The Clinical Importance of Some Plants To Human Health

Funom Makama By Funom Makama, 4th Oct 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Diet & Nutrition

What were you thinking when you read the subject matter? Medicinal plants I guess. But the focus is on food plants/crops like the Barley, rice, millet, peas and so on, that you already know. Their value is beyond just nutrition and growth, but they also have great medical importance to us as Humans and as well serve as prophylaxis and treatments to some diseases.

Importance of Food in general

Most people do not know the value or significance of the food they eat. They just eat to live instead of eat to live well. With the advancement in science and food technology, foodstuffs have gone just beyond making us live. They also have good medicinal importance both in prophylaxis and medical treatments. We often become so careless on the way we eat and then end up finding expensive remedies to the situations we find ourselves. But when we know the full significance of what we eat, it helps us live a healthy life and not just exist. Our focus would strictly be on the value of the various foodstuffs which are from the plant origin.

Before we take a step further, we can pause to refresh our memories on some basic classification of food and as well few but important rules to healthy Nutrition.

1. Classification by predominant functions. The energy giving foods are the fats and carbohydrates. They are also called protein sparers. Proteins also produce energy to some extent. Cereals, roots and tubers, dried fruits, sugars and fats belong to this group. They supply heat and energy to the body. Body building foods are rich in proteins, mineral salts and water. Milk, meat, fish, pulses, Oilseeds and nuts fall in this category. Protective foods constitute of Inorganic salts, vitamins and minerals. They include proteins and water. Milk, eggs, Liver, green Leafy Vegetables and fruits are included in this group. They build our bones, teeth, muscles, soft tissues, blood and other body fluids. They provide material for repair in the body as wear and tear goes on.
2. Classification by origin.
1. Foods of animal origin.
2. Foods of vegetable or plant origin.
3. Classification by chemical composition. Proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

Main rules of healthy Nutrition
• Try to replace unhealthy products with healthy ones. For instance, sugar with honey; sausages with meat; fries with baked or steamed foodstuffs.
• Eating fruits, vegetables and grain products that contain fiber may help prevent heart disease.
• Limiting the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.
• Eating fiber containing grain products, fruits, and vegetables may help prevent Cancer.
• Eating fruits and vegetables that are 'low in fat' and good sources of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, or vitamin C may help prevent cancer.
• Mix the variety of food stuffs in a good proportion to give a balanced diet.

They are in the form of seeds which contain a large quantity of nutritive material condensed in a small bulk and mineral substances like Phosphates of calcium, magnesium, and also with a small amount of Iron and Silica. They have large amount of roughage or the cellulose contents, which promotes peristalsis or the movement of bowels. Barley is very nutritious and is characterized by its richness in mineral salts and fat but is poor in gluten. So it is unsuited for making bread, rather wheat is used. Maize is as nutritious as wheat, and richer in fats than all cereals except oats. It contains 10% proteins, 65% Carbohydrates, 5% fats, 1-2% salts and 14% water. Maize is poor in certain amino acids such as Tryptophan. It is deficient in vitamins, the anti-scurvy and anti- pellagra factors being absent and an exclusive use of maize may cause Pellagra. Oats are highly nutritious but deficient in Vitamins A and D and gluten. Oats are used as Oatmeal porridge and should be eaten with plenty of milk.

Wheat Is the most important of all cereals. It contains 60-70% starch, 8-12% gluten and 15% water. It is rich in protein and fat. Flour is prepared by grinding up wheat. Bread especially whole meal, granary, brown and seedy bread is a healthy choice as part of a balanced diet. Wholegrain, whole meal and brown bread give us energy and contain vitamins B, vitamin E, fiber and a wide range of minerals, but it has less fiber than whole grain, whole meal or brown bread.

Characteristics of bread, burns and their usage in different diseases

1. Protein wheat, protein bran bread. It contains much proteins (to 28%), middle quantity of carbohydrates. Instead of sugar, there is saccharin. Also contains many vitamins of group B, mineral substances and cellulose. Decreased energy value. It is widely taken by Diabetes Patients, in obesity and other diseases where limited Carbohydrate diets are needed.
2. Grain Bread. These are included whole or partial wheat grains. Used in Diabetes Constipation, Tuberculosis, Hyper-tonic diseases, diseases of cardiovascular system and exhaustion.
3. Unsalted bread. Absence of salt. Used in hyper-tonic diseases and Kidney diseases
4. Bread without proteins. Decreased quantity of proteins (to 0.2%). Enriched with Vitamins of group B. Fat 2.5%, Carbohydrates 59%. Used in Renal insufficiency, Liver diseases and large intestine inflammation.
5. Burns with decreased acidity. Are made only of wheat flour. Many carbohydrates and proteins. Can be taken during Ulcer diseases and gastritis with increased acidity.
6. Bread with increased calorie. Contains much proteins, mineral substances (magnesium and Potassium), cellulose and taken in diseases of the Liver and arteriosclerosis.
7. Buns with increased calorie. Are enriched with sugar, fat, milk and eggs. Used in diets for tuberculosis and exhaustion.
8. Rye Bread. It has increased acidity. It contains many vitamins of group B, mineral substances, cellulose. Stimulate appetite and strengthens intestinal peristalsis. It has secretory properties as well. It stimulates mechanical function of intestine and used in diseases of the cardiovascular system.
9. Crackers. Are well digested, less stimulate gastric secretion in diseases of gastrointestinal tract. Especially In gastric and peptic Ulcers.
10. Maize Porridge. Slows down putrid processes in the intestine and hence very good for colic infections.

Rice in composition is the poorest in proteins, fats and mineral matter. Out of all the cereals and has no cellulose contents or roughage. Its chief constituent is starch, which is in a very digestible form. It is digested within 3-4 hours. Being rich in starch, it is eaten with Nitrogenous and fatty substances, like pulses, fish and so on, to supply the deficiency in proteins and fats. The bulkiness of rice eaters' diet gives rise o some important consequences;
• It tends to prevent the absorption from the intestines of the proteins and vitamins contained in other food eaten with it, as pulses.
• It can cause distension of the stomach and bowels with fermentation of their contents thus result in indigestion and bowel complaints.
• The outer layer contains vitamins B, and its complete removal may give rise to beriberi in rice eating population. Rice does not contain vitamins A, C and D.

Usage of Cereals in different diseases
1. Semolina. It has much starch (70%) and proteins, not much mineral substances and cellulose. It is used for diseases of gastrointestinal tract, postoperative period, myocardial infarction and diseases which need well digesting food.
2. Rice. Much starch (74%), not many proteins, cellulose and Vitamins, mineral substances. It is good for diseases of the alimentary canal.
3. Millet. It has Lipid digesting action, much fat and potassium salts. It can be taken during arteriosclerosis, diabetes, Liver diseases and constipation.
4. Pearl or barley. Contains much cellulose and not highly digestible. They contain much Iron and folic acid. Can be used for constipation, obesity and to supplement for diets which are contra- indicated for diseases of the alimentary canal.
5. Oat meal. It contains much protein, fats, carbohydrates, mineral substances and big quantity of some fatty acids and choline. It has Lipid digesting action. Used in diseases of digestive organs, cardiovascular system and Tuberculosis.
6. Buck Wheat. Contains much vitamin of group B, some amino acids and cellulose. For diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, diseases of Liver, arteriosclerosis, diabetes and so on.
7. Corn. Contains much Carbohydrates (75%) not much vitamins, much Iron, copper and bad- digesting proteins. It slows putrid processes and is indicated in Inflammation of the intestine.
8. Sago. It contains much Carbohydrate (85%), less proteins, vitamins, mineral substances. And it is used for diets with limit of proteins.

They are mostly legumes and are richer in Nitrogenous substances than other vegetables. They include peas, beans and lentils. Owing to their richness in proteins, they are called the "poor man's meat". Compared to meat, they are deficient in fat. They contain a good quantity of Carbohydrate and if fresh, also contain Vitamins A, B and C. When dried, they contain vitamin C.

Soya Bean is the richest for of pulses, containing low fat content, large amount of mineral matter and almost complete absence of starch. Iron content of Soya bean varies from 7-30mg per 100g. The protein is of good quality and easily digestible. It contains large quantities of Vitamin B1 but no vitamin C and D. Milk from Soya bean is prepared to resemble more or less the composition of cow's Milk. It contains absolutely no cholesterol. The high fiber content of Soya milk helps relieve constipation, while high mineral protein and vitamin (especially B complex) levels provide "Ideal" nutrition.

Roots and Tubers
They exist chiefly in the form of starch which is about 80% proteins and fats being practically absent. They contain some mineral matters which are mainly salts of potash. The common forms of tubers are carrots, Potatoes, beet root, radish, onions, arrow root, sago and tapioca. Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates and contain starch 22%, protein 2% and a trace of fat (0.16%). They are a good source of Vitamins universally used as wholesome and palatable dietary articles having much nutritive value.

Green Vegetables

They have little nutritive value, but form an important article of diet on account of the presence of vitamins and mineral salts of sodium, calcium and chlorine which they contain. In composition they consist of 90% water, 2% Nitrogenous substance or proteins, 4% starch and 0.5% fats. They contain large amount of alkaline salts which act as "buffers" and maintain the alkalinity of the blood. They supply vitamins A, B1, B2 and C and give relish to the food, so their inclusion is essential in an ideal dietary. Green vegetables are rich in cellulose to add bulk and are of value in curing chronic constipation. So far as possible, they should be eaten raw as salad.

• They contain a large amount of sugar, vegetable acids and salts. These are protective foods. According to their nutritive value, fruits have been divided into food fruits and flavoring fruits. Their nutritive value depends on the presence of carbohydrates, which exist in the form of sugar and commonly known as fruit sugar. Certain fruits such as lemons and oranges are rich in potassium salts, lime and magnesium and as well contain Vitamin C. Fruits are valuable because;
• They have cooling effect and quench thirst.
• They contain important mineral salts of potash combined with vegetable salts.
• They have anti-scurvy properties being the richest sources of Vitamin C and for this reason; they are included in Children's dietary. They prevent scurvy.
• They prevent constipation.

They differ from fruits as they have higher calorific and nutritive value, being rich in proteins and fats. The common nuts are almonds, cocoa nuts, ground nuts, walnuts and so on. They are rich in Vitamin B but contain very little Vitamin A and no vitamin C.

You need not always buy synthetic drugs for treatment of some certain ailments. If we make the food we eat count and we know their proper value, we can include them as natural therapy to aid recovery. Eating good food with been religious about the constant intake of nutrients in their normal proportional value, can be a very good prophylaxis to most diseases (especially systemic diseases). As it has been believed right from the time of old, People perish because of lack of knowledge. Get acquainted to the full usage of the food you eat and use this knowledge to live well and not just live.


Calories, Carbohydrates, Constipation, Diseases, Fats, Fruits, Green Vegetables, Live Well, Milk, Mineral Substances, Nutritive Value, Proteins, Rice, Roots And Tubers, Scurvy, Vitamins, Whole Meal

Meet the author

author avatar Funom Makama
A medical Practitioner and a passionate writer. A proud published Author of 2 books, more than 2,000 articles online and 500 Poems!

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author avatar Funom Makama
7th Oct 2011 (#)

Mr. Timberland shoes, please wait until I write some articles about the sales of shoes, then you can come and post your adverts here. But for the main time, I will appreciate comments or even adverts based on the subject matter which is plants and their significance to man's health.
Thank you!

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
11th Oct 2011 (#)

Wonderful page!

I like your humor on Timberland!

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author avatar Funom Makama
11th Oct 2011 (#)

Yeah, the guy is so annoying. As soon as I publish, he is already there to advertize. Anyway, thanks a lot.

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author avatar Bridgitte Williams
13th Oct 2011 (#)

I have a fondness for peas! :-) Great article. And, now we know where to get our winter boots and

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author avatar Phina
4th Jan 2012 (#)

hmmm~~~ yummy, yummy!

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author avatar Nice Russian girl
4th Jan 2012 (#)

right on point, Dr. I was thought exactly these in Class...

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author avatar Not a hater
4th Jan 2012 (#)

Nice work Man!

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author avatar Eli
4th Jan 2012 (#)

Great piece, keep it up!

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author avatar Zak
4th Jan 2012 (#)

I love bread so much, thanks a lot for the info.

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author avatar Barine Nakwaasah
2nd Mar 2012 (#)


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author avatar Funom Makama
2nd Mar 2012 (#)

thanks and welcome to wikinut.

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