If you are looking for a herbal plant that you can easily cultivate in your own backyard, then ashitaba is the best plant for you. This post will discuss more on ashitaba health benefits and its other medicinal uses.
The last herb that I discussed was Sabah Snake Grass, a potent herb that is said to cure hundreds of diseases. However, this plant can only be acquired in Sabah, Malaysia. So if you want sample plants, then you have to travel half way around the world to get some.
Ashitaba is a different plant and is very easy to cultivate. Read on to learn more.
What is Ashitaba?
Ashitaba originated on the Island of Hachijo, Japan, but is now widely cultivcated anywhere in the world since its health properties was discovered. Its scientific name is Angelica Keiskei and its English name is Tomorrow’s Leaf.
Tomorrow’s Leaf is a green, celery-like plant that is related to the Angelica genus family. It grows at an average height of 50 -120 cm and can survive through modest conditions with temperatures ranging 12-22 degrees.
Ashitaba also has a regenerative capabilities, which it exhibits when its stems are damaged. Harvesting a leaf from this Japanese plant’s nomenclature stems can result in a new sprout growing the next day.
This plant is traditionally seen as a major cause of healthier lives in the local residents of Hachijo. Due to this perception, the plant has been dubbed as a “longevity herb”, which was also backed up by various scientific studies which suggests that ashitaba’s diverse biological activities can affect the human body positively.
Some of the known ashitaba health benefits includes stimulation of nerve growth factor (NGF), boosts immune system, diuretic, enhance stomach and intestine functions, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
Read More: Plants for a Future – Angelica Keiskei
At a Glance – Ashitaba Health Benefits
Hundreds of essential ashitaba health benefits are known today, but most of these claims needs more scientific proof.
However, some of the “known” benefits that I mentioned earlier do have certain types of clinical studies that are dependable enough to believe that this plant is indeed beneficial to health.
The most intriguing of all the ashitaba health benefits is the stimulation of nerve growth factor or NGF. How can ashitaba constitutes to your nerve growth factor? Lets find out.
Nerve Growth Factor
The nerve growth factor is a protein that is common in all vertebrate tissues and can easily be synthesized in minutes. It plays a crucial role in the differentiation and survival of nerve cell foundations, found in the central nervous system.
NGF has an important function and that is to maintain the healthy connection between neurons and the brain. This process helps alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinsons and dementia, all of which are caused by neuron degeneration.
An 80 mice laboratory study was conduced at the University of Rochester. Half of which had a gene inserted into their hippocampuses, which helps increase NGF. The gene was activated during the adulthood period of the said mice.
The mice were divided into three groups, one was kept in their cages, second were put in the same maze, and the third group was put into a sequential maze in a daily basis for two weeks.
The mice which have been fortified with NGF showed significant memory improvement compared to other groups. The mice learned the new mazed faster, which concludes that NGF can help in aiding neuron growth.
This study has been accurate with other studies regarding ashitaba. Scientists at the Biomedical Group of Takara Shuze Co Ltd., have discovered an increased production of Nerve Growth Factor in several enhanced compounds found in ashitaba.
Active molecular structures from ashitaba that are said to help enhance NGF includes the following:
- four coumarin compounds (two novel ones and one chroman compound)
- Xanthohumol compound (one chalcone)
- Two sesquiterpenoid compounds
Enhancement of nerve growth factor has been linked to ashitaba’s high vitamin B content, particularly B12. NGF can also help treat glaucoma and may be beneficial for diabetic patients.
Medicinal and Therapeutic Uses
All information about ashitaba health benefits aren’t just focused in nerve growth factor. There are also dozens of claims about its medicinal and therapeutic health advantages.
Tomorrow’s leaf contains a large dose of chlorophyll, which is common to green plants. Chlorophyll’s main function is to use the sun’s energy and convert carbon dioxide into oxygen then it creates starch.
In most uses, chlorophyll has been used as an anti-bacterial, helps in the production of blood and helps to heal wounds.
This green plant also has chalcones, an active ingredient that is unique only to ashitaba. Through this compound, tomorrow’s leaf is used as a diuretic, laxative and also helps in boosting metabolic rate.
As aforementioned earlier, ashitaba is rich in vitamin B12 content. But B12′s main function is not just for nerve growth, it is also used for the following health advantages:
- Production of blood cells
- Increased attention and concentration
- Strengthens the immune system
- Increase the production of growth hormones
Ashitaba is also known to help treat the following health disorders:
- Skin aging
- Shoulder stiffness
- Production of sperm (libido)
- Chronic fatigue
- GI tract disorders
Other compounds in ashitaba that are said to have medicinal benefits includes B-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron, angelic acid, 4-hydrodexydelisin glycosides and isoquercitrin.
There are dozens more to write about ashitaba health benefits. But I have to go to our last benefit. This plant has been known to help treat cancer and stop tumor development. Are there any truth on this? Lets find out.
According to Dr. Toru Okuyama of Meiji University, College of Pharmacy, conducted a mice-based study to test if ashitaba extracts can help treat skin and lung cancers.
In this research, the mice with skin melanomas were given an external application of ashitaba extract and found a significant inhibitions on cancer cells.
This therapy was also done to mice that were induced to tobacco lung cancer, but the extract was in fluid and food form. The research concludes that the cancer ceased through this treatment therapy.
Because of this, thousands of people are cramming to get their own ashitaba to plant at their own backyard.
The potent anti-tumor qualities of ashitaba has been found on its root’s non-polar extracts. Curiously, local residents in Japan makes ashitaba as their regular vegetable. Is this the reason why Japan has the highest longevity rate in the world? I bet the plant has some factors for this, so yes.
Is there Any Health Issues with Ashitaba?
The aforementioned ashitaba health benefits are all wonders of nature and you can only say good things about this plant. However, there is one drawback that is common among the Angelica plant family – Furocoumarins.
Furocoumarins are compounds that can highly increase your skin sensitivity to sunlight or any other irritants. This may cause you to develop dermatitis and some other known skin diseases.
However, this drawback also needs further scientific proof as it doesn’t have enough clinical trials to show that it can really cause dermatitis or any skin disease. Plus, there are no reports of any individual who experienced the said side effects in consuming ashitaba plant.
Ashitaba Health Benefits Summary
Ashitaba is completely safe and perfect for your health. I can personally testify with these health claims because I have my own ashitaba plants on my backyard. In fact, the pictures in this article are mine and those are my ashitaba plants.
I eat 3 to 6 leaves of tomorrow’s leaf daily, in fresh and raw form. I don’t use it as a tea or juice (although I can try that to have taste variations) and eat it straight. The leaves doesn’t actually taste awful but you can juice it if you can’t take it in raw form.
So if you want some, then come visit me here in Manila and I’ll give you ashitaba for free!
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