I've probably been annoying some people here in Mysore at the coconut stand after practice talking about herbs. I can't help it. I read about them, test them out and then just want to let everyone know.
Take turmeric for example.
My body feels so much better when taking it. Turmeric is a super powerful anti-inflammatory and there is a good chance it will help prevent Alzheimers. In fact India has one of the lowest rates of Alzheimers disease and they believe one of the reason's could be the large amount of turmeric in the diet.
I tell everyone I can to get on it. Obviously there is a lot more to staying healthy than just taking one supplement but it's actually way simpler than most people think. I'll talk more about this at the end of the post.
Ok so here's some of the foods and herbs I can't live without right now.
This is the pollen of pine trees. It's not that well known in the west but the Chinese have been using it for 1000's of years. Why? Because it contains plant androgens like testosterone known as sterols. This is important because as we get older both men and women's testosterone levels start to decline. To help prevent the decline you can top up your levels by using a pine pollen tincture. I’ve been taking it for years now and I can really notice when I’m not on it. When I take it my mood is better, I recover from my yoga faster, I feel more energy and my libido is stronger. Although most people take pine pollen for the hormonal benefits it is also a powerful nutritive full of vitamins and minerals when eaten as a powder.
After trying so many pine pollen powders and tinctures the best one hands down is this one from Surthrival. They use nettle which acts as an aromatase inhibitor, add vanilla for taste, use spring water as the base and then package it in a Miron Glass bottle. Here is a link to that product.
This one is so commonly known that it’s almost forgotten about. Ginseng is a powerful adaptogen that helps you handle stress, controls your blood sugar, improves mood and feelings of well being plus increases energy. As with everything you have to get a good source. Sort of like yoga;) It matters for example how old the Ginseng roots are. They need to be a certain age to get the full benefit of Ginseng’s adaptogenic power. I get mine from Dragon Herbs. I like the Ginseng Sublime tincture since it has a nice mix of different types of Ginseng plus some wild roots in there and the price is palatable. Dragon Herbs is a great company with integrity in making their products and sourcing their herbs. You can buy that one from Amazon here
I really got into Turmeric in the last year as I’ve been doing more and more research into Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric basically is just a super powerful anti-inflammatory. So whether that’s reducing inflammation of the brain or other areas of your body Turmeric is my go to. There are a lot of supplements that use the active ingredient from Turmeric, curcumin, which may or may not be better. I prefer in most cases a whole foods approach. With Turmeric powder you can't just eat it and get the the benefits because it's not bioavailable unless prepared properly. I wrote a whole post at Shenfoods on how to prepare it. Read that here
Sometimes yoga can be really hard. I used to get sore and achy at times till I started to take MSM. The short story is that MSM is basically sulphur which is lacking in our nutrient deficient diet today. Sulphur plays many important roles in the body like keeping your joints, skin, hair and nails healthy. For me it’s made a big difference in recovery and overall soreness. Interestingly enough pine pollen has naturally occurring MSM in it as well. I use the Omica MSM with Turmeric you can find on Amazon here
Side Note: I also regularly go to the hot springs to soak in the mineral waters (magnesium too!). We've got the Miette Hot Springs just a short drive from the future Ekaminhale retreat center at Jasper East Alberta Canada.
Herbal Yoga. I always say that when you take Reishi mushroom it’s like doing yoga but you don’t actually have to do yoga. Along with lots of health benefits like anti-cancer, anti-tumour and improved sleep, reishi mushroom calms you down and keeps you focused. It has been used as a meditation aid by Taoist monks for centuries it is reported that in the inner chambers of the Shaolin monasteries there is only one picture on the wall - Reishi mushroom. I wrote an entire blog post on it which you can find here.
No coffee no prana right?
Everyday a study comes out saying coffee is bad for you and then another one saying that coffee is good for you. I love it and have been on it for years. I feel better when I drink it, I get more done, I have more focus and I enjoy life more. I doubt Ekaminhale would even exist if there was no such thing as coffee;) Right now I drink the Bulletproof coffee from Dave Asprey (with grass fed butter of course) which we sell on Shenfoods
Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Living in Canada this used to be really hard to find. Right now I have a great relationship with a local farmer and get all my butter from them. If you can organize something similar I think it’s the best way. Get as close as possible to your food supply. That’s why Farmers market’s are so great. You can talk to the people that grow or raise your food. Can you do that at Safeway? Even Wholefoods? If you can’t get the butter this way then I also recommend Ancient Organics Ghee. I’ve met the owner Matteo and his standards are the highest.
Possibly the most important nutrient you need and it’s free. It’s not even a Vitamin it’s a hormone. I’m going to get into this more in future blog posts but there is a very very high chance you are low in Vitamin D. Why? Because we live inside covered up. We never used to. We used to be outside with sun on our skin and that’s how we got this important nutrient. So how do you get it? Get outside. Get direct sunlight on your skin. Get 10 minutes in the morning and 10 in the afternoon at least. Not only will this help your Vitamin D levels it will also help set your circadian rhythms and your sleep.
These are the ones I can't live without right now but I'm also experimenting with some other amazing herbs like Cordyceps, Nettle Root, Chaga and this list goes on.
I'd love to share more of what I find out with you on health and longevity outside of practice.
Please comment on herbs you've tried that work