Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Carrot (Daucus carota L.)

Carrot (Karot in Filipino) is an outstanding trait of this flowering plant, which belongs to the family of Apiaceae, is that it is self-fertile. By nature, carrot's flowers have both male and female organs, and are usually pollinated primarily by beetles and flies. In order to facilitate the cultivation of this plant, it is necessary to place it in an area where it can receive light. It has a strong rate of survival, because it can withstand strong winds. However, the carrot plant cannot bear to be exposed to salty water and soil. It is a biennial plant, which means that it usually takes two years for it to complete its life cycle. However, it is not uncommon for plants of this nature to complete its biological life cycle in a few months time, especially when subjected to extreme climate conditions.

Carrot is classified as a root vegetable, which grows as tall as one (1) meter. The wild carrot, from which the modern carrot’s cultivation is based, has flowers that are rounded, which are bright white in color when it is in full bloom. Such flowers have the width of 3 to 7 centimeters, and the vegetable itself is known to have various colors, such as orange, red, purple, yellow or white.

Carrots are extremely popular because of its numerous uses, and because of the many vitamins and minerals that it contains. For instance, its roots are edible, whether cooked or raw, and are used as an ingredient to soups and salad bowls. It has been found that carrot root juice is very rich in carotene, which in turn is converted to vitamin A by our liver, and is one of the vitamins that the body needs. Regular intake of carrot roots, in any manner, though recommended to be taken in juice form, improves eyesight. Particular substances that are contained in the roots have been discovered to be anti-cancer. That is the primary reason why carrot juice has become a popular drink, as it is associated with a wealth of health benefits. The roots of the carrot plant, when roasted, are also being used as a substitute for coffee. Extractions from the roots, known as carotene, are also being used commercially as a food dye. The leaves of this plant, which have high vitamin E content, are also being used as flavorings for soup. From the derived uses of this plant, it is evident that its roots, seeds, and leaves have particular functions which are known to be utilized by many.

Carrots have been known to have medicinal properties that allow it to be used as an astringent and antiseptic substance. Carrot has been used as a cleansing medicine, because of its activities which basically helps the kidney in the removal of waste in the body. It also aids in the stimulation of one’s menstruation because of the same properties. For children, raw carrot roots are a safe and recommended treatment for threadworms. In the same manner, regular intake of cultivated carrot roots allows the stimulation of urine flow. It manifests activities that help the skin, by virtue of its anti-oxidant contents.

Carrot Health Benefits:

• Body cleanser, and is a medication for kidney problems
• Treatment for cough and chest pains
• Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic function helps solve burns, ulcer and infected wounds

Preparation & Use:

• Boil with milk, and drink for cough
• Poultice of carrots may be applied to infected wounds and to the chest, in case it is going to be used to aid in an individual’s chest pains
• Ground seeds of the plant may be taken as tea, in order to increase urine flow