Herbs for Healthy Aging
A guide to herbal remedies that promote longevity, restore the body’s systems, treat chronic conditions, and maintain natural health
• Offers herbal remedies for many conditions associated with aging, such as prostate enlargement, hot flashes, hypertension, insomnia, and arthritis
• Provides herbal treatments to restore and maintain function in each of the body’s major systems
• Explores more than 150 herbs and their actions on the body and mind, preparation methods, and recommended dosages
In this herbal guide to healthy aging, medical herbalist David Hoffmann discusses how to maintain the body’s vitality as we age and how to treat and prevent the health concerns brought about by aging. He provides herbal treatments to restore and protect each of the body’s major systems–from the muscles, bones, and digestive system to the pulmonary, cardiovascular, and reproductive organs–as well as herbal remedies for specific ailments such as prostate enlargement, hot flashes, hypertension, insomnia, bronchitis, varicose veins, and arthritis. He shows how herbs can help minimize dependence on conventional medical treatments and provide a safe and welcome alternative to the unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects of synthetic drugs.
In the materia medica, Hoffmann details more than 150 health-promoting herbs and their actions on the body and mind, preparation methods, and recommended dosages. This authoritative guide to herbal preventive medicine offers holistic treatments designed not only to promote vibrant health but also to provide a way to age with grace.
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The Cardiovascular SystemPLANTS STILL MAINTAIN a central position today in orthodox medical treatment of various heart problems. Herbs containing constituents called cardiac glycosides are used worldwide for treating heart failure and arrhythmias. These herbs help strengthen the heartbeat and normalize its rate. Foxglove is the source of the widely used medication digoxin, which contains stimulating digitalis glycosides. However, herbal remedies nurture the heart in deeper ways as well. The cardiovascular tonics offer a range of remedies uniquely suited for treating problems of the heart and blood vessels. While they cannot boast the dramatic, rapid, often lifesaving effects of many of the synthetic drugs on the market today, they have a definite advantage in addressing the chronic degenerative conditions often found among people as they age.CARDIOVASCULAR PROBLEMS
There are more than thirty-five million hypertensives in the United States. Twice as many African Americans as Caucasians are afflicted, but the reasons for this are not understood. A common problem in our culture, hypertension (or high blood pressure) is rare in cultures that are relatively untouched by the Western lifestyle. Lifestyle plays a major role in causing and maintaining hypertension. Dietary, psychological, and social factors must all be addressed for any real change to occur.Hypertension is typically free of symptoms until complications arise. The symptoms associated with the condition can be caused by other problems as well and include dizziness, flushed face, headache, fatigue, nosebleed, and nervousness. Observable changes in retinal blood vessels are diagnostic indicators of the degree of damage caused to the body by hypertension. Diagnosis includes finding that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure are usually, but not always, higher than normal; other causes must be excluded. Hypertension is considered to be shown by a blood pressure reading of greater than 140/90, but “normal” must be considered as a range rather than as one specific figure for the whole population.
Temporary increase in blood pressure is a common and normal response to the ups and downs of life. Sustained hypertension is caused by increased peripheral vascular resistance. This is initiated by increased arteriolar tone and leads to the damaging structural changes of arteriosclerosis.
A number of herbs have a reputation as being specific for hypertension, usually because of their impact on one or another of the processes involved in the condition’s development. The hypotensives, remedies that have been found by generations of herbalists to reduce elevated blood pressure, fit this description. The most important such plant remedy known to Western medicine is hawthorn, but there are many more. Included here is a partial list:
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