Examining Biological Immortality In Nature by Sarah Ikerd - Essay
Updated: Apr 28, 2022
(Click above to listen to this article. Video by Dinorah Delfin )
We don’t have to look far for examples of biological immortality. Upon closer examination, it’s clear we’re inspired and influenced by nature, in which we take part and are not separate from.
The first spectacular specimen comes from the world of flora, The Rose Of Jericho, also known as the “resurrection plant.” This desert moss repeatedly survives long periods of desiccation, reanimating upon hydration. It lasts by producing a protective sugar called “trehalose”, which preserves cell membranes. Trehalose is common to cocoons, and in the human realm, cryopreservation of cells.¹ Some dietary sources of the disaccharide include sunflowers seeds and shiitake mushrooms.
Perhaps the ancient Egyptians sought to emulate the behavior of desert plants when developing the mummification process. Although inexactly because they did it after death instead of before. (The common ingredient in embalming fluid is the Trehalose in Acacia.) Plants in arid climates have developed advanced and fascinating methods for survival. They predate us by a long shot, and we have a lot to learn from them.
(Rose of Jericho — Just add water)
Another example from the plant kingdom is the Bristlecone Pine, a gnarly tree native to
high altitudes of North America. What’s its secret to living thousands of years? A potent
stash of stem cells that functions as an ongoing backup genome! The cells only divide
when they need to, a process regulated by stress response proteins.²
(The Bristlecone Pine — How to live for thousands of years)
Let’s translate this back to the human condition for a moment. For starters, stem cell treatments are becoming more common. Controlled stressors such as exercise, intermittent fasting, and sitting in the sauna can be tools for longevity. These activities are known to stimulate the FOXO (Forkhead box O, for the shape) protective genes, shared amongst the animal kingdom, from the 30mm sea creature, the Hydra, to the human.³ Some dietary sources connected to FOXO are Green tea (ECGC), Apples (Quercetin), and Turmeric (Curcumin).⁴