When taking supplements on a regular basis, it is good to add some variety to what you take. For example, when taking Magnesium, it is also good to take Zinc as, both of these help each other to absorb into the body.
Adding variety to your diet also adds diversity, which in turn, can promote a healthier lifestyle!
In today's blog post, we will be taking a look at five different supplements used across the world, which could help add some power to your supplementation.
The 'mixing' of supplements to improve healthcare has been ever-present across the globe for centuries now, with vast pockets of medicinal systems being the basis of a lot of what we know today.
Medicinal systems such as Ayurveda, originating in India and Nepal, which focuses on a more holistic and natural approach to supplementation, and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) which is a broad range of different ancient medical practices including herbal medicine.
Products belonging to these sorts of medicinal systems are what we will be looking at today!
Ashwagandha Extract Powder - India
Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that is primarily found in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. The name derives from Sanskrit words, 'Ashva' meaning 'Horse', and 'Gandha' meaning 'Smell' due to its musky odour.
Its usage medicinally can be traced back to 6000BC, when it was, and continues to be used as a 'Rasayana', which is an early Ayurvedic term for techniques used to 'lengthen lifespans' and 'invigorate the body'. As this is a group of techniques from early Ayurveda, some claims may be quite outrageous such as 'lengthening lifespans', however, claims that it 'invigorates the body' is, of course, true to an extent.
It has been used in the world of Ayurveda for thousands of years, traditionally to help with:
• Sharpening focus and memory
• Relieving stress
In modern times, it is used often in various elite and endurance sports such as marathon running and cycling. It is used in these types of high-intensity exercises due to it possibly reducing harmful inflammation caused by these activities by increasing antioxidant activity within the body
It is also used as an 'Adaptogen' to treat stress in modern day-to-day life, it may help to reduce the levels of Cortisol in the body, which is a hormone released in response to stress.
In supplementation, the part of the plant which is used is the leaves and root, which are ground into a fine powder for their health benefits.
Matcha Powder - Japan
'Matcha' is a variety of Green Tea which is native to China, however, is now grown and consumed across the entire of Eastern Asia. The origin of the name 'Matcha' derives from a mixture of the Chinese word 'Cha' meaning 'Tea', and the Japanese word 'Matsu' which means 'To rub'.
It has been used for thousands of years in TCM, however, gained serious popularity in TJM (Traditional Japanese Medicine) when a Buddhist monk called Myoan Eisai, brought Matcha over to Japan, from China, in the 12th century. He prepared it by steam drying the leaves before grinding them into a fine green powder, which he then added to boiling water to make it into a tea. He found that this improved his meditation sessions by producing a sense of 'calm alertness' - We now know this sensation to be caused by a relatively high level of caffeine content present in Matcha, as well as it being high in L-Theanine which is an amino acid that increases the synthesis of 'GABA', which in turn, increases brain levels of both serotonin and dopamine!
'Myoan Eisai' - Japanese Buddhist Priest
Because of this, it has been used both leisurely and medicinally for centuries in East Asian society, with its main benefits being:
• High in antioxidants
• Boosting overall cognitive function
• Rich in Vitamins
A lot of the ancient usage of Matcha Green Tea is still relevant today with people across the world taking Matcha in a tea form as a way to unwind and to keep alert. In fact, many people use Matcha as a direct alternative to coffee when it comes to needing a caffeine boost. The reason why is because as previously stated, Matcha does contain a relatively high level of caffeine (Avg: 19-44mg per gram), however, it differs drastically to the average amount of caffeine found in coffee (96mg per 240ml). Matcha includes just the right amount of caffeine to give you that pick-me-up, but without the added baggage of having jitters or a caffeine crash!
Lions Mane Extract Powder 20% - China
Lions Mane is a variety of edible mushroom which is most often naturally found growing on dead logs and the wounds of dying trees across Asia, Europe and North America. Its very distinctive long white spines have given it the name 'Lions Mane' due to its similarities to that of, you guessed it, a Lion's Mane!
Medicinally, it has been used in TCM practices in which people used to add pieces of the Lions Mane mushroom into teas where it was claimed to help with the ability and overall health of the brain. In particular, it was said to enhance people's focus, memory and concentration. Similarly to Matcha, its usage was quite prominent with Buddhist monks when it came to their meditations, as they found that it helped them to focus whilst also energising their minds.
'Meditation' - A group of Buddhists practising meditation
Some other benefits of Lions Mane are:
• Reducing Anxiety
• Helps to improve sleep
• Reducing inflammation
Due to this, within the last 10 years, Lions Mane has become increasingly popular within the world of Nootropics. It is most commonly taken in capsules, liquid extracts and in a powdered form which is what ours is in. We recommend taking between 500 and 3000mg per day in a water or fruit juice mixture, or if you would prefer, making them into capsules and taking them that way.
Acai Berry Extract 8:1 - Brazil
Acai, or 'Açai', is a type of berry that can be harvested from the 'Açai Palm', which is a type of tree most commonly found in the swamps and wetlands, deep within the Amazon Rainforest of South America. It got its name from a Portuguese adaptation of the ancient Tupian word 'ïwaca'i', which means 'The Fruit That Cries' or 'expels water' - This name has a deep history in Amazonian folklore which we won't go into detail right now, however, you can find out more if you click here!
Historically, the river people of the Amazon (Ribeirinhos), would harvest the Acai Berry by climbing up the sometimes 82-foot tall Açai Palm trees and hacking them down with a blade, which is actually still common practice today amongst that minority. Due to how it is harvested and grown, Acai is one of the most sustainable berries in the world! Primarily in Brazilian Tribes, Acai was and still is a staple in their diet as well as their medicinal systems.
The traditional way of harvesting the Acai can be seen in the video below:
It is used both as a dietary need, and a medical property because:
• It is extremely rich in Vitamins & Minerals
• It contains 'Anthocyanins'
• They grow in very large batches per tree
In fact, each Açaí Palm stem can produce 8 bunches of berries per year, each bunch weighing up to 6kg each making it a great source of sustainable food for the indigenous people of the Amazon! In modern Brazil, and now across the entire world, Acai has grown exponentially in popularity and has even been described as a 'Superfood', with people enjoying Acai in the form of an 'Acai Bowl' which is a dish made with the frozen and mashed berries. Our Acai Berry Extract contains all of the goodness of an Acai Berry in an easy-to-use powder.
Lemon Balm Extract Powder - The Middle East, The Mediterranean, and Beyond
Lemon Balm is a herb which is part of the mint family and is most commonly found and cultivated in Southern Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Central Asia. The reason why it is called Lemon Balm is because of the distinct yet subtle smell of Lemon which is emitted from the leaves of the plant.
Because of this, it has been used as an essential oil for flavourings in cookery. However, its use in medicine has been documented for thousands of years, starting in Ancient Greece and Rome where it was given to help with 'Melancholy Vapors' - In modern times we now know this to be in relation to anxiety and depression. It wasn't formally introduced to Europe until the 7th century when it grew in popularity during medieval times as a remedy for bad sleep, wounds, and anxiety.
'Paradiesgärtlein' - 'The Little Garden of Paradise' a medieval Germanic panel painting displaying the cultivation of Herbal remedies in Europe
Some benefits of Lemon Balm are:
• Stress relieving
• It may boost cognitive functions
• It may have anti-inflammatory effects
Over the years, Lemon Balm has proved to have longevity, with it still being commonly used medicinally all around the world, particularly in Central European countries such as Germany and Austria where it is available in liquid forms in pharmacies. It is also a common additive in many general products such as toothpaste, ice cream, and even peppermint tea bags. Our Lemon Balm Extract is in a powdered form and we recommend taking between 250mg and 1000mg per day mixed in water or fruit juice, or if preferred, made into capsules.
So there we have it! 5 different Ancient Supplements, and 5 different continents, which may add power to your usual supplementation.
Who knew that the history of supplements dated back so far?
Supplements have played a vital part in life for thousands of years and no doubt they will be here for many years to come!
We hope you have learnt something from today's blog post, and we'll see you in the next one!