Imagine if you went to hear a symphony, and there was only one lone violinist on the stage. You might be disappointed. Not to say that the music produced by one violin couldn’t be beautiful, especially if the violinist was talented, but it wouldn’t match the depth and richness of the full orchestra playing in harmony. Each instrument brings with it a unique dynamic that, when blended together, creates a remarkable sound.
The same is true with taking herbs. Just as all musical instruments are capable of producing music, all herbs provide some common benefits. Each herb, however, brings its own dynamic. When different herbs are combined together, the unique traits of each one are amplified in a symphony of synergistic benefits, and herbal practitioners have long recognized this phenomenon. Traditional herbal formulas typically contain up to a dozen herbs. The use of individual herbs as standalones is unusual.
Some of the advantages of herbal blends include:
- Increased bioavailability: Many herbs increase absorption or potentiate the activity of other herbs when taken in combination.
- Broader cellular protection: There are many different types of free radicals and toxic substances. Because different herbs contain different types of antioxidants and other protective chemicals, taking multiple herbs covers a wider spectrum of cellular stress factors.
- Broad-spectrum antimicrobial coverage: All herbs provide antimicrobial coverage, but there are many different types of microbes. Therefore, combining herbs broadens the coverage for a wider spectrum of microbial threats. Because herbs do not disrupt normal flora, taking them balances the body’s microbiome.
- Counteract stress: Herbs known as adaptogens balance central hormone pathways associated with excessive or chronic stress. Some you may be most familiar with are rhodiola, reishi, and shilajit. (More on these herbs later.)
- Coverage for multiple systems of the body: Different herbs provide greater protection to some cells over others. Therefore, some herbs offer more protection for certain organ systems of the body, such as balancing the immune system, supporting cardiovascular function, and protecting the liver, to name a few.
A Daily Combination for Wellness
I’ve been formulating herbal combinations for almost two decades. My favorite daily combination for promoting wellness includes rhodiola, reishi, turmeric, gotu kola, milk thistle, pine bark extract, hawthorn, and shilajit.
These herbs provide benefits by protecting cells throughout the body. Because the body is composed entirely of cells, safeguarding them from harm whenever possible is the key to promoting overall wellness. The shared component common to each of these herbs is antioxidants, which protect the cells of the body from damage by neutralizing free radicals, toxic substances, and harmful radiation. Also, all herbs contain antimicrobial substances that balance the microbiome of the body by suppressing growth of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Furthermore, each herb contains protective chemicals with unique properties of their own that affect various types of cells in the body in specific ways. This provides a unique range of benefits in addition to the common benefits we mentioned above. Let’s take a closer look.
An adaptogenic herb native to cold, harsh environments of high latitudes, rhodiola is well known for increasing tolerance to mental and physical stress. It’s commonly utilized by both athletes and people who work stressful jobs with long hours to enhance performance.
Best known as an immunomodulator and adaptogen, reishi balances overactive immune system functions, while, at the same time, boosts underactive portions of the immune system. Reishi has been extensively studied for its anticancer properties.
A key ingredient of curry spice in India, turmeric offers potent anti-inflammatory properties. Regular use of turmeric has been associated with reduced incidence of inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. High consumption of turmeric in India has been associated with low rates of dementia and cancer, respectively.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional medicine of India, gotu kola is considered a “rasayana,” a general tonic for increasing longevity. Classically, however, it’s best known as a brain revitalizer. It helps balance and calm the brain while also encouraging alertness and supporting brain function, which are especially important as you age.
The liver is the primary processing center of your body’s toxic substances. In a modern world saturated with unnatural toxic substances, the cells of the liver take a real beating. While many herbs protect liver function, milk thistle has been found to induce the regeneration of liver cells. Taking a dose of milk thistle every day is especially important as we age to maintain optimal liver function.
Known as an herbomineral substance, shilajit offers something that other herbs don’t. It’s a super-concentrated mix of phytochemicals and minerals from plants fermented by soil microbes, and it has been revered for promoting general health and longevity by civilizations surrounding the Himalayas for over 3000 years. Fulvic and humic acid, key components of shilajit, have been found to promote a healthy balance of gut flora, enhance absorption of nutrients, enhance the production of digestive enzymes, and reduce gut inflammation.
Hawthorn’s uniqueness relates to the heart: Scientific studies have documented that taking hawthorn has been associated with greater efficiency of heart contractions, reduction in irregular heartbeats, and improved coronary artery blood flow. This translates into improved exercise tolerance and normal blood pressure.
Pine Bark Extract
Pine bark extract also offers benefits to the cardiovascular system by protecting cells that line blood vessels, but it also offers a high level of protection to the skin and eyes.
By taking all of these herbs together each day, you provide an extraordinary level of protection to every cell, every organ, and every tissue in your body. Because herbs have a low potential for toxicity, the incidence of adverse effects is extremely low. Therefore, using these herbs together on a daily basis as part of your health routine amounts to a symphony of benefits!
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