Aging was and remains a puzzle in the medical field. A multifactorial process that produces a decline in all bodily functions, tissues, and cells. This progressive event cannot be prevented or averted; the goal so far is to slow down its pace.
One of the fundamental premises of aging is based on the number of free radicals we have. These damaging elements attack our cells, membranes, enzymes, nucleic acids, and other molecules. This chain of events – which includes an abnormal DNA replication process–leads to irreparable damage and death.
Traditional Chinese medicine is viewed as a natural way to nourish life; its role in anti-aging effects is getting attention. Explicitly speaking, herbal formulas – including the Zuoguiwan pill (with seven herbs) – has shown a positive impact on the anti-aging efforts by decreasing DNA damage of lymphocytes and improving blood-anti oxidative ability.
Research conducted on senile mice showed that extracts of the herb Portulaca oleracea halted the expression of the p53 gene, activated telomerase, and prevented telomere shortening in the brain. Another study found that extracts of C. Officinalis fought senility by diminishing DNA damage of peripheral blood lymphocytes and inhibiting the non-enzymic glycosylation of proteins.
TELOMERES, AGING, AND HERBS – Further research
While research with positive results in mice and other animal species is promising, effects in humans are always more convincing. For example, an investigation conducted by Lee discovered that P. Ginseng had a clinical efficacy in the cognitive response of Alzheimer’s patients. It was found that the disease assessment scale scores were decreasing after a treatment that included ingestion of P. ginseng.
A different study analyzed a group of healthy older adults with telomere shortening caused by natural aging. The control group followed a treatment based on the ingestion of A. mongholicus Bunge, which resulted in telomere elongation, and thus less cell toxicity.
All of this data and evidence is promising concerning potential therapeutic strategies to stimulate telomerase activity and reduce aging effects–all done with natural agents.
TELOMERES, AGING, AND HERBS – What herbs are beneficial?
Not all herbs are created the same. Here are some of the most beneficial for the human body and their applications regarding anti-aging:
- Ashwagandha – most commonly known as the Indian ginseng – is the ultimate herb for natural medicine advocates that has a rejuvenating effect. This adaptogen Ayurvedic herb – usually presented as a root extract – helps elongate telomeres and enhance telomerase activity. It also has anti-genotoxic effects against DNA damage.
Angelica Sinensis. A popular herb to help combat poor blood circulation and boost the immune system function, it is also used as a soothing element for menstrual cramps in women. “Polysaccharides extracted from the root of Dong Quai have antioxidant, neuroprotective, and immune-modulating properties. In a mouse model of hematopoietic stem cell aging, Dong Quai polysaccharide increased telomerase and telomere length.”
Guduchi is a celebrated herb of Ayurveda. Its most common applications include treatment against arthritis, allergies, inflammation, and diabetes and as a rejuvenating tonic with anti-aging effects. A study found that this herb enhances the cell survival rate and protects against free radicals-induced toxicity at the molecular level.
Astragalus membranaceus. This extract has a positive impact on the modulation of telomeres. Two studies in human cells prove its capacity to diminish telomere shortening and trigger telomerase activity.
Panax ginseng. Another herb highly used since ancient times traditionally believed to increase mental vitality. This is considered some of the significant medicinal elements of ginseng. At a molecular level, this herb increases telomerase activity and prevents the shortening of the telomeres.
TELOMERES, AGING, AND HERBS – Conclusion
Herbs have powerful medical benefits. Although they are natural, they shouldn’t be taken carelessly, especially in individuals with certain medical conditions and women who are pregnant or lactating. Numerous studies show that certain herbs stimulate telomeres and help reduce the pace of natural aging in human beings.