With Sue Kira
The power of green plants in healing has been recognised throughout history.
Many indigenous peoples — and all mammals except modern man — live primarily on grasses and green plants in times of disease. In more recent years a number of green food supplements have become popular.
These all have one obvious property in common: chlorophyll, the substance that makes plants appear green.
Actually all plants, even citrus fruits, contain some chlorophyll; the greater the amount the greener the plant. In colour therapy green is sometimes referred to as the ‘master colour’ which can benefit all conditions.
Green, the colour associated with spring, is characterised by the power of renewal. According to Chinese medicine, it has an affinity for the liver. In various metaphysical teachings, the green ray relates to the heart chackra.
When used in a meal, green plants provide a refreshing, vital and relaxing presence.
This visual intuition is accurate, since the green hue corresponds to the fundamental properties of chlorophyll. These include the ability to purify, quell inflammations and rejuvenate.
In addition, chlorophyll benefits anaemic conditions, reduces high blood pressure, strengthens the intestines, relieves nervousness, and serves as a mild diuretic.
The ability of chlorophyll to enrich the blood and treat anemia may be due to a similarity in the molecular structure between haemoglobin in red blood cells and chlorophyll.
Their molecules are virtually identical except for their central atom: the centre of the chlorophyll molecule is magnesium whereas iron occupies the central position of haemoglobin.
Thus chlorophyll is sometimes referred to as ‘the blood of plant life’. In this article I will be discussing some of the different types of sources of chlorophyll, often termed ‘super foods’.
In general, the blue-green micro-algae spirulina is nurturing, tonifying, and useful for overcoming deficiencies, but at the same time offers cleansing because of its rich chlorophyll content.
Its use by those with weakness and poor assimilation is explained by the fact that its nutrients are easy to digest and absorb. Much of its protein is in the form of biliprotein, which has been predigested by the algae.
A good portion of its carbohydrate is also broken down into rhamnose, and a small, but important part is glycogen. These supply enduring energy soon after ingestion.
In the area of prevention, spirulina is richly supplied with the blue pigment phycocyanin, a biliprotein which has been shown to inhibit cancer colony formation.
Predominant blue pigmentation in food is rare. The chemical reality of spirulina’s blue colour is demonstrated by its effect in the brain. Here phycocyanin helps draw together amino acids for neurotransmitter formation, which increases mental capacity.
The unsaturated fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and its associated prostaglandin PGE1 have been researched extensively in recent years, notably in the area of immunity.
Most people are deficient in GLA, but the wealth of GLA applications is economically obtained by using spirulina, one of the richest sources.
This is another well-known algal food of high nutritional value somewhat comparable to that of spirulina, but containing a little less protein, just a fraction of the beta-carotene, but more than twice the nucleic acid and chlorophyll.
The cell wall binds well with toxic metals, pesticides and carcinogens and carries these safely out of the body.
It also contains complex polysaccharides that stimulate interferon production as well as other anti-tumor and immune enhancing activity.
The cell wall also contains compounds related to those found in bacteria that fortify immunity and protect against mutation.
Many people use chlorella for a nutrient factor known as ‘chlorella growth factor’ (CGF). CGF is related to the special nature of chlorella’s nucleic acid.
The nucleic acid in the human body (RNA/DNA) is responsible for directing cellular renewal, growth and repair.
The amount of nucleic acid in the body decreases with age; in fact insufficient nucleic acid causes premature aging as well as weakened immunity.
Nucleic acid is depleted by lack of exercise, stress, pollution, and poor diet. Chlorella contains a great amount of fatty acids. About 20% of these fatty acids are the artery cleansing, omega-3 alpha-linolenic variety.
However, chlorella does not contain the biliprotein phycocyanin found in spirulina. These super greens combine well to give the advantages of both.
Wheat and barley grass
The therapeutic properties of wheat and barley grass are nearly identical, although barley grass may digest a little more easily. People with allergies to wheat or other cereals are almost never allergic to them in their grass stage.
In the dried form, these grasses rank just behind spirulina and chlorella in chlorophyll and vitamin A.
Their protein levels are about 20% — about the same as meats – but of course their amino acid profile is quite different.
In addition to high nutrient content, cereal grasses offer unique digestive enzymes not available in such concentration in other foods.
The hundreds of enzymes they contain help resolve indigestible and toxic substances in food.
Also present is the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) and the special fraction P4D1. Both of these substances slow cellular deterioration and mutation and are therefore useful in the treatment of degenerative disease and the reversal of aging.
SOD is the enzyme in healthy cells which protects them from the highly destructive ‘free radicals’ formed when radiation, bad air, chemical laden food, and other toxins damage the body. SOD is either greatly lacking or completely absent in cells that are cancerous.
Vitamin A and beta-carotene
All chlorophyll (green) plants have certain pigments known as carotenes. Chlorophyll and carotene in fact work synergistically in several ways.
One vital relationship occurs when chlorophyll activates enzymes which produce vitamins E and K, and help convert carotene into vitamin A.
For this reason, green sources of carotene convert more than twice as much of their carotene into vitamin A as do yellow foods.
This increased action catalysed by chlorophyll is helpful for those who are deficient in vitamin A, but it is not always essential since the carotene not converted has other functions.
Greens in the diet
Every green food has helpful amounts of chlorophyll and can be used for building blood, cleansing, and controlling the growth of unwanted microorganisms.
The high oxalic acid greens such as spinach, beet greens, and chard, however, must be taken in limited amounts by those with mineral deficiencies or loose stools because of the laxative and calcium depleting effect.
Appropriate chlorophyll-rich foods chosen mostly from the common green vegetables can healthfully occupy 15-20% of the diet to help alleviate the many toxic effects of the environment.
And as Bernard Jensen would say, ‘If you’re green inside you’re clean inside’.
Originally published in Here & Now magazine, written by Sue Kira, from True Vitality
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