Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) are the legumes of a species of plant in the family Fabaceae, and are one of the most widely eaten plant foods in the world today. Despite the name “peanut”, as just noted peanuts are a legume rather than a true nut — as a “nut” is technically just an indehiscent fruit. That said, in common English peanuts are always referred to as being “nuts”.
Peanuts were first domesticated roughly 8,000 years ago by the American Indian groups living in what’s now Paraguay (along with potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, vanilla, corn, turkeys, a species of cotton, beans, cassava, the rubber plant, chicle/chewing gum, etc), by a rather complex process involving multiple different species.
Peanut plants typically grown to be 1-1.6 feet tall, and are notable for sending their flower stalks (ovaries) underground after pollination — where the legumes (peanuts) then develop. This process is known as geocarpy. These peanut pods typically contain 1-4 peanuts each.
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra), alternatively known as liquorice root, is a commonly used herbal medicine native to Southern Europe and parts of Asia — including, in particular, India, where it has a long history of use.
The root of the plant — which is categorized as a legume — is often also used as a flavouring agent in candies, in particular in Northern Europe, but elsewhere as well. Which is related to the origin of the word licorice/liquorice, which is derived from licoresse (Old French), which is in turn derived from the Greek wrod γλυκύρριζα (glukurrhiza) — “sweet root”.
Despite some superficial similarity of flavor/aroma, licorice root actually isn’t related to anise or fennel. This aroma is the result of a number of different interacting (and mostly chemically related) compounds — of which, the compound anethole makes up roughly 3% of total volatiles.
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) has been over the past few millennia, at the very least, one of the most widely used and effective herbs in the world. It’s probably the most important herbal liver medicine out there — and can be used very effectively to help limit/prevent liver damage when exposed to toxins/poisons.
Isolated compounds from the milk thistle plant (Silymarin, Silibinin) are commonly used as treatment for: some types of mushroom poisoning; cerebral edema (a type of brain swelling); acute hepatitis; and other types liver disease/damage and/or toxin exposure.
And it’s worth noting up front that milk thistle (via extract) is itself an effective (not perfectly so, but to a notable degree) remedy against severe liver damage or death in the case of the ingestion of some types of poisonous mushrooms (such as death caps).
Ginger root is a commonly used culinary ingredient and/or herbal medicine that’s currently in use nearly anywhere that you can go in the world — in a number of different forms, and/or including: ginger root tea, fresh ginger, and dried ginger.
All of which are thought to have somewhat different medicinal effects — largely owing to the difference in relative-proportions with regards to the active-compounds, which are thought to be: the gingerols, zingerone, and the shogaols.
There’s a lot of noise out there concerning genetically modified organisms (GMO), in particular with regard to GMO food, but how much of this information is accurate? Both sides of the debate over the technology often play fast and loose with the facts, so it can be hard to get reliable information, this article/list seeks to remedy that — gathering together: the findings of various scientific studies, real-world examples of the effects of GMO use, examples of externalized costs associated with the technology, and accompanying legal and political issues.
While the list will offer specifics, it’s worth noting upfront that the biggest “issue” with GMOs is simply that they don’t live up to the hype. There’s a fair amount of hype with regard to health risks/dangers as well though, so it’s not just the proponents of GMOs that like to exaggerate things — that seems to be a two-way phenomena, and is perhaps just something inherent in our culture, or perhaps even to human psychological/social processes.
This article intends to cut through those exaggerations, that both sides are guilty of, and offer a realistic appraisal of the issues and limitations of GMOs — especially with regard to their use in our industrial agricultural system.