Men typically experience a .01% decline in their total testosterone level each year of their lives starting at about age forty. This means that about 25% of men in their sixties, and 50% of men in their eighties, have a testosterone level significantly below what is required to function at peak--youthful--performance. While herb products cannot replace depleted testosterone levels, several plants do produce sterols, a type of plant testosterone that is beneficial to the human male body, while others produce testosterone Â“boostersÂ” which can spur a manÂ’s own natural testosterone-producing system.
From the time of birth, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate, as well contributes to behavioral patterns and sense of individuality. (Testosterone is also produced in girls, but in much smaller doses.)
In adolescence, testosterone is responsible for promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle, bone mass, penis and gonad size, sperm development, facial and pubic hair, a deeper voice, and of course, sex drive.
Throughout adulthood, testosterone serves to increase red blood cell growth, stimulate metabolism, prevent the conditions for osteoporosis, and aid in many other physical functioning such as fat-burning and general energy levels.
In short, testosterone is essential to male health and over-all well-being throughout life. Yet, as most men come to discover, aging in men is associated with a steady decline of this most essential male-defining hormone.
In fact, men typically experience a .01% decline in their total testosterone level each year of their lives starting at about age forty. This means that about 25% of men in their sixties, and 50% of men in their eighties, have a testosterone level significantly below what is required to function at peak--youthful--performance.
While plant products cannot replace depleted testosterone levels (with artificial testosterone fraught with nasty side-effects), several herbs do produce sterols, a type of plant testosterone that is beneficial to the human male body, while others produce testosterone “boosters” which can spur a man’s own natural testosterone-producing system.
Here are a few of the most widely-recognized in both categories:
Sarsaparilla (smilax regelii), an herb native to parts of Central and South America, is a prime source of natural plant sterols, with a long history of use by indigenous people of many cultures to boost virility. While today commonly used in root beer to create the sharp, sweet taste associated with the drink, from 1820 to 1910, it was registered in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as a treatment for syphilis and other maladies of the male sex organs. While no medicinal properties are applied to the processed drinks made from it, sarsaparilla is scientifically recognized for its ability to boost male potency--via its natural testosterone-like properties.
> Puncture Vine
Perhaps the foremost herbal testosterone booster known today is puncture vine, more properly known as Tribulus terrestris. Native to temperate and tropical regions of the Old World in southern Europe, southern Asia, throughout Africa, and Australia, puncture vine does not tolerate shade, it is a hardy plant that can even thrive in desert climates and poor soil. Rich in various plant sterols, including diosgenin, puncture vine has been promoted as a testosterone builder since the 1970s when a Bulgarian study showed it effective on free testosterone, with extracts said to increase the body's natural testosterone levels thus improving over-all male health and performance. (Its muscle-building potential was popularized by American IFBB bodybuilding champion Jeffrey Petermann in the early 1970s.)
> Nettle (stinging)
A ground-cover plant native to Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America that resembles “prickly” lettuce, European studies have shown that nettle root can help boost testosterone levels in the human body with a high rate of predictability. Though not considered “user-friendly” due to its stinging nature--causing a rash if not handled with protective gloves--decoctions prepared from this plant have been used for centuries throughout Europe and America, with tinctures becoming popular in the US and elsewhere today.
> Dietary zinc
Among the most reliable testosterone boosters available from the plant world are those containing large quantities of dietary zinc. Proven to stimulate various receptors in the human body to synthesize more testosterone and catalyze better absorption of the hormone in the blood, the following foods should become a daily part of every man’s diet after the age of forty:
·Dried pumpkin seeds
·Dried watermelon seeds
> Maca root
Indigenous to the Central Andean Region of Peru where it grows at altitudes between 4000 and 4500 meters, the fertility powers of maca root have been prized by couples in the Peruvian highlands for centuries, and continues to be used by both men and women having difficulty conceiving children. Classified as an “adaptive” by biologists, maca is said to balance, strengthen, and support any area of the body under compromise due to stress. However, numerous recent studies indicate that the purported powers of this root regarding fertility are actually centered in its ability to boost testosterone levels. Both infusions and tinctures have proven quite effective.
> Scots pine
Pinus sylvestris, commonly known as the Scots or Scotch Pine, is a species of evergreen native to Europe and Asia, ranging from Scotland, Ireland, and Portugal in the west, east to eastern Siberia, south to the Caucasus Mountains, and as far north as the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia. While various parts of the tree have been used through the centuries to produce a number of curatives, it is the ale made from the pollen that has proven most effective regarding male health. Containing plant sterols (very similar to testosterone), the pollen is also quite effective in boosting testosterone in men. While the pollen extract is perhaps the most potent, the ale is also quite beneficial.
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