Friday, December 25, 2009

Alternative medicine: Apple

The many health benefits attributed to apples have given rise to the ancient saying that eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Botanical: Pyrus malus Family: N.O. Pomaceae Synonym: Wild Apple.

Malus communis. Habitat: The temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

Description: The 5 to 12 meter tall apple tree is deciduous. Its simple oval leaves are alternately arranged with acute tips. The flowers are white with a pink tinge which gradually fades. The centre of the fruit contains five carpels arranged in a five-point star.

Part Used Medicinally: The fruit and the bark. Constituents: Apple has 80 to 85 percent water, 5 percent proteid, 10 to 15 percent starch and sugar, and 1 to 1.5 percent acids and salts. All apples contain varying amount of the organic malic and gallic acids, vitamins A and C, pectin and iron.

Medicinal Uses: Fresh apple is rich in vitamins, and is used to treat scurvy. Apple is sedative and tonic. It is used to treat diabetes and lower the blood cholesterol.

It also has antiseptic and anti-rheumatismal effects and may help with heart disease, and weight loss. Apple's high content of vitamin C as well as other antioxidant compounds reduces the risk of colon, prostate and lung cancers.

Its fiber content helps regulate bowel movements. A group of chemicals in apples protect the brain from damages triggering neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinsonism. Apple consumption can act as an excellent dentifrice. It also pushes back the gums so that the borders are cleared of deposit. It's malic and tartaric acid content helps individuals with liver disorders.

Apple acids not only make the fruit itself digestible, but also help with the digestion of other foods. Its sugar is predigested and enters the blood rapidly to provide the body with energy and warmth. Apple juice, without sugar, reduces the stomach acidity and corrects sour fermentation. Consuming ripe, sour, juicy apples at bedtime cure constipation and some cases of insomnia. Regular apple consumption prolongs life span.

The glucoside extracted from apple bark and root, is effective in treating diabetes. Apple bark decoction is used to treat intermittent fevers. Cooked apples make a good homemade remedy for sore throats, fevers, eyes inflammation and erysipelas. Apple consumption appears to promote hair growth. It may also delay aging and skin wrinkles. A polyphenol compound extracted from unripe apples has an inhibitory dose-dependent effect against cholera toxin and can treat diarrhea.

Apple is a rich source of flavonoid and can improve lung function in asthmatics and lower the incidence of coughing and breathlessness in COPD patients. It may also prevent the development of carcinogenic substances in the bladder, lung and prostate. Consuming apples is related to a decreased risk of thrombotic stroke and heart attack mortality.

Apples play an important role in reducing the risk of a wide variety of chronic disease and maintaining a healthy lifestyle in general. In India, physicians prescribe apple cider vinegar in combination with the herb Gotu Kola to help revitalize the skin. When mixed with honey it improves digestion.

It is antibacterial and anti-fungal and boosts the immune system. It also fights respiratory infections, sore throats and nasal discharges. Apple cider vinegar is good in individuals suffering from arthritis because it breaks down calcium deposits in the joints while remineralizing the bones. Apple cider vinegar is a good remedy for food poisoning, urinary tract infections and lowering high blood pressure.

It is also a good source of potassium for diuretic users. preparation Eating 2 to 3 unpeeled red apples 3 times a day, is an effective treatment for diarrhea. Consuming unpeeled yellow apples before sleeping or in the morning is a good remedy for constipation. Eating 1 or 2 yellow apples after each meal will also lower the blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Eating green apples helps the liver function.

Caution Eating too many apples especially when cooked may cause amnesia. The fruit's malic acid erodes tooth enamel over time. The seeds, which contain small amounts of amygdaline, a cyanogenic glycoside, are mildly poisonous, but only chewing a large amount can cause toxic effects.