Legend has it that over 2000 years ago, the first Emperor of China sent a team of 1,000 men to Japan to track down an herb said to slow down aging and defeat illnesses. Although it is believed that the Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, died before he could ingest the herb, he probably turned to it because of its local nickname, the ”immortality herb”. This plant, the ashitaba leaf, is now available in Karuna’s newest juice Viva. The product is Karuna’s first to contain the mythical ashitaba plant.
Viva is a flavorful blend of kiwi, pomegranate, beets, monk fruit, ashitaba and aronia berries. Both Aronia berries and ashitaba leaves have been used in traditional health remedies for centuries and today, many of their benefits have be proven by medical research.
The Japanese first used ashitaba in medicine after the inhabitants of the Izu islands, which the plant is native to, noticed that people who ate it tended to live longer. Recently, scientists discovered that the herb contains a compound not naturally found anywhere else, 4,4′-dimethoxychalcone, also known as DMC. In this study, consumption of DMC extended the life span of worms and fruit flies.1 It is also possible that the high vitamin B content of ashitaba could contribute to a longer life, since vitamin B has shown promise in slowing down physical and mental decline as we age. 2
Native American cultures have used aronia berries in herbal treatments for centuries. Although the plant is in fact a fruit, its “berries” have higher levels of antioxidants than most other nutrition-rich sources, such as blueberries and cranberries. This could explain why consuming aronia berries might reduce the risk or severity of many illnesses, including diabetes-related inflammation, obesity, liver damage, high blood pressure and cell damage from cancer. 3
While these two plants often are called “superfoods”, they can be hard to find in North American supermarkets, but now you can find them both in Viva.