"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"
THE BENEFITS OF THE USE OF APPLES
IN HERBAL PREPARATIONS
MEDICINAL QUALITIES OF APPLES
The cancer fighting qualities contained in a fresh, unpeeled apple are impressive. There are numerous studies whose findings are promising to anyone seeking to prevent or treat cancer.
Lung cancer may be at the top of the list. The findings of the Nurses’ Health Study revealed apples were one of the fruits associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer. This was found to be more significant among the women rather than the men. A 40% to 50% decrease in lung cancer was found in participants of a study in Hawaii. Of both men and women, those who ate more apples, onions, and white grapefruit saw the most reduction of the cancer. In a Finnish study, apples were the only specific foods that were inversely related to lung cancer risk. Apples have an anti-tumor action. This was evident in the Zutphen Elderly study. Reduced incidences of tumors in the respiratory tract were detected in those who received more flavinoids from fresh fruit, like the apple.
Other promising news for the lungs means better over-all health. Lung function increases with apple consumption. A study of men and women in the Netherlands indicated an increase of lung function in those who ate more apples. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, often a result of smoking cigarettes, was reduced while pulmonary function increased. These results were especially evident in those who ate an apple five times a week. Other pulmonary complaints were decreased also. Incidents of asthma and its cohort -allergies were reduced. Both were shown to be inversely affected by consuming fresh apples.
Lung cancer was not the only form of cancer worked on by apples. Many of the same studies previously cited proved apple’s value with other forms. Among these are; prostate cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and leukemia. A list of known biological activities associated with apples include: anticancer, antileukemic, antimutagenic, antimetastic,
antineoplastic (stomach), antiproliferant, and antitumor of the skin, pancreas, stomach breast and bladder.
In addition to important cancer fighting constituents, apples will aid the digestive system and related diseases. First of all, apples fight obesity. The fiber in the form of pectin is just one factor that affects weight. The pectin has and amphoteric action. This means it is either laxative or antidiarrheal, according to the body’s needs.
The malic and tartaric acids contribute to the apple’s usefulness as a digestive aid. These acids keep food from fermenting in the stomach, allowing for better digestion. The apple itself is digested completely with in 85 minutes. The acids and enzymes that help it to be digested so quickly also aid in digesting other foods.
Pectin can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb dietary fats. Obesity is a huge factor in Type II diabetes. Blood sugar is also a factor. Pectin aids in the reduction of blood sugar. So among apple’s antiobesity, nutritive and digestive qualities is revealed its antidiabetic action.
Apples are cleaners. Among some of the reported actions are benefits for those exposed to radiation. It has been reported that apples are beneficial in binding radioactive residues and helping to excrete them from the body. Apples can also help remove toxic metals like lead from the body.
Maybe one of the most important cleaning actions provided by apples has to do with cholesterol. The pectin, as well as other constituents, play a role in reducing the bad cholesterol in the body. This is good news for blood vessels and the heart. Because apple is also a hemetic, it can build the blood as well as cleanse it.
A reduced risk of cardiovascular disease has been associated with apple consumption. In the Women’s Health Study, it was found that those whose diets were very high in flavonoids, especially from apples and onions, had a 35% reduction in risk of cardiovascular events. The Finnish study found a lower risk of thromibic stroke among apple consumers. The Zutphen Study concluded “flavinoid intake was strongly correlated with a decreased mortality from heart disease in elderly men and also negatively correlated with myocardial infarction.”
This same study showed apple’s constituents to have an effect on cerebrovascular health. The apple provides antioxidants for the body. Oxidative damage on cells by free radicals contributes to age related brain disorders. Alzheimers and senility are examples. Apples have been cited as antialzheimerian. A study conducted by the University of Massachusetts suggests that whether the oxidation is caused by normal metabolism, dietary insufficiencies or genetic deficiencies, apples can help.
The apple also contains qualities that help prevent the eye and nerve damage associated with diabetes. This happens when too much sugar alcohol, called sorbitol gets trapped in nerve and eye cells. Apples have the quality of being an Aldose Reductase inhibitor. This quality may be means of delaying this common effect of diabetes.
Apples have and ACE inhibitor quality. This aspect helps relax arteries, lower blood pressure and improves the pumping ability of the heart.
Most of the apples medicinal qualities treat chronic illness. ‘An apple a day’ is an important adage to follow in order to enjoy its effects in these areas. There are so many more benefits inherent in the apple. One source cites; Antianemic, antibacterial, antiinflamitory, antimenopauseal, antiCrohn’s, antiedemic, anti PMS, antiseptic, antiyeast, antiviral, capillary protective, hepatoprotective, diuretic, fungicide, nematicided (round worms), and neuroprotective are a few not mentioned before. Still other sources assign tonic, astringent and hypocholeteraemic, disinfectant, cardiac stimulant and cephalic.
by Anna Lovett-Brown