Hormones are the body's messengers, carrying vital information to organs and tissues. Keeping the lines of communication open promotes wellness.* (Learn how your libido is connected to overall wellness.) In the hierarchy of the endocrine system, the reproductive hormones are on bottom, as they are not essential to sustaining life. The thyroid and the adrenals are tops, as they control life-sustaining functions such as metabolism and the innate stress response, respectively.
In addition to a healthy diet, regular exercise and stress-management practices, there are several areas of health - including heart and prostate health - that men need to support, especially as they age.*
Here are five herbs to support men's health throughout all seasons of life.
Nourishes nervous system function and promotes a healthy mood.*
When your body is stressed, the immune and nervous systems can be affected, leaving you depleted. Adaptogenic herbs such as Ashwagandha help nourish and restore optimal nervous and immune system health by normalizing mood, energy levels, hormones and overall immune function.* Ashwagandha is one of the most popular Ayurvedic herbs used today. This herb is both a tonic, meaning it supports the body's overall wellbeing, and an adaptogen, meaning it supports the body's natural resistance.*
Supports healthy cardiovascular function.*
Hawthorn is connected so closely to the heart that the tree has long been a symbol of love. The herb has been used as a tonic for the heart since first-century Rome.* Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) extracts have been well-researched for supporting many different aspects of heart function and cardiovascular system health.* The trees bear delicate white flowers with a deep, musky smell, and the berries, leaves and flowers are all used to support the heart.* In addition, this herb has traditionally been used to support the emotional aspects of the heart, including grief.*
Supports a healthy libido and normal fertility.*
Maca hails from the Andes mountains of Peru, an extreme environment where this herb uniquely thrives. Maca root (Lepidium meyenii) has been used as a performance enhancer since the days of the Inca warriors.* It supports a healthy libido and promotes healthy energy and stamina.* More recently, studies have shown that it can support natural fertility by helping to maintain normal reproductive hormone levels.* With a nutty, delicious taste, Maca is commonly added to smoothies, oatmeal and juice, but it also can be taken in capsules.
The root supports a healthy prostate gland.*
You may know Nettles (Urtica dioica) from their sting when you brush up against them. However, this plant also has a rich history of use to support health and wellness.* While Nettle leaf is most commonly used in Western herbalism, the root and seeds of this plant are also used.* The leaves support a healthy inflammatory response and natural histamine levels. The seeds promote healthy kidney function.* The roots are used specifically for men's health, to support healthy function of the prostate gland.*
Optimizes metabolism of male hormones and promotes healthy prostate gland function.*
Saw Palmetto optimizes metabolism of male hormones and promotes healthy prostate gland function.* This herb is a small shrub native to the Southeastern US, and its berries were used as food by Native Americans. It has long been used to support healthy prostate function associated with the natural processes of aging.* In addition, Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) has recently been studied to support healthy hormone balance in women.* This plant's name comes from its saw-toothed leaves with thorny stems.