Healthy metabolism, which is the sum of chemical reactions of enzymes that transform one thing into another, is absolutely essential for life to go on. With the epidemic of metabolic challenges we are facing now we need all the help we can get to optimize metabolism, and herbs are great allies to support us here in many ways:
- Herbs contain the enzymes required or can trigger the body to make or release the enzyme. Katuki is effective for the liver while Trikatu and Tulsi accomplish this with digestion.
- Herbs can help to optimize the general terrain of the physiology and thus help hold space for the best metabolic path. Chyawanaprash, Turmeric, Triphala and Tulsi are excellent at systemically promoting the space most suitable for this.
- Herbs can supply the micro-nutrition of co-factors required so that the body can take the best metabolic pathway as possible to create the healthiest tissue and functions. Amalaki, Moringa and Turmeric are champs here.
The Importance of Metabolic Co-Factors
Our bodymind is constantly in the process of creating new molecules to support every structure and function. For instance, it is constantly creating collagen to renew the skin and bones and other essential structures. By having the right “raw materials” present then the optimal metabolic pathway is most likely to occur and the new molecule as well as the tissue and organ it is a part of will more likely support our wellness.
Part of that shopping list of right raw materials would include co-factors that assist the process somewhere along the way. You can take a big stack of lumber and transform it into a house but you will need co-factors including hammers, nails, lunch, permits, friends, etc. In the same way, for our body to create all the hundreds of thousands of constituents required for its anatomy and physiology to function properly, it needs co-factors, and herbs are loaded with them.
Co-factors tend to be Micro-Nutrition and not Macro-Nutrition
Macro-nutrition is the bulk basics like starches, fats and proteins, while micro-nutrition is the vitamins and minerals and active phytochemistry, like bioflavonoids. Beans and grains and oils give the macro-nutrition but not much micro-nutrition, which tends to come much more from vegetables and herbs. This is why in many traditional diets, like India, you will get the bulk basics, like rice and beans, but you will also get those basics in the context of dozens of wonderful herbs and spices and then served along two or three fresh chutneys made out of micro-nutrition powerhouses like parsley and coriander leaves.
Of the 18 Metabolic Pathways only 1 is Optimal
Want a new fence in your front yard? There are many ways to do it including using brand-new durable redwood boards fastened with high quality German screws, or you could simply scavenge old stray random boards out of a junk pile and tie them together with twine. In either case a fence is made but in the first case its “fenceness” is much more robust than the twine tied trash option.
Due to evolution, where our species may have been in situations where very limited food was available, our bodymind has become capable of creating the structures and molecules that our body needs by using a wide variety of ingredients and co-factors, which in each case represent a different metabolic path that renders varying qualities of results. That 18 that I wrote is arbitrary, but you get the idea. If we give our body a wide array of the micronutrients as found in herbs, then that increases the probability that the bodymind can use the optimal metabolic path to create these precious vehicles of life that we are. Optimal here means the process that takes the least amount of energy while giving the highest quality results.
Amalaki’s Bioflavanoids could be the Cofactors your Skin has Been Dying For
To create the collagen that is a building block for most of our body, from our skin to bones to ligaments, we need sufficient vitamin C, and for that vitamin C to be truly effective it needs to be taken with bioflavonoid co-factors. So if you get your vitamin C from a pill made in some factory in China where most synthetic vitamins come from, then that collagen will not be nearly as high quality as when you consume natural organic vitamin C from Amalaki, which is absolutely loaded with both vitamin C and its bioflavanoid cofactors.
So if you are wondering why your collagen is low quality, for instance you see that your skin is getting wrinkles, then audit your diet and find out if you are getting the cofactors required.
While all herbs tend to have hundreds of different phytomolecules, and many of them can be used as co-factors, per se, there are some herbs like Turmeric, Nettle, Moringa and fresh coriander and parsley that are especially useful in this way.
Each and every process is like this, hoping for the best co-factors but settling for less, and then getting some semblance of the job done. After all, the show must go on.