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Wellness

Five Traditional Herbs to Boost Collagen Naturally

April 3 2019

In this article:

Collagen is one of the most important proteins for beauty and wellness. Specifically, type I collagen occurs naturally in the skin, hair, bones, blood cells, blood vessels, and tendons. Collagen is the protein that gives skin its elasticity and supplies hair with luster. In fact, the reputation of improving the appearance of skin and hair is one of the most well-known collagen benefits. Many individuals use collagen to give their skin a supple, youthful appearance or to increase hair growth.

In addition to beauty benefits, collagen has several health applications. For joints and tendons, collagen plays an important role in the strength and flexibility of connective tissue. It essentially acts as the "glue" that helps hold these body parts together. Once metabolized, collagen also plays an important role in the absorption of nutrients within the digestive system. Collagen receptors in the intestinal lining help the body absorb essential minerals and nutrients. Because collagen also contains the amino acid glycine, natural collagen production may help with the synthesis of ATP, the body's natural energy currency. As a result, collagen may play a key role in weight-loss workouts and post-workout muscle recovery. Because of the clinical evidence that supports collagen benefits, an overview of ancient herbs is a great way to decide if this is the best approach to boost collagen naturally.

Top Collagen Benefits for Health and Wellness

Collagen has important energetic and chemical benefits for health and wellness. This protein is essential for the absorption of silica, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals. As a result, collagen plays a primary role in maintaining healthy bones, joints, connective tissue, and teeth. The high silica content in collagen-rich herbs may also boost hair growth and contribute to glowing, healthy skin. Because collagen is a primary component of the tissues that line the gut, this protein also has an important function in absorption of nutrients during meal digestion.

Significantly, many traditional herbs that boost collagen production possess both astringent and demulcent qualities. Astringent herbs cause the contraction of bodily tissue, thereby reducing swelling and toxic buildup. Herbs with astringent qualities may also reduce overproduction of oil or sebum and excess secretion of mucous membranes. Demulcent herbs cause the expansion of bodily tissue, thus helping with tissue connectivity and flexibility. Herbs with demulcent traits may also provide a soothing or protective coating over mucous membranes, thereby producing an anti-inflammatory effect. Collagen-rich herbs are unique because they can contain dual astringent and demulcent properties. In this way, the collagen protein can act as an essential "building block" of the body's most important cells.

Top Five Herbs to Boost Collagen Production

For centuries, ancient cultures have used traditional herbs in folkloric and alternative medicine. In recent years, the scientific community has backed many of the key properties attributed to collagen-rich herbs. For example, research has supported collagen benefits for muscle recovery, connective tissue, and digestion. Studies have also supported the protein's anti-inflammatory effects. Because beauty experts believe that collagen promotes attractive skin and hair, collagen powders and supplements have become staples in the modern beauty-care pantry. Due to the abundance of product options, it is no wonder that many beginners look for help in where to start. The following review of the top five traditional herbs and Chinese herbs can help with any quest to boost the body's natural collagen production.

He Shou Wu: Ancient Collagen Adaptogen

Alternative names: Fo ti, Polygonum multiflorum, Reynoutria multiflora, Chinese knotweed, tuber fleeceflower

He Shou Wu is a Chinese herb derived from the root of the Fallopia multiflora flowering plant. Considered chief of the Chinese herbs, this collagen-rich root has documented adaptogenic properties. This means that regular use may support the adrenal system, the glands that produce hormones essential to a healthy lifestyle. Adrenal hormones include cortisol, which is a hormone that regulates metabolism, weight gain, and the body's response to oxidative stress, as well as aldosterone, which can affect blood pressure. Increasing collagen production to create a harmonizing effect on the adrenal system is one of the chief modern-day uses of He Shou Wu.

Chinese herbalists have used and revered He Shou Wu for over 3,000 years. Legend has it that the master who discovered the plant found that it restored his natural, dark hair color and increased male virility. To this day, Chinese medicine lists the herb as a remedy for restoring sexual performance, rejuvenating the nervous system, healing the liver and kidneys, strengthening brittle bones, and purifying blood. In short, the Chinese believe that He Shou Wu preserves jing, or "the essence of life." Because it supports this essence of life, Chinese herbalists sometimes refer to He Shou Wu as the "elixir of life" or "fountain of youth."

In addition, He Shou Wu has an equally long history as a hair growth aid and restorative tonic. The herb's balancing effect on the endocrine and adrenal system, along with its collagen-producing properties and high zinc content, make it a popular alternative medicine remedy for reversing hair loss. Traditional Chinese medicine enthusiasts also believe that this herbal root is a surefire method for restoring gray hair back to its natural dark color. Anyone interested in using one of the most popular historical hair tonics can take advantage of He Shou Wu for hair care.

Horsetail: Ancient Collagen Restorer

Alternative names: Equisetum arvense, snake grass, puzzlegrass

Horsetail is not only one of the oldest herbs used in ancient remedies; it is also one of the oldest plants to exist on the planet. This plant is the only living genus in the family Equisetaceae, a group of plants that reproduce by dispersing spores instead of seeds. As a result, horsetail is a "living fossil" that has survived for close to 100 million years. The formidable horsetail plant has proven its ability to withstand even the most unfavorable conditions, and the rich antioxidant content that gives horsetail this toughness may also benefit the human body. Named after its resemblance to an equine tail, horsetail boasts durable stems and shoots that are rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Perhaps the most important trait of horsetail is its high silica content. Silica is an essential trace mineral imperative to the body's natural production of collagen. Research suggests that silica helps reactivate the collagen that protects cartilage, tendons, and kidneys. With age or serious illness, the connective tissue's cells can secrete less collagen. Silica may help repair these weak areas along with promoting healthy bones and teeth. Because horsetail contains an abundance of silica crystals, the human body may absorb this type of silica more quickly. As a result, horsetail is among the most recommended natural herbs for boosting collagen production. The high silica content also makes horsetail a popular experiential product for increasing hair growth. Significantly, studies also suggest that silica may help heal bone fractures and mitigate some of the discomfort associated with rheumatism and arthritis. Because silica-rich horsetail may promote continuous collagen production and thereby improve elasticity in weak areas of the joints, herbalists recommend this herb for competitive athletes.

Gynostemma: Ancient Collagen Antioxidant

Alternative names: Gynostemma pentaphyllum, jiaogulan, miracle grass, fairy or gospel herb, sweet-tea vine, immortality herb

Among all of the ancient Chinese herbs, gynostemma has a revered reputation as a divine or an immortality herb. According to traditional Chinese medicine, people who regularly used gynostemma traditionally lived longer and more active lives. Research suggests that the source of this reputation for vitality may be the fact that gynostemma contains two significant antioxidants: glutathione and superoxide dismutase. Glutathione is a plant antioxidant that naturally fights free radicals that attack vascular cells. One study published in the National Institutes of Health found that using products with glutathione may induce collagen production and might have anti-aging and anti-wrinkle effects on the skin. A second clinical study found that using gynostemma may help mitigate the neurological effects of aging, including mental fatigue, insomnia, memory loss, or poor balance. For this reason, many herbal enthusiasts believe that using gynostemma can improve the quality of life well into old age.

While some people may be more familiar with ginseng due to its runaway popularity in the past few decades, gynostemma has additional traits that rival even ginseng as a wellness product. For example, a sample of gynostemma contains nearly three times as many saponins as a sample of ginseng. Also known as gypenosides, these saponins are chemical compounds that may have an anti-inflammatory effect on the organs. Because saponins have the ability to interact with cell membranes and influence biological response, these chemical compounds may also give gynostemma its astringent and healing properties. Along with its astringent traits, gynostemma has demulcent properties that increase collagen production within the gut. This gut collagen has the ability to coat intestinal lining and may help with nutrient absorption while reducing inflammation. For this reason, gynostemma is one of the most popular traditional herbs for increasing collagen production during weight-loss regimens.

Nettle: Ancient Collagen Mineralizer

Alternative names: Urtica dioica, common nettle, stinging nettle, nettle leaf

Nettle is one of the oldest traditional herbs in personal care. Valued worldwide for its antiseptic and restorative properties, nettle is a popular ingredient in products like shampoo and soap. It is also a tonic traditionally used to rejuvenate nearly all of the body's major systems, including the immune system, heart and circulatory system, digestive and urinary systems, respiratory tract, and nervous and endocrine systems. Preliminary studies also demonstrate that nettle may promote bone health and prostate health. Herbalists associate the effectiveness of the nettle leaf with its famously high mineral content.

Nettle contains a high amount of calcium, silica, magnesium, potassium, and sulfur. These essential minerals and nutrients play an important role in the body's electrolyte balance. Having enough of these nutrients also plays a role in the ability of tissue to self-heal. Furthermore, minerals like calcium and silica may help trigger collagen receptors within cellular membranes. This receptive ability makes common nettle an excellent choice for individuals interested in boosting natural collagen production. The high sulfur content in stinging nettle may also stimulate hair follicles and stimulate blood circulation at the scalp. This stimulation near the hair roots may help hair follicles produce healthier strands and contribute to attractive hair.

In addition to important minerals, nettle also contains fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Nutritionists and wellness enthusiasts alike believe these fat-soluble vitamins may promote healthy eyes, skin, and bones. Along with fat-soluble vitamins, nettle contains a host of B-complex vitamins and flavonoid antioxidants. These water-soluble vitamins and plant antioxidants can promote cellular health and may have a nourishing effect on the skin and hair. Dating back to the Middle Ages, individuals used nettle leaf to cleanse and thicken hair. Because the stinging nettle has noted collagen benefits along with a range of essential vitamins, modern beauty enthusiasts can also use nettle as a cleansing and nourishing agent.

Like other traditional herbs that encourage collagen production, stinging nettle has both astringent and demulcent traits. Nettle's astringent properties become particularly apparent through its uses in hair growth remedies and scalp care. Specifically, common nettle is one of the most popular blockers of dihydrotestosterone or DHT. The DHT hormone is an androgen sex hormone that the body releases as a byproduct of testosterone. DHT hormones bind to sebaceous glands located on the scalp, causing an overproduction of oil that inhibits hair growth. Researchers have linked excess DHT and related androgen hormones to pattern baldness and hair loss. Fortunately, nettle is a DHT-inhibitor. It may lower the effects of excess sebum production, and its astringent traits may contract or shrink sebaceous glands. As a result, nettle is one of the most popular traditional herbs for treating hair loss.

Along with astringent properties that contract or tighten sebaceous glands on the scalp, nettle may also tighten facial pores and improve the appearance of drooping skin across the body. Herbalists have also used nettle tea or tonics to fight eczema or as a mild antiseptic on cuts or bruises. The demulcent properties of nettle may help protect collagen receptors within intestinal lining and mucous membranes, and its antioxidant properties may help fight the free radicals associated with oxidative stress.

Mangosteen: Ancient Collagen Healer

Alternative names: Garcinia mangostana, purple mangosteen

Because collagen keeps connective tissue and skin firm, supple, and resilient, ancient cultures referred to plants like, mangosteen that boost collagen naturally. These herbs either contained collagen or nutrients that boosted natural collagen production. An excellent example of one of these highly valued plants is the mangosteen peel. Sourced from deep within the Southeast Asian jungle, mangosteen boasts some of the highest vitamin C content found in nature. The vitamin C in mangosteen stimulates amino acids in collagen cells, adding hydrogen and oxygen to the cellular compounds to result in significant collagen production. Because the body does not produce its own vitamin C, it is essential to get a supply of the vitamin from antioxidant-rich foods. Mangosteen peel is one of the simplest ways to increase vitamin C intake as well as benefit from other types of antioxidants.

In addition to its famously high vitamin C content, mangosteen also contains an important group of organic polyphenols known as xanthones. These xanthones are rare antioxidants that promote anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal cellular activity. Recognizing these unique properties, ancient indigenous populations in Indonesia and China referred to mangosteen as "the healer." For individuals interested in lifestyle improvement and longevity, mangosteen is one of the most popular trending herbs available on the market. In addition, unlike some herbs that limit antioxidant benefits to the leaf or the root of the plant, mangosteen retains xanthone antioxidants in the pericarp, whole fruit, heartwood, and leaf. The herb does not lose antioxidant properties during the harvesting process. This allows consumers to choose from a range of mangosteen products in order to boost collagen naturally.

In addition to promoting natural collagen production, mangosteen has traditional uses as a natural beauty tonic. For example, the anti-inflammatory traits of mangosteen's pericarp may reduce the appearance of blemishes associated with acne, cirrhosis, eczema, or rashes. Because mangosteen fruit may increase collagen production for the blood vessels and circulatory system, the whole fruit may improve microcirculation and result in more radiant-looking skin. Mangosteen peel and pericarp also contain phenolics or organic compounds that help fight free radicals that attack cell membranes. Because of these antioxidant benefits, mangosteen peel is an excellent alternative to orange peel or lemon peel. Anyone interested in sprucing up a wellness regimen may benefit from the healing properties of mangosteen.

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