Plants are one of the most diverse natural resources. Their consumption in food products promotes strength and integrity of the body. A diet lacking in plant-based foods is unbalanced. An unbalanced diet can cause nutritional deficiencies. These are most important in the developing children and the elderly. Certain compounds found in plants are essential for the normal functioning of the body.
The human body breaks down complex ingredients in food. The simple compounds are absorbed from the intestines. The body derives its energy from the breakdown of these simple compounds. The remaining nutrients in circulation are processed for storage. They are assembled together to make complex compounds for storage. In this way the body can synthesize the simple and complex forms of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. However there are certain vitamins that the body cannot synthesize on its own. They are present in plant-based diets called essential vitamins. They are required in smaller quantities than macronutrients. These vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of various mechanisms.
The beneficial compounds present in plants are utilized in non-food products as well. The use of plants in traditional medicine dates back to ancient times. The locally available medicinal plants are ground up and used in daily remedies. The beneficial plant extracts are formulated into topical and edible preparations. Modern medicine has taken over traditional practices. It is still important in developing countries. Areas lacking modern facilities rely on locally available medicinal plants for use in remedies.
Modern medicine has helped develop simple treatments of previously fatal diseases. Pain killers, antibiotics and other common medicines have alleviated painful conditions. Their use in acute conditions is revolutionary. Chronic diseases like diabetes mellitus, hypertension and heart failure are managed better with preventive measures. New research shows better compliance with use of plant-derived compounds.
Diabetes is a chronic illness associated with raised blood sugar levels. Chatarina Wariyah and Riyanto studied the therapeutic role of Aloe vera powder and gel in diabetes. The experiments were conducted using Wistar rats with Alloxan induced diabetes mellitus. The research concluded the hypoglycemic effect of the powder and gel. The research article was published in the Research Journal of Medicinal Plants.
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