Herbal healing power
It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said something along the lines that a weed is just a plant whose virtues who have not yet been discovered. You canâ€™t go through life with a name like Ralph Waldo without developing some solid qualities to compensate and Emerson obviously fostered his insight because he is right on the money with this observation. Plants are treasure troves of phytochemicals (plant chemicals) many of which have been proven to have beneficial effects for humankind either as food or medicine.
Now a new piece of research has shown a new pathway by which certain herbal medicines, fruits, and vegetables reduce inflammation and therefore block major diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Inflammation is increasingly being understood to be behind many of the diseases that are becoming epidemic in our time. Cancer, heart disease, and insulin resistance can all have an element of inflammation behind them. Given the importance of being able to find ways to reduce the incidence of these diseases some researchers decided to see if they could discover how certain plants acted to reduce inflammation. They looked at six natural plant chemicals that are known to have anti-inflammatory effects.
The compounds looked at were luteolin, quercetin, chrysin, eriodicytol, hesperidin, and naringenin. What the researchers found for the first time was that all of these substances block an enzyme in the body known as TBK1 and this is how they achieve a lot of their inflammatory action.
Luteolin was found to be the most potent inhibitor of TBK1. You will find luteolin in celery, thyme, green capsicum, and chamomile tea. Quercetin is found in apples, onions, and capers. Eriodicytol, hesperidin, and naringenin are found in citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons. Chrysin however is harder to get as it comes from a tropical vine known as the â€œblue passionflowerâ€.
What this research shows is that herbal medicine, and the plants that provide it, can be a powerful part of medicine for the future.