By Fatima Costalaurent
Certified IIN Health Coach and EWC Herbalist
Fathers can be chosen or given and in June we celebrate all of them in any and all shapes and sizes. Today I’d like to tell you about the some of the plant allies that our special guys can benefit from, at any stage in life. Adding herbs to our daily routines can greatly enhance our life quality and make ageing a fun process. Many are used around the world in traditional cultures to preserve men’s virility and stamina, others have been extensively researched by modern scientists in hope of creating miracle pills. Whichever is the case, they have been used since times immemorial to make life better and here are some of my favorites:
Aswagandha: This beauty appears everywhere now a days in all forms, from your trendy hipster cafes to your functional supplements doc and the pharmacy aisles. It is a potent adaptogen (it helps your body cope with stressors by buffering their effect on your cells), it has been widely studied for this reason, proving it can help lower cortisol (stress hormone) while strengthening the nervous system and cognitive function. One of its traditional uses is to enhance male fertility. In several studies it has been found to increase sperm count, motility and morphology, all very important to create healthy babies!
Mucuna: Another adaptogen that has been traditionally used to buffer stress. Also, it’s the highest natural source of L-dopa, a precursor of Dopamine (our feel good neurotransmitter). So, it might help our stressed out dad’s feel a little more grounded and at peace with life. And it has been found to naturally raise testosterone levels!
Eleuthero: Also known as Siberian Ginseng, this herb has been traditionally used in China and Siberia as a general tonic for the bones and tissues, to reduce inflammation and to increase stamina. It is an amazing adaptogen, which means it helps the body return to a state of balance, without exerting action on a specific organ or system. It has been proved to increase mental sharpness and physical endurance.
Nettle Root: you might have heard of the many benefits of nettle leaves or, maybe, experienced its painful sting during a hike or nature walk. It turns out that it’s root also holds many medicinal constituents, specifically for prostate health. It is great as a preventive tonic and amazing at helping the prostate heal from benign prostate enlargement. Also, it might help reduce Testosterone drops as men age.
Saw Palmeto: Often used to improve urinary function and prostate health. It may even help the testicles preserve their size and health as men age. When taken over time it helps increase libido and overall male health.
Maca: It is cultivated in the Andes where it is used to help people adapt to the high altitude and harsh environments. It provides people with renewed strength and stamina. It has also been proven to enhance male and female fertility, without exerting direct hormonal action. It is said it may regulate male hormones and benefit the prostate. And if depression or anxiety are troubling you, this little root might become your best friend, helping to nourish you and balance your mood.
Reishi Mushroom: like Ashwagandha, it has become trendy to mix it into all kinds of potions. In TCM it’s known as the mushroom of immortality and in ancient times it was reserved for the emperors. It boosts the immune system, might help regulate high blood pressure and reduce Cholesterol levels. It has been proven to help reduce sleep latency (time it takes to fall asleep) and increase deep sleep time, who doesn’t need a good night’s sleep? Specially our hard working dad’s and the ones sharing the night shift with mom. It also helps regulate our stress response and reduce fatigue!
Pumpkin seeds: While you won’t be finding Ashwagandha or Nettle roots in our salad bar, you will see plenty of these little marvels. Seeds nourish both the female and male apparatus. Researchers have found that a combination of pumpkin seeds and Saw Palmetto, are an effective treatment for BPH. The super powers of these little seeds seem to arise from their high Zinc content, so snack on a couple of ounces a few times per week and you will have a lower risk of developing prostate issues