Native to Europe and the Middle East, during the past fifty years asparagus has grown so popular as a vegetable that farmers now grow it around the world. Before this, asparagus had a long history as an herbal medicine.
The minerals zinc and copper can be purchased as single products, but there’s good reason to consider a combination product that pairs the two.
Zinc blocks the absorption and enhances the excretion of copper when taken over time. So, when zinc is recommended long term (over many months) for any condition–from arthritis to prostate problems or even Alzheimer’s–it’s important to get some copper as well. A combination product will help prevent a copper deficiency and the anemia that can develop as a result.
The Aztecs and Mayans were the first to recognize healing properties in the root of the wild yam (Dioscorea villosa),a climbing vine. They used it to relieve pain. Years later, Native Americans and early colonists made such a practice of treating joint pain and colic with this native North and Central American plant that it was, for a time, popularly referred to as “colic root.”
Day by day, there’s probably no nutrient as actively involved in keeping your system running smoothly as vitamin B6. Technically an umbrella term used to describe three B vitamins (pyridoxine, pridoxal, pyridoxamine), vitamin B6 partakes in no fewer than 100 chemical reactions throughout the body. It functions primarily as a coenzyme, working along with other enzymes to speed up chemical reactions in cells.
This famed vision-enhancing nutrient was isolated in 1930, the first fat-soluble vitamin to be discovered. The body acquires some of its vitamin A through animal fats. The rest it synthesizes in the intestines from the beta-carotene and other carotenoids abundant in many fruits and vegetables.
Essential for hundreds of chemical reactions that occur in the body every second, the mineral magnesium has received surprisingly little attention over the years. Recent findings, however, suggest that it also has important health-promoting benefits, from an ability to prevent heart disease to a role in treating such chronic conditions as fibromyalgia and diabetes.
A source of fiber for linen fabric since ancient times, the slender flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) also boasts a long history as a healing herb. First cultivated in Europe, the plant’s brown seeds were regularly used to prepare balms for inflamed skin and healing slurries for constipation. Today, flaxseeds–also called linseeds–are best known for the therapeutic oil that is derived by pressing them. Rich in essential fatty acids, or EFAs, flaxseed oil has earned a solid reputation for treating a range of ailments, from heart disease to lupus.
Generations of American women have known that the bitter native cranberry isn’t just the basis of a Thanksgiving relish. In fact, these small, dark red berries have a long medical history in addition to a colorful culinary one. Specifically, cranberry juice and cranberry extract appear to help prevent and even eliminate urinary tract infections. Most women develop this type of problem at least once in their lives, and some suffer from constant recurrences.