sábado, 26 de janeiro de 2013

Índia: Tvm institute to launch medicinal herb project soon

Laxmi Ajai Prasanna | Jan 1, 2013

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanical Garden Research Institute here will launch a joint project with the forest department and a tribal community next month for cultivation of medicinal herb arogyapacha.

"The pilot project supported by the forest department is on benefit-sharing basis with Kani tribes. It will have a buyback agreement with Oushadi," institute director P G Latha said.

The institute will provide the technical know-how and plant seedlings for the project while the forest department will support the venture by selling the produce to Oushadi or other agencies for clinical trials in medicine preparations.

Former director-grade scientist at the institute S Rajasekharan, who is involved in the project, said the protection of traditional knowledge should also involve protection of the knowledge provider. "Benefit-sharing of such knowledge should involve income-sharing by way of royalty and licensing as part of cost benefit-sharing and profit-sharing after production of a medicine through clinical trials."

He said the institute had also entered into a contract for joint research with a traditional Muslim community in Kollam to develop a herbal drink to battle diabetes and jaundice.

The state biodiversity board had, at the recent National Biodiversity Congress, suggested strengthening the biodiversity management committees in local bodies and creating people's biodiversity register as the first step towards protecting traditional knowledge.

"The existing national biodiversity act only makes a passing reference on protecting traditional knowledge. Also, it lacks tooth. People's register will only help in documenting traditional knowledge and it should not be placed in public domain before obtaining the prior informed consent from the local community. Management committees need to be strengthened to check bio-piracy," he said.

Researcher Shalini Bhutani, who co-authored Common Concerns, An Analysis of the role and functioning of BMCs under India's Biodiversity Law, said the biodiversity rules passed by Parliament in 2002 were diluted before their implementation. "The management committees lack funds and freedom to check bio-piracy and biodiversity rules now mention only about documentation through biodiversity registers. Though the rules indicate benefit sharing with tribal or inventor, the fact that tribal communities are still reeling under abject poverty even in Kerala is an indication of the gap in ensuring equity in benefit sharing," she said.

Link:

The herbal way to boosting sex life

Jan 13, 2013

A study involving over 100 men has found individuals with erectile dysfunction improved their sexual performance after taking tablets made from ginseng, a plant used for long by the Chinese as an aphrodisiac. 

The South Korean study found men with erectile dysfunction improved their performance in the bedroom after taking the tablets for just a few weeks. Although some previous studies have suggested ginseng can help tackle impotence, many have been conducted in mice, Daily Mailreported. 

The latest research involved more than 100 men who had been diagnosed with erection problems. Impotence affects one in 10 men in Britain at some point in their lives. 

While herbal remedies like ginseng have been touted as alternative treatments, the evidence to support their use has been lacking. Ginseng's root contains several active substances, called either ginsenosides or panaxosides, that are thought to be responsible for the medicinal effects of the herb. 

Scientists at the Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, recruited 119 men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. The group was split into two, while half took four tablets a day containing extracts of Korean ginseng berry, the rest took identical dummy pills. 

After eight weeks, researchers measured improvements by using a recognised scale. 

The results, published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, showed a small but significant improvement in sexual function in the ginseng group compared to those on the dummy tablets. 

"Korean ginseng berry extract improved all domains of sexual function... It can be used as an alternative to medicine to improve sexual life in men," said the researchers in a report on their findings.

Link:

Growing strong with their plants

Garima Prasher, TNN | Jan 25, 2013

BANGALORE: Standing alongside a table covered with potted plants, she patiently filled compartments of a plug tray with wet sand, using a scoop. After finishing the job to perfection, she picked up brown bean seeds from a box and sowed them one by one, in each compartment. The exercise took her over 30 minutes, but Humara, 5, moved away from the table only after her therapist called 'over'.

Many kids would baulk at the idea of sowing seeds, watering plants and weeding. But for Humara, gardening is more than a hobby - it has changed her life.

Humara is an autistic child. Two years ago, she started attending horticulture therapy at Asha Foundation Trust, Indiranagar. Today, she spends hours sprinkling water, and pruning and trimming hedges in her home garden.

"Before the therapy, Humara had poor concentration levels. Now, she can sit in a chair for more than an hour and has become independent," says Shaila Hegde, horticulture therapist, who has been training Humara with plants, water and flowers.

Similarly, when Guru, 6, came to the Trust for special training, he had acute behavioural issues. He could not sit in one place for more than a minute and had problems with hand-eye coordination. "The therapy has done wonders for my son. Now, he spends a lot of time in our garden, pouring water and arranging soil. He's developed sitting tolerance too," says A Sumati, Guru's mother.

One might associate therapeutic effects with advances in medicine, but nature's healing powers can be seen at the horticulture therapy sessions being given to autistic kids at Asha Foundation Trust. It was during one of her visits to 'Thrive' research centre in the US that Shaila noticed the healing power of horticulture therapy.

"I was amazed to see the improvement in differently-abled kids who were undergoing horticulture therapy at the centre. My husband, a horticulturist, accompanied me on the trip and it was he who suggested that I start this therapy in the city," says Shaila.

Improvement in eye-hand coordination, sensory stimulation, reduction in stress level, enhanced attention span and emotional bonding are some of the areas Shaila focuses on with horticulture therapy. "Children with autism have very limited attention span and concentration level. The therapy uses plants, water and flowers to help them improve. They also get to know about different colours and textures, apart from learning about medicinal plants," said Shaila.

Building emotional bonds

Shaila says the therapy also helps improve emotional bonding.

"Children with autism can barely develop emotional bonds with people or their surroundings. They don't understand the concept of death. Sriram, a student at our centre, had the same issue. He kept watering plants and wouldn't stop doing so. To explain the consequences to him, I got a potted plant which was already dead. Whenever he started pouring water, all I had to do was show him the pot with the dead plant. Slowly, he got the message," she explains.

Link:

Rosmarinus officinalis: historical aspects


This plant’s Latin name is translated into "the dew of the sea" or "the mist of the sea", derivated from the words rose and marinus. It represented the base of the water perfume Queen of Hungary Water, one of the most popular beauty waters in the 17th century. A related legend says that an angel stopped in front of Queen Isabella of Hungary, who gave her a recipe of a rosemary elixir that would help her to recover her health after the queen turned 70 years old. Until the French Revolution, this eau de toilette spread throughout Europe. The Romans considered rosemary a sacred plant, a gift from their gods, and used it for religious cleansing and purification, as gifts or beautiful wreaths for weddings and other celebrations, as food, in beauty rituals and as herbal medicines. Dioscorides, the first century doctor of the Roman legion, wrote more about rosemary than any of the other 400 healing plants in his Materia Medica. According to folklore, rosemary originally had white flowers: however, they turned reddish-blue after the Virgin Mary laid her cloak on the bush.

In 1817, an Egyptian scroll was found dating back to 1500 B.C. It was a medicinal scroll mentioning over 800 herbal prescriptions and remedies for the many diseases that were successfully treated. Rosemary, as well as other oils, were used extensively for anointing and healing the sick. Since the time of ancient Greece (about 1000 BC), rosemary was burnt as an incense. Also later, cultures believed it warded off devils, a practice that eventually became adopted by the sick who then burned rosemary to protect against infection. It is said that rosemary placed under the pillow would protect you against nightmares. Superstitions say that this plant has the quality to help you recover memories and therefore it was knitted in the bed of the grooms, symbolizing the vows that the two have made to each other.

Link:

Cameroon: FCFA 656 Million for Research in Medicinal Plant Studies in 2013

BY GODLOVE BAINKONG, 20 JANUARY 2013

Board Members of IMPM validated the institute's action plan in Yaounde last Thursday Januray 18, 2013.

The Institute of Medical Research and Medicinal Plant Studies (IMPM), placed under the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, will in 2013 function with a budget of FCFA 656,110,000 to beef up its activities of carrying out research on diseases as well as plant studies. Of this amount, FCFA 191,110,000 will be used for investment while FCFA 465,000,000 will go into the different programmes being piloted by the institute. This was one of the outcomes of the institute's 18th Board of Directors meeting which held in its conference hall on January 18 chaired by IMPM's Board Chair, Prof. Rose Leke née Gana.

Given that the country is in the era of result-based management with the programme budget, IMPM, its Director, Prof. J.L. Essame Oyono, said has developed programmes that will span from 2013 through 2015. He said focus will be on reinforcing research as well as in engaging activities that give a push to research. "Our research activities are contained in the five different research programmes we are undertaking. These include, programmes in malaria, HIV/AIDS, emerging diseases, medicinal plants and traditional medicines as well as food and nutrition," he said. And to boost research, IMPM intends to acquire state-of-the-art equipment that live up to the standard of modern research, functional and competitive laboratories as well as ensure a sound and conducive working environment for its technical and administrative staff. The institute will equally finalise the rehabilitation of its laboratories, put in place a data bank of research publications and in-house research results.

Created in 1974 and reorganised in 1993, the Institute of Medical Research and Medicinal Plant Studies has as mission to lead research, prevent, diagnose and treat priority pathologies caused by the problems of public health in the country, develop appropriate technologies for improved traditional medicines and promote research results, among others.

Link:

Paulo Moura & Raphael Rabello - Ronda-Sampa-Luiza

TOM JOBIM - Aula de Matemática (Tom e Marino Pinto)

sexta-feira, 25 de janeiro de 2013

São Paulo, São Paulo - Premê

Adoniran Barbosa - Trem das onze (1964)


Tom Zé - São, São Paulo


Parabéns, São Paulo!

Methodology for using insect pollinators in heterogamous vegetable species, medicinal, aromatic and culinary plants grown in technical isolation

Report of a working group on medicinal and aromatic plantas

Medicinal and Aromatic Plants for Diversifying Semi-Arid Tropical (SAT) Systems: A Case of Public Private Partnership (PPP). Global Theme on Agroecosystems Report No. 44

http://oar.icrisat.org/2370/1/Medicinal_and_aromatic_plants_for_diversifying_Semi-Arid_tropical_%28SAT%29_systems__a_case_of_public_private_partnership.pdf

Sobre artigo relacionado à cadeia do agronegócio de plantas medicinais

Developing natural products and new value chains in Kelantan while maintaining cultural integrity: What, How and For Whom


by Prof. Murray Hunter
2012-12-09 11:09:06


Link para baixar o texto completo:


Abstract

Kelantan, situated in the Far North-East of the Malay Peninsula has been built upon the proud traditions of a rural based social-economy. The Malaysian state of Kelantan has been relatively independent, without direct foreign occupation and control since the early 1400s, except for short periods by the Siamese and Japanese. Malay tradition and culture is relatively undiluted in Kelantan in contrast with the other states in Malaysia. Maintaining cultural integrity and traditions is something important to both the social and spiritual identities and aspirations of the Kelantanese, and this factor must be considered in any potential development in the state.

Therefore the development of natural products in Kelantan must be approached differently from the rest of Malaysia due to the above cultural factors and aspirations of local people. Ignoring international opportunities for natural based products would disadvantage Kelantan, but at the same time ushering in large multinational companies to exploit Kelantan’s natural resources such as land would have high social costs from the Kelantanese perspective.

This implies that the development of natural products should be on a small enterprise scale rather than large enterprise scale, the new industries do not drastically change cultural conditions, and this be achieved with limited resources and more upon local exploration and cooperation, rather than outside interference. Consequently business models based on cooperative labour and shura decision systems, in decentralized production units would be a preferred option. Marketing paradigms need to be developed that carry Kelantanese culture as a theme specializing in particular niche markets need to accompany these new production models.

The potential for natural product development in Kelantan along the business models outlined above include herbs, essential oils, nutraceuticals, cosmoceuticals, natural dyes, Islamic medicines, food ingredients, traditional products, and some biotechnology based products including organic agricultural chemicals, all with Toyyib/Halal integrity can be developed and commercialized with specialized value chains based on low resource endowments. These products have specific markets nationally, regionally, and internationally through new supply chains developing across the world including organic, Fair-trade, and Halal markets.

This paper will discuss the above issues, canvass what products can be developed, how they can be developed and new value chains created, with a low resource endowment on the part of local entrepreneurs.

Issues and problems Encountered in New Crop Development

         Issue
                            Comments
Focus Paradigm
Requires focus on concept of food where present focus is on cultivation
This requires research
This requires entrepreneurship approach
Concepts not understood by farmers
Basic Research
Needs access to worldwide data
Requires availability of suitable germ-plasmas
Requires basic R&D to determine whether crop technically suitable
Requires basic R&D to determine if potential crop is economically feasible
Crop Management & Processing
Propagation technologies
How to plant, cultivate & manage to crop
How to harvest, extract, store and handle
How to process
How to package
Transportation and storage
Marketing Infrastructure
Require coordination of production with demand
Require correct channels of distribution
Requires a marketing strategy
Economies and Logistics
Requires enough volume to economically transport and distribute
Requires solution to inconsistencies of quality and production
Organisation
Need committed people with strong leadership and trust
Government
Need to translate support into action
Need funding allocations
Finance
Very difficult to obtain funding for these projects
Consumers
Need efforts for education & promotion



The Path to Development of Natural Products in Kelantan

Herbs, plant extracts, enzymes, and essential oils are all natural products that require agriculture production, processing, and a serious marketing effort. All these classes of products can be cultivated in Kelantan and have rapidly growing applications and international markets. Although herbs, plant extracts, enzymes and essential oils are diverse products, they share common plant based feed-stocks, however uses and markets are diverse as shown in Figure 2., The family tree of herb derivatives. Together herbs, plant extracts, enzymes, and essential oils make up a group of potential opportunities for agro-entrepreneurs.

murray002_400
Figure 2. The family tree of herb derivatives (Hunter 2011).

Portugal: Site sobre produção e produtores de plantas aromáticas e medicinais

epam.pt

Guidelines for Good Agricultural and Wild Collection Practice (GACP) of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

The guidelines for the Good Agricultural and Wild Collection Practice of Medicinal and Aromatic (Culinary) plants are intended to apply to the growing and primary processing practices of all such plants and their derivatives traded and used in the European Union. Hence they apply to the production of all plant materials utilized either in a direct or processed form for humans and/or animals. They also apply to all methods of production including organic production in accordance with the European regulations.

Who Guidelines on good agricultural and collection pratices (GACP) for medicinal plants

http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2003/9241546271.pdf

Dois artigos sobre “Plantas Aromáticas e Medicinais com interesse para secagem, produzidas no modo de produção biológico

7.12.2012

Dois artigos sobre “Plantas Aromáticas e Medicinais com interesse para secagem, produzidas no modo de produção biológico: limonete, erva príncipe, equinácea e hipericão do gerês”, da Prof. Isabel Mourão do Centro de Investigação de Montanha (CIMO)/Escola Superior Agrária – Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo.



Link:

Vegan Food Pyramid (Infographic)

Brief & Incomplete History of Yoga (Infographic)

By MindBodyGreen

Check out this very detailed yoga family tree/flowchart/infographic from Alison Hinks, called 'An Overly Brief and Incomplete History of Yoga' -- what do you think?

Entre neste link para clicar na imagem e ampliá-la:

Remolacha. Propiedades y beneficios.Usos medicinales de la planta.

Usan 80% de países en desarrollo plantas medicinales

En México se utilizan 4 mil especies; de las cuales sólo el 5 por ciento han sido estudiadas para validar química y farmacológicamente sus principios curativos.

Emir Olivares 
Publicado: 23/01/2013 11:49

México, DF. El uso de plantas medicinales es una práctica común alrededor del mundo. De acuerdo con estadísticas de la Organización Mundial de Salud, el 80 por ciento de la población de los países en vías de desarrollo recurre a distintos tipos de plantas para satisfacer o complementar sus necesidades médicas, porcentaje que aumenta año con año.

En México, la cantidad de plantas utilizadas debido a sus atributos curativos, y de las cuales se tiene registro, asciende a cuatro mil especies; sin embargo, se estima que solo el 5 por ciento ha sido estudiada para validar química, farmacológica y biomédicamente los principios activos que contienen (esto es, los compuestos químicos en los que reside su utilidad médica).

Rosa Martha Pérez Gutiérrez, investigadora de la Escuela Superior de Ingeniería Química e Industrias Extractivas del IPN (ESIQIE), lleva más de treinta años buscando los principios activos de una larga lista de plantas de uso popular y validando efectos, obteniendo buenos resultados pues –asegura- alrededor del 95 por cierto de las veces se confirma el efecto curativo atribuido a la planta.

Los efectos van desde los anti-inflamatorios, cicatrizantes, antimicrobianos y antioxidantes hasta el hipoglucemiante (aquellos que ayudan a bajar los niveles de azúcar). Con esta última propiedad ha encontrado más de 40 plantas, comenta.

Las plantas estudiadas en su laboratorio -dice la investigadora- se eligen mediante una revisión bibliográfica o en trabajo de campo, siempre basándose en su uso medicinal. Una vez que la planta se colecta en campo o se compra en algún mercado tradicional; la planta se deseca, muele y mezcla con disolventes para retirarle todas las sustancias con potencial bioactivo. Luego, ese extracto en ‘bruto’ se separa en diferentes fracciones, cada una de las cuales contiene sustancias con propiedades químicas específicas. Las fracciones del extracto se prueban de manera separada en animales, principalmente roedores, para determinar la toxicidad y efectividad de cada una de ellas.

Al final, las fracciones seleccionadas se siguen ‘limpiando’ hasta obtener los compuestos puros. Estos se llevan a otro laboratorio para ser identificados químicamente de manera precisa. Más adelante, si el compuesto es viable para ser fabricado a gran escala en la industria farmacéutica–comenta Pérez Gutiérrez- es posible registrar una patente y continuar con otro tipo de investigaciones más especializadas.

Esta manera de obtener principios activos tiene varias ventajas, dice la integrante de la Academia Mexicana de Ciencias. Una de estas consiste en que son compuestos de baja o nula toxicidad en el cuerpo humano; “en la mayoría de los casos hemos obviado la toxicidad porque estamos trabajando con plantas comestibles”. Además se acorta el camino para obtener los compuestos de interés, pues en la industria farmacéutica se suelen fabricar cientos o miles de sustancias que después se estudian para probar su efectividad, lo cual implica más tiempo y dinero.

Otra ventaja consiste en su potencialidad para diseñar compuestos más activos; esto se puede hacer modificando la estructura química del compuesto original, una vez que ha sido perfectamente descifrada.

La investigadora aclara que la producción a gran escala está lejos de ser su ámbito de competencia, sin embargo, se ha interesado en montar modelos que permitan la extracción del compuesto en pequeñas cantidades, alrededor de gramos. Esto lo está probando con microorganismos, bacterias y hongos, que viven dentro de las plantas, y que fabrican sustancias iguales o parecidas a las de éstas; son una minifábrica de producción farmacéutica.

También está incursionando en la parte práctica. Se trata de un sistema de pequeñísimas partículas ‘cargadas’ con los fármacos, que los liberan de manera controlada. Por ahora, su grupo de colaboradores trabaja con plantas como el palo amargo, el cuachalalate y la pitahaya, que son usadas por sus efectos medicinales en algunas comunidades del país.

Link:

Infográfico sobre beterraba

beneficios de la remolacha

quinta-feira, 24 de janeiro de 2013

Infográfico: Alkaline & Acidic Foods Chart: The pH Spectrum

Infográfico sobre gengibre


http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6546/10-Health-Benefits-of-Ginger-Infographic.html

Infográfico sobre aromaterapia ampliado


Infográfico sobre aromaterapia (ver no link)

En España el consumo de sedantes y somniferos ya es mayor que el consumo de cannabis

Publicado el 24 enero 2013 por Blogdefarmacia.com

La sustancia más consumida sigue siendo el alcohol, ya que un 76,6% de los ciudadanos lo ha consumido en los últimos 12 meses.

El consumo de hipnosedantes, tales como pastillas para dormir o tranquilizantes, se ha duplicado en seis años y su consumo ha superado, por primera vez, al del cannabis. Los datos los muestra la última Encuesta sobre Alcohol y Drogas en la Población General en España (EDADES), del Ministerio de Sanidad. Así, por primera vez, las tres sustancias de venta legal de la lista de las analizadas por Sanidad son las más consumidas y mientras el uso del resto de drogas (alcohol, tabaco, cannabis, cocaína…) decrece, el de los hipnosedantes no deja de aumentar. Dicha encuesta también ha puesto de manifiesto que el consumo de cocaína ha disminuido. De hecho, el número de ciudadanos que la han tomado en los últimos 12 meses ha pasado del 3% en 2005 al 2,2% en 2011. A pesar de esto, España sigue a la cabeza de la Unión Europea en consumo de cocaína.
Por su parte, el uso del cannabis también baja. El 9,6% lo han consumido en los últimos 12 meses, a la vez que el porcentaje de consumidores jóvenes de esta sustancia supera al de mayores: el 8,2% de los ciudadanos entre 15 y 17 años la ha tomado en los últimos 30 días frente al 7% de personas de entre 18 y 64. Y aunque el consumo de cannabis decrece, la percepción de los riesgos asociados a su uso no lo hace. De igual manera, el porcentaje de personas que se han emborrachado en el último año desciende, sí aumenta el llamado consumo de alcohol por atracón, es decir, tomar en un corto periodo de tiempo cinco bebidas o más en el caso de los hombres y cuatro en el de las mujeres. Estas sustancias, cuya utilización se dispara a partir de los 35 años, son las únicas en las que el porcentaje de consumidoras supera al de los hombres: 15,3% de mujeres han consumido alcohol en los últimos 12 meses frente al 7,6% de los hombres.

Link:

La dieta mediterránea en una infografía (ver no link)

La dieta mediterránea en una infografía

Cientistas testam o poder medicinal de um tipo de capim que poderá virar...

Sementes de Sucupira,uma planta típica do Cerrado , podem ser usadas no...

Rondon promove oficina de fitoterapia em Lagoa Grande (PE)

20 Janeiro 2013
Alunos do Projeto Rondon/Divulgação

Estudantes de Agronomia da IFSUL de Minas, de Muzambinho, prepararam para a população de Lagoa Grande, em Pernambuco, uma oficina sobre o conhecimento de plantas medicinais. A ação faz parte do Projeto Rondon, coordenado pelo Ministério da Defesa.

Formas de cultivo e como manusear a planta para produzir chás e xaropes foram pontos abordados na oficina. Os alunos trouxeram o conhecimento cientifico que foi incrementado com o conhecimento popular. Segundo o especialista em fitoterápicos, Dr. Jackson Guedes, professor da Universidade Federal do Vale do São Francisco (Univasf), o conhecimento popular é o ponto de partida para quem pesquisa as plantas medicinais. “As pessoas trazem a planta e dizem para que serve. A partir dai, nós pesquisamos, comprovamos a eficácia da planta e indicamos a dose certa a ser administrada.”

Luciana Maria, moradora da cidade, foi uma das participantes mais ativa da oficina de fitoterápicos. A artesã cultiva em sua casa plantas que servem para vários tipos de sintomas. Segundo ela, o tratamento por plantas medicinais tem bons resultados e sua família sempre se tratou dessa forma. Para dor de estômago e azia, ela receita, por exemplo, o chá de boldo com a pimenta de macaco.

No município os rondonistas desenvolveram oficinas com outros temas como reaproveitamento de alimentos, design de recicláveis, saúde da mulher e cuidado com idosos. Os moradores participaram das oficinas e trocaram experiências. “A população tem respondido ao nosso chamado e retornado para as diferentes oficinas”, disse Clóvis Luciano, professor da Faculdade de Pato Branco.

Lagoa Grande fica a 710 quilômetros de Recife. Com aproximadamente 23 mil habitantes, o município se destaca na região pela produção de uva, manga e banana. Apesar do clima árido, a agricultura é viabilizada pela irrigação que vem do rio São Francisco.

Link:

Portugal: O progresso da Agricultura tropical

A forte incidência da malária tanto em Portugal continental como nos territórios ultramarinos, na década de 60 do século XIX esteve na origem da decisão de introduzir a cultura da quina[3] em Angola, Cabo Verde, Moçambique e S. Tomé (Fernandes, 1982). Para isso, Júlio Henriques investigou qual das espécies produziria casca com maiores níveis de quinino e qual o território mais adequado à cultura destas plantas (Fernandes, 1991). Para tal, solicitou a diversas instituições, principalmente ao Jardim Botânico de Büitenzorg em Java, sementes de diferentes espécies do género Cinchona que semeava e mantinha nas estufas do Jardim Botânico de Coimbra. Com a colaboração dos Serviços de Agricultura, dos Governadores e de fazendeiros de várias províncias africanas, foram seleccionados locais e realizados diversos ensaios (Fernandes, 1982). Depois dos ensaios e da análise da quantidade de quinino produzida, a ilha de S. Tomé foi considerada a região mais propícia a essa cultura (Paiva, 2005). Alguns anos após o inicio da cultura da quina em S. Tomé, já se produzia quinino em quantidade suficiente, não só para satisfazer as necessidades dos territórios portugueses, mas também para ser exportado (Fernandes, 1982).

Esta história de sucesso constitui apenas um exemplo do enorme interesse que Júlio Henriques sempre manifestou, desde o início das suas funções na direcção do Jardim Botânico em 1874, pelo desenvolvimento agrícola dos territórios ultramarinos. À semelhança do processo empreendido com as plantas da quina, Júlio Henriques obtinha sementes e plantas de espécies com interesse económico junto de entidades diversas (jardins botânicos de diversos países, hortos, etc.) que cultivava no Jardim Botânico. Após a selecção do território africano com o clima mais próximo ao da região de origem das espécies, remetia as plantas para os territórios seleccionados. Geralmente as remessas eram feitas para os Governadores das diversas províncias africanas que tomavam a seu cargo a distribuição das plantas (e/ou sementes) pelos agricultores e fazendeiros da região. Os documentos epistolares do Professor Júlio Henriques demonstram a existência de uma frequente troca de informações no decorrer dos ensaios: os agricultores e os governadores remetiam para Coimbra dados (por vezes sob a forma de relatórios muito detalhados) e amostras das plantas ou dos materiais obtidos (ex: cascas de quina, borracha, fibras, etc.); na sequência da análise dos materiais recebidos, Júlio Henriques enviava instruções detalhadas sobre a melhor forma de cultivo das plantas e os métodos mais adequados para a exploração dos seus produtos. De forma simples e precisa, Júlio Henriques respondia às dúvidas que os agricultores colocavam e opinava acerca das culturas que eles se propunham ensaiar.

O interesse e o empenho de Júlio Henriques nas questões relacionadas com o desenvolvimento agrícola tropical traduzem-se nas inúmeras obras escreveu, assim como no seu espólio epistolar. Estes trabalhos aparecem sob a forma de artigos ou livros de divulgação para agricultores, com instruções acerca de uma cultura em particular ou sobre diversas culturas com interesse económico, ou como artigos de âmbito mais geral, onde compara o desenvolvimento da agricultura tropical em Portugal com países como a Inglaterra, França, Holanda ou Alemanha.

Como referido, a quina foi uma das culturas às quais Júlio Henriques dedicou maior atenção e os diversos trabalhos publicados visavam apoiar os agricultores que apostavam na cultura destas plantas. São exemplos disso, o livro “Instruções praticas para a cultura das plantas que dão a quina”, publicado pela Imprensa da UC em 1880, o artigo “A cultura das plantas que dão a quina nas possessões portuguezas”, publicado na revista O Instituto em 1876 e os artigos “A cultura das quinas na Africa Portugueza” (1878), “A sementeira da Cinchona” (1880) e “A propósito da cultura das plantas que dão a quina” (1882), publicados no Jornal de Horticultura Prática.

As plantas produtoras de borracha e de gutta-percha[4] mereceram também o interesse de Júlio Henriques, como se pode verificar através do livro “Plantas da borracha e da gutta-percha” publicado pela Imprensa da UC em 1901 e dos artigos “Das plantas productoras da borracha” publicado na revista Portugal em África em 1896, “Cacaoeiro e maniçoba” (1905) e “Maniçobas” (1908) publicados na Revista Portugueza Colonial e Maritima e na memória apresentada ao Congresso Colonial Nacional e posteriormente publicada como separata do Boletim da Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa em 1902, “Estudo comparado das especies vegetaes productoras de borracha”. Por sua vez, a cultura das espécies produtoras do anil foi abordada nos artigos “Instrucções sobre a cultura das especies aniliferas em Angola” publicado na revista As Colonias Portuguezas em 1889 e “Cultura das plantas do anil e processos de preparação d’esta materia corante” publicado na revista Portugal em África em 1897. A cultura das plantas que dão a coca foi abordada no artigo “Da coca e da sua cultura” publicado na revista As Colonias Portuguezas em 1890. 

A questão da agricultura tropical foi abordada, de forma abrangente, em diversas publicações: no livro “Instruções praticas para culturas coloniaes” publicado pela Imprensa da UC em 1884, na memória “Agricultura colonial. Meios de a fazer progredir” apresentada ao Congresso Colonial Nacional em 1901 e posteriormente publicada pela Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa, no artigo “O ensino da agricultura tropical”, publicado na revista Portugal Agricola em 1905 e nos artigos publicados sucessivamente, entre os volumes 1 (1898) e 8 (1901), na Revista Portugueza Colonial e Maritima, que foram posteriormente compilados e publicados no livro “Agricultura Colonial”, que constitui separata da mesma revista. Nesta última obra, Júlio Henriques apresenta 95 culturas com elevadas probabilidades de sucesso em África. A parte I do livro aborda questões como o clima, a terra cultivável, as praticas agrícolas, a vida da planta e as florestas e a parte II descreve as “plantas próprias para culturas nas regiões tropicais”. As culturas estão agrupadas em: 1) plantas alimentares (a) pelos frutos, b) pelos tubérculos, c) pelas sementes e d) pelas folhas e caule); 2) plantas oleaginosas; 3) plantas medicinais; 4) plantas de especiarias; 5) plantas tintoriais; 6) plantas aromáticas; 7) plantas produtoras de taninos; 8) plantas produtoras de materiais têxteis; 9) plantas produtoras de madeira; 10) plantas narcóticas; 11) plantas de cautchuc; 12) plantas da gutta-percha; 13) plantas para forragem (teosinté); 14) bambus e 15) sabonetes ou saboeiros. Algumas culturas são descritas em grande pormenor, como a quina, o chá, o cacau, o café, a cana-de-açúcar, o tabaco, a borracha, as palmeiras e as baunilhas, enquanto de outras apresenta apenas uma breve descrição. 

[3] Quina – designação global para as árvores do género Cinchona (C. calisaya, C. succiruba, C. cordifolia, C. micrantha, C. officinalis, C. lancifolia, C. macrophylla, C. pitagensis e C. ledgeriana), oriundas das altas montanhas dos Andes, da Bolívia, do Peru, do Equador, da Colômbia e da Venezuela e de cuja casca se extrai o quinino, composto utilizado no combate à malária (Fernandes, 1982; 1991).

[4] Substância semelhante à borracha, resultante da coagulação do látex de algumas árvores da família das Sapotáceas. Não apresenta a propriedade elástica da borracha (Henriques, 1901c)).

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Medical Cannabis Provides Dramatic Relief for Sufferers of Chronic Ailments, Israeli Study Finds

Jan. 24, 2013 — Though controversial, medical cannabis has been gaining ground as a valid therapy, offering relief to suffers of diseases such as cancer, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ALS and more. The substance is known to soothe severe pain, increase the appetite, and ease insomnia where other common medications fail.

In 2009, Zach Klein, a graduate of Tel Aviv University's Department of Film and Television Studies, directed the documentary Prescribed Grass. Through the process, he developed an interest in the scientific research behind medical marijuana, and now, as a specialist in policy-making surrounding medical cannabis and an MA student at TAU's Porter School of Environmental Studies, he is conducting his own research into the benefits of medical cannabis.

Using marijuana from a farm called Tikkun Olam -- a reference to the Jewish concept of healing the world -- Klein and his fellow researchers tested the impact of the treatment on 19 residents of the Hadarim nursing home in Israel. The results, Klein says, have been outstanding. Not only did participants experience dramatic physical results, including healthy weight gain and the reduction of pain and tremors, but Hadarim staff saw an immediate improvement in the participants' moods and communication skills. The use of chronic medications was also significantly reduced, he reports.

Klein's research team includes Dr. Dror Avisar of TAU's Hydrochemistry Laboratory at the Department of Geography and Human Environment; Prof. Naama Friedmann and Rakefet Keider of TAU's Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education; Dr. Yehuda Baruch of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and director of the Abarbanel Mental Health Center; and Dr. Moshe Geitzen and Inbal Sikorin of Hadarim.

Cutting down on chronic medications

Israel is a world leader in medical cannabis research, Klein says. The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, was first discovered there by Profs. Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni. Prof. Mechoulam is also credited for having defined the endocannabinoid system, which mimics the effects of cannabis and plays a role in appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory.

In the Hadarim nursing home, 19 patients between the ages of 69 and 101 were treated with medical cannabis in the form of powder, oil, vapor, or smoke three times daily over the course of a year for conditions such as pain, lack of appetite, and muscle spasms and tremors. Researchers and nursing home staff monitored participants for signs of improvement, as well as improvement in overall life quality, such as mood and ease in completing daily living activities.

During the study, 17 patients achieved a healthy weight, gaining or losing pounds as needed. Muscle spasms, stiffness, tremors and pain reduced significantly. Almost all patients reported an increase in sleeping hours and a decrease in nightmares and PTSD-related flashbacks.

There was a notable decline in the amount of prescribed medications taken by patients, such as antipsychotics, Parkinson's treatment, mood stabilizers, and pain relievers, Klein found, noting that these drugs have severe side effects. By the end of the study, 72 percent of participants were able to reduce their drug intake by an average of 1.7 medications a day.

Connecting cannabis and swallowing

This year, Klein is beginning a new study at Israel's Reuth Medical Center with Drs. Jean-Jacques Vatine and Aviah Gvion, in which he hopes to establish a connection between medical cannabis and improved swallowing. One of the biggest concerns with chronically ill patients is food intake, says Klein. Dysphagia, or difficulty in swallowing, can lead to a decline in nutrition and even death. He believes that cannabis, which has been found to stimulate regions of the brain associated with swallowing reflexes, will have a positive impact.

Overall, Klein believes that the healing powers of cannabis are close to miraculous, and has long supported an overhaul in governmental policy surrounding the drug. Since his film was released in 2009, the number of permits for medical cannabis in Israel has increased from 400 to 11,000. His research is about improving the quality of life, he concludes, especially for those who have no other hope.
Cannabis plant. (Credit: © Opra / Fotolia)
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Many Apples a Day Keep the Blues at Bay

Jan. 23, 2013 — Eating more fruit and vegetables may make young people calmer, happier and more energetic in their daily life, new research from the University of Otago suggests.

Department of Psychology researcher Dr Tamlin Conner, and Dr Caroline Horwath and Bonnie White from Otago's Department of Human Nutrition, investigated the relationship between day-to-day emotions and food consumption.

The study is published in the British Journal of Health Psychology on January 24.

A total of 281 young adults (with a mean age of 20 years) completed an internet-based daily food diary for 21 consecutive days. Prior to this, participants completed a questionnaire giving details of their age, gender, ethnicity, weight and height. Those with a history of an eating disorder were excluded.

On each of the 21 days participants logged into their diary each evening and rated how they felt using nine positive and nine negative adjectives. They were also asked five questions about what they had eaten that day. Specifically, participants were asked to report the number of servings eaten of fruit (excluding fruit juice and dried fruit), vegetables (excluding juices), and several categories of unhealthy foods like biscuits/cookies, potato crisps, and cakes/muffins.

The results showed a strong day-to-day relationship between more positive mood and higher fruit and vegetable consumption, but not other foods.

"On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally did," says Dr Conner.

To understand which comes first -- feeling positive or eating healthier foods -- Dr Conner and her team ran additional analyses and found that eating fruits and vegetables predicted improvements in positive mood the next day, suggesting that healthy foods may improve mood. These findings held regardless of the BMI of individuals.

"After further analysis we demonstrated that young people would need to consume approximately seven to eight total servings of fruits and vegetables per day to notice a meaningful positive change. One serving of fruit or vegetables is approximately the size that could fit in your palm, or half a cup. My co-author Bonnie White suggests that this can be done by making half your plate at each meal vegetables and snacking on whole fruit like apples," says Dr Conner.

She adds that while this research shows a promising connection between healthy foods and healthy moods, further research is necessary and the authors recommend the development of randomised control trials evaluating the influence of high fruit and vegetable intake on mood and wellbeing.

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Dung Beetles Follow the Milky Way: Insects Found to Use Stars for Orientation

Jan. 24, 2013 — An insect with a tiny brain and minimal computing power has become the first animal proven to use the Milky Way for orientation. Scientists from South Africa and Sweden have published findings showing the link between dung beetles and the spray of stars which comprises our galaxy.

Although their eyes are too weak to distinguish individual constellations, dung beetles use the gradient of light to dark provided by the Milky Way to ensure they keep rolling their balls in a straight line and don't circle back to competitors at the dung pile.

"The dung beetles don't care which direction they're going in; they just need to get away from the bun fight at the poo pile," said Professor Marcus Byrne from Wits University.

Byrne and his team previously proved that dung beetles use the sun, the moon and polarised light for orientation. In their experiments, they gave the beetles "caps" which blocked light from reaching their eyes. The team also discovered that the beetles climb on top of their dung balls to perform an orientation "dance" during which they locate light sources to use for orientation.

Now, further experiments, conducted under the simulated night sky of the Wits Planetarium, have shown that the beetles also use the Mohawk of the Milky Way -- giving new meaning to dancing with the stars!

"We were sitting out in Vryburg (conducting experiments) and the Milky Way was this massive light source. We thought they have to be able to use this -- they just have to!" said Byrne.

Not all light sources are equally useful landmarks for a dung beetle. A moth keeping a constant angle between itself and a candle flame will move in a circle around the flame. However, a celestial body is too far away to change position relative to a dung beetle as it rolls its ball, with the result that the beetle keeps travelling in a straight line.

The scientists suspect the beetles have a hierarchy of preference when it comes to available light sources. So if the moon and the Milky Way are visible at the same time, the beetles probably use one rather than the other.

A few other animals have been proven to use stars for orientation, but the dung beetle is the first animal proven to use the galaxy.
Journal Reference:
Marie Dacke, Emily Baird, Marcus Byrne, Clarke H. Scholtz, Eric J. Warrant. Dung Beetles Use the Milky Way for Orientation. Current Biology, 2013; DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2012.12.034

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'Scarecrow' Gene: Key to Efficient Crops, Could Lead to Staple Crops With Much Higher Yields

Jan. 24, 2013 — With projections of 9.5 billion people by 2050, humankind faces the challenge of feeding modern diets to additional mouths while using the same amounts of water, fertilizer and arable land as today.

Cornell researchers have taken a leap toward meeting those needs by discovering a gene that could lead to new varieties of staple crops with 50 percent higher yields.

The gene, called Scarecrow, is the first discovered to control a special leaf structure, known as Kranz anatomy, which leads to more efficient photosynthesis. Plants photosynthesize using one of two methods: C3, a less efficient, ancient method found in most plants, including wheat and rice; and C4, a more efficient adaptation employed by grasses, maize, sorghum and sugarcane that is better suited to drought, intense sunlight, heat and low nitrogen.

"Researchers have been trying to find the underlying genetics of Kranz anatomy so we can engineer it into C3 crops," said Thomas Slewinski, lead author of a paper that appeared online in November in the journalPlant and Cell Physiology. Slewinski is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of senior author Robert Turgeon, professor of plant biology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The finding "provides a clue as to how this whole anatomical key is regulated," said Turgeon. "There's still a lot to be learned, but now the barn door is open and you are going to see people working on this Scarecrow pathway." The promise of transferring C4 mechanisms into C3 plants has been fervently pursued and funded on a global scale for decades, he added.

If C4 photosynthesis is successfully transferred to C3 plants through genetic engineering, farmers could grow wheat and rice in hotter, dryer environments with less fertilizer, while possibly increasing yields by half, the researchers said.

C3 photosynthesis originated at a time in Earth's history when the atmosphere had a high proportion of carbon dioxide. C4 plants have independently evolved from C3 plants some 60 times at different times and places. The C4 adaptation involves Kranz anatomy in the leaves, which includes a layer of special bundle sheath cells surrounding the veins and an outer layer of cells called mesophyll. Bundle sheath cells and mesophyll cells cooperate in a two-step version of photosynthesis, using different kinds of chloroplasts.

By looking closely at plant evolution and anatomy, Slewinski recognized that the bundle sheath cells in leaves of C4 plants were similar to endodermal cells that surrounded vascular tissue in roots and stems.

Slewinski suspected that if C4 leaves shared endodermal genes with roots and stems, the genetics that controlled those cell types may also be shared. Slewinski looked for experimental maize lines with mutant Scarecrow genes, which he knew governed endodermal cells in roots. When the researchers grew those plants, they first identified problems in the roots, then checked for abnormalities in the bundle sheath. They found that the leaves of Scarecrow mutants had abnormal and proliferated bundle sheath cells and irregular veins.

In all plants, an enzyme called RuBisCo facilitates a reaction that captures carbon dioxide from the air, the first step in producing sucrose, the energy-rich product of photosynthesis that powers the plant. But in C3 plants RuBisCo also facilitates a competing reaction with oxygen, creating a byproduct that has to be degraded, at a cost of about 30-40 percent overall efficiency. In C4 plants, carbon dioxide fixation takes place in two stages. The first step occurs in the mesophyll, and the product of this reaction is shuttled to the bundle sheath for the RuBisCo step. The RuBisCo step is very efficient because in the bundle sheath cells, the oxygen concentration is low and the carbon dioxide concentration is high. This eliminates the problem of the competing oxygen reaction, making the plant far more efficient.

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Cross section of a mature maize leaf showing Kranz (German for wreath) anatomy around a large vein. The bundle sheath cells (lighter red) encircle the vascular core (light blue). Mesophyll cells (dark red) encircle the bundle sheath cells. The interaction and cooperation between the mesophyll and bundle sheath is essential for the C4 photosynthetic mechanism. (Credit: Thomas Slewinski)

Journal Reference:
T. L. Slewinski, A. A. Anderson, C. Zhang, R. Turgeon.Scarecrow Plays a Role in Establishing Kranz Anatomy in Maize Leaves. Plant and Cell Physiology, 2012; 53 (12): 2030 DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcs147

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Extinction Rates Not as Bad as Feared ... for Now: Scientists Challenge Common Belief

Jan. 24, 2013 — Concerns that many animals are becoming extinct, before scientists even have time to identify them, are greatly overstated, according Griffith University researcher, Professor Nigel Stork. Professor Stork has taken part in an international study, the findings of which have been detailed in "Can we name Earth's species before they go extinct?" published in the journal Science.

Deputy Head of the Griffith School of Environment, Professor Stork said a number of misconceptions have fueled these fears, and there is no evidence that extinction rates are as high as some have feared.

"Surprisingly, few species have gone extinct, to our knowledge. Of course, there will have been some species which have disappeared without being recorded, but not many we think," Professor Stork said.

Professor Stork said part of the problem is that there is an inflated sense of just how many animals exist and therefore how big the task to record them.

"Modern estimates of the number of eukaryotic species have ranged up to 100 million, but we have estimated that there are around 5 million species on the planet (plus or minus 3 million)."

And there are more scientists than ever working on the task. This contrary to a common belief that we are losing taxonomists, the scientists who identify species.

"While this is the case in the developed world where governments are reducing funding, in developing nations the number of taxonomists is actually on the rise.

"World-wide there are now two to three times as many taxonomist describing species as there were 20 years ago."

Even so, Professor Stork says the scale of the global taxonomic challenge is not to be underestimated.

"The task of identifying and naming all existing species of animals is still daunting, as there is much work to be done."

Other good news for the preservation of species is that conservation efforts in the past few years have done a good job in protecting some key areas of rich biodiversity.

But the reprieve may be short-lived.

"Climate change will dramatically change species survival rates, particularly when you factor in other drivers such as overhunting and habitat loss," Professor Stork said.

"At this stage we have no way of knowing by how much extinction rates may escalate.

"But once global warming exceeds the 2 degree barrier, we can expect to see the scale of loss many people already believe is happening. Higher temperature rises coupled with other environmental impacts will lead to mass extinctions"

Journal Reference:
M. J. Costello, R. M. May, N. E. Stork. Can We Name Earth's Species Before They Go Extinct? Science, 2013; 339 (6118): 413 DOI: 10.1126/science.1230318

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quarta-feira, 23 de janeiro de 2013

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Flavonoids from strawberries and blueberries cut heart attack risk in women by one-third

January 18, 2013 by: John Phillip

(NaturalNews) Thousands of research studies over the past decade have heralded the critical importance of eating a diet filled with flavonoids from a variety of brightly colored vegetables and fruits to help prevent and even treat many chronic illnesses. Most plants and fruits rely on flavonoid compounds for protection against the environment and to propagate and flourish. These same properties support human health by altering genetic expression and specifically targeting essential metabolic processes to ward off diseases such as cancer, dementia and the most prevalent killer of men and women, cardiovascular disease.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health developed a study to analyze a specific sub-class of flavonoids, called anthocyanins, that has been shown to help dilate arteries, counter the buildup of plaque and provide other cardiovascular benefits. Publishing in the journal Circulation, the scientists found that women who ate at least three servings of blueberries and strawberries per week had significantly fewer heart attacks. Blueberries and strawberries contain high levels of anthocyanins that have shown cardiovascular benefits in past research studies.

Anthocyanins from eating berries dramatically reduces heart attack risk in a large sampling of womenLead study author, Dr. Eric Rimm noted "Blueberries and strawberries can easily be incorporated into what women eat every week... this simple dietary change could have a significant impact on prevention efforts." The researchers developed a cohort of 93,600 women nurses, aged between 25 and 42 who completed dietary questionnaires every four years for a period of 18 years.

Over the course of the study review period, 405 women experienced a heart attack. The study team found that women who consumed the most blueberries and strawberries had a 32 percent reduction in their risk of heart attack as compared to women who ate the berries once a month or less. Interestingly, the results did not change in women who otherwise ate a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables, providing solid proof that the flavonoids provided by the berries were responsible for the heart attack risk reduction benefits.

The study authors concluded "We have shown that even at an early age, eating more of these fruits may reduce risk of a heart attack later in life." The study results were independent of other risk factors, such as age, high blood pressure, family history of heart attack, body mass, exercise, smoking, caffeine or alcohol intake. While this study was conducted using a large sampling of women, eating between three and five servings of fresh berries each week can dramatically lower heart attack risk for men and women alike.

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About the author:
John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your Free 48 page copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.

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Study finds that eating fruits and vegetables improves optimism

January 23, 2013 by: Michael Ravensthorpe

(NaturalNews) Everyone knows that the regular consumption of organic fruits and vegetables leads to superior health, but a new study conducted by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health has discovered yet another reason to favor a diet of natural foods - individuals who consume antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables on a regular basis are also more optimistic about the future.

The study assessed the blood concentrations of nine antioxidants - including carotenoids, which are a class of antioxidants mostly found in orange-colored produce - in 1,000 male and female participants between the ages of 25 and 74. During the assessment, the participants completed a questionnaire about their attitudes on life.

The scientists found that the most optimistic participants each had up to a 13 percent increase in blood concentrations of carotenoids compared to those who were less optimistic. Moreover, the scientists also found that the participants who consumed fewer than three servings of fruits and vegetables per day were considerably less optimistic than those who consumed more than three servings per day.

"Individuals with greater optimism tended to have greater levels of carotenoids such as beta-carotene," said the study's lead investigator, Julia Boehm. "This is the first study of its kind to report a relationship between optimism and healthier levels of carotenoid concentrations."

Other studies have linked antioxidant-rich foods to mental wellness

While Boehm's study for the Harvard School of Public Health might be the first to directly address the connection between antioxidant-rich foods and optimism, it is only one of many to address the overall psychological benefits of consuming natural produce.

A series of studies co-authored by professor Sarah Stewart-Brown at the University of Warwick, for instance, showed that individuals who consumed the most fruits and vegetables were least likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental issues. They also tended to be more satisfied with their lives.

"In every study we looked at, there was a correlation in fruit and vegetable consumption and mental health," said Stewart-Brown. "What's more, every additional portion increased the level of well-being." The happiest people in the studies, she added, were those that consumed eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

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About the author:
Michael Ravensthorpe is an independent writer from the United Kingdom whose research interests include nutrition, alternative medicine, and bushcraft. He is the creator of the website Spiritfoods, through which he helps to promote the world's healthiest foods, whether they be established superfruits such as mangosteen or lesser-known health supplements like blackstrap molasses

Michael is also the creator of the companion site Spiritcures, which details his research into the best home remedies for common illnesses and diseases such as constipation.

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