Men's Health: Perils, Parts, and Prostates
It's important to talk about men and natural health. Despite being half the population, a lot of this field is targeted towards women...and that's just not fair! Here at Root 2 Route Botanicals, we aim to change that.
Let's start with some debunking. Did you know that a man’s change of life (sometimes nicknamed “manopause”) does not diminish his sex appeal or reduce what we view as his “maleness”? This myth needs to be busted, as it’s just a part of life and these body changes are nothing bad.
But, it's also a big change and it's important to take care of your body during it. This is why men and natural health are a match made in heaven.
When it comes to health, our bodies naturally strive to maintain it. Self-healing is universal. It is an innate part of who we are, no matter our gender, but sometimes we hide from our health problems. Men and boys tend to keep their issues tucked away more so than women. Sometimes it is because of pride, fear, or embarrassment. Sometimes, there just aren't the right resources, help, or information for men out there.
Women tend to have all kinds of visible signs...making it hard for us to hide our ailments! We get crabby when we’re being “hormonal” and we get down right nasty when we’re in a mood.
Because of anatomy, hormones, and how men are raised, they tend to react differently. It's important to take this into account when we talk men and natural health.
The History of Men's Allopathic ("Normal Doctor") Medicine
Because of our history of gender-specific medical systems, men tend to get the short end of the stick (IMHO). Throughout history, men have been the ones to carry the physical burdens of life, to be the “head of the family,” and during times of crisis or war, they are also the ones who were/are on the battlefield.
This is where the term “war medicine” came from. It's why men's medical care techniques are more like crisis-intervention medicine.
This is also why men tend to rely more on themselves and seek out medicine that is immediately effective. This allows him to carry on with his goals and strive towards whatever it is he is trying to accomplish in life.
Ever wonder how the CEO of a company is doing physically? How about that small business owner who is stretched so thin you’d think his phone is an extension of his body? My personal favorite visual is the guy on the floor of the stock market exchange. Just watching that gives me anxiety!
As men get older however, they become gentler and more supportive of life in general. His focus turns from the competitive physical nature of youth to one of wisdom, experience, and compassion. The competitive He-man becomes the gentle giant and over time is freed from many of the male rules he’s had to live with.
Why Men and Natural Medicine are Perfect Together
Herbs and holistic medicine are very different from allopathic treatments. It's not war medicine, but it does address the overall health of men.
Once men reach a certain age, mentally and physically, they often begin to consider a wider range of modalities. Finding those solutions however can be a little daunting if you don’t where to turn to. Quality nutrition, daily exercise, clean water, reduced intake of alcohol and nicotine, and a healthy outlook in life is an amazing start. By bringing on herbs and “alternative” healing, men can find a new balance and sustain their stamina, potency and prowess (rawr!).
Many of the men who come to me are most concerned about libido and prostate issues. These are areas of men's health that often change with age, so it is nothing to be ashamed of.
If this is you, start by slowing things down a bit and listening to what your body is saying. To start, learn about a few of my favorite herbs that benefit men.
Saw Palmetto: Great for Reproductive Health
Probably the most popular of male herbs, saw palmetto is an old North American tonic dating back as far as the Mayans. When blended with other herbs, its true magic comes out.
It has been known to work wonders on the body, including body weight, general health and reproductive organ health. This amazing berry also prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which leads to the enlargement of the prostate. It also:
- Addresses inflammation and blockages of the genito-urinary system
- Helps stimulate appetite and improve digestion
- Reduces inflammation and pain in the prostate
- Increases the bladders’ ability to contract and expel
- Increases blood flow to the sexual organs
- Regulate hormones
- Stimulates sexual drive
Nettle Root: Addresses BPH
While nettle leaf is common, it is the root that is very specific in its function. It is used primarily as a preventative prostate tonic and combines well with saw palmetto. Together they address the infamous BPH.
Cleavers: Cleanses and Reduces Irritation
This is by far one of the finest lymphatic tonics and cleansers. Cleavers also work as a cooling diuretic. This is good to use if there is burning during urination, as it helps reduce the lymphatic swellings and prostate irritation. One of things I enjoy about cleavers is that it also addresses issues such as chronic constipation, BPH, and fatigue.
Thuja: Many Uses
This young leaf twig is both alterative, antiviral, and is great for the genito-urinary system. While it a wonderful herb for lymphatic congestion, it is also beneficial for:
- Dribbling urine or bladder irritation
- Chronic prostatitis
- Urethritis causing a split in the urinary stream
- Cough or sneeze incontinence
Caution: Do not use Thuja with pregnancy, lactation, epilepsy, or gastritis
Using Natural Medicine Properly
Now that you have a little something to work with, don’t get crazy with these herbs (or really any herb). Our diets and lifestyles play a huge role in our health and should be our starting point. Think nutrient density, fiber, water, and physical exercise.
Each of us has a different story, meaning we all have different health needs and situations. If you have a lot of health issues, ask your ND, Herbalist, or practitioner about these herbs or others you are unsure of. We will be able to guide you in this.
*For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. (Because why would we want to do that?)