People Live For a Long Time Here. Maybe.
There are basically three things to watch on your standard Azerbaijani television. The first is Muğam. It’s on every day, probably on every channel at some point, and Azerbaijani mothers coo “gözəl, gözəl” at the TV. The second is news describing something regarding Turkey, car accidents, or football. The third is a focus on really, really old people. People here are really proud of their longevity. In fact, the region just to the west of Lənkəran, called Lerik, brags about having some of the oldest people in the world. Some Azerbaijanis estimate ages to the astounding sums of 140 or 160 years old.
What, one may ask, is the actual age limitation for human beings? Are there limits? Is it possible to secure an active, creative life for 100 years? Of course. But what about 150 years? Again, the answer is “yes”.
It’s not uncommon to see people claiming to be ridiculous ages up in Lerik. I’m not going to say I know for sure, but I think it’s reasonable for me to doubt these ages, as it seems that the age of a human is not ready to rival geological epochs. Yet, I found this article, quoted above, rather enlightening, filling us in on the secrets to longevity long practiced by Azerbaijanis and other long-lived cultures around the world. One of my favorite passages:
The healing properties of garlic are often mentioned in books by numerous ancient authors throughout the region-in Azerbaijan, Arabia, Persia, Tibet and China. According to the “Tibbnama”, regular consumption of garlic prevents gray hair, strengthens memory and eyesight and is good for the heart. In Tibet, an herbal potion of garlic and spirits was known as an “elixir of youth.” In Azerbaijan, physicians used infusions of garlic and saffron in their spirits.
As if I needed another reason to love garlic, right?