Plant Compounds

Many of the compounds used in Traditional healing are found in the roots of plants.

Together with rhizomes or the underground stems of plants, these structures are buried beneath the earth.

 Underground cells respond differently than those cells exposed to the sun.

Leaves are mini factories.

The roots of plants produce unique compounds.

Some of them have restorative power.

These creations formed in the earth reverses imbalances when used by the body.

Underground herbs confer an increased resistance to stress and illness by enhancing immunity, much like mushrooms do.

They also minimizes injuries because they repress inflammation.

These plant compounds incorporate more minerals from the earth into its structure than its sun exposed counterpart.

The phytochemicals formed beneath the earth number in the hundreds for a typical plant. In addition, another hundred or so compounds are formed in the leaves of the plant.

Leaves of Plants

The compounds created in the leaves protect humans in other ways.

Since leaves interact with the sun, the components that are contained within them are specialized to neutralize the harmful rays of the sun.

These phytochemicals are nature’s antioxidants and provide invaluable protection.

Their ability to neutralize harmful agents protects the body from a host of self-generated free radicals. 

There are other important compounds in the fruit of plants.

Fruits of Plants

Fruits are classified as the seed-bearing, reproductive organ of flowering plants.

Botanicals have a long history of use.  Over the millennia knowledge of its power was passed on.

In the modern world, they lack the benefit of clinical trials and double-blind studies that would validate their claims.

This is what pharmaceutical drugs have.

This is what is needed to convince the authorities that sanction its use.

This lack, does not diminish the validity of the healing power they provide.

 

Plants not only taste wonderful but their colorful pigments protect us from disease.

The energy that plant’s provide is in the form of its macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

The nutrients are synthesized, assembled and stored inside plant cells.

Fruits and berries synthesize simple sugars or small carbohydrates, while grains, grasses and vegetables synthesize the complex ones.

Plants are the perfect food.

Colorful plants contain both the nutrient that best fuels exercise, carbohydrate, and the various pigments or phytocompounds that repress inflammation and prevent cell dysfunction. A diet rich in colorful plants thus prevents disease.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a series of linked glucose molecules. Their links are formed by weak chemical bonds that are easily broken or hydrolyzed by enzymes.

Fats

Fatty acids are synthesized in the more dense seeds, nuts and beans of plants.

Protein

Amino acids are synthesized in beans and serve as a good source of protein.

Legumes (beans), potatoes, and whole grains provide the most fuel but contain less phytochemicals. Legumes however are high in protein, whole grains are rich in B vitamins.

Plants are indispensable to life.

They produce oxygen and convert carbon and sunlight into food.

Without plants humans would perish. Plants are the staple of every culture’s diet.

The color and variety of plants made them the prime source for the cures developed in the Traditional methods of healing.

The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and restorative properties of plants have been used medicinally for thousands of years.

Plants owe this power to the small compounds synthesized in their chemical factories.

These phytocompounds are created out of the raw material available to the plant and provided to them as part of their environment.

Those parts of the plant that grow underground, benefit from a rich soil and create a more complex library of compounds while those exposed to the sun synthesize more colorful ones. 

These phytocompounds serve as micronutrients in life’s essential processes.

Plants are one of the five kingdoms of living matter.

Human existence is dependent on them as food.

The powerhouse of a plant cell is the chloroplast.

Chloroplasts are a stack of membrane-like layers that contain the phytochemical chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is the green pigment, responsible for absorbing light energy from the sun and starting its conversion it into the chemical bonds of sugar.

Chloroplasts are the sites where photosynthesis occurs.

Carbon enters the living world from the gas carbon dioxide. CO2, the waste product of aerobic respiration.

Aerobic respiration releases the chemical energy of the carbon bonds of glucose and uses it to form high energy phosphate compounds like ATP.

The light reaction captures energy from the sun and uses it to split hydrogen atoms from water and release molecular oxygen (O2). Oxygen is thus made available to the animal world where it is used to burn glucose inside their cell’s mitochondria.

The resulting hydrogen atoms, the solar energy converted to chemical energy, and carbon dioxide (CO2.) combine in the dark reaction to produce the 6-carbon sugar glucose. The carbons of glucose are found in a cyclic form with oxygen occupying one apex of the ring. Glucose is the building block upon which all plant fuels are derived. The light and dark events together make up the photosynthesis. Radiant energy from the sun is captured and used to convert CO2 into organic carbon.

Organic carbon becomes incorporated into the sugars formed during photosynthesis.

These sugars combine with other compounds to produce a variety of carbohydrates and saponins (glycosides).

The richer the content of soil, the more complex the phytochemicals produced and the more they are likely to have medicinal activity.

The combination of these organic compounds with minerals result in the multitude of biologically active compounds found in plants.

These complex compounds are created during photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis produces a wide variety of molecules, many of which are essential to life.

Some of these compounds are not often thought of as having a botanical origin.

One example of this are omega-3 fatty acids.

This botanical product earns most favored status among the army of supplements availabvle.

High levels of omega-3 fatty acids are thought to promote molecular conditions that result in a healthy heart and healthy joints.

Omega-3 fatty acids are provided in the diet by the skin of cold water fish. But they are actually derived from the photosynthetic activity of plankton, green plants that cold-water fish like salmon, sea bass, tuna, trout and mackerel feed on.

Plankton synthesize the fatty acid chains and stores them.

These fats are a good insulator from the cold of the water. In fact, the colder the water, the higher the concentration of omega-3 oils in the plankton and fish.

Plants provides the fish with these essential omega-3 fatty acids, which they then use to maintain body temperature.

Plankton are especially high in EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic and docosahexanoic acids).

 

 Plants synthesize a spectrum of phytochemicals. This spectrum or library of compounds explains the diversity of botanical activity.

As a library, plants synthesize multiple versions of any given active chemical or agent. Each one, possessing a unique biological activity. The difference between any two ‘volumes’ in the library is chemically slight. But these small alterations completely alter their binding proclivities based on their miniscule changes in spatial orientation. These variations are often reduced to one or two possible conformations.

These agents or ligands either can or can not bind with a cell receptor. The 0 and 1s of nature, the yin and yang of the universe. The library of compounds in plants provides them with a built-in balance. Spatial variation explains the contradictory and moderating effects of herbs. Moderation is achieved by the binding of alternate receptors. Photosynthesis Plants are one of the five kingdoms of living matter. Human existence is dependent on them for food because plants, in one form or another, synthesize their food. The powerhouse of a plant cell is the chloroplast.

Chloroplasts

Chloroplasts are a stack of membrane-like layers that contain the phytochemical chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the green pigment, responsible for absorbing light energy from the sun and starting its conversion it into the chemical bonds of sugar. Chloroplasts are the sites where photosynthesis occurs.

Carbon enters the living world from the gas carbon dioxide. CO2 originates as the waste product of aerobic respiration. Aerobic respiration releases the chemical energy of the carbon bonds of glucose and uses it too form high energy compounds like ATP.

The light reaction captures energy from the sun and uses it to split hydrogen atoms from water (H20) and release molecular oxygen (O2) and hydrogen atoms. Oxygen is thus made available to the animal world where it is used to burn glucose inside their cell’s mitochondria.

The hydrogen atoms, together with the converted energy from the sun and carbon dioxide (CO2.) combine in the dark reaction to produce the 6-carbon sugar glucose. The carbons of glucose are found in a cyclic form with oxygen occupying one apex of the ring. Glucose is the building block upon which all plant fuels are derived. The light and dark events together make up the photosynthesis. Radiant energy from the sun is captured and used to convert CO2 into organic carbon.

Organic carbon becomes incorporated into sugars formed during photosynthesis.

These sugars combine with each other and other compounds to produce the variety of carbohydrates and saponins (glycosides) discussed below.

The richer the content of soil, the more complex the phytochemicals produced and the more they are likely to have medicinal activity.

The combination of organic compounds with minerals result in the multitude of biologically active compounds found and produced by plants. Photosynthesis produces a wide variety of molecules, many of which are essential to life.

Some of these compounds are not often thought of as having a botanical origin. One example of this are omega-3 fatty acids. This botanical product earns most favored status among the army of supplements.

High levels of omega-3 fatty acids are thought to promote molecular conditions that result in a healthy heart and healthy joints.

Omega-3 fatty acids are provided in the diet by the skin of cold water fish. But they are actually derived from the photosynthetic activity of plankton, green plants that cold-water fish like salmon, sea bass, tuna, trout and mackerel feed on.

Plankton are the organisms that synthesize the fatty acid chains and then stores them.Fatty acids are a good insulator from the cold of the water. In fact, the colder the water, the higher the concentration of omega-3 oils in the plankton and fish.

Plants provides the fish with these essential omega-3 fatty acids, which they then use as to maintain body temperature.

Plankton are especially high in EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic and docosahexanoic acids).

The thousands of organic compounds synthesized by plants can be grouped into several classes. The portion of the molecule or functional group that interacts with biological compounds defines these classes.

The simplest organic compounds are hydrocarbons that consist solely of hydrogen and carbons. More complex compounds that are derived from hydrocarbons are called alcohols because they contain a hydroxyl or OH group attached to a terminal carbon atom.

Sugars (saccharides) are essentially alcohols linked together to form chains or polysaccharides.

Organic Acids

Oxygen that is double bonded to a carbon atom constitutes a carbonyl group (C=O). Organic acids have a terminal carbon atom that shares electrons with both a carbonyl group and a hydroxyl group. This entire unit COOH is referred to as a carboxyl group. Long chain carbon strings with a terminal carboxyl group are known as fatty acids. Fatty acids in nature provide protection and insulation to plant’s cells and are essential to maintain body functions in humans.

Amino Acids

Organic compounds that have nitrogen bound to carbon are classified as amines. Compounds that have both an amino group and a carboxyl group are termed amino acids. The acid group of one amino acid can bind with the amino group of another amino acid to form peptide bonds, permitting long strings or polypeptide chains (proteins).

There are many kinds of plants, ranging from tiny mosses to giant sequoias and eucalyptus trees.

All plants share common structures like roots, stems and leaves. Those that produce flowers are known as angiosperms.

Angiosperms produce colorful flowers and fleshy fruit. Gymnosperms on the other hand lack flowers but produce hard seeds and cones.

Flowering plants produce many of Nature’s botanical agents. These botanical factories are reservoirs of unique compounds.

Angiosperms

Angiosperms depend on its fruit and flowers to reproduce. Its flowers attract insects who transport pollen from one flower to another. As such they act as the reproductive organ of plants. Angiosperms produce fruit as well as flowers. Fruits are good sources of macronutrients while flowers are valuable for their phytochemicals. Each angiosperm produces a flower made up of an assortment of chemical compounds and colorful structures This library of compounds produces a unique combination of form, color and odor . These to attract animals.They become the vehicles to transport pollen.

Flowering plants produce fruit. All fruit serves the same purpose of providing both a method for seed dissemination and a mechanism by which the seeds are protected.

Fruits are defined as the ripened or matured ovary of a flower. Fleshy and edible fruits are designed to insure that animals eat them. This helps disperse seeds.

Germination depends on the quality of the seed and the environment it is forced to grow in.

Nuts are dried or dehydrated fruits. Seeds and nuts are covered by a hard envelope that is resistant to digestive enzymes. Once the envelope or shell as we call them is removed, the seed can be eaten and digested. The seed and nut contains the embryo and stored food of the fruit.

An angiosperm embryo consists of seed leaves called cotyledons that serve as a reservoir of nutrients.

The coconut is a monocotyledon whose food supply consists of a single reservoir of fats and oils. Other monocots such as grasses store their food also in a single reservoir but is in the form of carbohydrates.

Dicotyledons are made up of two halves. The endosperm contains the carbohydrate store, which provides the nutritive support and energy needed for the growth of the seed. The endosperm is often photosynthetically active. The germinating embryo requires these carbohydrates and fats to develop. Seeds are thus a high caloric food.

Some seeds such as peanuts and soybeans contain significant amounts of protein. Grains such as rice, wheat, barley and corn contain mostly carbohydrates and represent the seeds of fruits from members of the grass family.

The library of compounds present in nuts, seeds and grains provide athletes with a source of fuel, high in phytonutrients. The variety of the fruits and nuts that span the old and  new worlds, reveal nature’s preference to produce sweet, moist fruits in warm tropical climates. Temperate regions on the other hand are noted for drier nuts, smaller berries and higher fiber content fruits. In addition, it is commonly believed that spices are derived more from tropical environments while herbs tend to come from temperate regions.

Spices appear to interfere with microbial growth and help cleanse food of pathogens. This trait contributes to the health, longevity and reproductive success of the humans that consume them.

Microbial flora flourishes in warm temperatures, which spurred development of spicy cuisine in hot climates. The use of hot spices by warm weather cultures represses microbial growth and contributes to the cooling process by raising core body temperatures. In addition, other phytochemical compounds found in plants prevent the formation of nitrosamines. Nitrosamines causes cancer. Preventing the formation of carcinogenic compounds is one goal of this program.

Plants help detoxify the body and aids in the elimination of harmful metabolites.

Roots

The first organ to emerge from germinating seeds is the root.

The roots perform the vital function of absorbing water and nutrients (iron, calcium, vitamins, hormones and amino acids) deposited by decaying matter.

In addition, roots anchor plants in the soil and permit them to remain in position to collect the sunlight needed to carry out photosynthesis.

Shoot System

Plant stems provide a framework for branches and leaves to obtain maximal exposure to the sun. Stems of herbs are covered by a thin epidermis and are not protected by a woody bark. Rhizomes are a network of underground stems.

Leaves

Leaves are the sites of photosynthesis and the production of unique compounds that provide humankind with natural medicine.