Herbal medicine comes from the plant kingdom. The human body according to the Bible was also made from the ground / earth and disintegrates into the ground when one dies.
Soil or land provides everything the human body needs to survive, including food, medicine, clothing, and shelter.
Plants are living things, they take up carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, while humans take in oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. God in his own wisdom, who created both man and plant, has categorically stated in the Bible that he eats plants and uses them to heal diseases.
Plants that grow in the soil are sometimes affected by viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, and excess oxygen, as their own byproducts.
Plants produce primary metabolites, which are carbohydrates, fats, and oils, and proteins, which are the food humans eat and survive.
In order for plants to survive in harsh environments, they produce secondary metabolites called phytochemicals, which have antioxidant, antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, antiparasitic, and many more properties.
Incidentally, man lives in the same hostile environment, which causes cancer, endocrine disorders and all other diseases and suffering.
Phytochemicals produced by plants are perfect solutions to ailments. Much of ancient medicine relied on the prescription of specific plants and herbs for healing, a practice still supported by contemporary research.
It is believed that naturally occurring compounds, known as phytochemicals (phyto means plant in Greek), are largely responsible for the protective health benefits of these plant-based foods and drinks, beyond those conferred by their vitamin and mineral content.
These phytochemicals, which are part of a large and diverse group of chemical compounds, are also responsible for the color, flavor and odor of plant foods, such as the dark shade of blueberries, tomatoes, pepper. , the bitter taste of broccoli and the pungent smell of garlic.
Phytochemicals, also called phytonutrients, are found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, herbs, spices, nuts, and seeds.
They are classified according to their chemical structures and functional properties. Phytochemicals include compounds such as salicylates, phytosterols, saponins, glucosinolates, polyphenols, protease inhibitors, monoterpenes, phytoestrogens, sulfides, terpenes, lectins, alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids and many others.
Research on specific phytochemicals in foods and their effects on disease risk is limited, but there is enough evidence – mainly by examining the association between foods rich in phytochemicals and disease risk – to strongly suggest that consuming foods and drinks rich in these compounds can help prevent disease.
There is some evidence to suggest that consuming foods rich in phytochemicals may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
A meta-analysis found that increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables from less than three to more than five servings per day was associated with a 17% reduction in risk.
Another meta-analysis suggested that the risk of coronary heart disease would decrease by four percent for each daily serving of fruits and vegetables added to the diet.
There is a wide range of benefits associated with the phytochemical content of these foods and drinks, including lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, increasing HDL cholesterol, while decreasing LDL oxidation, by dilating the blood vessels and decreasing the tendency of the blood to form clots.
Cocoa improves endothelial function by dilating blood vessels; it was more effective in people over 50.
A meta-analysis and systematic review of prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials found that an average of 2.5 to five servings of whole grains per day was associated with a 21% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. compared to consuming less than 0.2 servings per day. daytime.
The range of phytochemicals, including anthocyanins, phytosterols, phenolic acids, lignans and carotenoids, found in wheat, rye, oats, rice and other grains are believed to contribute to these effects. cardioprotectors.
Consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as eating habits, such as the Mediterranean diet which emphasizes these foods, have been linked to a reduction in the risk of several types of cancer, including breast cancer, lungs and colon.
A systematic review of 25 prospective studies found that an increase of three servings per day of whole grains was associated with a 17% decrease in the risk of colorectal cancer.
But not all studies on the consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains have found the same reduction in risk.
Consuming cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower has been linked to a lower risk of prostate, lung, breast, and colon cancer.
Research suggests that foods rich in phytochemicals may directly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, most likely by reducing inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity, and indirectly by preventing weight gain, the factor. greatest risk of the disease.
Some studies have shown that the reduction in risk is greatest with the consumption of green leafy vegetables, which are rich sources of phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals can provide protection against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Research suggests that phytochemicals, such as capsaicin (found in red pepper), curcumin (found in the spice turmeric), epigallocatechin gallate (a catechin in tea known as EGCG) and resveratrol (found in grapes, wine, and peanuts) may have neuroprotective effects.
Flavonoids, in general, are believed to help reverse age-related declines in cognitive function by increasing the number of connections between neurons and improving blood flow to the brain, which protects vulnerable neurons and improves the functioning of existing neurons.
Consuming foods rich in flavonoids, such as berries and cocoa throughout life can potentially limit, prevent or reverse normal or abnormal deterioration of cognitive function in the aging brain.
Researchers have found that phytochemicals have the potential to boost the immune system, prevent toxic substances in the diet from becoming carcinogenic, reduce inflammation, prevent DNA damage, and help DNA repair.
Plus, the likely health effects of phytochemicals that researchers have yet to recognize.
Laboratory research has focused on the antioxidant function of phytochemicals.
However, their antioxidant activity is reduced in the body during metabolism, and the levels present in the blood and tissues are fleeting and quite low.
For many phytochemicals found in foods, their antioxidant effects on cell signaling and gene expression may be more important for health than direct antioxidant activity, effects which can be observed even with low concentrations of phytochemicals. in plasma and tissues.
In addition to being rich sources of phytochemicals, plant foods are also sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals whose mechanisms have been more clearly elucidated.
But identifying which individual compounds are responsible for the benefits associated with foods rich in phytochemicals is difficult, if not impossible, due to the interactions that occur with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, as well as between the phytochemicals themselves.
The unique combination of these compounds may be the key to reducing disease risk, but this formula has yet to be identified and tested.
The author is a pharmacognosist, chief medical officer and CEO of the Medi Moses group of companies.