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JMG Natural Herbs & Cures Corner


This page is intended to suggest cures and preventions and not intended to diagnose and treat any disease. Please seek the confirmation of medical professionals. It is my aim to help our Jamaican community through herbal cures and relief and in doing so will make recommendations that may have helped other people.

As an avid user of Parsley myself , I recommend its use everyday , at least twice a day. Read the below:-

The parsley health benefits are both impressive and undeniable. Parsley has been proven to slow tumor growth, strengthen the heart and relieve a wide variety of health problems. The benefits of parsley are so great that this ancient herb is still used in medicine today.

The Use of Parsley Health Benefits in Modern Medicine

Parsley health benefits have been used in Greek and Roman medicine long before parsley became a popular spice. Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, used parsley to treat people who were exposed to poison, suffered from kidney problems or were simply feeling unwell. Parsley is such an effective treatment that the herb is still used for many of the same purposes today. Fortunately, modern scientists have found several additional parsley health benefits that ancient healers were unaware of.

Many of the benefits of parsley are due to the herb’s vitamin and mineral content. Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C, E and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese and potassium. Parsley also contains antioxidants, works as a diuretic, increases energy and possesses antiseptic properties. Parsley benefits the body so greatly that it is not surprising that this herb has made the transition from ancient to modern medicine.

Tumor-Fighting Parsley Health Benefits

In addition to its many vitamins and minerals, the benefits of parsley are also due to its myristicin and apigenin content. Myristicin is a compound that has been found to prevent tumor formation, act as an antioxidant and neutralize certain carcinogens, specifically benzopyrene. Research has found that myristicin is effective in preventing the spread of cancer in the lungs and other areas of the body, which is one of the most important parsley health benefits.

Apigenin is another cancer-fighting compound partially responsible for the benefits of parsley. A recent study conducted at the University of Missouri found that apigenin slowed the growth of breast cancer cells in rats. Rats that were exposed to apigenin also developed fewer tumors than those who were not exposed to the substance. Researchers concluded that parsley might be effective in helping women fight and prevent breast cancer.

Pain Relief and Other Benefits of Parsley

Parsley does not just fight tumors, it also relieves pain, inflammation and infection. Parsley can be used to treat toothaches, arthritis pain, bruises, insect bites and chapped skin. This herb can even be used to kill parasites, including lice, while reducing discomfort.
When consumed as a tea, parsley helps to restore the body’s natural acid/alkaline balance and reduce inflammation. Certain types of pain, like arthritis pain, are caused by acid building up around the joints. This causes the joints to become swollen, painful and stiff. Parsley benefits the joints by breaking up acid and reducing inflammation, which alleviates joint pain. People who make parsley a part of their daily diet are less likely to experience rheumatic disease, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

People who are suffering from painful bruising, piles and broken veins can also benefit from using parsley. When applied to the skin, parsley benefits the body by shrinking small blood vessels. This helps the skin heal, stops bleeding and reduces pain. Applying parsley to the skin is also believed to stimulate hair growth, increase collagen production, diminish the appearance of wrinkles and firm the skin.

The Benefits of Parsley on the Heart, Blood and Immune System

When eaten or consumed as a tea, parsley benefits the heart, improves the quality of the blood and strengthens the immune system. Parsley strengthens the heart by supplying the body with folate, or vitamin B9. Folate neutralizes an amino acid known as homocysteine, which can damage the blood vessels in large amounts. Regularly consuming parsley will protect against cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack and atherosclerosis.

In addition to protecting the heart, parsley benefits the body by regulating blood sugar, lowering blood pressure and stimulating the production of red blood cells. This herb also supports immune system function and provides the body with several powerful antioxidants. Since parsley increases immunity, it is often used to combat the common cold, bronchitis and the flu. Parsley is also effective at drying mucous, which reduces congestion and helps to control allergies.

How Parsley Helps the Body Fight Infection and Disease

Parsley can also be used to treat people who suffer from certain digestive disorders, kidney problems and frequent urinary infections. Parsley treats digestive disorders by increasing circulation in the digestive tract. People who regularly eat parsley or drink parsley tea are less likely to suffer from upset stomach, flatulence and other digestive problems. Parsley benefits the body by preventing kidney stones and helps to tone the urinary tract, which reduces the risk of infection.

Drinking parsley tea will not only prevent kidney stones, it will also treat gallstones. People who suffer from gallstones can eliminate their stones by drinking approximately one pint of parsley tea each day. Additionally, parsley benefits the body by improving adrenal gland function, nerve function and supporting the entire nervous system.

How Parsley Benefits Women Before, After and During Pregnancy

For women, parsley can be especially beneficial. Not only can parsley possibly prevent breast cancer, but it can also relieve menstrual pain. When consumed internally, parsley relieves pain, reduces bloating and causes uterine contractions. This tones the uterus, stimulates menstruation and can even induce labor in pregnant women. Some doctors believe that parsley is also beneficial in toning the male prostate. This makes the prostate stronger and less prone to infection.

Parsley is an herb that benefits the body so many different ways. This herb can be used externally to fight infection, improve the appearance of the skin and naturally relieve pain. Internally, parsley benefits almost every bodily system. Not only does this herb protect the heart and boost immunity, but it might even be an effective natural anticancer treatment.

The inflammation of the eyelids or the infection of the lining of it results in pink eyes. And, this can be very effectively cured by parsley juice. When mixed with carrot juice it helps clear the blurred vision, pink eyes, burning, and pain in the eyes.
Mix 1 cup of parsley juice with 1 ¾ cups of carrot juice and consume it daily.
Cures Urinary Problem:
Parsley is beneficial in improving the amount and frequency of urine. This in turn helps get rid of the toxins, bacteria, and microbes building in the body. Urinating frequently is also a good way to treat any vaginal infection as it washes away the inhabiting bacteria. Also, it removes any fat deposits, and prevents bladder stones.
Drink parsley juice every day. Or boil parsley leaves in a cup of water for 10 minutes and strain. Drink this tea every few hours, if not every hour.
Parsley As A Laxative:
It is a good home remedy for constipation as it promotes proper digestion of the food. The enzymes in it aids in the release of gastric juices that helps in the healthy functioning of the digestive system and eases the constipation problem. The dietary fibers create bulkier stools, and help smooth passage of it and push it downwards by promoting muscle contractions of the excretory system.
Drink the juice extract of the leaves every day. Or include parsley in food.
Menstrual Problems:
It promotes good health of the reproductive system, and corrects delayed puberty. It regulates the hormones responsible for menstruation and is also helpful in relieving the cramps, pain, nausea, irritation and moodiness associated with it. It stimulates the estrogen and other hormones responsible for menstruation and induces it.
Drink the juice extract.
Rich in iron content, parsley is a very effective home remedy to treat anemia. The low production of red blood cells causes fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and many health conditions. Parsley promotes the production of red blood cells and the high concentrations of iron improve the hemoglobin levels and treat the condition fine.
Drink parsley juice daily. See a doctor, herbalist, or a medical
practitioner to know the dosage in your case.
Freckle On Lip:
Dark pigmentation, sun burn, or heredity, freckle on lips can mar the beauty of lips. This can be very well treated because of the bleaching properties this herb has. Rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients, parsley protects the skin from the harmful sun rays and prevents formation of freckles. The skin lightening and bleaching attributes help remove the spots over a period of time.
Mix equal quantities of parsley juice, lemon juice, red currant, and orange juice. Stir well and apply it regularly on the dark spots to lighten it. Leave it for 15 minutes and then wash it with water.
Mouth Freshener:
Bad breath is a major embarrassment for anyone, and the green leaves of this herb are a great cure for the problem. The anti-bacterial characteristics of the herb help fight the bacteria responsible for the bad odor in the mouth. It is a natural breath freshener.
Chew a few leaves of parsley ever day after meals or drink its juice.
Immune Booster:
The high concentration of iron and vitamins in this green herb helps improve the immunity. It improves the blood flow to part of the body, promotes production of red blood cells, and strengthens the immunity. The rich anti-oxidants in it protect the cells against the free radicals, and vitamins B, C, and beta-carotenes improve the over all health of the body and increase immunity.
Drink the juice extract of the herb. Or add it in daily cooking.
Blood Purifier:
The leaves and juice of the herb are a good source of detoxifying the blood. It aids in removing toxins from the blood, kidney, liver, digestive system, and excretory system. Purified blood carries more oxygen to each cell of the body which in turn aids in good health.
Consume it in liquid form, or eat it raw, or add it to the daily food intake.
Anti-microbial, Anti-inflammatory & Anti-septic Nature:
The anti-microbial and the anti-septic characteristics in it help in treating many conditions and infections. In case of insect bites, it reduces the swelling, redness, and soothes the skin. It decreases the irritation and itchiness caused by any condition and provides relief.
Apply the juice of it directly to the insect bite for relief.
Preventing kidney stones, clearing lungs, treating arthritis and rheumatism, and correcting gum problems are some of the other parsley juice benefits. But, it is always advised to see a medical practitioner before self-medicating yourself.



Chickpea (scientific name: Cicerarinuml)


400 gm chickpeas

2 liters water

2 gm cinnamon

2 gm star anise

100 gm fresh ginger (cut into slices)

12 gm curry leaves

22 gm salt


First, soak chickpeas in water (with 1 tbsp salt) overnight; discard the water the next day.

Pour the right amount of water into a pot; insert cinnamon, star anise and fresh ginger slices into a tea bag; put the tea bag in the pot; add chickpeas, curry leaves and salt.

Bring to a boil over high heat; switch to mild heat and cook until the chickpeas are soft; discard the water and enjoy.

Chickpea:Xinjiang,Chinaproduces large quantities of chickpeas. In Chinese, it is named as ‘hawk’s beak pea’ as the pea looks like a hawk’s beak.

People often use it to treat bronchitis, catarrh, constipation, dysentery, flatulence, pruritus, diabetes, high blood lipids and other diseases. Taking appropriate amount of pressed chickpea oil orally can moisturize one’s skin and throat; while using it externally helps in treating joint pain. It is an excellent food therapy for patients with diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood lipids as it is rich in isoflavones, biochanin plus other active ingredients and dietary fiber which can assist in reducing blood sugar, blood pressure and blood lipid levels. Thus, it is an ideal health food for individuals with weak kidneys and constitution. In addition, chickpeas are also rich in anti-inflammatory functional factors, thus particularly suitable for patients with different acute and chronic inflammation to consume.

Internationally recognized as one of the four longevity areas in the world. Uyghur people’s daily diet consists mainly of beef, mutton, dairy products, high-sugar melons/fruits. Though having such high-fat, high-protein and high-calorie intakes, seldom locals suffer from diabetes and cardio-cerebrovascular diseases. After a scientific expedition, World Health Organization discovered that their staple food – hand pilaf was mixed with other food and chickpeas. Chickpea is the key to a balanced diet, hence helping them stay far away from diabetes and ‘three high diseases’.


Berry Berry Good Skin Beautifier

1 cup blackberries
1cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup strawberries
Juice all the ingredients. Berries are high in vitamins A, C & E. I
remove the stems, juice the berries and save the pulp and eat it later
for fiber.
Blackberries are composed of more than 85 percent water along with a hefty dose of fiber, which makes them a great fruit to eat if you’re trying to lose weight, lower cholesterol, or manage type 2 diabetes. They are a good source of folate, a B vitamin that helps maintain healthy hair and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and mood disorders. Additionally, blackberries are full of potent antioxidants that can help with arthritis, age-related memory loss, cataracts, and other eyesight problems.
Blueberries consist of 85 percent water, which makes them a great fruit to eat if you’re trying to lose weight. They also contain potent antioxidants that can help with arthritis, age-related memory loss, and cataracts and other eyesight problems.

Raspberries are composed of more than 85 percent water along with a hefty dose of fiber, which makes them a great fruit to eat if you’re trying to lose weight, lower cholesterol, or manage type 2 diabetes. They are also full of potent antioxidants, including vitamin C and anthocyanins, which can help with arthritis, age-related memory loss, cataracts and other eyesight problems, and maintaining healthy skin and hair.
Strawberries are composed of more than 90 percent water along with a hefty dose of fiber, which makes them a great fruit to eat if you’re trying to lose weight, lower cholesterol or manage type 2 diabetes. They are a good source of folate, a B vitamin that helps maintain healthy hair and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and mood disorders. Additionally, strawberries are full of potent antioxidants, including vitamin C and anthocyanins, which can help with arthritis, age-related memory loss, cataracts and other eyesight problems, and maintaining healthy skin and hair.

Clear Up Cheer Up

2 large carrots (tops and tails removed)
1 cup of spinach (or kale)
½ apple (cored)
1 celery stalk
1 cup of broccoli florets
Juice all the ingredients. (Alternate soft ingredients with firmer
ones). Carrots are high in A, a vitamin helpful in maintaining skin
cells, as well as beta-carotene and antioxidants that help prevent
skin damage. Spinach contains high levels of beta-carotene, which
offers free radical protection and converts into vitamin A in the
body. It also has vitamins C& E. Apples are great for smooth skin and
are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C. Celery is rich in magnesium,
iron, chlorophyll, folic acid, C and also has B vitamins and vitamin
Crunch on carrots to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. Carrots are high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A inside the body. It helps repair skin tissue and protects against the sun’s harsh rays. Enjoy carrots raw in salads or with a low–calorie dip, or try roasting them to develop a rich, sweet flavor. (Bonus! Cooked carrots deliver even more skin–friendly beta carotene than raw ones.

Apples are known to do wonders for your skin. They are believed to have such good properties that they could make your skin flawless. They contain iron in them which adds that extra blush to your cheeks giving you a healthier look. Your pale complexion is changed to pinkish white when apples are included in your diet. If they are applied as a face mask, your skin would feel refreshed. It adds nourishment and a glow to your face, making your skin soft, smooth and silky. One apple a day would keep all your acne and pimples away!

If you have acne and trying hard to cure it, maybe you missed something simple. Spinach is good for skin and it is useful to clear up acne. How can spinach good for skin?

If you don’t know the nutritional value of spinach, let me tell you. Spinach contains various nutrients and vitamin that can support acne healing process. The most useful vitamins of spinach are vitamin A, C, E, and K. They are good for your skin. The antioxidants contained in spinach will clear up acne quickly. Spinach has an abundant amount of iron, which will be useful to prevent cancer, arthritis, and heart disease.

One of the most ageing things you can do to your body is put it under lots of stress. Celery contains a cocktail of nutrients that actively lowers the blood pressure by reducing hormones that induce feelings of stress, and relaxing the muscles around the arteries. It’s also an effective diuretic, so can help to flush skin damaging toxins from the body, too.

The credit for keeping your skin glowing and young goes to expert anti-oxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin-C and other helpers like vitamin B complex, vitamin E (the one that gives shine to your skin, hair etc. and revives skin tissues), vitamin A & K, omega 3 fatty acids (adds glamour), amino acids and folate present in the broccoli. They take very good care of your skin.

Skin Smoother

2 large carrots
l celery stalk
1 apple
l cucumber
Cucumbers are known to be beneficial to the skin when consumed and
when used topically. Cucumbers are rich in silica, important for the
complexion and skin elasticity. Try to buy organic cucumbers for
juicing, so that you can juice with the peel on. Most of the silica is
in the peel. If you can’t buy organic, remove the peel before juicing.


SDC13399A-OptimizedScientific Name
Momordica charantia
Common Name
Bitter gourd, bitter apple, wild cucumber, bitter cucumber, balsam apple, balsam pear, margose, la-kwa, leprosy gourd, karela, kugua, cerasee.Bitter melon also called bitter gourd or wild cucumber was used as folk medicines from many decades for healing diabetes and infections. Also, it is helpful in people with sluggish digestion,dyspepsia and constipation.

Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Momordica
Species: charantia
Synonyms: Momordica chinensis, M. elegans, M. indica, M. operculata, M. sinensis, Sicyos fauriei
Common Names: bitter melon, papailla, melao de sao caetano, bittergourd, balsam apple, balsam pear, karela, k’u kua kurela, kor-kuey, ku gua, pava-aki, salsamino, sorci, sorossi, sorossie, sorossies, pare, peria laut, peria
Part Used: whole plant, fruit, seed

From The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs:

Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
kills bacteria
reduces inflammation
Leaves, Fruit
kills viruses
fights free radicals
Decoction: 1 cup 1-2 times daily
kills cancer cells
enhances libido
Tincture: 1-3 ml twice daily
kills leukemia cells
cleanses blood
Capsules: 1 g twice daily
prevents tumors

treats diabetes
expels worms

reduces blood sugar
balances hormones

reduces blood pressure
enhances immunity

lowers body temperature
mildly laxative

lowers cholesterol
promotes milk flow

Bitter melon grows in tropical areas, including parts of the Amazon, east Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, and is cultivated throughout South America as a food and medicine. It’s a slender, climbing annual vine with long-stalked leaves and yellow, solitary male and female flowers borne in the leaf axils. The fruit looks like a warty gourd, usually oblong and resembling a small cucumber. The young fruit is emerald green, turning to orange-yellow when ripe. At maturity, the fruit splits into three irregular valves that curl backwards and release numerous reddish-brown or white seeds encased in scarlet arils. The Latin name Momordica means “to bite,” referring to the jagged edges of the leaves, which appear as if they have been bitten. All parts of the plant, including the fruit, taste very bitter.


In the Amazon, local people and indigenous tribes grow bitter melon in their gardens for food and medicine. They add the fruit and/or leaves to beans and soup for a bitter or sour flavor; parboiling it first with a dash of salt may remove some of the bitter taste. Medicinally, the plant has a long history of use by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. A leaf tea is used for diabetes, to expel intestinal gas, to promote menstruation, and as an antiviral for measles, hepatitis, and feverish conditions. It is used topically for sores, wounds, and infections and internally and externally for worms and parasites.

In Brazilian herbal medicine, bitter melon is used for tumors, wounds, rheumatism, malaria, vaginal discharge, inflammation, menstrual problems, diabetes, colic, fevers, worms. It is also used to induce abortions and as an aphrodisiac. It is prepared into a topical remedy for the skin to treat vaginitis, hemorrhoids, scabies, itchy rashes, eczema, leprosy and other skin problems. In Mexico, the entire plant is used for diabetes and dysentery; the root is a reputed aphrodisiac. In Peruvian herbal medicine, the leaf or aerial parts of the plant are used to treat measles, malaria, and all types of inflammation. In Nicaragua, the leaf is commonly used for stomach pain, diabetes, fevers, colds, coughs, headaches, malaria, skin complaints, menstrual disorders, aches and pains, hypertension, infections, and as an aid in childbirth.


Bitter melon contains an array of biologically active plant chemicals including triterpenes, proteins, and steroids. One chemical has clinically demonstrated the ability to inhibit the enzyme guanylate cyclase that is thought to be linked to the cause of psoriasis and also necessary for the growth of leukemia and cancer cells. In addition, a protein found in bitter melon, momordin, has clinically demonstrated anticancerous activity against Hodgkin’s lymphoma in animals. Other proteins in the plant, alpha- and beta-momorcharin and cucurbitacin B, have been tested for possible anticancerous effects. A chemical analog of these bitter melon proteins has been developed, patented, and named “MAP-30”; its developers reported that it was able to inhibit prostate tumor growth. Two of these proteins-alpha- and beta-momorcharin-have also been reported to inhibit HIV virus in test tube studies. In one study, HIV-infected cells treated with alpha- and beta-momorcharin showed a nearly complete loss of viral antigen while healthy cells were largely unaffected. The inventor of MAP-30 filed another patent which stated it was “useful for treating tumors and HIV infections . . . ” Another clinical study showed that MAP-30’s antiviral activity was also relative to the herpes virus in vitro.

In numerous studies, at least three different groups of constituents found in all parts of bitter melon have clinically demonstrated hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering) properties or other actions of potential benefit against diabetes mellitus. These chemicals that lower blood sugar include a mixture of steroidal saponins known as charantins, insulin-like peptides, and alkaloids. The hypoglycemic effect is more pronounced in the fruit of bitter melon where these chemicals are found in greater abundance.

Alkaloids, charantin, charine, cryptoxanthin, cucurbitins, cucurbitacins, cucurbitanes, cycloartenols, diosgenin, elaeostearic acids, erythrodiol, galacturonic acids, gentisic acid, goyaglycosides, goyasaponins, guanylate cyclase inhibitors, gypsogenin, hydroxytryptamines, karounidiols, lanosterol, lauric acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, momorcharasides, momorcharins, momordenol, momordicilin, momordicins, momordicinin, momordicosides, momordin, multiflorenol, myristic acid, nerolidol, oleanolic acid, oleic acid, oxalic acid, pentadecans, peptides, petroselinic acid, polypeptides, proteins, ribosome-inactivating proteins, rosmarinic acid, rubixanthin, spinasterol, steroidal glycosides, stigmasta-diols, stigmasterol, taraxerol, trehalose, trypsin inhibitors, uracil, vacine, v-insulin, verbascoside, vicine, zeatin, zeatin riboside, zeaxanthin, and zeinoxanthin are all found in bitter melon.


To date, close to 100 in vivo studies have demonstrated the blood sugar-lowering effect of this bitter fruit. The fruit has also shown the ability to enhance cells’ uptake of glucose, to promote insulin release, and to potentiate the effect of insulin. In other in vivo studies, bitter melon fruit and/or seed has been shown to reduce total cholesterol. In one study, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels in diabetic rats were returned to normal after 10 weeks of treatment.

Several in vivo studies have demonstrated the antitumorous activity of the entire plant of bitter melon. In one study, a water extract blocked the growth of rat prostate carcinoma; another study reported that a hot water extract of the entire plant inhibited the development of mammary tumors in mice. Numerous in vitro studies have also demonstrated the anticancerous and antileukemic activity of bitter melon against numerous cell lines, including liver cancer, human leukemia, melanoma, and solid sarcomas.

Bitter melon, like several of its isolated plant chemicals, also has been documented with in vitro antiviral activity against numerous viruses, including Epstein-Barr, herpes, and HIV viruses. In an in vivo study, a leaf extract increased resistance to viral infections and had an immunostimulant effect in humans and animals, increasing interferon production and natural killer cell activity.

In addition to these properties, leaf extracts of bitter melon have demonstrated broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. Various extracts of the leaves have demonstrated in vitro antibacterial activities against E. coli, Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Salmonella, Streptobacillus, and Streptococcus; an extract of the entire plant was shown to have antiprotozoal activity against Entamoeba histolytica. The fruit and fruit juice have demonstrated the same type of antibacterial properties and, in another study, a fruit extract demonstrated activity against the stomach ulcer-causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori.

Many in vivo clinical studies have demonstrated the relatively low toxicity of all parts of the bitter melon plant when ingested orally. However, toxicity and even death in laboratory animals has been reported when extracts are injected intravenously. Other studies have shown extracts of the fruit and leaf (ingested orally) to be safe during pregnancy. The seeds, however, have demonstrated the ability to induce abortions in rats and mice, and the root has been documented as a uterine stimulant in animals. The fruit and leaf of bitter melon have demonstrated an in vivo antifertility effect in female animals; and in male animals, to affect the production of sperm negatively.


Over the years scientists have verified many of the traditional uses of this bitter plant that continues to be an important natural remedy in herbal medicine systems. Bitter melon capsules and tinctures are becoming more widely available in the United States and are employed by natural health practitioners for diabetes, viruses, colds and flu, cancer and tumors, high cholesterol, and psoriasis. Concentrated fruit and seed extracts can be found in capsules and tablets, as well as whole herb/vine powders and extracts in capsules and tinctures.

Main Preparation Method: leaf decoction or capsules
Main Actions (in order):
anticancerous, antiviral, antibacterial, digestive stimulant, hypoglycemic

Main Uses:

for cancer
for viral infections (HIV, herpes, Epstein Barr, hepatitis, influenza, and measles)
for bacterial infections (Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Salmonella)
as a bitter digestive aid (for dyspepsia and sluggish digestion)
for diabetes
Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
antibacterial, anticancerous, anti-fertility, antileukemic, antiprotozoal, antitumorous, antiviral, hypoglycemic, immune stimulant
Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, antiparasitic, antiseptic, bitter, carminative (expels gas), digestive stimulant, febrifuge (reduces fever), hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), lactagogue (promotes milk flow), menstrual stimulator, purgative, vermifuge (expels worms), wound healer

Cautions: It may lower blood sugar levels.

Main Preparation Method: fruit juice
Main Actions (in order):
hypoglycemic, hypocholesterolemic (lowers cholesterol), antibacterial, carminative (expels gas), bitter

Main Uses:

for diabetes
for high cholesterol and triglyceride levels
for H. pylori ulcers
as a bitter digestive aid for intestinal gas, bloating, stomachache, and sluggish digestion
for intestinal parasites
Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
abortive, contraceptive, antimicrobial, hypocholesterolemic (lowers cholesterol), hypoglycemic
Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
antifungal, antiparasitic, antivenin, bitter, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart), digestive stimulant, emetic (causes vomiting), menstrual stimulator, purgative (strong laxative), vermifuge (expels worms)

Cautions: It lowers blood sugar levels and has abortive and contraceptive effects.

Traditional Preparation: 1 cup of a standard leaf or whole herb decoction is taken one or two times daily, or 1-3 ml of a 4:1 tincture is taken twice daily. Powdered leaf in tablets or capsules – 1 to 2 g can be substituted, if desired. The traditional South American remedy for diabetes is to juice 1-2 fresh bitter melon fruits and drink twice daily. For seed or fruit extracts in capsules or tinctures, follow the label instructions.

Bitter melon traditionally has been used as an abortive and has been documented with weak uterine stimulant activity; therefore, it is contraindicated during pregnancy.
This plant has been documented to reduce fertility in both males and females and should therefore not be used by those undergoing fertility treatment or seeking pregnancy.
The active chemicals in bitter melon can be transferred through breast milk; therefore, it is contraindicated in women who are breast feeding.
All parts of bitter melon (especially the fruit and seed) have demonstrated in numerous in vivo studies that they lower blood sugar levels. As such, it is contraindicated in persons with hypoglycemia. Diabetics should check with their physicians before using this plant and use with caution while monitoring their blood sugar levels regularly as the dosage of insulin medications may need adjusting.
Although all parts of the plant have demonstrated active antibacterial activity, none have shown activity against fungi or yeast. Long-term use of this plant may result in the die-off of friendly bacteria with resulting opportunistic overgrowth of yeast (Candida). Cycling off the use of the plant (every 21-30 days for one week) may be warranted, and adding probiotics to the diet may be beneficial if this plant is used for longer than 30 days.

Drug Interactions: Bitter melon may potentiate insulin and anti-diabetic drugs and cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Brazil for abortions, burns, colic, constipation, dermatosis, diabetes, diarrhea, eczema, fever, flu, hemorrhoids, hepatitis, hives, itch, impotency, leprosy, leukemia, libido, liver inflammation, malaria, menstrual problems, pain, rheumatism, scabies, skin, tumor, vaginal discharge, vaginitis, worms, wounds
China for breast cancer, diabetes, fever, halitosis, impotency, renal insufficiency, kidney problems
Cuba for anemia, colitis, diabetes, fever, hyperglycemia, intestinal parasites, kidney stones, liver problems, menstrual problems, sterility (female), worms
Haiti for anemia, constipation, dermatosis, eye infections, fever, liver diseases, skin problems, rhinitis, and as an appetite stimulant and insecticide
India for abortions, birth control, constipation, diabetes, eczema, fat loss, food, fever, gout, hemorrhoids, hydrophobia, hyperglycemia, increasing milk flow, intestinal parasites, jaundice, kidney stones, leprosy, liver, menstrual disorders, pneumonia, psoriasis, rheumatism, scabies, skin, snakebite, vaginal discharge
Mexico for bowel function, burns, diabetes, dysentery, impotency, libido, scabies, sores, worms
Malaya for abdominal pain, asthma, burns, Celiac’s disease, dermatosis, diarrhea, headache, intestinal parasites, stomachache, worms
Nicaragua for aches, anemia, childbirth, colds, constipation, cough, diabetes, fever, headache, hypertension, infections, lung disorders, malaria, pain, pregnancy, rashes, skin problems
Panama for colds, diabetes, fever, flu, gallbladder problems, hives, hypertension, itch, malaria, menstrual problems, and as an insecticide
Peru for colic, constipation, contusions, diabetes, diarrhea, fever, hepatitis, inflammation, intestinal parasites, lung problems, malaria, measles, menstrual problems, skin sores, pus, wounds
Trinidad for diabetes, dysentery, fever, hypertension, malaria, rheumatism, worm

Professor Yang Ye, from the Shanghai Institute and a specialist in natural products chemistry, isolated the different fractions from bitter melon and identified the compounds of interest.
“Bitter melon was described as “bitter in taste, non-toxic, expelling evil heat, relieving fatigue and illuminating” in the famous Compendium of Materia Medica by Li Shizhen (1518-1593), one of the greatest physicians, pharmacologists and naturalists in China’s history,” said Professor Ye. “It is interesting, now that we have the technology, to analyse why it has been so effective.”


What’s New and Beneficial About Kale

Kale can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in kale do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw kale still has cholesterol-lowering ability—just not as much.
Kale’s risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits.
Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.
Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. With kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale’s flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in way that gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
WHFoods Recommendations

You’ll want to include kale as one of the cruciferous vegetables you eat on a regular basis if you want to receive the fantastic health benefits provided by the cruciferous vegetable family. At a minimum, include cruciferous vegetables as part of your diet 2-3 times per week, and make the serving size at least 1-1/2 cups. Even better from a health standpoint, enjoy kale and other vegetables from the cruciferous vegetable group 4-5 times per week, and increase your serving size to 2 cups.

Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables around and one way to be sure to enjoy the maximum nutrition and flavor from kale is to cook it properly. We recommend Healthy Steaming kale for 5 minutes. To ensure quick and even cooking cut the leaves into 1/2″ slices and the stems into 1/4″ lengths. Let them sit for at least 5 minutes to enhance their health-promoting qualities before steaming. See our Healthiest Way of Cooking Kale in the How to Enjoy section below.
Nutrients in
1.00 cup cooked (130.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value

vitamin K1327.6%

vitamin A354.1%

vitamin C88.8%






vitamin B69%




vitamin E5.5%

omega-3 fats5.4%

vitamin B25.2%


vitamin B14.6%



vitamin B33.2%

Calories (36)2%

This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Kale provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Kale can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Kale, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.
Health Benefits
How to Select and Store
Tips for Preparing and Cooking
How to Enjoy
Individual Concerns
Nutritional Profile
Health Benefits
While not as well researched as some of its fellow cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cabbage, kale is a food that you can count on for some unsurpassed health benefits, if for no other reason than its exceptional nutrient richness. In our own website food rating system, kale scored 4 “excellents,” 6 “very goods,” and 10 “goods”—for a total of 20 standout categories of nutrient richness! That achievement is difficult for most foods to match.

Antioxidant-Related Health Benefits

Like most of its fellow cruciferous vegetables, kale has been studied more extensively in relationship to cancer than any other health condition. This research focus makes perfect sense. Kale’s nutrient richness stands out in three particular areas: (1) antioxidant nutrients, (2) anti-inflammatory nutrients, and (3) anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates. Without sufficient intake of antioxidants, our oxygen metabolism can become compromised, and we can experience a metabolic problem called “oxidative stress.” Without sufficient intake of anti-inflammatory nutrients, regulation of our inflammatory system can become compromised, and we can experience the problem of chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation—and the combination of these metabolic problems—are risk factors for development of cancer. We’ve seen research studies on 5 specific types of cancer—including bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer—and intake of cruciferous vegetables (specifically including kale). As a group, these studies definitely show cancer preventive benefits from kale intake, and in some cases, treatment benefits as well.

Kale’s cancer preventive benefits have been clearly linked to its unusual concentration of two types of antioxidants, namely, carotenoids and flavonoids. Within the carotenoids, lutein and beta-carotene are standout antioxidants in kale. Researchers have actually followed the passage of these two carotenoids in kale from the human digestive tract up into the blood stream, and they have demonstrated the ability of kale to raise blood levels of these carotenoid nutrients. That finding is important because lutein and beta-carotene are key nutrients in the protection of our body from oxidative stress and health problems related to oxidative stress. Increased risk of cataracts, atherosclerosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are three such problems. Also among these chronic health problems is cancer since our overall risk of cells becoming cancerous is partly related to oxidative stress.

Within the flavonoids, kaempferol is a spotlight antioxidant in kale, followed by a flavonoid called quercitin. But recent research has also made it clear that at least 45 different antioxidant flavonoids are provided in measurable amounts by kale. This broad spectrum of flavonoid antioxidants is likely to be a key to kale’s cancer-preventive benefits and benefits that we expect to be documented for other health problems stemming from oxidative stress.

Anti-Inflammatory Health Benefits

We have yet to see research on kale’s omega-3 content and inflammation, but we would expect this kind of research to show the omega-3s in kale to be an important part of kale’s anti-inflammatory benefits. It only takes 100 calories of kale to provide us with 25-35% of the National Academy of Sciences’ public health recommendation for the most basic omega-3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA). We suspect that this amount will be plenty to show direct anti-inflammatory benefits from routine kale intake.

We also have yet to see specific research on inflammation and kale’s vitamin K content. But we know that kale is a spectacular source of vitamin K (one cup of kale provides far more micrograms of vitamin K than any of our 135 World’s Healthiest foods) and we also know that vitamin K is a key nutrient for helping regulate our body’s inflammatory process. Taken in combination, we expect these two facts about vitamin K to eventually get tied together in health research that shows kale to be an exceptional food for lowering our risk of chronic inflammation and associated health problems.

Glucosinolates and Cancer-Preventive Benefits

What we have already seen in the health research on kale is ample evidence that its glucosinolates provide cancer-preventive benefits. Kale is a top food source for at least four glucosinolates, and once kale is eaten and digested, these glucosinolates can be converted by the body into cancer preventive compounds. Kale’s glucosinolates and the ITCs made from them have well-documented cancer preventive properties, and in some cases, cancer treatment properties as well. At the top of the cancer-related research for kale are colon cancer and breast cancer, but risk of bladder cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer have all been found to decrease in relationship to routine intake of kale. The chart below presents a summary of the unusual glucosinlate phytonutrients found in kale, and the anti-cancer ITCs made from them inside the body

Glucosinolates in kale and their detox-activating isothiocyanates

Glucosinolate Derived Isothiocyanate Isothiocyanate Abbreviation
glucobrassicin indole-3-carbinol* I3C
glucoraphanin sulforaphane SFN
gluconasturtiian phenethyl-isothiocyanate PEITC
glucopaeolin benzyl-isothiocyanate BITC
sinigrin allyl-isothiocyanate AITC
* Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is not an isothiocyanate. It’s a benzopyrrole, and it is only formed when isothiocyanates made from glucobrassicin are further broken down into non-sulfur containing compounds.

Cardiovascular Support

You can count on kale to provide valuable cardiovascular support in terms of its cholesterol-lowering ability. Researchers now understand exactly how this support process works. Our liver uses cholesterol as a basic building block to product bile acids. Bile acids are specialized molecules that aid in the digestion and absorption of fat through a process called emulsification. These molecules are typically stored in fluid form in our gall bladder, and when we eat a fat-containing meal, they get released into the intestine where they help ready the fat for interaction with enzymes and eventual absorption up into the body. When we eat kale, fiber-related nutrients in this cruciferous vegetable bind together with some of the bile acids in the intestine in such a way that they simply stay inside the intestine and pass out of our body in a bowel movement, rather than getting absorbed along with the fat they have emulsified. When this happens, our liver needs to replace the lost bile acids by drawing upon our existing supply of cholesterol, and, as a result, our cholesterol level drops down. Kale provides us with this cholesterol-lowering benefit whether it is raw or cooked. However, a recent study has shown that the cholesterol-lowering ability of raw kale improves significantly when it is steamed. In fact, when the cholesterol-lowering ability of steamed kale was compared with the cholesterol-lowering ability of the prescription drug cholestyramine (a medication that is taken for the purpose of lowering cholesterol), kale bound 42% as many bile acids (based on a standard of comparison involving total dietary fiber). Amongst all of the cruciferous vegetables, only collard greens scored higher at 46%.

Other Health-Related Benefits

Kale has a definite role to play in support of the body’s detoxification processes. The isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from kale’s glucosinolates have been shown to help regulate detox activities in our cells. Most toxins that pose a risk to our body must be detoxified by our cells using a two-step process. The two steps in the process are called Phase I detoxification and Phase II detoxification. The ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates have been shown to favorably modify both detox steps (Phase I and Phase II). In addition, the unusually large numbers of sulfur compounds in kale have been shown to help support aspects of Phase II detoxification that require the presence of sulfur. By supporting both aspects of our cellular detox process (Phase I and Phase II), nutrients in kale can give our body an “edge up” in dealing with toxic exposure, whether from our environment or from our food.

We have yet to see studies that look directly at kale and its support for our digestive system. However, we have seen studies for kale’s fellow cruciferous vegetable—broccoli—in this regard, and we definitely expect to see future research that looks directly at kale and our digestive function. We predict that one area of digestive support provided by kale will turn out to involve fiber. We feel that 7 grams of fiber per 100 calories of kale is just too much fiber to fail in the digestive benefits category. We predict that a second area of digestive benefits will involve kale’s glucosinolates. The ITCs make from kale’s glucosinolates should help protect our stomach lining from bacterial overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori and should help avoid too much clinging by this bacterium to our stomach wall.

The beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around. Although it can be found in markets throughout the year, it is in season from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring when it has a sweeter taste and is more widely available.

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts that have gained recent widespread attention due to their health-promoting, sulfur-containing phytonutrients. It is easy to grow and can grow in colder temperatures where a light frost will produce especially sweet kale leaves. There are several varieties of kale; these include curly kale, ornamental kale, and dinosaur (or Lacinato or Tuscan) kale, all of which differ in taste, texture, and appearance. The scientific name for kale is Brassica oleracea.

Curly kale has ruffled leaves and a fibrous stalk and is usually deep green in color. It has a lively pungent flavor with delicious bitter peppery qualities.

Ornamental kale is a more recently cultivated species that is oftentimes referred to as salad savoy. Its leaves may either be green, white, or purple and its stalks coalesce to form a loosely knit head. Ornamental kale has a more mellow flavor and tender texture.

Dinosaur kale is the common name for the kale variety known as Lacinato or Tuscan kale. It features dark blue-green leaves that have an embossed texture. It has a slightly sweeter and more delicate taste than curly kale.

Like broccoli, cauliflower, and collards, kale is a descendent of the wild cabbage, a plant thought to have originated in Asia Minor and to have been brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. Curly kale played an important role in early European foodways, having been a significant crop during ancient Roman times and a popular vegetable eaten by peasants in the Middle Ages. English settlers brought kale to the United States in the 17th century.

Both ornamental and dinosaur kale are much more recent varieties. Dinosaur kale was discovered in Italy in the late 19th century. Ornamental kale, originally a decorative garden plant, was first cultivated commercially as in the 1980s in California. Ornamental kale is now better known by the name salad savoy.

How to Select and Store
Look for kale with firm, deeply colored leaves and moist hardy stems. Kale should be displayed in a cool environment since warm temperatures will cause it to wilt and will negatively affect its flavor. The leaves should look fresh, be unwilted, and be free from signs of browning, yellowing, and small holes. Choose kale with smaller-sized leaves since these will be more tender and have a more mild flavor than those with larger leaves. Kale is available throughout the year, although it is more widely available, and at its peak, from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring.

To store, place kale in a plastic storage bag removing as much of the air from the bag as possible. Store in the refrigerator where it will keep for 5 days. The longer it is stored, the more bitter its flavor becomes. Do not wash kale before storing because exposure to water encourages spoilage.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking
Tips for Preparing Kale

Rinse kale leaves under cold running water. Chop leaf portion into 1/2″ slices and the stems into 1/4″ lengths for quick and even cooking.

To get the most health benefits from kale, let sit for a minimum of 5 minutes before cooking. Sprinkling with lemon juice before letting them sit can further enhance its beneficial phytonutrient concentration.

The Healthiest Way of Cooking Kale

We recommend Healthy Steaming kale for maximum nutrition and flavor. Fill the bottom of a steamer pot with 2 inches of water. While waiting for the water to come to a rapid boil chop greens. Steam for 5 minutes and toss with our Mediterranean Dressingand top with your favorite optional ingredients. For details see 5-Minute Kale.

How to Enjoy
A Few Quick Serving Ideas

Braise chopped kale and apples. Before serving, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and chopped walnuts.
Combine chopped kale, pine nuts, and feta cheese with whole grain pasta drizzled with olive oil.
WHFoods Recipes That Feature Kale

Healthy Breakfast Frittata
Italian Tofu Frittata
Poached Eggs Over Sauteed Greens
Minestrone Surprise
Spicy Posole Soup
Super Energy Kale Soup
Turkey and Vegetable Chili Verde
Sesame Braised Chicken & Cabbage
Indian Style Lamb with Sweet Potatoes
5-Minute Kale
5-Minute Kale with Sea Vegetables
Individual Concerns
Kale and Oxalates

Kale is among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating kale. Laboratory studies have shown that oxalates may also interfere with absorption of calcium from the body. Yet, in every peer-reviewed research study we’ve seen, the ability of oxalates to lower calcium absorption is relatively small and definitely does not outweigh the ability of oxalate-containing foods to contribute calcium to the meal plan. If your digestive tract is healthy, and you do a good job of chewing and relaxing while you enjoy your meals, you will get significant benefits — including absorption of calcium—from calcium-rich foods plant foods that also contain oxalic acid. Ordinarily, a healthcare practitioner would not discourage a person focused on ensuring that they are meeting their calcium requirements from eating these nutrient-rich foods because of their oxalate content. For more on this subject, please see “Can you tell me what oxalates are and in which foods they can be found?’
Kale and Pesticide Residues

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in their 2012 report, Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, conventionally grown kale are contaminated with concentrations of organophosphate insecticides, which are considered to be highly toxic to the nervous system. While they were not among the 12 varieties of produce most concentrated in overall pesticide residues (and therefore not part of the EWG’s traditional “Dirty Dozen”;), the EWG felt that this organophosphate concentration was relevant enough to bring attention to kale. They actually renamed their produce category of concern from “Dirty Dozen” to “Dirty Dozen Plus” with kale and collard greens being the “Plus” conventionally grown produce. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of kale unless it is grown organically.

Kale as a “Goitrogenic” Food

Kale is sometimes referred to as a “goitrogenic” food. Yet, contrary to popular belief, according to the latest studies, foods themselves—kale included — are not “goitrogenic” in the sense of causing goiter whenever they are consumed, or even when they are consumed in excess. In fact, most foods that are commonly called “goitrogenic” — such as the cruciferous vegetables (including kale, broccoli, and cauliflower) and soyfoods — do not interfere with thyroid function in healthy persons even when they are consumed on a daily basis. Nor is it scientifically correct to say that foods “contain goitrogens,” at least not if you are thinking about goitrogens as a category of substances like proteins, carbohydrates, or vitamins. With respect to the health of our thyroid gland, all that can be contained in a food are nutrients that provide us with a variety of health benefits but which, under certain circumstances, can also interfere with thyroid function. The term “goitrogenic food” makes it sound as if something is wrong with the food, but that is simply not the case. What causes problems for certain individuals is not the food itself but the mismatched nature of certain substances within the food to their unique health circumstances. For more, see an An Up-to-Date Look at Goitrogenic Substances in Food.

Nutritional Profile
Kale is a nutritional standout in three basic areas: (1) antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, (2) much-needed micronutrients (in which the average U.S. adult is currently deficient), and (3) cancer-preventive nutrients called glucosinolates.

Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Nutrients

Kale’s antioxidants are both traditional as well as recently discovered.

In addition to conventional antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese, kale also provides us with at least 45 different recently discovered flavonoids, including kaempferol and quercetin. Many of the flavonoids in kale are also now known to function not only as antioxidants, but also as anti-inflammatory compounds.

Fiber and Anti-Inflammatory Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fiber and omega-3s are two macronutrients largely deficient in the U.S. diet and provided by kale in impressive amounts. It only takes 200 calories’ worth of kale to provide 15 grams of fiber — substantially more than the average U.S. adult gets in an entire day after a diet of 2,000 calories. And while kale is not as concentrated in omega-3s as some of the other cruciferous vegetables—and certainly not in the same category as walnuts or salmon—it still provides us with a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the basic building block for all omega-3 fats. From less than 100 calories’ worth of kale, we can get 25-35% of the National Academy of Sciences’ public health recommendation for ALA.

Kale and its Cancer-Preventing Phytonutrients

Kale’s special mix of cancer-preventing glucosinolates has been the hottest area of research on this cruciferous vegetable. Kale is an especially rich source of glucosinolates, and once kale is eaten and digested, these glucosinolates can be converted by the body into cancer preventive compounds. Some of this conversion process can also take place in the food itself, prior to consumption.

Also worth noting in kale’s nutritional profile is its vitamin K content. Kale contains nearly twice the amount of vitamin K as most of its fellow cruciferous vegetables.

In addition to the above-cited nutrients, according to our Food Rating System, kale is an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. It is a very good source of copper, tryptophan, calcium, vitamin B6, and potassium; and a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B2, protein, vitamin B1, folate, phosphorous, and vitamin B3.

For an in-depth nutritional profile click here: Kale.

In-Depth Nutritional Profile

In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, an in-depth nutritional profile for Kale is also available. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.
Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn’t contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food’s in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients – not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good – please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you’ll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food’s nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling.”


Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)

Cinnamon is a herb traditionally used by many ancient cultures. It is indicated for a variety of ailments including gastrointestinal problems, urinary infections, relieving symptoms of colds and flu and has remarkable anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Some studies have shown that Cinnamon helps people with diabetes metabolise sugar better.

True cinnamon, or Cinnamomum Zeylanicum, is the inner bark of a small evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka and was used in ancient Egypt for embalming. It was also added to food to prevent spoiling. During the Bubonic Plague, sponges were soaked in cinnamon and cloves and placed in sick rooms. Cinnamon was the most sought after spice during explorations of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Most therapeutic uses of Chinese cinnamon bark are rooted in its historical use as a traditional medicine and on laboratory and animal studies. Test-tube or animal research does not guarantee safety or effectiveness in humans, but German health authorities (Commission E) do approve of cinnamon bark for mild gastrointestinal spasms, stimulating appetite and relieving indigestion.

It is used in flatulent dyspepsia, dyspepsia with nausea, intestinal colic and digestive atony associated with cold & debilitated conditions. It is known to relieve nausea and vomiting, and because of its mild astringency it is particularly used for infantile diarrhea.

Cinnamon warms and stimulates the digestive system, useful in weak digestion, colic, griping, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, wind and distension. The tannins have an astringent action, stemming bleeding in nosebleeds, heavy periods and resolving diarrhea and catarrhal congestion.

Cinnamon may help to:

Soothe an upset stomach:

Cinnamon extracts have been used medically to treat gastrointestinal problems and to help calm the stomach. Cinnamon is a carminative, an agent that helps break up intestinal gas that has traditionally been used to combat diarrhea and morning sickness. Both test-tube and some animal studies have found that cinnamon may help to relieve mild abdominal discomfort caused by excess gas.

Clear up urinary-tract infections:

One German study showed that Cinnamon “suppresses completely” the cause of most urinary-tract infections (Escherichia coli bacteria) and the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infections (Candida albicans).

Allow diabetics to use less insulin:

Some studies have shown that Cinnamon helps people with diabetes metabolise sugar better. In adult-onset (Type II) diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin, but the body can’t use it efficiently to break down blood sugar.

Richard Anderson at the US Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland found that Cinnamon enhances the ability of insulin to metabolise glucose, helping to control blood sugar levels. Cinnamon contains the anti-oxidant glutathione and a type of flavonoid called MHCP (methylhydroxy chalcone polymer). It is believed that cinnamon makes fat cells much more responsive to insulin, the hormone that regulates sugar metabolism and thus controls the level of glucose in the blood.

“One-eighth of a teaspoon of cinnamon triples insulin efficiency,” say James A. Duke, Ph.D., a botanist retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and author of The CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Dr. Duke suggest that people with adult-onset diabetes discuss Cinnamon’s benefits with their doctor. Taking ½ to ¾ teaspoon of ground Cinnamon with each meal may help control blood sugar levels.

Aid digestion:

Cinnamon contains compounds called catechins, which help relieve nausea. The volatile oil in cinnamon bark may also help the body to process food by breaking down fats during digestion.

Kill many disease-causing fungi and viruses:

Preliminary results from test tube and animal studies suggest that cinnamon oil and cinnamon extract have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-parasitic properties. For example, cinnamon has been found to be active against Candida albicans, the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infections and thrush (oral yeast infection), Helicobacter pylori (the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers), and even head lice.

An incredible experiment in the journal of Food Science for 1974 demonstrated the power of cinnamon over most yeasts and fungi. Slices of white, raisin, rye and whole wheat breads, manufactured without the usual mold inhibitors, were subjected to various aflatoxins, a group of toxic molds so dangerous that they can cause liver cancer and kill humans and animals alike and often occur in food. The toxic molds grew vigorously on all of the other breads, except for the raisin bread where growth was described as being “scant or not visible at all.” In trying to identify whether it was the raisins or cinnamon responsible for this, food scientists discovered that as little as 2% or 20 mg. of the spice per ml of a yeast-extract and sucrose broth inhibited 97 -99 per cent of these molds.

Relieve Pain:

Cinnamon is considered a pain-killer due to its prostaglandin-inhibiting action.

Relieve Colds and Flu:

In both India and Europe, cinnamon has been traditionally taken as a warming herb for “cold” conditions, often in combination with ginger (Zingiber officinale). The herb stimulates the circulation, especially to the fingers and toes and has been used for arthritis. Cinnamon is also a traditional remedy for aching muscles and other symptoms of viral conditions such as colds and flue.

Cinnamon Herb Notes / Side Effects

Latin Name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Cinamomum saigonicum

Common Names: Saigon cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon, Dalcini, Gui, Twak, Yueh-kuei

Properties: Alterative, analgesic, anodyne, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-infective, anti-oxidant, anti-parasitic, anti-septic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, haemostatic, hypotensive, sedative, stimulates and then depresses the nervous system, stomachic.

Indicated for: Abdominal Pain, arthritis, asthma, backaches, bloating, bronchitis, candida, cholera, cold or flu with chilliness, aching, sweating but cold skin, constipation, coronary problems, diarrhea, digestive irritation, dysmenorrhea, excessive menstruation, fevers, flatulence, gastric disorders, haemorrhoids, hypertension, indigestion, nausea, nephritis, parasites, passive gastric/pulmonary/intestinal/renal bleeding, psoriasis, stomach upset, vomiting, warts.

Cinnamon bark is generally safe to use in medicinal amounts, but allergic skin rashes or mucous membrane reactions are possible. Spice workers have occasionally developed asthma and some people have had allergic reactions to cinnamon chewing gum. Very large amounts of cinnamon bark could cause dangerous nervous system reactions.

Do not use:

during pregnancy due to cinnamon’s emmenagogic effect.

if you suffer from stomach or intestinal ulcers due to the carminative effect.

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