TCM herbs and anti aging
Traditional Chinese medicine is not just acupuncture, a large part of the medicine is herbal and nutritional medicine.
Anti-aging is a long practiced art form in all Asian countries, and we can certainly learn a lot from the various Asian cultures. One aspect that is overlooked in the west is the role that herbs can play, not just in general wellbeing, but in anti-aging as well!
There are many herbs used in traditional Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Korean medicine (and more) that are believed to have anti-aging properties. The anti-aging industry is huge in Asia, and the culture of weekly spa visits as a norm is something that I think every culture should aspire to! Self care includes beauty routines, for both men and women.
In South Korea, visiting a spa or jjimjilbang (a Korean-style bathhouse) is a popular activity for relaxation and socializing! For some Koreans, visiting a spa once a week or more is a regular part of their self-care routine, while others may only visit a few times a month. Visiting a spa is an activity that they often do together with friends or family for a day of relaxation and bonding. This is something that I would love to see happen more here!
Anti-aging is not just spa visits though it is also an overall healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle should ideally include herbs that maintain optimal health in the body and mind.
Some examples of the most common anti aging herbs:
- Ginseng: This root has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years to improve overall health and longevity. It contains compounds that may help reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and improve cognitive function.
- Reishi mushroom: This mushroom is often referred to as the “mushroom of immortality” in traditional Chinese medicine. It contains polysaccharides and triterpenes, which may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that could help slow down the aging process.
- Astragalus: This root is used in traditional Chinese medicine to boost the immune system, improve digestion, and increase energy levels. It contains compounds called saponins, which may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Schisandra: This berry is used in traditional Chinese medicine to increase energy, improve mental function, and enhance physical performance. It contains lignans, which may have antioxidant properties that could help prevent cellular damage and slow down the aging process.
- Goji berry: This berry is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to boost the immune system, improve vision, and protect against age-related diseases. It contains antioxidants such as carotenoids and polysaccharides that may help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
- Ashwagandha: This herb is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, which originated in India, but is also used in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine. It may help reduce stress and inflammation, improve cognitive function, and boost the immune system.
- He Shou Wu (Polygonum multiflorum): He Shou Wu, also known as Fo-Ti, is an herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is believed to have anti-aging properties and may help improve hair growth, skin health, and cognitive function. He Shou Wu is often used in tonics, teas, and other traditional Chinese remedies.
- Dang Gui (Angelica sinensis): Dang Gui, also known as angelica root, is an herb that is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine for women’s health. It is believed to have anti-aging properties due to its ability to regulate blood circulation and nourish the blood. Dang Gui is often used in tonics and teas for anti-aging purposes.
Please keep in mind that these herbs have been used for centuries in traditional medicine, they are well researched! There is no mystery here, they are proven to work.
These herbs can be taken internally as a supplement, or as a tea, but they also have great benefits in topical creams, masks and serums.
Some herbs that are commonly used topically is basically the same list:
- Ginseng: Ginseng extract is often used in skincare products to promote skin firmness and elasticity. It may also help brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Reishi mushroom: Reishi mushroom extract is sometimes used in skincare products for its antioxidant properties, which may help protect the skin from environmental damage and slow down the aging process.
- Astragalus: Astragalus extract is sometimes used in skincare products to help boost the skin’s natural defenses and reduce inflammation. In my opinion, this herb is underrated as a topical herb. More serums with astragalus should hit the market, this one has incredible benefits internally as an immune builder, and topically, it is just as strong!
- Schisandra: Schisandra extract is used in skincare products for its antioxidant properties, which may help protect the skin from free radical damage.
- Goji berry: Goji berry extract is used in skincare products for its antioxidant properties and potential to improve skin hydration and elasticity.
- Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha extract is used in skincare products for its potential to reduce inflammation and improve skin texture and elasticity.
Getting a personal diagnosis:
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), diagnosis is based on a combination of subjective and objective factors, including a patient’s symptoms, medical history, physical examination, and tongue and pulse diagnosis. TCM views the body as an integrated whole, and therefore diagnosis is based on identifying patterns of disharmony rather than specific diseases or conditions. The whole human is taken into consideration, as is their environment!
There are several patterns of disharmony in TCM, each characterized by a unique set of symptoms and underlying imbalances.
Some examples of patterns of disharmony are these:
- Qi deficiency: This pattern is characterized by fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and a lack of appetite. It is often caused by stress, overwork, or a poor diet.
- Blood deficiency: This pattern is characterized by pale skin, dizziness, palpitations, and a weak pulse. It is often caused by a lack of sleep, poor diet, or excessive menstrual bleeding.
- Yin deficiency: This pattern is characterized by dry skin, night sweats, insomnia, and irritability. It is often caused by aging, stress, or chronic illness.
- Yang deficiency: This pattern is characterized by cold hands and feet, fatigue, low libido, and frequent urination. It is often caused by a weak immune system, aging, or chronic illness.
- Dampness: This pattern is characterized by a feeling of heaviness, bloating, and fatigue. It is often caused by a diet high in greasy or fried foods, living in a damp environment, or chronic illness.
- Heat: This pattern is characterized by fever, thirst, irritability, and a red tongue. It is often caused by infections, inflammation, or excessive stress.
- Stagnation: This pattern is characterized by pain, stiffness, and tension in the body. It is often caused by emotional stress, poor posture, or a lack of exercise.
These patterns of disharmony can be treated specifically, with a combination of herbal medicine. (As well as with acupuncture, dietary and lifestyle changes, and other modalities). The goal of the treatment is to restore balance and harmony to the body, rather than simply treating individual symptoms.
Herbs have “patterns” too!
Chinese herbs are also classified according to their properties and actions, which correspond to the patterns of disharmony in traditional Chinese medicine.
If you have been diagnosed, you can tailor your beauty regimen to your specific needs!
Here are some examples of the properties and actions of Chinese herbs:
- Qi-tonifying herbs: These herbs are used to tonify or strengthen Qi, the vital energy that flows through the body. Examples include Huang Qi (Astragalus root) and Ren Shen (Ginseng root).
- Blood-tonifying herbs: These herbs are used to tonify or strengthen the blood, which is responsible for nourishing the body’s tissues and organs. Examples include Dang Gui (Angelica root) and Bai Shao (White peony root).
- Yin-tonifying herbs: These herbs are used to tonify or nourish Yin, the substance that moistens and lubricates the body’s tissues and organs. Examples include Sheng Di Huang (Rehmannia root) and Mai Men Dong (Ophiopogon root).
- Yang-tonifying herbs: These herbs are used to tonify or strengthen Yang, the warming and activating force in the body. Examples include Fu Zi (Aconite root) and Rou Gui (Cinnamon bark).
- Dampness-drying herbs: These herbs are used to dry out excess dampness in the body, which can cause a feeling of heaviness, bloating, and fatigue. Examples include Yi Yi Ren (Job’s tears) and Hou Po (Magnolia bark).
- Heat-clearing herbs: These herbs are used to clear excess heat from the body, which can cause fever, thirst, and irritability. Examples include Huang Qin (Scutellaria root) and Lian Qiao (Forsythia fruit).
- Qi-regulating herbs: These herbs are used to regulate the flow of Qi in the body, which can become stagnant or blocked due to emotional stress or other factors. Examples include Chen Pi (Tangerine peel) and Xiang Fu (Cyperus root).
These are just a few examples of the properties and actions of Chinese herbs. Depending on the specific pattern of disharmony, different herbs and combinations of herbs may be used to restore balance and harmony to the body. Please use the contact form to inquire about getting a personal diagnosis!