Home to the highest regions on Earth including the Tibetan Plateau with an average elevation of almost 5 km (3 miles) above sea level and majestic Mount Everest reaching a height of 8,848 metres (29,029 feet or 5.5 miles) at its peak; the Himalayas are also ripe with ancient medicinal herbs, oils and minerals – many of which are widely considered to be among the healthiest natural foods on the planet!
The following 10 Himalayan ‘natives’ are the best of the best when it comes to natural health and longevity. Read on to discover how these herbs, oils and minerals can improve every part of your body – inside and out – so you can live the longest, happiest and healthiest life possible!
1. Himalayan “Giant” Stinging Nettle
Himalayan “Giant” Stinging Nettle (Girardinia diversifolia), also known as Allo or bichu buti is a perennial plant which grows wild throughout the moist mountainous regions of Nepal and India. Himalayan nettle is possibly best known as a source of strong, light-weight, sustainable natural fibers. However, this herb’s benefits encompass the entire plant from roots to crown and everything in between!
Nettle has traditionally been used as a natural diuretic and laxative. It can help to soothe nausea and eliminate internal parasites. Nettle has a positive effect on the pancreas, helping to prevent diabetes by balancing blood sugar and it assists in regulating blood-iron levels. Nettle can be used to ease a headache and to relieve joint pain such as that caused by arthritis. It is known to improve urinary tract health and prevent gout flare-ups by cleansing uric acid from the joints, as well as for promoting respiratory health, bolstering the immune system by stimulating the lymph and endocrine systems.
A mouthwash made with Nettle clears away bacteria, preventing plaque and gum disease, as well as neutralizing bad breath. Nettle can be used to alleviate skin conditions like eczema, to improve scalp health and eliminate dandruff, as well as to promote growth of thicker, healthier hair.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), commonly known as Indian ginseng or Indian winter cherry is best known for its powerful sleep-inducing qualities. However, this hardy Himalayan plant has many other useful abilities including, but not limited to increasing energy and fighting fatigue, reducing stress and anxiety, warding off depression, improving mental performance and boosting memory. Ashwagandha can help to balance hormones, reduce symptoms of menopause, stimulate better digestion and heal the thyroid, as well as to improve both sexual performance and fertility.
Read more about the 13 Remarkable Benefits of Ashwagandha and get the full details!
Elettaria cardamomum – (aka elaichi, elathari or “true” cardamom) has been a popular ingredient in Asian and Middle-eastern cuisines for thousands of years and is now widely recognized throughout much of the world for its unique flavor and aroma. Less well-known is that this sweet aromatic spice is also an ancient natural remedy with a long list of potent health benefits.
Cardamom stimulates the immune system to help prevent and fight off viral infection. This warm, fragrant spice is also known for its abilities to open blocked air passages, clear the head and ease cold & flu symptoms, as well as symptoms of asthma. You can also use cardamom to soothe an upset stomach, improve digestion, neutralize bad breath, detoxify the body, promote feelings of well-being and ward off depression.
Some believe that the flavor and aroma of cardamom can even get rid of hiccups!
Learn more about Cardamom essential oil plus 9 other awesome EO’s which may be missing from your collection in this great article: 10 Underrated Essential Oils You Really Need To Start Using.
4. Goji Berries
Goji berries – also known as “Wolfberries”, gou qi zi, and Fructus lycii – are harvested from Lycium barbarum, an evergreen shrub in the Solonaceae family (which also includes garden favorites such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.)
Goji berries have been used extensively throughout history as a natural remedy for pain and dizziness. They are also known for their abilities to naturally increase strength and energy levels, improve digestion, balance blood sugar and ward off diabetes, boost immune function, promote longevity, balance hormones and increase libido. Furthermore, Goji berries contain powerful antioxidants which help to ward off heart disease by protecting red blood cells from lipid peroxidation. They protect the liver by reduce fatty deposits (caused by excessive alcohol consumption, diabetes, diet, etc) and may also help to prevent certain forms of cancer, premature aging, cognitive decline, oxidative damage to eyes and age-related macular degeneration.
If you’re ready to experience the amazing benefits of Goji berries for yourself, you can purchase organic sun dried Goji berries from Navitas Naturals from this page on Amazon.
5. Himalayan Pink Salt
Himalayan pink salt (or HPS for short) is mined from ancient salt deposits which formed when the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates collided with each other over 250 million years ago – the event which transformed an ancient primordial sea into what he now know as the tallest mountains in the world – the majestic Himalayas!
Himalayan pink salt is often sold as an exotic seasoning, however it has many more uses than simply spicing up your food! Simultaneously hydrate your skin, infuse your body with minerals and soothe sore muscles by soaking in an Himalayan salt bath. You can also use Himalayan pink salt to detoxify your organs, irrigate sinuses, reduce hypertension, improve digestion, balance your body’s pH and reduce acid reflux and. (Learn more about it from these 10 Incredible Ways Himalayan Salt Will Change Your Life! )
If you are interested in using Himalayan pink salt to spice up your meals, pick up an HPS grinder for your dinner table and use it in lieu of boring old NaCl. Or put Himalayan pink salt to work as a natural air purifier by placing a Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp (our favorite natural health gadget!) in your bedroom, den, library, office and every other room in your home
6. Neem Oil
The Neem Tree also known as the Indian Lilac (Azadirachta indica) has earned the nickname “Tree of Life” by those who understand the plant’s many uses and benefits. Neem trees grow quickly – thus it’s sustainable – even considered a weed in some parts of the world, evergreen, but sheds leaves during periods of severe drought (drought-resistant))
Neem oil – harvested from the fruit and seeds of the tree – is known for its ability to rejuvenate skin, speed wound healing, reduce inflammation, relieve rashes and remove warts. Neem is antibacterial, anti-fungal, antioxidant and anthelmintic. It can be used to reduce the urge to cough for those recovering from respiratory illnesses like bronchitis. Neem oil also helps to preventing tooth decay and gum disease, making it an excellent addition to homemade toothpastes and mouth rinses.
Furthermore, Neem oil is a highly-effective insect repellant. Neem may be used in shampoo or other haircare products to naturally deter or eliminate head lice. Use neem oil in the garden to control aphids and other pests without harming your plants. It even works against the loathsome mosquito!
If you’re ready to try it out, you can purchase 100% organic food grade Neem oil here.
Among the healthiest fruits on Earth, pomegranates are the berries of Punica granatum, a native shrub of the Himalayan mountains. Pomegranates have been extensively studied for their health benefits including the abilities to lower LDL and increase HDL cholesterol, improve heart health and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, prevent and combat certain forms of cancer (including breast, prostate and colon).
Pomegranate arils – the multitude of tiny seeds which are tightly packed within each pomegranate – are high in fiber, protein, vitamins C & K, folate and potassium. The fruit is known to reduce inflammation, fight off bacterial and fungal infections, relieve arthritis and joint pain, improve memory and boost concentration.
Drinking just 2 ounces of pomegranate juice daily (you can purchase 100% pure pomegranate juice here) is enough to reap the many health benefits of this amazing fruit. Pomegranate is also available in capsule form for those who don’t enjoy the taste of the fruit.
Anthocyanins such as those naturally present in pomegranates are well-known for their positive effects on heart and liver health, cognitive function, weight loss and vision, just to name a few. Read more about them in this article: 7 Life Changing Reasons To Eat More Anthocyanins.
Native to the semi-arid deciduous forests of the Indian subcontinent, Sandalwood is now also cultivated throughout the Pacific islands as well as in Northern Australia. The name Sandalwood actually refers to any species belonging to the genus Santalum, a taxon of slow-growing hemiparasitic plants (meaning they obtain water and nutrients from a host plant, but also possess limited photosynthetic capabilities) with very distinct aromatic qualities and powerful aroma-therapeutic properties.
Sandalwood essential oil is known for its abilities to ease anxiety, impart feelings of peacefulness and can even help you sleep, increases alertness (both physical and mental) but may give you the jitters if you find the smell of the oil unpleasant, anti-microbial and can be used to treat acne (in conjunction with salicylic acid), relieves pain, reduces inflammation (may be used to treat sunburn, eczema, psoriasis, epidermal warts and other inflammatory skin conditions), has potential to fight cancer.
Indian Sandalwood (Santalum album) is a protected species and the essential oil of this beautiful tree is very difficult to harvest responsibly. As such, it is one of the most expensive botanical distillates in the world. For these reasons, most people prefer to use essential oil harvested from the far more sustainable Australian Sandalwood tree (Santalum spicatum). You can order 100% therapeutic grade Autralian Sandalwood essential oil here.
If you’d like to learn more about Sandalwood, you’ll definitely want to peruse our article detailing the 9 Magical Benefits & Uses of Sandalwood Essential Oil to learn more about this incredible botanical oil.
9. Sea Buckthorn Berry
Constantly bombarded by high levels of ultraviolet radiation, extreme temperatures, heavy snows and dry, barren soil conditions; Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) grows primarily in the Spiti Valley, an arid region located high in the Himalayan mountains between Tibet and India. The berries of this spiny deciduous shrub have been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for over a millenium, and are even purported to have been used by the legendary Genghis Khan as one of the Mongol warlord’s secrets to success for keeping his army healthy and energized.
Containing a wide variety of amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, as well as over 60 antioxidant compounds; Sea Buckthorn Berry has traditionally been used to treat all manner of ailments throughout the body including (but not necessarily limited to) balancing cholesterol, speeding the healing of ulcers, improving colon health, relief and prevention of gout through improved kidney detoxification and fortification of the liver. Sea Buckthorn berry is anti-inflammatory and may be used to soothe skin rashes and irritations. It is known for its abilities to soothe tired sore eyes and improve vision, increase mental clarity, as well as cognitive and nervous function. The berries also help to ward off illness and fight infections by boosting lymphatic circulation, improving immune response and facilitating the healthy function of mucous membranes throughout the respiratory tract.
As if that weren’t enough, the essential fatty acids naturally present in Sea Buckthorn Berry are ideal for improving the health and appearance of skin, hair & nails, reducing signs of premature anti-aging and providing deep moisturize to intensely dry skin. Sea Buckthorn Berry can also help to fade epidermal (acne, eczema, etc) and sub-dermal (stretch marks) scars, as well as reduce the visibility of skin conditions like hyperpigmentation.
Learn more about Sea Buckthorn Berry plus 16 more incredible oils with amazing benefits for health and beauty in our 17 Anti-Aging Oils For Beautiful Skin + Recipes!
Formed in much the same way as Himalayan pink salt, Shilajit began life in the form of ancient trees and other organic materials which were long ago buried, crushed or otherwise swallowed up by the movements of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates. Once consumed by the stone, this material was then compacted over the course of millions of years as the two plates continue to shift and exert pressure against each other.
Every summer, as the sun warms the rocks and boulders high up in the Himalayan mountains, Shilajit – the nutrient-dense mineral pitch which is all that remains of those ancient forests – seeps out from crevices in the stone. According to Ayurveda and backed by modern science, Shilajit is the single best natural carrier for energy and nutrients into the human body due to its rich concentrations of humic and fulvic acids.
In addition to providing pure clean energy, Shilajit has been used for thousands of years to support cognitive function, digestion, healthy blood sugar, hormonal balance and whole-body detoxification. It normalizes the circadian rhythm to improve both quality and consistency of sleep, significantly accelerates regeneration of damaged tissues throughout the body and reduces inflammation in joints affected by arthritis or old injuries.
Probably the most incredible of all of its abilities, Shilajit actually increases the effectiveness of and reduces side-effects from other medicines taken in conjunction with the resin – whether they be natural remedies or pharmaceutical drugs.
Shilajit’s tar-like appearance may dissuade all but the most adventurous, however should you decide to try it for yourself, you can purchase genuine Himalayan Shilajit here.
Read more about the remarkable benefits of Shalijit in our recent article: 10 Reasons To Try Shilajit: Mother Earth’s Greatest Gift To Humankind