Pearls look beautiful. They also have the power to keep you looking beautiful. Since ancient times, pearl has been a prized Chinese herbal secret for looking, feeling and staying young.
In the West, medicinal use of pearl is relatively new. As a supplement it is called Mother of Pearl. You might also encounter it with the Chinese name, Zhen Zu Mu. No matter what you call it, Mother of Pearl has a long well-document history of medicinal use.
Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Uses of Mother of Pearl
The wealthy turned to Mother of Pearl for its anti-aging and beauty effects. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine used it both internally and externally. As a powder, it was used to heal wounds, prevent wrinkles, erase blemishes and generally to keep skin healthy.
Internally, it was (and still is) used by Traditional Chinese Medicine to support the heart and liver. Mother of Pearl improves circulation, encourages a healthy blood pressure, and is attributed with improved vision. It also relieves anxiety and brings calm for a positive state of mind and better sleep.
Mother of Pearl remains an important “herbal” component of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Where Mother of Pearl is Used Today
An online search for Mother of Pearl or pearl powder will produce many results, especially for skin-care. Its reputation as a beauty enhancer remains as strong today as it has historically. Many skin creams and lotions use Mother of Pearl.
Mother of Pearl is also taken as an anti-aging, heart, liver and brain supplement. Just as in TCM practice, the pearl is ground up along with parts of the inner shell, all of which are digestible and full of nutrients. It’s important to remember that while pearls may be used for jewelry, they are formed from organic matter. Modern research has confirmed pearls are exceptionally nutrient-dense with incredible health benefits.
Nutrients Found in Mother of Pearl and Pearl Powder
Most of a pearl is calcium carbonate. You might be familiar with this as the main ingredient in antacids used to relieve indigestion and heartburn. While the calcium it supplies certainly delivers many health benefits, it is a rich source of many minerals, amino acids and other nutrients.
Minerals in Mother of Pearl can include zinc, magnesium, iron, copper, selenium, strontium and more. Many of these like zinc, magnesium, iron and selenium are essential. Other minerals like copper are considered trace nutrients that they human body needs, but only in small quantities. Mother of Pearl provides these small quantities that might otherwise be missing from the diet.
There are many amino acids provided by Mother of Pearl. They support cellular health and metabolism through their role in DNA and RNA renewal.
Other nutrients include compounds and mucopolysaccharides. Mother of Pearl contains ferric oxide, calcium phosphate and silica. Mucopolysaccharides are known for their anti-aging effects.
Together, these combine to make pearl a potent source of essential nutrients that deliver incredible health benefits.
Health Benefits of Mother of Pearl
Perhaps Mother of Pearl’s most captivating benefit involves its popular and traditional use as an anti-aging supplement. A recent study published in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis specifically evaluated this anti-aging potential. The results support TCM’s traditional use as a heart, liver and brain tonic. They also support all the money the wealthy spent on it to preserve their youth!
The trial involved twenty healthy middle-aged individuals. They were divided into two groups of ten, with one group getting the pearl while the other received a placebo. At the end of the study, those who received the pearl powder[i]:
- Showed significant higher overall antioxidant levels
- Substantially higher levels of glutathione, the human body’s super-antioxidant
- Increased superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, another powerful antioxidant produced by the body
Admittedly, this is a small study. However, the incredible boosts of pearl powder on human antioxidant levels supports earlier research which found Mother of Pearl an effective therapy to:
- Improve mood
- Reduce anxiety
- Enhance memory
- Promote healthy cholesterol levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Encourage restful sleep
- Support the immune system
- Make skin beautiful
- Increase bone and dental health
And, of course, high glutathione and superoxide dismutase levels have been linked to longevity and better quality of life.
How to Get the Most from Taking Mother of Pearl
Mother of Pearl can provide many health benefits on its own. However, Traditional Chinese Medicine’s approach suggests better effect if taken in combination with other nutrients. The effect is called synergism and refers to multiple herbs (or nutrients in this case) working together to enhance the effectiveness of each one.
The highly prized anti-aging effect provided by Mother of Pearl makes it useful as a component in heart, brain and liver supplement blends. It’s anti-anxiety effect makes it particularly useful for brain and mental health, memory support and mood. You can find it on its own or as a blend, but you’ll get the most when it’s taken in combination with other nutrients. And modern science and manufacturing have made Mother of Pearl easy to get and very affordable.
- Chiu HF1, et al. Efficacy of protein rich pearl powder on antioxidant status in a randomized placebo-controlled trial. J Food Drug Anal. 2018 Jan;26(1):309-317. doi: 10.1016/j.jfda.2017.05.010. Epub 2017 Jun 13.
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