The healing origins of plants

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The healing origins of plantsThe healing composition of plant foods (vegetables, berries, fruits, spices) is extensive. Its medicinal treasury contains many different physiologically active components: vitamins, mineral salts and microelements necessary to maintain a normal metabolism in the body, pectins that promote the elimination of harmful waste products from the body, phytoncides that have a detrimental effect on many pathogenic microorganisms, and much more.


In this healing complex of substances, the leading role belongs to plant vitamins - indispensable nutritional factors. Vitamins are known to exert their effect in small amounts, but their deficiency causes a number of serious diseases associated with metabolic disorders, normal functioning of the nervous system and other disorders. The high biological activity of most vitamins is due to the fact that they are constituent parts of enzyme systems that catalyze protein, carbohydrate and other metabolic processes. In the absence of this or that vitamin, the corresponding enzyme cannot be built, and therefore, the biological reaction catalyzed by it falls out. Other points in the functioning of vitamins should be noted. The range of action of some vitamins is sometimes so wide that it is difficult to talk about their specificity, the effects of the action of various vitamins can partially overlap and there is a supportive, substitute, antagonistic or synergistic effect of them in relation to each other.

The healing origins of plantsThere are vitamins that dissolve in fats - A, D, E and water-soluble, which include vitamins C and group B; vitamin K is soluble both in water and in fats. This property of vitamins must be taken into account for the best possible assimilation by the body.

The strategy for the use of vitamins is rather vitamin prophylaxis. Their insufficient content in food helps to weaken the body's resistance to infectious diseases, various vitamin deficiencies and other diseases. Nowadays, chemically pure natural or synthetic preparations are sometimes used, but the best results are obtained from the parts of plants rich in vitamins (fresh or dry), which is explained by the content of a complex of vitamins and the presence of salts that increase the effectiveness of the mutual action.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is one of the widespread in plants and is formed in its green parts. All types of food greens are rich in vitamin C - green onions, dill, parsley, celery, salad, spinach, sorrel, fruits of berry and fruit crops - rose hips, sea ​​buckthorn, black currant, strawberry, gooseberry, apples (unripe fruits) and leaves walnut, from vegetable plants - red pepper and green pepper, rarely underground organs - horseradish, radish, and from wild-growing can be called nettles, bitter wormwood. Vitamin C is well preserved during canning, so in winter tomato paste, green peas, spinach puree are recommended, stuffed pepper... Vitamin C is well preserved in frozen berries, but after thawing, they must be used immediately for food. Growing conditions, vegetation phase, drying, storage method and terms are of great importance in the content of this vitamin. Thus, at relatively low temperatures, vitamin C, unlike other vitamins, is formed more vigorously, while in arid conditions, the content of ascorbic acid decreases. It was also noted that during the ripening period of pepper, with repeated watering, the accumulation of vitamin C increases.

The healing origins of plantsVitamin C participates in the process of tissue respiration, in the nutrition of blood vessels, improves the absorption of proteins and fats. It contributes to the normal development of the body, increases resistance to adverse environmental influences, resistance to infectious diseases, promotes efficiency and reduces fatigue.

Plants, rich in vitamin C, heal scurvy, delay the development of atherosclerosis, and accelerate wound healing. They are also used for flu, sore throat, rheumatism, pneumonia. The lack of ascorbic acid in the body causes a number of diseases: fatigue, headaches, drowsiness, lack of appetite, accompanied by swelling and bleeding of the gums, bruising in the tissues, and its complete absence leads to the development of scurvy. The daily dose of vitamin C for an adult is 60-70 mg.

Vitamin P

Vitamin P (from the Latin word "permeage" - to penetrate) is found only in plants. It has been established that vitamin P is active only in the presence of vitamin C, contributes to its better assimilation and, as it is assumed, prevents its oxidation. Vitamins P and C are involved in many metabolic processes and are usually found together. Therefore, there is more vitamin P in plants rich in ascorbic acid (rose hips, black currant, gooseberry, pepper, cabbage, tiered onions, watercress, fennel). Recently, searches for substances with P-vitamin activity have made it possible to identify an extensive group of compounds represented by flavones, catechins, anthocyanins, and leukoanthocyanins.

The complex of vitamins C and P in the body helps to strengthen the walls of the smallest blood vessels, capillaries, and normalizes their permeability. Vitamin P and its analogs are used together with ascorbic acid for diseases associated with increased permeability of blood capillaries, their fragility, with scurvy, scarlet fever, measles, hypertension, as well as during X-ray and radiotherapy. The daily requirement for vitamin P is about 200 mg.

B vitamins

These are various compounds, each of which has specific properties and is a special vitamin.

Vitamin B1

The healing origins of plantsVitamin B1 (thiamine) is found in many plants, seedlings, seeds (in particular, from legumes - in green peas), vegetable crops (potatoes, carrots), spicy plants (in some types of onions - batun, leek, multi-tiered), pepper, celery, watercress, dill, fennel. It is recommended to use it together with vitamin C. Vitamin B1 plays an important role in the activity of the nervous system, it is necessary for the normal functioning of the heart muscle and the gastrointestinal tract. Its absence or insufficiency leads to disruption of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, and causes diseases of the nervous system. The daily requirement is 1-3 mg.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is found in vegetables (carrots, onions, watercress, parsley), beans, lentils, grains corn, as well as fruit crops - plum, cherry, apricot, rosehip. For the active action of vitamin B2, vitamins B1 and B6 are necessary. The need for it increases with decreasing ambient temperature or intense sunlight.

Lack of vitamin B2 negatively affects the activity of the gastrointestinal tract, causes eye disease, nervous system disorders, and premature graying. The daily requirement is 3 mg.

Vitamin B3

The healing origins of plantsVitamin B3 (pantothenic acid) is found in the greatest amount in berries (black currant, raspberries, strawberries), fruits (apricot, cherry), vegetables (green beans, potatoes, cauliflower, tomato, carrot), spicy (parsley, onion), salad plants (asparagus). It participates in many metabolic processes - protein, carbohydrate and others.Clinical signs of a lack of this vitamin: growth retardation, skin lesions, graying, disruption of the gastrointestinal tract, nervous system (insomnia). The daily requirement is 2-3 mg.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is found from vegetable plants in potatoes, corn kernels, plums, currants, sea buckthorn, apples... Lack of it in the body causes anemia, dermatitis, convulsions.

Vitamin B9

The healing origins of plantsVitamin B9, or folic acid (antianemic factor). For the first time this vitamin is isolated from spinach leaves (the name comes from the Latin word folium - leaf). Contained in green parts of plants, as well as cabbage, gooseberries. Folic acid, together with iron, enhances hematopoietic function, is useful for anemia. The daily requirement is 1 mg.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) contains cobalt in the molecule. It has a beneficial effect on the hematopoietic organs, it is useful for certain skin diseases, radiation sickness.

Vitamin PP

Vitamin PP (niacin) protects and heals pellagra. There is a lot of it in potatoes, onion, pepper, cabbage, carrots, parsley, dill, fennel, apricot, peach, plum, raspberry, strawberry, gooseberry, currant. The daily requirement is 5 mg.

Vitamin A

Plants contain only its provitamins (pigments carotene and carotenoids), which, under the action of enzymes, are converted into vitamin A. Red color. Carrots, spinach are very rich in carotene, pumpkin, corn kernels, parsley, rose hips, sea buckthorn, apricot, and dandelion, chicory, nettle, marigold flowers.

The healing origins of plantsLack of this vitamin causes eye disease, dry cornea, impaired liver function, metabolism cholesterol, decrease in resistance to infectious diseases. The daily rate is 4-5 mg.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E (tocopherol) is widespread in plant products, from garden crops there is a lot of it in lettuce, carrots, cabbage, green onions, beans, potatoes, corn, sea buckthorn fruits, rose hips, apricot, and from wild - nettles, plantain. Cooking food somewhat reduces its activity.

Vitamin E is essential for the reproduction process. With its deficiency, there is a violation of mineral, protein, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, as well as reduced resistance to bacterial and viral infections. In addition, vitamin E protects vitamin A from oxidation. The physiological requirement per day is 20-30 mg.

Recently, a high antioxidant activity of this vitamin has been revealed. Disadvantage antioxidant substances in the body leads to an intensification of the oxidative process (increased formation of peroxide compounds, biochemically active radicals), which in turn causes the development of a number of pathological conditions (atherosclerosis, muscular dystrophy, liver diseases). Antioxidants help mobilize the body's defense systems and determine the intensity of the response to pathogenic effects. In addition to vitamin E, antioxidants include other vitamins - C, A, as well as derivatives of tannin, pyrocatechin, flavonoid pigments and other substances.

Vitamin U

The healing origins of plantsVitamin U is a compound with antiulcer effect. The richest source of this vitamin is White cabbage, it is also found in beets, tomatoes, carrots and other vegetables. Vitamin U normalizes the functions of the stomach, has a beneficial effect on its mucous membrane. It also has an anti-sclerotic effect, since it affects the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and prevents excessive accumulation of fat in the liver. Vitamin U is unstable to heat, so it is advisable not to overcook vegetables.In fresh frozen and canned vegetables, vitamin U remains for quite a long time.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K (K is the initial of the word coagulation) contributes to blood clotting, which is important for bleeding, wound cuts.

Plants rich in vitamin K are often used in the form of decoctions and herbal preparations, for example, corn silk, nettle leaves, shepherd's purse, avian knotweed, yarrow. From vegetable plants, there is a lot of this vitamin in parsley, fennel, cabbage, carrots. In the absence of vitamin K in the body, even a small wound causes prolonged bleeding.

Organic acids

Organic acids are found in plant cell sap. Fruit is a rich source of many organic acids. The most common are formic acid (apples, raspberries), acetic acid (in various fruits and vegetable juices), apple, lemon (apples, pear, strawberries, raspberries, currants), amber (red currants, unripe cherries, cherries, apples), salicylic acid (raspberries, blackberries) and in the form of glycosides (in tricolor and fragrant violet) and esters (in chamomile, wormwood, yarrow oil).

The healing origins of plantsUnder the influence of organic acids (malic, citric), the secretion of digestive juices increases, intestinal peristalsis is enhanced, digestive processes are improved, this is especially important for those who have a reduced release of hydrochloric acid.

Organic acids play an important role in the regulation of acid-base balance, alkalize the internal environment, and remove the body from the state of acidosis.

Succinic acid is of great importance, it is an adaptogenic agent that improves performance in adverse conditions. However, it should be borne in mind that excessive consumption of carbohydrate foods leads to excess formation of acetic acid, and hence cholesterol (since part of the acetic acid is used for cholesterol synthesis). Plants rich in oxalic acid (most of all in sorrel, then in spinach, rhubarb), must be used with caution, since they negatively affect salt metabolism, form insoluble salts with calcium.

Essential oils - volatile substances

In terms of chemical composition, these are complex mixtures of various compounds. Essential oils accumulate most (especially in dry conditions) in leaves (mint, sage, thyme) and protect them from overheating; found in fruits (caraway, coriander, fennel, anise), sometimes in underground organs (horseradish), where they probably serve to protect against underground pests (germinating seeds and roots). The content of essential oil in plants varies widely. In some species, the essential oil accumulates unevenly in different parts of the plant: not only the quantity, but also the quality of the oil varies according to organs (for example, in the intestine, oil from ripe fruits has a different smell than oil from leaves). The amount and composition of the oil varies with the growing season. There is a lot of oil in leaves and grass during flowering, in fruits when they ripen.

The healing origins of plantsPlants containing essential oils have been used in medical practice for a long time. So, the effect of essential oils on the mucous membrane is used for diseases of the nose and throat in the form of inhalation. The expectorant effect of some oils is based on the same property. Many essential oils have a local irritating effect on the skin and mucous membranes, they are used in the form of scented baths, rubdowns. Some essential oils, when absorbed, irritate the kidneys and act as a diuretic. Essential oils have bactericidal properties and are used as disinfectants in the treatment of wounds infected with microbes that are resistant to action antibiotics... The lack of essential oils as an antimicrobial agent is their rather narrow spectrum of action, therefore it is advisable to use essential oils with a different spectrum of action.

On the basis of the main, most valuable, constituent parts, essential oils are divided into several groups. Most of them belong to terpenes and their derivatives: mono-, biterpenes. From monoterpenes, menthol with a mint smell, ketone, carvone with a caraway smell, etc. are released. All these substances have an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and local anesthetic effect on the skin. Of the sesquiterpenes, a special group is represented by azulene substances (azulene, chamazulene) contained in chamomile, wormwood, and yarrow. Azulene, or blue oil, comes from the German word asurblau - azure, so named for its blue or purple color. Azulene substances have hypotensive, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory effects and are widely used for the treatment of burns, radiation ulcers; are also effective in the local treatment of ulcerative cystitis and, unlike antibiotics, do not irritate the bladder. Hamazulen has a wound healing and anti-inflammatory effect (wormwood, yarrow). It is also used for various allergic diseases, for example, chamazulene therapy cures acute and chronic asthma in childhood.


The healing origins of plantsPhytoncides are protective chemicals that have a detrimental effect on microorganisms. In terms of chemical composition, they are diverse, among them there is a volatile fraction that acts on pathogenic microorganisms at a distance, and non-volatile tissue juices that act in contact. Volatile phytoncides include essential oils, sometimes sulfur-containing compounds (for example, horseradish, radish) or nonspecific substances - aldehydes, lower volatile acids. Many volatile phytoncides have not yet been chemically studied. Non-volatile substances are more diverse and more difficult to classify.

Plants with phytoncidal properties have long been widely used in folk medicine. And now they are successfully used in the treatment and prevention of many diseases (the so-called phytoncidotherapy): flu, catarrh of the upper respiratory tract, diseases of the gums and teeth, pustular skin diseases; in addition, they enhance the motor, secretory function of the gastrointestinal tract, contribute to the improvement of the intestines, suppressing the processes of putrefaction and fermentation in it. Phytoncides are characterized by a pronounced therapeutic effect in some diseases of the heart and nervous system. So, phytoncidal drugs garlic and onions are prescribed for hypertension and atherosclerosis.

The phytoncidal properties of plants are used for canning vegetables and storing food, as well as for disinfecting seeds and combating plant diseases and pests. It is possible to use volatile phytoncides in veterinary medicine to optimize the indoor air in which farm animals are located, and as disinfectants. The therapeutic role of phytoncides in the garden is no less important for improving the air, saturating it with biologically active oxygen, since it is known that if oxygen is weakly ionized, then oxygen starvation maybe even with its normal content. Under the influence of phytoncides, the bactericidal capacity of the air also increases.

Proteins, fats and carbohydrates (BJU)

Important components of the diet are proteins, fats, carbohydrates. Proteins, and partly fats, are plastic substances, that is, used in the body to build new and replace old ones. The metabolic products of protein substances include amino acids, amides, amines. The nutritional value of proteins is determined by their constituent amino acids (there are only 20 of them), and among them 9 are irreplaceable, most of which are found in plants - cystine, lysine, tryptophan, arginine, methionine. Some of the amino acids - leucine, tyrosine, arginine, histamine - are often found in plants in a free state: in ripening seeds, roots, and tubers.

The healing origins of plantsProtein legume seeds in amino acid composition they are close to animals.Amides noted in plants include: asparagine, guanidine, glutamine. Asparagine is found in asparagus, it is also found in legumes (peas), asteraceae (sunflower, dandelion), celery (carrots). Guanidine is found in sugar beets, corn, and other plants. Proteins are often in the form of various complexes with non-protein components (nucleic acids, vitamins, metals - iron, molybdenum), forming a group of proteids.

Proteins through the nervous system stimulate metabolism, increase the body's resistance to infections, take part in the formation of enzymes and hormones. Recently, great importance is attached to amino acids as biologically active substances, some of them are used in nutritional therapy.

Among protein compounds, an important role belongs to enzymes, catalysts of vital processes. Among the hydrolysis group of enzymes, one can name: esterases, which are involved in the formation or cleavage of esters, carbohydrases, which break down glycosides and polysaccharides into monosaccharides, and proteases, which break down proteins into amino acids. Esterases include, for example, lipase contained in legume seeds (beans, peas), in sunflower seeds, phosphatase in beans, potatoes and other plants. Among carbohydrases, one can name sucrose, maltose, and others found in many plants, as well as polyase - in all plant organs rich in carbohydrates, inulinase, which breaks down the inulin molecule into fructose, pectinase - breaks down pectin into water-soluble reducing products.

Carbohydrates - sources of energy in the body, are presented in the form of various sugars. Among carbohydrates, there are mono-, oligo- and polysaccharides. Of the monosaccharides, the most widely distributed glucose, fructose in green parts of plants, seeds, flower nectar, various berries and fruits. Disaccharides include sucrose (cane or beet sugar), found in leaves, stems, seeds, fruits, berries, roots and tubers of various plants.

Polysaccharides by nature and functional significance are reserve (starch, inulin), skeletal (fiber, lignin, pectin) and are composed of glucose molecules.

The healing origins of plantsStarch as a reserve nutrient is deposited in fruits, seeds, wintering underground organs, and the core of the trunks. It is used not only as food, but is also used in medicine as an enveloping agent for gastrointestinal ailments and, in a mixture with other substances, is prescribed in ointments and powders for skin diseases. In some plants, starch replaces inulin, which is made up of fructose molecules. Inulin, as a starch and sugar substitute, is easily absorbed, therefore it is used in the treatment of diabetes. Contained in the underground organs of chicory, dandelion, artichoke.

Pectin substances are formed from halocturonic acid, from which the intercellular substance is built in plant tissues. Without pectins, the body cannot function normally. They have adsorbent and astringent properties, help to neutralize and remove toxic substances from the body, including excess cholesterol.

Pectins improve digestion, have a disinfectant, choleretic, diuretic, laxative effect. They are used in the treatment of children's diarrhea (apple diet), they are also used as a prophylactic agent to reduce the risk of industrial poisoning.

Raw vegetables and fruits are a rich source of pectins. A lot of pectin contains fruits of strawberries, rose hips, black currants, apples, cherries, gooseberries, as well as radishes, beets, celery.

The composition of the plant cell membrane mainly includes fiber (one fiber molecule consists of 60-100 glucose molecules).Fiber is almost not digested in the stomach, but despite this, it is necessary, since, by irritating the nerve endings of the walls of the stomach, stimulates the secretion of gastric juice, bile, improves digestion, has a beneficial effect on the activity of beneficial microorganisms that live in the intestine, and at the same time helps to remove harmful bacteria.

Fats, like carbohydrates, provide the body's energy needs. Fats of vegetable origin are of great importance in the diet of elderly people, they help to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood and inhibit the development of atherosclerosis. With their lack, metabolism is disturbed.


The healing origins of plantsMineral substances contained in plants also play an essential pharmacological role, performing various regulatory functions. By their quantitative content in plants, they are divided into macro- and microelements. Macronutrients - potassium, calcium, magnesium, silicon, phosphorus, iron and others are quite widely found in plants. Potassium is especially important: it participates in almost all physiological processes. Potassium salts regulate the acid-base state of the body, help get rid of excess fluid and sodium salts. Plants with a high potassium content are widely used in medical nutrition for edema, hypertension, heart, kidney and liver diseases. Such plants include spicy aromatic plants - onions, watercress, lettuce, parsley, peppers, celery, vegetables - carrots, eggplant, pumpkin, radish, radish, cabbage, tomatoes, fruit - pear.

Calcium in combination with phosphoric acid and magnesium is actively involved in the formation of the bone skeleton, is in the blood serum. Together with potassium, it participates in blood coagulation, excitability of the nervous system and muscles, increases the tone of the heart muscle. A significant amount is found in cabbage and lettuce, cabbage, green onions, leeks, parsley, radishes, radishes, carrots. Iron serves as the basis for the formation of hemoglobin: a lack of it causes a breakdown, anemia. Normal absorption of iron occurs only in the presence of vitamin C in the human body. Plants containing iron are recommended for anemia (anemia). A lot of iron in an easily digestible form is found in apples, strawberry, gooseberries, as well as in spicy plants (parsley, celery), horseradish, radish, radish, onions (leeks, batune), lettuce, spinach, tomatoes.

Trace elements, which include copper, manganese, nickel, arsenic, cobalt, molybdenum, zinc, are found in plants in low concentrations (usually thousandths of a percent). The action of trace elements that make up enzymes, vitamins, hormones is manifested mainly in their effect on metabolism, intracellular metabolism, tissue respiration, hematopoiesis, and growth. The biological effect of this or that trace element depends on the presence of other trace elements in the body. So, cobalt effectively acts on hematopoiesis in the presence of a sufficient amount of copper and zinc in the body. In medicine, plants containing microelements, as well as macronutrients, are used as medicines, since a number of diseases are associated with a lack of one or another element. Recently, for blood diseases, preparations from plants containing cobalt have been used, it is also a part of vitamin B12. Zinc is important in the formation of insulin in the pancreas, which is especially important in diabetes mellitus.

The healing origins of plantsWith a lack of zinc, growth retardation, skin roughness, increased susceptibility to infections, drowsiness, depression. A good source of this trace element is peeled legumes. Copper deficiency causes anemia, depigmentation of hair and skin, and disruption of the central nervous system. The largest amount of copper is found in legumes and walnut plants.

It should be noted that an excess of even a vital trace element in food, which can be due to various reasons (pollution in the environment, storage in zinc or galvanized dishes), has a harmful effect on the human body.

Biologically active compounds

When describing plants, other biologically active compounds can also be mentioned, in particular, a wide group of substances related to glycosides, coumarin derivatives, and alkaloids.


Glycosides (from the Greek word "glycos" - sugar) are complex substances consisting of sugars associated with the non-sugar component aglycone (“aglycon” means “non-sugar”), which can be of a very diverse nature. Despite the "sweet" name, glycosides are very bitter substances (just recall wormwood). Glycosides are unstable substances and in water, especially acidified, under the influence of an enzyme, they are easily broken down into sugar and aglycone. Enzymes are involved not only in the breakdown process, but also in the synthesis of glycosides. At high temperatures (60-70 ° C), enzymes are inactivated, which is also observed at low temperatures, but with a subsequent increase in temperature to the optimal limit, they are reactivated. These features must be taken into account when collecting and drying plants. When a plant dies off, a rapid enzymatic decomposition of glycosides occurs, and if the plants are densely folded, this leads to self-heating and the creation of optimal conditions for disrupting the bond between aglycone and the sugar part. Therefore, the collected glycoside-containing plants must be immediately laid out for drying, or dried at 60-70 ° C to paralyze the activity of enzymes. When storing plants, do not allow them to become damp, since enzymes that break down glycosides in dry material do not show their effect.

The glycoside may contain one, two or more sugars, which are gradually cleaved off during hydrolysis, giving a "stepwise decomposition" of the glycoside. The therapeutic effect is inherent in the non-sugar part - aglycones. Sugars provide the solubility and easy absorption of glycosides, while aglycones do not possess these properties and show little effect. Due to the instability of glycosides, decoctions are used for medicinal purposes and in one form or another of extraction. Many plants containing glycosides are poisonous and used for medicinal purposes in small doses.

Glycosides are classified by the chemical structure of the aglycones. Here are some of these groups of glycosides. Cardiac glycosides as the most effective means of treating heart diseases (insufficient cardiac activity) include a number of plants, including lily of the valley, containing the glycoside convallactoxin. Bitter substances have long been used for indigestion and to increase appetite (enhance the secretory function of the gastrointestinal tract, promote the secretion of bile and gastric juice) and constitute the second group of glycosides. They differ from alkaloids and cardiac glycosides in non-toxicity. Among. These substances are distinguished by simple bitterness and aromatic bitterness. The latter include bitter-spicy plants containing, in addition to bitter substances, essential oils. For example, wormwood herb, in which the bitter glycoside is the substance absintin and anabsintin. Thioglycosides are substances containing sulfur in the aglycones. They are characterized by a pungent and pungent taste, cause tearing and irritate the skin, stimulate appetite in small quantities, cause flushing (redness) or burns on the skin, have a strong bactericidal and anti-inflammatory effect. Thioglycosides (otherwise called mustard oil glycosides) are found in greater or lesser amounts in garden vegetables: horseradish, radish, radish, swede, turnips, cabbage and in bulbs of onion plants (onion, garlic).These substances and plants containing them are used in the form of various dosage forms for rheumatism, sciatica, gout and other diseases.

The healing origins of plantsFrom the group of compounds related to saponin glycosides, mention can be made of sapogenic acid, which is a triterpene derivative of polygallic acid and is found in the roots of sugar beet.

Anthracene glycosides, depending on the details of the structure, have different therapeutic properties. Of particular interest are anthraglycosides, which have a laxative effect. The aglycones of anthraglycosides are called anthraquinones. The pharmacological action is based on their cleavage in the colon and increased peristalsis. A special group is made up of glycosides that act as a diaphoretic. For some plants, such as raspberries, it has been convincingly shown that it is the glycosidic fraction that causes the diaphoretic effect, but the chemical structure of these substances is still poorly understood.

Phenol glycosides include compounds containing phenols in the composition of aglycone and possessing bactericidal properties, used in inflammatory processes of the kidneys and urinary bladder. Among them, there are derivatives of salicylic acid in the form of arbutin glycoside found in pear leaves. The extensive group of phenolic glycosides includes flavonoid pigments, which cause a wide variety of colors of flowers and fruits. Flavones and flavonols are responsible for the yellow color, anthocyanins are responsible for the red, purple, blue color. Flavonoids are found in all parts of the plant, while they can be contained in different amounts and composition, as well as their mixtures. In plants, they take part in redox metabolic processes and, having antioxidant properties, preserve vitamin C. In addition, flavonoids may serve as a protective light filter against the action of ultraviolet rays. The medicinal value is due to the broad therapeutic effect of various flavonoids. So, rutin and some other flavonoids (with P-vitamin activity) are distinguished by the property of strengthening the walls of capillaries and are used as a therapeutic and prophylactic agent for vascular diseases, hypertension, atherosclerosis, to normalize the state of the nervous system. Rutin is also used for radiation therapy and frostbite. Sources of such substances are strawberries, raspberries, black and red currants, apples, cherries. A number of flavonoids have an antispasmodic effect on smooth muscles, and therefore plants containing them are used for diseases of the liver and kidneys, especially for stones.

Anthocyanins are glycosides that break down into a sugar component and an aglycone anthocyanidin. From a medical point of view, they are of interest as having bactericidal properties. Anthocyanidins include pelargonidin, which is found in the form of glycosides in strawberries and radishes. Cyanidin in complex forms is found in cornflowers, currant berries, blackberries, raspberries, and cherries. Delphinidin is found in grapes, dark purple mallow, and blue eggplant skins. In addition to the listed anthocyanidins, their methoxyl derivatives are known: peonidin (dye of peony flowers), petunidin (in dark grape varieties), malvidin - determines the color of blue grapes. In fruits and vegetables, anthocyanins are found in the peel (apple, plum, pear, cherry, cherry).

Tannins, or tannins, which are widespread in plants, are close to glycosides. They have the property of forming a water-impermeable, elastic and durable film with proteins. The use of tannins for tanning leather is based on this property (usually oak bark was used, which is why this process is called tanning, and the substances are tanning) and in medicine. Medical use in the form of astringents is associated with the formation of a film on the mucous membranes that prevents further inflammation, and tannins applied to wounds coagulate blood and act as a local hemostatic agent.Due to the phenolic nature of the action, tannins have bactericidal properties. Tannins are used externally as astringent and bactericidal agents. With inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and pharynx - in the form of a rinse, with burns - in the form of a powder, for bleeding - in the form of lotions, and inside - for gastrointestinal disorders. Solutions of tannins precipitate not only with protein substances, but also with alkaloids, glycosides and heavy metals, therefore they are used in case of poisoning as first aid. Tannins are found in one amount or another in almost all plants (there are many of them in pears). When exposed to air, tannins oxidize easily, as indicated by the browning of peeled raw potatoes and apples.

Of the numerous group of coumarin substances, the most important for medicine are furocoumarin derivatives, which have a strong antispasmodic, coronary dilating and sedative effect. In addition, some of them have an antihelminthic effect, others have an antifungal effect. Some of these compounds increase the sensitivity of human skin to UV radiation from the sun. So, it is known that garden celery containing furocoumarins (parsley, etc.), when working with them on sunny days, cause painful dermatitis on the hands.


Alkaloids are complex organic nitrogen-containing compounds of a basic (alkaline) nature with a strong and specific effect. The name alkaloids comes from two words: Arabic "alkali" - alkali and the Greek "eidos" - similar. Alkaloids easily dissolve in alcohol, many of them are poisonous, but when ingested in small doses (0.01 g), they often have a therapeutic effect. The structure of alkaloids is very diverse. Not all plant parts are equal in alkaloids. The quantitative content of alkaloids depends on the phase of plant development. In plants, they are in the form of salts of various organic acids - malic, citric, oxalic.


And finally, revealing the healing sources of food plants, it is worth noting the importance of juices, which concentrate the entire complex of biologically active substances. This gives them such advantages as the speed of their assimilation and involvement in metabolic processes, high catalytic properties, the absence of herbicides in them. They quench thirst well, stimulate appetite, stimulate the activity of the digestive glands and bile secretion, promote better absorption of food. Juices are excellent suppliers of vitamins; they contain sugars, pectins, organic acids, and mineral salts that are easily absorbed by the body. Vegetable juices contain fewer organic acids, but they are richer in mineral salts, and the calorie content of fruit juices is higher due to their high sugar content. Fruit and berry juices are also valuable for the fact that vitamin P is usually accompanied by ascorbic acid in them. Juices can also be opaque due to the content of the pulp, which, of course, additionally enriches them with various useful organic substances. Juices are especially useful for those suffering from diseases of the digestive system.

The healing origins of plantsGrape juice contains a lot of sugar and potassium, but is poor in vitamins, and in strawberry and blackcurrant (although acidic) vitamins (most of all C) predominate. Apple - rich in iron and vitamin P, and raspberry, gooseberry - copper. Carrot juice is rich in carotene and iron, and also contains vitamins C, E, B2, PP, cobalt, copper and helps to normalize metabolism, improves blood formation. Tomato juice contains calcium, iron, carotene, sugar.

A valuable additive is the juices of freshly squeezed spicy plants (parsley, celery). From wild plants, nettle and dandelion juice is useful. In Germany, they are widely used as a preventive measure against spring fatigue.

By mixing juices in a certain combination, you can get aromatic and tasty drinks and, in addition, the combined action of the juices of several plants is more effective: they are richer in various vitamins and mineral salts. It is advisable to combine sour juices with sweet ones, non-aromatic ones with aromatic ones, thick ones with more liquid ones. Carrot and apple with grape or apricot, tomato with apple, plum with strawberry go well. Some juices can be used medicinally. So, a mixture of carrot, plum (or apricot) has a laxative effect. Juices from cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, grapes, watermelon, strawberries, apples are recommended for gastritis and other diseases of the stomach and intestines, accompanied by low acidity. Usually they drink 150-200 g of juice 30-40 minutes before meals. If the acidity of gastric juice is increased and its secretion is enhanced, juices from rutabagas, gooseberries, cherries, plums, raspberries, apricots are useful. They inhibit gastric secretion.

Safina L.K.

Food plants and their medicinal properties   Green and yellow vegetables

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