No One Lives Forever (But some get closer than others) The Eternal Reality of China’s “Immortality” Herb

Did you know? One day, you will die.

Technically, I will, too; but I will be immortalized through blogs.

But, in the immortal words of 5-year-olds everywhere, why must we die? And, in the words of evil magicians everywhere hell-bent on taking over the world, how can we postpone our obsolescence?

Well, tea readers, you’ve come to the right place. For not only do I have a partial answer to the first question, but I also have an equally unsatisfying answer to the second.

For the myriad contributors to aging – cells dying, reduced blood flow, kinks in the complex web of our viscera, etc. – stress is the universal amplifier. Ever resourceful, our bodies have adapted well to handle, with healthy living habits, the every-day stresses of life. But additional stressors like pollution, excessive physical activity, or drugs and alcohol push our bodies further out of equilibrium and beyond our bodies’ natural adaptable range.

A core role of medicine, Western or otherwise, is to help our bodies regain this equilibrium. Herbs that do this naturally are known as adaptogens.

Jiaogulan, like ginseng and ginkgo, is a powerful adaptogen known in its home region in China as the “Immortality Herb” for its uncommon ability to help the body regulate itself in response to all kinds of stressors. In the tea world, the Herb is prized for its mitigating effects (anecdotally and medically) on blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, white blood cell count, heart conditions, liver disorders, and others. And modern medicine is further researching its effects on a wide range of conditions, including obesity.

But jiaogulan also shares some properties with tea as a powerful antioxidant.

You may have heard about free radicals, those pesky byproducts of our metabolism that scavenge electrons from (oxidize) healthy cells, thereby contributing to cancer, diabetes, liver disease, arthritis, and more. More stress means more free radicals.

They are also major players in the aging process: more free radicals mean faster aging.

Our bodies naturally produce the cleverly named anti­oxidants that hunt down free radicals throughout our lives. As we age, we naturally produce fewer antioxidants, while things like tea and jiaogulan help our bodies to produce more.

So you may not live forever, but a regular cup of jiaogulan might help you get just a little bit closer!

And, if nothing else, it tastes heavenly.

See what I did there? We may not survive, but bad jokes are forever.

Peter McDonough

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