Four Powerful Ways to Improve Your Health … with Herbs

Beets, placed on a plate, are a key healthy ingredient.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Thomas Kucharski of the German navy places fashioned beet slices on a plate during the International Challenge of the 45th Joint Culinary Training Exercise March 12, 2020. (Terrance Bell/U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee Public Affairs)

A 2017 survey found that more than one-third of Americans have added herbs to their health regimen. Why? Herbs offer a different kind of support for well-being. A natural touch.

Nature has long provided mankind with powerful health solutions. For millennia, the Ayurvedics and Chinese artfully studied and utilized plants for their healing properties. Many of their traditional medicines are still prevalent today in certain cultures. Likewise, Native Americans discovered and employed nature's gifts for targeted health support.

Thankfully, these natural healing properties have not been lost and are available to us today. Take a look at four botanicals that can make your life healthier and better:

Ashwagandha for All-Over Support

This adaptogenic herb is well-known for having a multitude of health benefits, including stress management, energy, stamina and the ability to promote physical and mental well-being. It's one of just a handful of herbs known to support a mind-body connection. In Ayurveda, ashwagandha is believed to help slow the aging process. While that is difficult to prove scientifically, recent studies have found that active compounds in ashwagandha root called withanolides boost mood. This herb also may support thyroid function. Results usually are noticed after at least two weeks of daily use.

Oil Those Joints with Turmeric

You don't have to be a curry fan to enjoy the benefits of turmeric. This brilliantly colored orange root is the key spice in several types of curry dishes, and its history goes back almost 4,000 years. But it's so much more than just a spice. Turmeric (packed with its key constituent, curcuminoids) has been studied extensively for its natural joint-supporting properties. Research shows that turmeric supports joint comfort. It also helps the liver, supports digestion and may help with blood-sugar balance.

Elderberry for Immunity

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, called elderberry "nature's medicine chest." Popular in Europe and Asia for centuries, this small, black berry also was prized by different indigenous peoples in North America for its nutritional benefits. Elderberry (aka black elder) naturally contains vitamin C. But it also has active compounds like polyphenols and bioflavonoids -- two antioxidants that make it a powerful boon to your immune system. Studies show that elderberry helps power up the immune system under attack, and that this fruit extract has many beneficial properties.

Behold the Power of Beets

That's right, the big purple veggie most kids love to hate is so good for you. Beets are packed with energy and antioxidants. They naturally contain nitrates, and in your body, nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, a molecule that helps your circulatory system shine. Nitric oxide helps key muscles relax, which supports better blood flow and lower blood-pressure levels. Beet root (in juice, extract or powder) can be rejuvenating as it helps boost energy and stamina, and improve circulatory flow.

There's a big, beautiful world of herbs out there waiting for you to discover it. Go ahead ... see how good you can feel.

Unleash the power of plants in your life, and become a force of nature by adding herbs to your health regimen.

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