Herbal antioxidant refers to those herbs that help counter the oxidation process by scavenging free radicals before they attack healthy cells. Oxidation is believed to be the cause of degenerative diseases or for the conditions linked with aging. Antioxidants improve the immune system and delay the effects of aging due to their capacity to eliminate free radicals. Free radicals are formed when a molecule is oxidized. These highly active free radicals may destroy other molecules as it tried to neutralize itself. Antioxidants protect the body from free radical damage. Although a certain amount of free radicals is vital to good health since they fight infection and aid in the contraction of smooth muscles in the blood vessels. Herbal antioxidants contain the free radicals scavenging properties so essential in countering diseases connected with aging such as cancer, heart disease, and cataracts.
The important sources of antioxidants are vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene from Vitamin A. Trace minerals such as selenium, copper, manganese, and zinc. Other antioxidant compounds can be sourced from bioflavonoids in fruits and vegetables, coenzyme Q10 found in fish, nuts, and lean meats and amino acids that contain sulfur.
The herbal antioxidants that are found to be the most effective are:
* Bilberry. Dosage for this herbal antioxidant should be 160 to 480 mg a day. Standardized extracts must contain 36% anthocyanosides.
* Garlic. Fresh cloves 1 or more a day. Capsules should be 2 g. daily taken with food. Caution should be exercised in taking this herbal antioxidant at high doses if taking other blood-thinners. Fresh garlic may irritate gastrointestinal tract lining which causes nausea, heartburn, and worsen ulcers.
* Ginkgo Biloba. 120 mg of capsules or tincture daily. Supplements should be standardized for ginkgo flavor-glycosides. This herbal antioxidant is a blood thinner. Caution should be exercised when taking other blood-thinner medications.
* Asian ginseng. Tea should be 2 to 3 cups daily. Capsules should be 250 to 500 mg. capsules should be standardized ginsenosides. This herbal antioxidant cause jitters, headaches, high blood pressure, and female genital bleeding in menopausal women. Should not be taken with vitamin C.
* Grape seed extract. Capsules 30 to 150 mg daily. This herbal has no known drugs or nutrients interactions.
* Pine bark. Capsules 30 to 150 mg daily. This herbal antioxidant may cause allergic reactions.
* Green tea. Take 2 to 3 cups of tea daily. Capsules, 250 mg daily. Extracts of this herbal antioxidant should contain 97 percent polyphenols. It also contains caffeine and may cause irritation, sleeplessness, and other effects of caffeine intake.