have in his medicine cabinet.
Herbal remedies seek to nourish, restore, and balance body functions that have been bruised by the ups and downs of daily life. Symptoms of “bruised” body functions (typically thought of as aging) range from arthritis to fatigue to cognitive decline, and can take their toll on anyone and everyone.
These three versatile herbs, used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, have a variety of health benefits for both men and women. However, they work in several ways to address health issues of top concern to men, such as erectile dysfunction (ED) and high blood pressure, and I believe they should be a part of every man’s long-term plan for overall health.
A 2015 study found that active constituents in ginseng had significant benefit for ED in men with diabetes.
With wide-ranging action, ginseng (Panax ginseng), also called Asian ginseng, has been shown in human studies to have an anti-stress effect; improve physical and mental performance, memory, and reaction time; and to enhance mood. Ginseng increases physical working capacity in humans in many ways, including by stimulating the central nervous system, and regulating blood pressure and glucose levels. A 2015 study found that active constituents in ginseng had significant benefit for ED in men with diabetes.
In another study, a preparation of Asian ginseng, vitamins, and minerals, was tested among people who complained of daily fatigue. Those taking the supplement demonstrated improved energy, better concentration, and less anxiety.
A recent study tested whether ginseng extract would influence exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammation responses. Male college students took either ginseng or a placebo, and then performed a high-intensity uphill treadmill running task. In those taking ginseng, inflammation markers were significantly decreased during recovery, suggesting that ginseng could reduce exercise-induced muscle damage.
Ginseng is generally indicated for daily, consistent use in moderate doses. Do not use ginseng as a short-term stimulant. Ginseng and other adaptogens work best after long-term (one–three months) use by regulating hormone levels and other biological functions to protect us against the damaging effects of chronic stress,” says herbalist Christopher Hobbs, author of The Ginsengs. A typical dose is 4,000–6,000 mg per day.
Eleuthero, a distant relative of Panax ginseng, has been used in Chinese medicine for 2,000 years. Eleuthero, also called Siberian ginseng, has been shown to enhance physical performance in several studies. Research shows it has antioxidant, immune-boosting, and cholesterol-lowering properties. A study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology concludes that the active constituents, eleutherosides, alleviate both physical and mental fatigue.
Use 2-3 grams per day of powdered root in capsules.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), used widely in Ayurvedic medicine, holds a similar role to that of ginseng in Chinese medicine. Though unrelated to ginseng, it appears to share similar properties and actions. Ayurveda considers this herb to be a rasayana, or particularly powerful rejuvenative. The name ashwagandha means “like a horse,” connoting that it is regarded as a premier sexual tonic.
Ashwagandha’s reputation as a sexual enhancement herb is supported by research. One animal study showed that extracts of ashwagandha increased production of sex hormones and sperm, presumably by exerting a testosterone-like effect. In another clinical trial, the herb (taken at a dose of 3 gm per day for 1 year) was given to healthy male adults 50–59 years of age. Among benefits noted: serum cholesterol levels decreased, gray hair was reduced, and a vast majority (over 70%) reported improvement in sexual performance.
Ayurveda uses ashwagandha for general debility and exhaustion, memory loss, nerve diseases, cough, anemia, and insomnia. Modern clinicians are likely to prescribe it for chronic fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, and heart and vascular disorders, often combined with arjuna bark extract.
A 2015 study of healthy young men engaged in resistance training found that ashwagandha resulted in significant increases in muscle mass and strength. The researchers concluded that the herb may be useful in conjunction with a resistance training program.
A typical dose is 1 gm per day, taken over long periods—up to many years—as a rejuvenator. Larger quantities (1–10 gm per day) are often used in Ayurveda short term for acute conditions.
Keeping your blood pressure under control is critical. Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) may help reduce resistance in arteries and improve circulation throughout the body. Several studies have shown that hawthorn extracts benefit blood pressure, including a British study that successfully used hawthorn to lower blood pressure in diabetics.
Hawthorn is widely regarded in Europe as a safe and effective treatment for a variety of heart and circulatory disorders.
A 2015 study of angina patients showed lowered risk of atherosclerosis and heart problems after 12 weeks of taking hawthorn extract.
The plant contains an assortment of bioflavonoid complexes responsible for the actions of this herbal medicine. The berries have been used traditionally, but research confirms the content of active ingredients in the plant as well.
A usual dose is 80–300 mg in capsules, two to three times per day. As a tincture, take 4–5 ml three times daily. If you are using the berry in capsules or tea, the recommended dose is 4–5 grams per day.
Hawthorn Supreme Vegetarian Liquid Phyto-Caps
Himalaya Herbal Healthcare
Organic Sun Eleuthero Tablets