Ashitaba plant has long been used as a plant-based homemade remedy by the people in Japan for hundreds of years. Also named Angelica keiskei, and widely known as ‘tomorrow leaves’ the plant grows naturally along the coast of southern Japan. The people of the country have traditionally used the leaves of the plant either to make tea or to eat it directly.
Many health benefits are obtained by the people that regularly consume ashitaba tea. However, not many people are aware of these benefits and so they don’t consume ashitaba tea. The leaves have been researched extensively since the mid of the 1990s. So far, scientists have confirmed multiple fantastic health benefits of the plants.
The record of ashitaba leaves being used for its medicinal properties dated back to hundreds of years ago. The oldest record of the use was written on a Chinese medicine book written by Dr. Lee around 1518 – 1593 AD. The book had been translated into different languages, such as German, English, Russian, and Latin.
However, it was thought that the use of the leaves has actually been longer than that, even thousands of years before the book was written.
The nutritional value in the superfood is what makes it beneficial for our health in a lot of ways. Ashitaba leaves contain vitamin A, E, K, B2, B6, B12, C, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, manganese, and copper.
Here are 15 of the most prominent and acknowledged health benefits that have been confirmed by scientists and hundred years worth of folk history.
1. The Best Source of Antioxidants
The relationship between antioxidants and longevity is a subject that has been explored a lot. Antioxidants play multiple roles in supporting the human’s body and letting humans live functionally. Antioxidants are substances that inhibit oxidation. They exist in abundance in plant-based foods such as vegetables and fruits.
These ingredients work by reducing inflammation which is the cause of a lot of health problems. Antioxidants do not only boost the health, but also extend the lifespan of human beings. Ashitaba leaves contain powerful antioxidants, making the plants popular as ‘longevity herb’.
2. Slows Down Aging
Antioxidants inhibit the aging process in cellular and physical level. It prevents unhealthy cell division, stimulates the healthy division and speeds up the renewal of dead or damaged cells. As a result, the effects of aging, including age-related diseases that occur because of inflammation, are greatly reduced.
Ashitaba leaves, either eaten raw or when consumed as tea, can be one of the best sources of antioxidants. It is even considered to be one of the plants with the highest antioxidant level in the world. The plant even has a higher ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value when compared to green tea. As a result, incorporating ashitaba leaves into your diet will prevent aging and prolong your life.
Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are the primary cause of aging process acceleration. These free radicals are unstable molecules that occur as a result of the oxidation process. These molecules are prone to reactions and this is where the aging and degenerative diseases become possible effects. Drinking ashitaba tea or eating ashitaba leaves regularly will reduce the risk of life-threatening and chronic diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, brain disorders, and immune dysfunction. You will also stay energized and healthy.
Because ashitaba contains a large concentration of antioxidants, it’s very effective at slowing down aging by combating the free radicals. Free radicals disrupt cells by weakening the walls of living cells. Antioxidants destroy free radicals and protect the cells.
3. Improves Immune System
Regularly consuming antioxidant-rich food sources like ashitaba leaves has a significant impact on your immunity. Ashitaba leaves also strengthen your body immune system by acting as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal agents.
The anti-inflammatory property makes people who consume ashitaba leaves regularly safe from joint pain, arthritis, and muscular pain. Meanwhile, the antibacterial and antifungal properties make people have better immunity against viral diseases like common cold, flu, and diseases caused by fungi. A strong immune system is definitely beneficial because prevention is always better than cure.
4. Helps Repair The DNA
Every second of your life, your body is in the constant process of decaying and rebuilding. Internal and environmental factors always wage war on your body. Your cells are constantly dying and being renewed with new cells. Your body uses DNA map to rebuild the cells and maintain your health. Unfortunately, as you get older, your DNA which serves as a roadmap for this construction becomes slowly damaged. This is when you are under the threat of some degenerative and autoimmune diseases.
The good news is that you can help your body by protecting and strengthening your DNA. Ashitaba leaves do not only prevent free radicals from damaging your DNA, but also repair it and therefore restore the balance. Your body will then function normally.
5. Improves The Level of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)
NGF or Nerve Growth Factor is a protein that is commonly found in all tissues of the vertebrates. NGF is an important protein because it plays a massive role in ensuring a healthy nervous system and a bunch of other functions. NGF maintains the functioning connection between the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system. It also contributes to the differentiation of nerve cells in the central nervous system. NGF keeps your neuron fit, promotes the development of new neurons, and maintain the health of the mature ones.
Because it’s good for the survival and maintenance of neurons, NGF helps alleviate the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson, and dementia. According to studies, NGF raises acetylcholine by selectively protecting neurons that are activated by acetylcholine. This gives positive effects for patients that are in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Patients who have undergone NGF gene therapy experienced function improvement, tissue growth, and a better neuron functionality.
Besides, low NGF levels are also associated with many common modern diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and atherosclerosis.
Ashitaba leaves help improve the NGF level in your body through two methods. First, by stimulating the production of the NGF itself. Second, by supplying your body with vitamin B that can multiply the effects of the NGF. This is why people who regularly consume ashitaba leaves usually have better, sharper, and more detailed memories.
6. Improves Cognitive Function
Besides protecting your brain from dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease due to its ability to improve the NGF level, ashitaba leaves also help your cognitive functions by supplying your body with important B12 vitamins. Ashitaba leaves also contain a lot of B complexes, including, and especially vitamin B12. This vitamin is very beneficial for humans.
According to many studies, a lack of vitamin B12 is one of the leading vitamin deficiencies around the world. The deficiency brings many bad effects, including the disruption of the function of the central nervous system.
Vitamin B12 keeps your nerve cells healthy, including the cells that are vital to send neurotransmitter signals. It does so by protecting the myelin sheath or the protective layer that covers the nerves.So when vitamin B12 deficiency happens, cognitive functions are impaired.
7. An Incredible Source of Chalcones
Chalcones are probably what behind the majority of the health benefits of ashitaba leaves. Ashitaba leaves contain chalcone in the highest concentration when compared to other dietary sources in the world. Chalcone is a unique natural phenol that is found at the central core of many important biological compounds.
Chalcone has a lot of important properties, including antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor properties. Chalcone also has an incredible healing effect. It can purify the blood from bad cholesterol so it keeps blood pressure well-regulated.
Besides, it’s also good for weight loss because it can break down the fat better in your digestive system.
8. Improves Mood
Depression is a very common mental illness in teenagers and adults. Clinical depression is not just a type of negative emotional state that can be cured by talking to people or going out. People who suffer from clinical depression that impair their daily lives and affect other people around them negatively need to receive medicinal and professional treatment.
However, not every person has an easy access to mental health practitioners. Taking alternative medicines, such as ashitaba leaves tea or extract, can be an effective method to ease depression and lift the overall mood.
When depression hits you, there is a hormonal imbalance that messes with your mood. It aggravates your depression further and makes you feel helpless.
Ashitaba leaves promote better mood in several ways, first, it enhances the NGF production and improves your brain function. In addition, the chalcones in the leaves will improve metabolism and promotes balanced hormonal levels.
9. Provides Energy Boost
Many people need energy boosts to start their day or to continue their activities throughout the day effectively. Some people obtain the energy from coffee, but not all can take benefits of caffeine. Caffeine is effective at improving energy levels, but it causes crash and jittery behavior. Some people also experience difficulties to focus when they take caffeine.
Fortunately, ashitaba leaves can be an alternative to caffeine with the same potent energy-boosting ability but fewer side effects. The energy boost affects almost everyone who eats the leaves directly or takes them as tea. What makes it better than coffee is that the energy is crash free and jitter free.
The increase in energy comes in a calming and focused way. When you drink it, you will feel vibrant and fresh throughout the day.
Scientists are still trying to discover the source of this energy-boosting capabilities. It is believed that the energy comes from the combinations of different substances found in the plants, including chalcones, the various B vitamins, and antioxidants.
10. Prevents Wrinkles
Free radicals speed up aging and become the main cause for damage of body organs, especially skin. The visible symptoms of aging on the skin, like wrinkles and age spots, are caused by the reaction of free radicals. A type of antioxidant called melatonin is also present in ashitaba leaves.
Melatonin helps prolong youthful look by at least two ways. First, it promotes restful sleep and gives your body a chance to rest and renew its cells. Second, it also slows down the process of aging by attacking the free radicals. Because of this, it keeps the skin’s health and elasticity for a longer time.
To have smooth, firm, and youthful skin free of wrinkles and dullness, you can incorporate ashitaba leaves into your diet or apply it topically. It will exfoliate your skin’s dead cells and leave you smooth and silky skin.
11. Prevents disease
Free radicals are also associated with diseases. At a high concentration, the damage caused by free radicals to the cells can also cause the development of disease. A lot of evidence has suggested that oxygen free radicals play a very important role in the expansion and growth of tumor clones.
Antioxidants or free radicals scavengers interact and neutralize free radicals. Thus, they reduce the damage that is caused by free radicals, including its disease-stimulating properties.
There are two sources of antioxidants: endogenous and exogenous. Endogenous antioxidants are produced by our body. However, we rely on antioxidants that we acquire from outside sources, also called exogenous or dietary antioxidants.
As the name suggests, we can get it from foods. Ashitaba leaves are one of the examples of antioxidant-rich food sources. Consuming enough of it will reduce the risk of suffering from disease.
12. Supports Cardiovascular Health
The existence of chalcones in ashitaba leaves is incredibly beneficial for blood pressure regulation. Chalcones have many health impacts to your body, including its ability to prevent blood clotting. Blood clotting increases pressure to the arteries leading hypertension.
The antithrombotic properties of ashitaba leaves will stabilize the pressure. Besides, it can also reduce the level of bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol and increase the level of HDL or good cholesterol.
When the cholesterol level is regulated, the risk for stroke and heart attack is significantly reduced. Lastly, ashitaba leaves also contain potassium which is able to support the function of heart muscle. Consuming ashitaba leaves every day will reduce the risk of heart problems through multiple ways.
13. Prevents Anemia
Iron is an important nutritional element that is needed by our body. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia, a physical condition where there are not enough healthy red blood cells in the body.
Red blood cells play a vital role of distributing oxygen to every inch of the body. Iron deficiency makes the body incapable to produce enough hemoglobin which is a substance in the red blood cells that carry the oxygen.
As a result, you suffer from anemia that manifests in some common symptoms such as constant tiredness and a short of breath.
Iron deficiency anemia can usually be treated by taking oral iron supplements. However, there are many foods that can naturally enhance the iron content in your body. Ashitaba plant is one of these foods. The leaves contain a large concentration of iron which makes the food ideal for an alternative anemia treatment.
Besides, ashitaba leaves are also rich in niacin, a vitamin that can improve blood circulation. By consuming foods that contain enough niacin, your blood will flow healthily.
14. Treats Diabetes
Chalcones that are present in ashitaba leaves in a huge amount also stabilizes the level of blood sugar. It prevents glucose spikes and increases insulin sensitivity. In addition, niacin in ashitaba leaves also reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.
As a result, it also reduces the risk of atherosclerosis or the hardening of arteries. The blood will flow better and the risks to suffer from hypertension and stroke are reduced.
15. Aids Weight Loss
Because of its ability to promote healthier and faster metabolism, ashitaba leaves will be a great aid in any weight loss programs. Combining the consumption of ashitaba leaves with a regular exercise and an overall healthy diet will be able to eliminate unwanted excess weight.
Ashitaba also has an alkaline pH which reduces appetite. It also contains some protein that can build muscle and promote satiety, an important factor if you want to have a better self-control when on a weight loss program.