Anti-Aging Effect of a Natural Product, Maharishi Amrit Kalash (MAK)

Presented at
Joint Meeting of the International Union of Biochemists – Symposium No. 200, Satellite Meeting of the Oxygen Society, and the International Society for Free Radical Research, Berkeley, CA, January 26-27, 1990.

J.Z. Fields,* R.H. Schneider,** L. Wichlinski,* and J. Hagen.*

Conducted at
* Department of Pharmacology, Hines V.A. – Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL
** Department of Physiology, Maharishi International University, Fairfield, IA


Aging is a concept that is not clearly defined. Is it the genetically coded final stage in development or the random accumulation of errors? Operationally, aging is seen as a process that increases susceptibility to disease and dysfunction. Interventions to retard or reverse this process would decrease disease, improve human function, and thereby increase quality of life and at least mean survival time.

Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medicine of India, holds that Maharishi Amrit Kalash (MAK) has substantial anti-aging properties. Accordingly, we studied the effects of this novel herbal preparation, MAK, on aging and related parameters. MAK is a combination of 26 plants (Maharishi Ayurveda Products International, Stoneham, Massachusetts).

Fifty-eight C57BL/6 mice (males) started on dietary MAK supplements at 25 mo, and kept on them for up to 8 weeks, showed significantly (p<0.05) more activity (locomotion, +85%), more coordination (roto-rod, +23%) and lower heart weight (-30%).

For mice (n=58) started at 18 mo, 80% of MAK mice were alive at 23 mo vs. 48% for controls (p<0.05). In these survivors, body weights for controls (41.5 g) and for MAKmice (38.3 g) were not significantly different.

MAK also increased acute survival 7 days after injection of a cytotoxic drug mitomycin-c at 3.25 mg/kg: 100% of MAK (Fisher female) rats (9 of 9) were alive compared to 33% (2 out of 6) for controls (p<0.05).

The finding of H. Sharma (Physiol. Biochem. Behav., in press) that MAK prevents cancer also suggests an anti-aging effect. The anti-aging mechanism(s) may include scavenging of reactive oxygen metabolites (ROM) by low molecular weight anti-oxidants. Using aqueous extracts, we found that MAK was as competent as superoxide dismutase (100% inhibition) and as potent, mg for mg, at scavenging one oxygen free radical, superoxide anions, produced by human neutrophils (PMN) (reduction of ferricytochrome-c assay). In vitro, at similar MAK concentrations, hypochlorous acid (HOCl) was also scavenged (iodometric assay). HOCl is another PMN-generated ROM and may be even more directly involved in tissue injury.

The maximum anti-aging effects of MAK, the full effects in man, and the active ingredients of MAK and their mechanisms remain to be determined.

The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.