Yes, even the best athletes need to constantly be on their “A-game.” Every strain of muscle, nerve, and fiber requires ever-increasing agility and flexibility. And this places the highest demands on the body’s physical structure. Fortunately, one ancient tree, which has adapted through millennia, can transfer its adaptogen abilities to us. Say hello to your internal workout buddy – Eucommia bark!
When The Rubber Meets The Road
Primarily, Eucommia ulmoides Oliver (“Du Zhong”), endemic to China, is a tree cultivated for its medicinal properties. References to this highly prized herb of Traditional Chinese Medicine first appeared in “Sheng Nong’s Herbal Classic” of the Han Dynasty over 2,000 years ago. In fact, it shares the spotlight with the likes of Ginseng as a superior Chinese tonic! Specifically, the inner cambium layer of the outer cork bark is harvested from decades-old trees. (1)
Of this tree, the “Chinese Rubber Tree,” approximately 3-10% of the bark is made of a rubbery latex material. However, we should note that there is no relation to the South American rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). Also of interest, if you split the leaves, guess what? It reveals a wonderfully white latex substance that has elastic properties. Hence, the meaning of the tree being “good gum.” Not bad! (2)
While it can’t be tapped for its rubber or latex, as the doctrine of signatures suggests, the naturally occurring latex supports human connective tissue – and that’s not stretching the truth at all!
This rubbery substance is part and parcel when it comes to the active medicinal properties that Eucommia contains. So let’s get on the road!
According to the National Council on Aging, hypertension is the most common chronic disease in our modern age! (3)
Talk about a stressor! Pinoresinol diglucoside, a lignan also found in sesame seeds, cruciferous vegetables and olive oil, has proven to be a potent anti-hypertensive compound. This compound shows up in Eucommia bark, too. (4)
Other clinical trials revealed that Eucommia can indirectly lower blood pressure by boosting levels of nitric oxide (a vasodilator). In one study, researchers gave 30 healthy adults 1 gram of the herb three times daily for two full weeks. The study concluded: “The standardized Eucommia extract reduced BP and has beta-adrenergic blocking activity. Eucommia may be an appropriate nutraceutical intervention for prehypertension.” (5)
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Eucommia tops the charts when it comes to herbs to tonify the kidneys/adrenals. Research has confirmed this, as studies revealed that the addition of Eucommia to traditional medicine was more effective, safe, and superior to treating high blood pressure than drug therapy alone. (6)
Eucommia is an excellent choice if you’re an athlete with a busy schedule, weightlifter, or any kind of performer that makes physical exertion of the body. In TCM, the bark specially acts upon the kidney meridian, which in turn, reacts to strengthen the bones. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Psychology noted that the addition of Eucommia bark improved the “longitudinal bone growth rate in newly synthesized bone.” (7)
It is a known fact that Eucommia bark has the ability to promote the growth of osteoblasts – the stem cells responsible for building up bones. (8)
Furthermore, it exhibits phytoestrogenic and androgenic effects, meaning it functions to support the endocrine system with bio-identical hormones. This is fantastic for bone health due to the fact that androgen receptors are key when it comes to male and female musculoskeletal development, bone density, and sex drive. (9)
Another 2014 study proved to be an “alternative therapy for the prevention of disuse-induced osteoporosis” via its bone metabolism regulation. (10)
Apparently, combining the total lignan content with the bark matrix makes it so effective at preventing bone loss! (11)
This is great news for post-menopausal women. As a prophylactic tonic, the bark may help prevent the onset of osteoporosis by lowering estrogen.
Petri dish studies of Eucommia extract confirmed that it prevented inflammatory markers typical of osteoarthritic disease. Human trials have also shown that it has “collagen synthesis-promoting and cartilage-protective effects.” (12)
“Eucommia was demonstrated to have a cartilage-protecting effect in rats with osteoarthritis, potentially by improving cartilage metabolism, regulating the degradation of the extracellular matrix of the articular cartilage, and inhibiting apoptosis in chondrocytes, thereby slowing down joint degeneration.” (13)
Eucommia: A Super Safe Supplement
Everyone knows that most every herb is contraindicated for pregnant women for safety purposes. However, Eucommia is the all-star of pregnancy herbs! It has such a rich history as the most recommended herb in TCM for pregnant moms. It is also so powerful and well-balanced that it can be used on its own for long periods if needed. (14)
Interested? Then check out our Eucommia extract at this link, and start re-structuring your life one serving at a time.