5 Botanicals to Boost Antioxidant Power

We all have heard that certain botanicals, herbs, etc., are antioxidant in their actions, but what actually are antioxidants?

As the name implies, antioxidants are substances that are capable of counteracting the damaging, but normal, effects of the physiological process of oxidation in animal tissue. Antioxidants are nutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as enzymes (proteins in your body that assist in chemical reactions). They are believed to play a role in preventing the development of such chronic diseases as cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and cataracts. Oxidative stress occurs when the production of harmful molecules called free radicals is beyond the protective capability of the antioxidant defenses. Here is an article that gives great detail on antioxidants and some suggestions for them; but beyond these recommendations there are some botanicals in the news lately that may be extremely valuable, especially when combined to combat oxidative stress.

1. Green Tea Extract (Leaf)

My favorite from this list of five is green tea as it is the easiest to find, not costly, and also easy to enjoy every day.

Green tea has played a central role in Asian and Middle Eastern cultures for 4,000 years. Although a number of varieties of this tea have been created, it has only recently become popular in Western cultures. This much-studied extract, produced from Camellia sinensis leaves in China, is used as a source of antioxidants for the preservation of good health. Now, researchers find it can trim blood pressure levels, and do it so well that it might even be able to tame hypertension in borderline cases.

Researchers in Poland gave 56 obese patients with hypertension either 379 mg a day of green tea extract or a placebo. Three months later, the ones who got the extract shaved nearly 5 points each off both their systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) readings.

Those on a placebo, on the other hand, saw drops of just 0.8 and 0.6 mmHg, respectively, or almost nothing at all.

In addition, the green tea drinkers had lower levels of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein, improvements in LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, and even better blood sugar control.

Green tea is also used as an aid to promote weight management.

But if youre obese and battling high blood pressure, your first step shouldnt be to reach for a cup of green tea or a green tea extract it should be to lose the weight.

In many cases, weight loss alone will bring your BP levels down to where they should be, however, green tea can help there, too. Studies have shown that green tea can help boost the bodys ability to burn off energy, which in turn could lead to weight loss.

Just dont expect to sip some tea or take green tea extract and watch the pounds slip off by magic. Youll need to improve your eating habits, too and for that, I and many other nutritionists recommend the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet can also help normalize blood pressure if its high or prevent high blood pressure in people who dont have it yet. Its also great for weight loss, and can help prevent any number of diseases.

Green tea isnt from the Mediterranean, but feel free to drink some just the same, iced or hot. I mix my own brew of some black tea with my green. Try green Earl Grey for example and black Earl Gray – just use one one tea bag each in a two cup pot!

Related: 9 Reasons to Drink Green Tea Daily

2. Milk Thistle Extract (Seed)

The milk thistle is a tall, flowering plant with spiny stems and toothed, thorny leaves. Native to the Mediterranean, this plant can now be found throughout the world. It has been used for hundreds of years as a liver protectant and to support liver function and relieve digestive disturbances. Studies have been conducted since the 1970s on the plant’s medicinal properties, and increasing research continues today on milk thistle’s physiological effects and therapeutic properties.

3. Bacopa Extract (Aerial Part)

Bacopa is native to the marshy areas of India and can now be found throughout the tropic and subtropic areas of the world. It can grow at elevations from sea level to 4,400 feet. Stems of this 4-inch-tall, 2-foot-wide plant are covered in tiny five-petal flowers. Recent research has focused on the plant’s effects on memory, learning, and concentration. In addition, there is research on the plant’s ability to remedy anxiety, epilepsy, bronchitis and asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastric ulcers. Bacopa may also protect against free radical damage in cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

Image: Ks.mini / Wikimedia Commons

4. Ashwagandha (Root)

Ashwagandha grows in the drier regions of India, and though it has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine, it has gained popularity in the Western world. Traditionally, this herb was used as a tonic to raise energy levels and improve general health and longevity. More recently, ashwagandha has generated interest in the study of its anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-stress and antioxidant properties. Studies have also focused on its effects on the endocrine and nervous systems.

Image: Hari Prasad Nadig / Flickr

5. Turmeric Extract (Rhizome)

Cultivated abundantly in Asia, India, and China, as well as in other tropical countries, turmeric has a long history of use in Chinese and Indian medicines. The rhizome of this 3- to 5-foot-high plant is boiled, cleaned, and dried before its therapeutic use. Traditionally, it has been used to treat inflammation, flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, hemorrhage, and colic. Research is also under way to examine its ability as an antioxidant and its use in cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal disorders.

Source your herbs carefully and purchase from reputable manufacturers and/or distributors or find an herbal product that combines these five herbs. Feel free to contact me for my resource recommendations.

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Nittin Kumar
Nittin Kumarabout a year ago

thanks for help..

John Aderson
John Adersonabout a year ago


Vimal Dev
Vimal Devabout a year ago

Interesting article, thank you!

Vijay Singh
Vijay Singhabout a year ago

Thank you

Karan Dawar
Karan Dawarabout a year ago

i m lucky........

rj Ponty
rj Pontyabout a year ago

thanks for help::::)

Mart Steve
Mart Steveabout a year ago

helpful, thanks

Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopraabout a year ago

Great, thank you!

Binny Stave
Binny Staveabout a year ago

good one..

James Ponting
James Pontingabout a year ago

thanks for help..