The Japanese have long believed that a plant called ashitaba is important in supporting health and well-being.
Its name in Japanese means “tomorrow’s leaf.”[i]
The idea is that if you take the herb, you’ll have many tomorrows.
Now, researchers have discovered there’s truth to that. They’ve found that a compound in ashitaba boosts cellular health and prolongs youth.
Our bodies go through a beneficial process called autophagy. Damaged cells are dismantled and cleared away to make room for healthy replacements.
If this process isn’t carried out properly, cellular debris can accumulate. This puts stress on healthy cells. It contributes to premature aging. And it can trigger serious illnesses, including cancer.
Exercise is known to boost autophagy. As does intermittent fasting. For their study, scientists at Austria’s University of Graz tested the effects of flavonoids.[ii]
Flavonoids are compounds found in plants. The research team analyzed the cellular effects of 180 different flavonoids. They were looking for the one that worked best at increasing autophagy and countering cellular aging.
The compound that caught their attention was 4,4’-dimethoxychalcone (DMC). Ashitaba is loaded with it.
Dr. Frank Madeo was one of the study authors. “It is always nice to find a scientific rationale for traditional medical folk tales,” he said.[iii]
He and his research team first tested DMC on yeast cells. They found the substance indeed protected the cells from age-related damage. And it did so more efficiently than other compounds known to be similarly beneficial, such as the much-lauded resveratrol.
Next up were fruit fly and worm cells. The results were the same. Regular treatment with DMC prolonged the creatures’ lives by 20%.
Eventually, the compound was successfully applied to human cells. Autophagy was boosted as it had been in the tests on other organisms. And it appeared to protect human liver cells from damage caused by alcohol.
Harness the Life-Lengthening Powers of Ashitaba
Ashitaba has long been prominent in traditional Japanese medicine. It is related to carrots. Ashitaba is not easy to get outside of Japan. However, supplements are available online and in health food stores.
Ashitaba and supplements derived from it have no serious side effects. Rarely, mild stomach upset has been reported.
Common doses used in clinical trials have ranged from 200 to 500 mg.
Japan has the second highest life expectancy of any country in the world. (Tiny Monaco is number one.) Ashitaba may be one reason why.[iv]
Editor’s Note: If you’re worried about getting older, recent studies show that the symptoms of aging are just like any others. They can be treated or eliminated. Go here to discover specific ways you can stop the clock – and even turn it back.