Herbs for Getting Older
There are many herbs that can help the ailments of the older years. Some of them are covered in our section on Joints and Muscles. Other notable ones include:
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) helps to increase blood flow in the arteries and small capillaries. Improved circulation has many benefits: Better heart function, lowered sense of numbness or coldness in feet and hands, lowered tendency to varicose veins. By improving the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the fine capillaries of the brain it also helps to delay the impairment of mental processes, especially if combined with antioxidant supplements. Ginkgo can be taken as a food supplement.
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) helps to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. It has a vasodilatory action on the arteries helping the blood to flow under less pressure. It is also reputed to help keep the heart muscle toned and strong and several clinical trials have shown that it does have a positive benefit to patients with heart failure ( Pittler et al, 2008).
If hawthorn is taken with heart drugs like beta-blockers it increases their action. In beneficial monitored situations, this means that lower doses of drugs can be taken with the same outcome but a lower risk of side effects. However, you must tell your GP or Medical Herbalist if you are taking or wish to take hawthorn at the same time as prescription drugs, so you don't end up with too high a dose and a negative action on your heart.
Rose (Rosa spp.). Various parts of the rose are helpful in the older years. Rose oil has always been both mentally calming and kind to the skin. Recent research has shown that concentrated rose extract may help to prevent Alzheimer's. It contains natural components called Very Long Chain Fatty Acids (VLCFA). Fatty acids help to protect the brain and neurological function. Rose hip is high in Vitamin C and taking rose hip seed extract has been shown in clinical trials to be effective in lessening the pain and inflammation of arthritis (over a 3 month plus period). This may well be helpful to those intolerant of turmeric.
If you have health concerns or over the counter remedies do not help as much as you would like, we advise you to see a medical herbalist. Click this link to find a herbalist in your area or email us for advice
Pittler MH, Guo R and Ernst E. (2008) Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Jan 23;(1):CD005312. Review. PMID: 18254076