Ashitaba : A Medicinal Plant and Health Method
By Kazuo Hida
Medicinal Plant Specialist
ASHITABA (Tomorrow's leaf) has its origins on the Island of Hachijo where the warm tropical currents pass by on their way North to meet the cold Arctic waters of the Pacific. How did Ashitaba come by its name of tomorrow's leaf or weed. It was named for its ability to reproduce its green stem and leaf almost on a daily basis.
Ashitaba's scientific name, Angelica keiskei Koidzumi, comes from the Latin name for Angel, and because of its godly effects that have given it its notoriety. The population of Hachijo Island are known for their longevity, living until the ripe old age of 90's. When all aspects of their life style were analyzed the determination was that the consumption of ashitaba was a heavy contribution to the extended lifetime. As more study was conducted on the composition of this special strain of angelica, ashitaba has been attracting more and more attention from the scientific community.
Medicinal Value of this plant
The oldest written record of the medicinal value of Ashitaba appears in a Chinese book listing the medicines that can be derived from grass. The book was first published during the Ming Dynasty and was written by Dr. Lee during his lifetime from 1518 to 1593 AD. This book was then transcribed into Latin, English, German, Russian and became internationally famous as a publication on Oriental Medicine. It was brought into Japan and presented to the Shogun by Razan Hayashi in 1606.
Green plants such as Ashitaba are the basis of our energy conversion life cycle. These green plants contain chlorophyll which uses the energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and create a by-product, starch. Chlorophyll has shown an ability to be an anti-bacterial, aid in the production of blood, and an ability to help heal wounds.
Ashitaba, which contains high levels of chlorophyll, is actually a weed, and is used to existing under sever conditions such as high winds, rain, high salinity, and generally bad weather. However, it is actually these same conditions that train the ashitaba plant and build its constitution so that it can produce the unique by-products that can help keep the body and its functions in balance.
Ashitaba contains a yellow sap which contains chalcones that are unique to this strain of angelica. It is these chalcones that are considered as the active ingredients that give rise to ashitaba's use as a diuretic, laxative, and aid to good metabolism.
Ashitaba also contains B 12, which is normally produced in animals and not plants. It is this uniqueness that places ashitaba in the same category as marine products such as marine algae instead of other land based green plants. Vitamin B12 has been recognized for its ability to promote the production of blood cells, increase attention span and concentration, increase the production of growth hormone, and promote the immune system so that it can fight off serious disorder; such as cancer.
Ashitaba has also been used as a treatment for the following disorders:
·Gl tract disorders:
acute gastritis, chronic gastritis,
chlorhydria, stomach cancer, duodenal ulcer,
descensus ventriculi, gastric atonia and chronic enteritis
·High blood pressure
·Production of sperm
·Aging of skin
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