CURATIVE PROPERTIES IN APPLES
BY SARAH NYONGESA
The apple is a sub acid fruit and one of the most valuable of all the fruits. It is a fleshy fruit, with tough skin, ranging in color from greenish yellow to red. It is usually 5 to 7 centimeters in diameter and has pinkish or yellowish white flesh. The apple is considered “protective” and most wholesome food. Apart from its energy value, it plays an important role in the normal development of metabolic functions i.e. the chemical and physical changes that take place within the body and enable its continued growth and functioning.
Origin and Distribution
The apple is a narrative of Eastern Europe and Western Asia and has been cultivated from pre-historic times. It has been mentioned in the annals of Old China, Babylon and Egypt. The Bible also contains several references to this fruit. The Scandinavians called it the “Food of gods” and believed that it possessed medicinal properties to regenerate both mind and body. In India, apples are grown in the hilly areas of Kashmir, Kulu and kumaon. Nearly 7,500 varieties of the fruit are grown all over the world.
The apple is a highly nutritive food. It contains minerals and vitamins in abundance. The food value of the apple is chiefly constituted by its contents of sugar which ranges from 9 to 51%. Of this, fruit sugar constitutes 60%, and glucose 25%, and care sugar only 15%.
Raw apples generally contain a small quantity of starch which gets wholly converted into sugar during the process of ripening. The acid content of the apple is also increased together with the sugar. This acid is constituted mostly by malic acid which is completely utilized by the body.
The skin of the apple should not be discarded when taking it in raw form as the skin and the flesh just below it contain more Vitamin C than the inner flesh. The vitamin content decreases gradually towards the centre of the fruit. The skin also contains five times more Vitamin A than the flesh.
Natural benefits and curative properties:
Apples are invaluable in the maintenance of good health and in the treatment of many ailments. It was said long ago, ‘to eat an apple before going to bed will make the doctor beg his bread.’ The modern version of this ancient saying, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, sums up the healthful and nourishing qualities of apples.
The active medicinal principle of apple is pectin, natural therapeutic ingredient found in the inner portion of the rind and the pulp. Pectin aids in detoxification by supplying the ‘galacturonic acid’ needed for the elimination of certain harmful substances. It also helps to prevent decomposition of protein matter in the alimentary canal. The malic acid contained in the apple is beneficial to the bowels liver and brain.
Apples being rich in iron, arsenic and phosphorus, are highly beneficial in the treatment of anemia. It will be particularly useful in the form of freshly prepared apple juice. It may be taken in quantities of 1kg daily with beneficial results. The best time to take the juice is half an hour before meals and just before retiring to bed. The cider should be drawn from selected apple which should be thoroughly washed before crushing.
Constipation and Diarrhea:
Apples are beneficial in the treatment of both constipation and diarrhea. Raw apples are good for constipation. At least two apples should be taken daily for proper evacuation of bowels. Cooked or baked apples are good for diarrhea. The cooking process softens the cellulose and provides bulk to the feces.
Apples have been found useful in acute and chronic dysentery among children. Ripe and sweet apples should be crushed into pulp and given to the child several times a day, from 1-4 tablespoonful according to the age in this order. The American Medical Association has also advocated the use of apples as therapeutic agent in dysentery.
The natural apple medicine for the disturbed stomach is prepared by slicing a whole apple and gently pounding it until it becomes slightly mashed. It may be sprinkled with cinnamon or honey. The entire mashed apple may be eaten except for the stem and seeds. It should be chewed thoroughly before swallowing. This preparation should be taken several times between meals for beneficial results. The all-natural medicinal substance, pectin, in the mashed apple works to create a protective coating action by virtue of its qualities as an absorbent and demulcent i.e. the soothing agent.
Apples are highly beneficial in the treatment of all types of headaches. A ripe apple, after removing the upper rind and the inner hard portion should be taken with a little salt every morning on empty stomach in such cases. This should be continued for about week. It will yield good results even in cases of disgusting chronic headaches.
Apples are of special value to heart patients. They are rich in potassium and phosphorus but low in sodium. From ancient times, apple with honey is considered a very effective remedy for functional disorders of the heart. Recent researches by Dr. Elizabeth Barret-Cannor of California University have revealed that people who consume plenty of potassium through food items are likely to escape heart attacks. Apples, as a good source of potassium, help in the alleviation of heart disease.
High Blood Pressure:
Apples are considered invaluable in the cases of high blood pressure. The apple diet has a rapid and considerable diuretic effect causing increased secretion of urine and thus bringing down blood pressure to normal. It also relieves the kidneys by reducing the supply of sodium chloride to a minimum. In addition, it lowers the sodium level in the tissues because of the high level of potassium in apples.
Apples are regarded an excellent food medicine for gout, arthritis, and rheumatism especially when these disease are caused by uric acid poisoning. The malic acid contained in them is believed to neutralize the uric acid and afford relief to the sufferers. Apples, boiled to a jelly, make a very good liniment for rheumatic pains. They should be rubbed freely on the affected areas.
Sweet apples are valuable in dry hacking coughs. Nearly 250g of sweet apples should be taken daily for about a week to obtain relief.
Apples are useful the cure of kidney stones. In countries where the natural unsweetened cider is the common beverage, cases of stone or calculus are practically absent. The ripe fresh fruit will be more valuable for this.
The apple peel water is an excellent medicine for the inflamed eyes both as a beverage and as an eye wash. This beverage is prepared by putting the peelings in a pan, well covered with water. The water should be brought to boiling point and allowed to simmer gently for a few minutes. The water should then be strained off and some honey be added to it.
The over-ripe apples are useful as a poultice for sore eyes. The pulp is applied over the closed eyes and is held in position with a bandage. It is allowed to remain there for one to two hours.
Tooth-decay can be prevented by regular consumption of apples as they possess a mouth cleansing property. Dr. T.T. hanks in his book, Dental Survey, says, “Apples have mouth cleansing property that no other fruit possess, and taken after meals, they have the same effect as a tooth brush in cleansing the teeth, with the added advantage that the acid content, aside from it nutritive value, is of assistance in promoting the flow of saliva in the mouth, which is also beneficial to the teeth.” The acid of the apple also exerts an antiseptic influence upon the germs present in the mouth and teeth when it is thoroughly chewed. Apples are thus regarded as a natural preserver of the teeth and should be taken in all tooth troubles.
Promotes Vigor and Vitality:
The apple is the best fruit to tone up a weak and run-down condition of the human-system. It removes all deficiencies of vital organs and makes the body stout and strong. It tones up the body and the brain as it contains more phosphorus and iron than any other fruit or vegetable. Its regular consumption with milk promotes health and youthfulness and helps build healthy and bright skin. It has a calming and relaxing effect and is good especially for sedentary workers.
The apple is generally taken raw and is used as a desert fruit. Apples can be used as a salad and taken with other fruits, or cooked or baked. They can also be used in the form of dried apple, apple jelly, apple juice or cider and vinegar. Freshly prepared apple juice is one of the best fruit juices.
Apples should not be consumed on an empty stomach as it may lead to indigestion. Apples are often sprayed with poisonous chemicals to prevent them from decay. The fruits should be thoroughly washed and cleaned in all possible ways before consumption.
Guest post by: SARAH NYONGESA