The use of plants for their medicinal benefits predates modern medicine by thousands of years. Ancient civilizations didn’t know why certain plants soothed nausea or helped heal wounds, but today we can isolate the organic compounds that make up a plant and test each compound for its potential health benefits. Once we know what part of a plant does what, we can enrich medicinal plant products to treat specific ailments.
Most of us know that hops are used in beer for flavoring, but studies show that they have several health benefits. Xanthohumol1, an organic compound found in hops, can be used to relieve pain, treat muscle spasms, reduce stress, and more. While some of us may drink beer for stress and pain relief, doctors don’t recommend it, and there’s a good reason for that: common brewing methods convert xanthohumol into a neutral version of the compound. Because of this, most commercial beers have very low percentages of xanthohumol. With the help of the kind of analysis we do at IX Analytics, brewers are attempting to devise ways to create beers rich in xanthohumol.
Every civilization, without exception, used aloe vera for various medicinal purposes. Today, you can find it at most stores next to the sunblock, and we use it to treat different kinds of burns. More recently, we’ve discovered that certain components in the plant have proven effective in suppressing the bacteria responsible for causing strep throat2. Like many standard pharmaceuticals, synthetic treatments of strep throat sometimes have harmful side effects that aloe vera does not.
We once thought of this yellow powder as a seasoning used primarily in Indian dishes, but turmeric is making all kinds of health headlines. People are putting it in their coffee or taking capsules full of it every day. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that has been found to relieve symptoms of arthritis3, prevent and treat cancer4, and more.
These are just three of many plants that contain organic compounds linked to health benefits. IX Analytics specializes in understanding how each part of a plant interacts to create different effects in our bodies. Our holistic approach to plant analysis ensures that people know what they’re putting in their bodies and how it will affect them.
1 Magalhães, P. J., Carvalho, D. O., Cruz, J. M., Guido, L. F., & Barros, A. A. (2009). Fundamentals and Health Benefits of Xanthohumol, a Natural Product Derived from Hops and Beer. Natural Product Communications, 4(5), 1934578X0900400501. https://doi.org/10.1177/1934578X0900400501
2. Jain, S., Rathod, N., Nagi, R., Sur, J., Laheji, A., Gupta, N., … Prasad, S. (2016). Antibacterial Effect of Aloe Vera Gel against Oral Pathogens: An In-vitro Study. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR, 10(11), ZC41–ZC44. http://doi:10.7860/JCDR/2016/21450.8890
3 Funk, J. L., Frye, J. B., Oyarzo, J. N., Kuscuoglu, N., Wilson, J., McCaffrey, G., Stafford, G., Chen, G., Lantz, R. C., Jolad, S. D., Sólyom, A. M., Kiela, P. R., & Timmermann, B. N. (2006). Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 54(11), 3452–3464. https://doi.org/10.1002/art.22180
4 Das, L., & Vinayak, M. (2011). Anti-carcinogenic action of curcumin by activation of antioxidant defence system and inhibition of NF-κB signalling in lymphoma-bearing mice. Bioscience Reports, 32(2), 161–170. https://doi.org/10.1042/BSR20110043