Aging is a fact of life. However, you do have some choice in how the aging process looks and feels for you – especially if you incorporate anti-aging herbs into your lifestyle. So, how can you use herbs for longevity, vibrancy, and vitality? Let’s find out!

The Best Place To Start: Rasayana Herbs

Within Ayurveda is a branch of medicine known as Rasayana that includes specific herbs to support longevity and vitality. These deeply nourishing herbs enter the Rasa (lymph and circulating fluid) that bathes all bodily tissues. Rasayanas support healthy tissue development as well as the production of Ojas (Ojas is a subtle essence that protects us and contributes to resilience, immunity, and a sense of vibrant health).

So, what are the best herbs for longevity? According to Ayurveda, the following rasayana herbs are best for anti-aging:

1. Amalaki (Amla)

Amalaki, or amla berry, is incredibly rich in vitamin C, builds blood, and is especially rejuvenating and balancing. Though this tart fruit is quite sour tasting, it has a cool energy. It supports the digestive, circulatory, excretory, and nervous systems. Furthermore, this potent little berry nourishes the bones, hair, nails, and teeth. In addition, amla is rich in iron, making it a great blood tonic.

Need another reason to try amla? Scientific research indicates that it may play a role in supporting cellular integrity and thus slow the aging process.

2. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) literally translates to “smell of a horse” due to its virility-boosting powers. It is also known as that which gives the “strength of a horse,” and it has become an increasingly popular adaptogen. This starchy root supports a healthy nervous system, regular sleep cycles, and overall strength and vitality. It is well-known in Ayurveda as an herb that boosts male libido, but it is a nourishing, supportive herb for people of all genders.

3. Shatavari

Shatavari (Asparagus Racemosus) may be viewed as the feminine counterpart to Ashwagandha. Its rejuvenating rasayana properties make it another key anti-aging herb. Nicknamed “she who possesses 100 husbands,” Ayurvedic practitioners commonly use this herb for protecting, balancing, and rejuvenating the female reproductive system. However, like Ashwagandha, Shatavari is an excellent rejuvenating, anti-aging herb for people of all genders. 

It has a cool, moist energy and a mild, slightly sweet taste. Also, Shatavari has a moistening, demulcent effect, so is helpful for dry skin, a common challenge with the aging process.

4. Shilajit (Asphaltum Punjabianum) mineral pitch

Shilajit is actually a mineral pitch rather than a herb. This rejuvenating pitch exudes and is gathered from certain rocks in the Himalayas. Its taste is pungent, bitter, salty, and astringent. Its energy is warm, and it has both a rejuvenating and purifying effect. 

Shilajit is different from most other rasayanas in that it is not heavy or sweet. It has a scraping, reducing action and is known for rejuvenating the kidneys, urinary tract, reproductive, and immune systems.

5. Chyawanprash

Chyawanprash is not a specific herb but a herbal blend. It’s actually the first rasayana formula that was ever created - over 5,000 years ago - and was specifically designed to rejuvenate health and boost longevity. It contains a number of superfoods and herbs for longevity, such as Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Amla, Ginger, Turmeric, and more. Chyawanprash is an easy way to nourish all tissues in the body for healthier aging.

If you’re looking for other easy ways to consume herbs for anti-aging, consider a supplement crafted to promote Longevity. The PIOR Living Longevity supplement combines 48 organic and wild-harvested herbs and spices that have been used for centuries as potent anti-aging agents in traditional systems of medicine all over the world.

Kitchen Herbs for Longevity

Kitchen spices are also incredible for offering daily nutrient-dense support. 

1. Ginger

Ginger is an excellent culinary staple and can be taken in higher doses as a supplement. (This pungent rhizome does have blood-thinning properties so check with your doctor if you are on any blood-thinning medications.) On top of boosting digestive function and moving food more effectively through the GI tract, ginger is anti-inflammatory. So, if you suffer from aches and pains or digestive woes, ginger could help ease them.

2. Turmeric

Speaking of anti-inflammatories, turmeric is another excellent anti-inflammatory herb/spice. Turmeric not only blocks a number of anti-inflammatory compounds, but it is also rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are important because they counteract and slow down oxidative stress—a major player in the aging process. In addition, turmeric improves circulation, fights cancer, benefits the gut microbiome, supports liver detoxification, and is linked to lower rates of Alzheimer’s. This lovely yellow-orange spice is a cornerstone in curry dishes. Also, try golden milk as another way to get your turmeric.

3. Italian Spices

If you favor an Italian flavor profile in your cooking, you are in luck! Italian spices such as basil, rosemary, oregano, parsley, and thyme double as tasty seasonings and great anti-aging herbs. These spices are rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, with oregano and thyme being effective antimicrobials as well. Oregano specifically fights bacterial, yeast, and viral invaders in the gut, whereas thyme benefits the respiratory system.

Rosemary is noteworthy for its ability to support memory, so you could consider diffusing rosemary essential oil in the air if you are trying to get important information to stick. You can also cook with it. Roasted Brussels sprouts, potatoes, or root veggies with fresh rosemary and olive oil are delish! Alternately, simmer some fresh rosemary in a pot of water on the stove to diffuse its delightful aroma.

Herbs for Moisturizing Aging Skin

You may notice that your skin becomes drier and less elastic with age. According to Ayurveda, the same drying process is happening internally as well. Counteract loss of moisture by using demulcent herbs such as licorice, marshmallow, and shatavari. You should also drink plenty of hydrating fluids such as lemon water with Bamboo salt and eat lots of healthy fats (like Ghruta ghee). You can also consider taking a supplement for better skin health.

Playing the Long Game

Integrating anti-aging herbs into your life and daily routine is about playing the long game. There are plenty of herbs and spices to choose from, many of which can be integrated seamlessly into everyday recipes. Here’s how to incorporate herbs for longevity into your life:

  1. Begin with rasayana herbs, or better yet, a rasayana formula like Chyawanprash that is time-tested and contains a vast number of rejuvenative herbs and spices in each spoonful.
  2. Add spices like ginger, turmeric, rosemary and thyme into your cooking.
  3. Address loss of moisture by taking demulcent herbs (such as licorice, marshmallow, and shatavari), drink plenty of hydrating fluids (such as lemon water with Bamboo salt), and eat lots of healthy fats (like Ghruta ghee).

Ayurveda offers a wealth of knowledge when it comes to herbs for longevity. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but this article hopefully got you thinking about plant allies that can help rejuvenate and boost your vitality. To learn more about Ayurveda’s recommendations for longevity, read our Ayurveda Aging and Longevity Guide.

Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Her Ayurveda practice is based in Asheville, North Carolina, and she is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville.

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