Even though a lot of herbal medicines have yet to be scientifically supported in the West, logic proves that people wouldn’t be using an herbal product for centuries if it didn’t work. A great deal of the herbs that we now recognize as having great health benefits were recently considered fairly exotic, a main one being Green Tea, which has just recently gone mainstream. It is predicted that this same event will occur with herbs from the Amazon basin, which is one of the most bountiful places on the planet. It has been explored and looked at for generations for “the next big thing,” which in most cases has already been in use for centuries. There are many energizing herbs that also have great antioxidant properties, which are also available to us here in the United States.
Maca root, which has been cultivated for at least 2000 years, is related to plants including radishes, mustard, and cabbage. It is cultivated by the Andean people in Peru, where it is found to contain a great deal of beneficial compounds that enhance overall health and vitality. Some strains of maca root have been cultivated in Incan sites since 1600 B.C. During early European colonization, maca root was used as a form of currency, similar to the way cocoa was used by the Aztecs. This plant thrives in high altitudes between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. It seems that the harsher the conditions, the better it grows, as efforts to grow the plant in Central Europe haven’t been successful as compared to its home turf in Peru. Maca root is a popular, nutrient-packed super food which is commonly powdered and mixed into drinks. Because maca root is a natural energizer, it has libido enhancing abilities, as well as many others. It acts as an adaptogen, being known as “Peruvian Ginseng” in South America. Maca root is most commonly recommended for boosting the immune system, menopause support, and hormonal balance in general. It is a great source of energy and for all-day endurance. The alkaloids found in maca root are partially responsible for maca’s energizing abilities and libido boost. Research has proven that the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA) boosts energy and overall aphrodisiac abilities in both men and women. Maca root contains compounds called macamides and macaenes which have been scientifically proven to enhance energy, stamina, and sexual function. There are other reasons why maca root is such a great plant. One group of compounds, isothiocyanates, reduces the risk of breast and stomach cancer.
Guarana, loved for its mild stimulating effect, has many benefits. It is such a big part of the culture in Brazil that it actually out-sells Coca-cola in its soft-drink form. Similar to many other herbs, Guarana was used locally well before European settlement. This evergreen vine usually climbs fairly far up the Brazilian forest trees, its seed being the main part that gets used. It also contains powerful antioxidants including catechin, epicatechin, and proanthocyanidins that protect cells from destruction of free radicals and also give benefits to the body’s tissues and blood.
Catuaba, a common tree found in South America, contains many components known as alkaloids. These alkaloids are responsible for the mental boost that most people get when they take a catuaba-based supplement or mix. Catuaba bark can be a little bit confusing because there are many species using the same common name. Make sure to read labels carefully, as the one that results with the best luck is Erythroxylum catuaba.
Coffee Fruit, specifically the bright, red berry that is the seed of the coffee fruit, is often left behind in the process of making coffee. This is because it is too delicate to last long in the hot conditions necessary to make coffee. However, advances in technology have made the “coffee cherry” extract possible. This extract is not just another antioxidant. It also decreases tumor size and possibly even prevents their formation in the first place. The elements in coffee berry activate T-lymphocytes which shrink mammary tumors or simply put them on hold.
Muira Puama, which grows between 15 and 45 feet high and is native to the Amazon basin of Brazil, has been used for centuries for energy support. Some of its included components are beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and lupeol. Like other nervous system stimulants, muira puama has been researched lately for its ability to boost memory retrieval and protect brain tissue. This herb is also able to improve low libido and poor erectile function in men after only two weeks.
Acai berry, a traditional favorite food source for people in the Amazon, grows on a tall-growing palm and provides a rich source of anthocyanins, which are purple pigments that have extremely high antioxidant activity. Once the fruit is harvested, it decays rapidly. Therefore, special processing is necessary to make sure that all the nutrients of acai berry are included. Not only do these fruits fight against free radical damage, but they also help natural digestive enzymes and boost natural immune defenses. Current research is investigating the effects of acai berry on leukemia, as results have been very positive so far. When choosing a supplement, make sure to look for one that is organically-grown. The best companies employ local people to harvest acai so that they provide jobs and better lives for future generations to come.
Sustainability refers to a set of naturally occurring circumstances that ensure that all members of a situation are adequately nourished to promote their healthy continuance as well as practices in programs designed and implemented to keep natural systems healthy and flourishing. Many of these programs focus on environmental protection and preservation of traditional cultures. In the realm of medicinal plants, sustainable practices consist of organic agriculture, species management, fair trade, and benefit-sharing programs. To sum it up, sustainability pays people fair wages, puts resources back into the communities they came from, and ensure that the resources that benefit us all are going to stay around for a long time to come. It is an earth-friendly, people-friendly concept of commerce that is thankfully being put into effect all around the world.
Herbal supplements are a great way to boost energy, boost immune response, and boost libido when taken correctly. Always consult your health care provider for conditions such as loss of energy, chronic colds from low immune system, or no libido because symptoms like these are not normal to healthy individuals and need address by a processional. Great supplements like maca root, catuaba, muira puama, acai berry, and green tea can all be found at your local or internet health food store.