Carrots Nutrition and Good Health - Part 3 - Medicinal Uses
Main sections: Medicinal Uses - Alternative Medicine - Doctrine of Signatures - Daily Needs
Nutritional Analysis - Yin and Yang - Food Colouring
Read about the use of carrots in ancient remedies here - Myth, Magic and Folklore.
NOTE: The Carrot Museum does not recommend self diagnosis or self medication.
The information contained in this web site has not been verified for correctness.
Some of the information contained herein is hearsay and may not be correct.
Use the information from this page only at your own risk! If in doubt
consult a doctor.
Note: If you have diabetes it is recommended you read this before eating carrots. Speak to your doctor or health-care provider about vitamin A rich carotenoids if you have diabetes or are at risk for developing the condition. Read more here.
(A cautionary note - The Carrot Museum cautions you to not believe all studies. Please trust your own judgment. As a researcher I am happy to share and cite studies that appear promising, that carrots provide health giving properties. However the body and individual metabolisms and gene make up are all different so it is difficult to be positive that any of it will work for any particular individual. In fact it is often difficult to ensure, or decipher, whether any of the research is not financially or otherwise biased. You can find just as many convincing studies supporting mainstream treatments, together with other evidence that there is no effect. Also many studies are based on animal tests, rather than humans.)
Simple summary sheets - "Why Everyone Should Eat more Carrots" - The Health Benefits of Carrots and The Benefits of Carrot Juice
Traditional Medicinal Uses for Carrot and its seeds around the world (pdf).
NUTRITION : THE MEDICINE OF THE FUTURE - Voltaire said:
"The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while Nature cures the disease".
The medicine of the future will no longer be remedial, it will be preventive; not based on drugs but on the best diet for health. This page explores the issue in relation to carrots. Always remember carrots nourish they do not heal. If the body has the ability to heal itself, it will use the raw materials found in foods to do its own healing work. Herbs do not heal, they feed. Herbs do not force the body to maintain and repair itself. They simply support the body in these natural functions.
Remember carrots nourish they do not heal. If the body has the ability to heal itself, it will use the raw materials found in foods to do its own healing work. Herbs do not heal, they feed. Herbs do not force the body to maintain and repair itself. They simply support the body in these natural functions.
Carrots are credited with many medicinal properties; they are said to cleanse the intestines and to be diuretic, remineralizing, antidiarrheal, an overall tonic and antianemic. Carrot is rich in alkaline elements which purify and revitalize the blood. They nourish the entire system and help in the maintenance of acid-alkaline balance in the body. The carrot also has a reputation as a vegetable that helps to maintain good eyesight.
Raw grated carrot can be applied as a compress to burns for
a soothing effect. Its highly energizing juice has a particularly beneficial
effect on the liver. Consumed in excessive quantities, carrots can cause
the skin to turn yellow; this phenomenon, which is called Carotenemia and
caused by the carotene contained in carrots, is frequently seen in young
children but is not at all dangerous.
See "do not overdose" below or click here.
An infusion of carrot seeds (1 teaspoon per cup of boiling water) is believed to be diuretic, to stimulate the appetite, reduce colic, aid fluid retention and help alleviate menstrual cramps. The dried flowers are also used as a tea as a remedy for dropsy. Taken in wine, or boiled in wine and taken, the seeds help conception. Strangely enough the seeds made into a tea have been used for centuries as a contraceptive. Applied with honey, the leaves cleanse running sores or ulcers. Carrots are also supposed to help break wind and remove stitches in the side. Chewing a carrot immediately after food kills all the harmful germs in the mouth. It cleans the teeth, removes the food particles lodged in the crevices and prevents bleeding of the gums and tooth decay. Carrot soup is supposed to relieve diarrhoea and help with tonsillitis.
In days gone by they grated raw carrot and gave it to children to expel worms. Pulped carrot is used as a cataplasm for application to ulcers and sores. They were also supposed to improve your memory abilities and relieve nervous tension. An Old English superstition is that the small purple flower in the centre of the Wild Carrot (Queen Annes Lace) was of benefit in curing epilepsy. Visit the Wild Carrot page. Click here.
Queen Annes Lace (the Wild Carrot) was also considered toxic. The leaves contain furocoumarins that may cause allergic contact dermatitis from the leaves, especially when wet. Later exposure to the sun may cause mild photodermatitis. Wild Carrot seed is also an early abortifacient, historically, sometimes used as a natural "morning after" contraceptive tea. Queen Annes Lace has long been used because of its contraceptive properties.
Read more about contraception (caution this page contains items which may not be suitable for minors)
It has since been scientifically proven that the carrot seed extract, if given orally at the correct dosage from day 4 to 6 post-coitum, effectively inhibits implantation.
Pliny the Elder suggested that it was used as a love potion, guaranteed to be effective, and Galen goes so far as to claim that it actually "procures lust." As a vegetable, however, the carrot in Roman times remained a bitter, tough taproot, edible only in the early spring as a pot herb.
As the carrot was improved it found its way into medicine chests as well as stew pots. Both Gerard and Culpeper recommend the carrot for numerous ills. Culpeper says that the carrot is influenced by Mercury, the god of wind, and that a tea made from the dried leaves should dispel wind from the bowels and relieve dropsy, kidney stones, and women's complaints.
Experimentally hypoglycemic, a tea made from Queen Annes Lace was believed to help maintain low blood sugar levels in humans, but it had no effect on diabetes artificially induced in animals. Wild carrot tea has been recommended for bladder and kidney ailment, dropsy, gout, gravel; seeds are recommended for calculus, obstructions of the viscera (internal organs), dropsy, jaundice, scurvy. Carrots of one form or another were once served at every meal for liver derangements; now we learn that they may upset the liver.
Medicinally the Carrot was used as a diuretic, stimulant, in the treatment of dropsy, flatulence, chronic coughs, dysentery, windy colic, chronic renal diseases and a host of other uses.
Eating carrots is also good for allergies, aneamia, rheumatism, tonic for the nervous system. Everyone knows they can improve eye health; But it does not stop there the delicious carrot is good for diarrhoea, constipation (very high in fibre), intestinal inflammation, cleansing the blood (a liver tonic), an immune system tonic. Carrot is traditionally recommended to weak, sickly or rickety children, to convalescents or pregnant women, its anti-aneamic properties having been famous for a long time.
Tea made the seeds can promote the onset of menstruation. It is effective on skin problems including broken veins/capillaries, burns, creeping impetigo, wrinkles and sun damage. Carrots also help in stimulating milk flow during lactation. Believe it or not the carrot is also effective against roundworms and dandruff. Pureed carrots are good for babies with diarrhoea, providing essential nutrients and natural sugars.
Scientists have given us another reason to eat carrots - Falcarinol a compound found in the popular root vegetable has been found to have an effect on the development of cancer. - read more Alternative Medicinal Uses
The alternative medicine believers consider that the carrot (the whole plant or its seeds) has the following properties:
Nutritional analysis of 100 grams of uncooked carrot can be found at the USDA nutritional database - for the full USDA nutritional analysis click here.
An average 7 inch carrot has NO FAT or CHOLESTEROL!
Nutrition Facts (source USDA food nutrition database)
Carrots - Amount Per 100 grams Calories 41
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.2 g 0% ; Saturated fat 0 g 0% ; Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g ; Monounsaturated fat 0 g ; Trans fat 0 g ;Cholesterol 0 mg 0% ;Sodium 69 mg 2%
Potassium 320 mg 9% ;Total Carbohydrate 10 g 3% ;Dietary fiber 2.8 g 11% ;Sugar 4.7 g ;Protein 0.9 g 1% ; Vitamin A 334% Vitamin C 9%
Calcium 3% Iron 1% ;Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 5% ;Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 3%
*Per cent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
A simple chart for the average carrot
More detailed analysis
Carrots (Daucus carota), Fresh, raw, Nutrition value per 100 g. Total-ORAC value 666 umol TE/100 g. (Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Recommended dietary allowances - Vitamin A is the name for a group of compounds which have the biological activity of retinol. Vitamin A is measured in retinol equivalents (RE) which allows the different forms of vitamin A to be compared. One retinol equivalent equals 1 mcg of retinol or 6 mcg of beta carotene. Vitamin A is also measured in international units (IU) with 1 mcg RE equivalent to 3.33 IU.
|Carrots - serving size 1/2 cup||Vitamin A (retinol) equivalents (micrograms)||% RDA* for women||% RDA* for men|
*RDA = Recommended Daily Amount (The RDA of vitamin A is 800 micrograms for women and 1,000 micrograms for men.)
Your daily requirements
The Food and Nutrition Committee of the National Research Council has established a scale for the minimum daily requirement of vitamin A as follows:
|Children under 1 year||1500|
|Children 1 to 12 years||2000 to 3500|
|Adolescent girls & boys||4500 to 5000|
|Adults - men and women||5000|
|Women during pregnancy||6000|
|Women during nursing period||8000|
The above scale is based upon the minimum required to prevent deficiency diseases and does not provide the necessary surplus required for full health.
It is impossible to determine, with any degree of scientific
accuracy, what the daily requirement is for any individual under varying
physical conditions, and how much of the vitamin A intake the body is able to
absorb at any given time due to metabolic conditions or other factors.
Cooked carrots are rated at 49 in the Glycaemic Index, the scale invented to help in the treatment of diabetes, and which is used to measure the rate at which blood sugar levels rise when a particular carbohydrate bearing food is ingested. Lower level GI foods, (those below 50 are seen as best), are more complex and hence digested more slowly, ensuring a longer feeling of satiety, longer term energy maintenance and keeping blood sugar levels constant.
Did you know? - One pound of carrots gives a normal man enough energy to raise 64 tons 1 foot in the air? That same pound can produce 1 ounce and 11 grains of sugar. A pound also contains 14 ounces of water.
(From: Food collection Bethnal Green Museum – Dr Lankester)
Doctrine of Signatures - THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNATURES is an ancient principle found in many cultures, east and west. Like homeopathy, the Doctrine of Signatures rests on the belief that all living things are inter connected by an energetic force: called 'chi' in oriental medicine, 'prana' in Indian philosophy, the vital force, or quantum energy in other cultures. It can go by many names.
The awesome insight of civilizations past has since been somewhat
corroborated by today’s exploratory nutritional sciences:
In simple terms, the "Doctrine of Signatures" is the idea that God has marked everything He created with a sign (signature). The sign was an indication of the purpose for the creation of the item. The "Doctrine of Signatures" was popularised in the early 1600s by the writings of Jakob Böhme (1575-1624), a master shoemaker in the small town of Görlitz, Germany. At the age of 25, Böhme had a profound mystical vision in which he saw the relationship between God and man. As a result of the vision, he wrote "Signatura Rerum; The Signature of all Things".
His book espoused a spiritual philosophy; however it soon was adopted for its
medical application. The Doctrine states that, by observation, one can determine
from the colour of the flowers or roots, the shape of the leaves, the place of
growing, or other signatures, what the plant's purpose was in God's plan
Paracelsus, a physician, mystic and alchemist in the sixteenth century was a famous proponent of the Doctrine of Signatures. He, like others of his time, believed that the microcosm (man) was a reflection of the macrocosm (the universe): as above, so below; as without, so within. This meant that each person was a reflection of everything external including the stars and the planets. Any imbalance in man (manifesting as disease symptoms) would have to be corrected by a substance or element in nature, balancing the universe within the man.
Paraclesus used the Doctrine of Signature to understand the healing properties
of plants. This method of understanding the healing properties of the plant is
based on the plants distinct characteristics such as growth, colour, shape,
scent, or taste.
The Doctrine of Signatures was highly developed during the European Renaissance. This interest paralleled the widespread belief in an overall unity of Nature
The word "signature" is a duplet, or two-part word derived from the two words "sign" and "nature", or Signs of Nature. Ancient people saw patterns in certain whole foods that resembled parts of the human body and used them to choose specific foods for specific health.
For example, a sliced carrot . That is the "signature" of a carrot. The ancients equated that to mean that carrots are good for the eyes. Recent research has confirmed this scientifically. Also in the 18th century people ate orange carrots to cure icterus (jaundice) because of the colour of its root. Icterus causes a yellowing of the white of the eye.
The section of a Carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) with its radiating lines looks like the pupil and iris of the human eye and these massively improve blood flow to the eyes and assist in the general function of the eyes. Carrots get their orange colour from a plant chemical known as beta-carotene, which reduces the risk of developing cataracts. The chemical also protects sight problems that that develop over the age of sixty five.
Jaundice is often seen in liver disease such as hepatitis or liver cancer. It may also indicate leptospirosis or obstruction of the biliary tract, for example by gallstones or pancreatic cancer, or less commonly be congenital in origin (e.g., biliary atresia). Yellow discoloration of the skin, especially on the palms and the soles, but not of the sclera and mucous membranes (i.e. oral cavity) is due to carotenemia—a harmless condition important to differentiate from jaundice.
Another example is the walnut. If you open a walnut shell, the nourishing nut inside appears to resemble the human brain with its left and right hemispheres, lobes, and cerebral cortex. So the walnut's "signature" is the brain. Recent science again confirms that the fleshy food of walnuts contains omega 3 and 5 fatty acids which cross the blood-brain barrier and are necessary for the production of the pre-cursor of neurotransmitters in the brain. There are many other whole foods with signatures recognized by the wisdom of the ancients. Other examples of foods with signatures include kidney beans for the kidneys, avocados for the female cervix/womb, tomatoes for the heart and blood and so on.
Conclusion: Concepts similar to the Doctrine of Signatures may be found in folk or indigenous medicines and in modern alternative medicines. The signatures are described as post hoc attributions and mnemonics  of value only in creating a system for remembering actions attributed to medical herbs. However, till now there is no scientific evidence that shapes and colours help in the discovery of medical uses of plants or animals. The Doctrine of Signatures may sound eccentric to us but its insight is primeval and rediscovered in contemporary times.
reference: Is “The Doctrine of Signatures” Signature Sequences designed By God? Deepu Pandita et al Published - International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 6, Issue 11, November 2016 568 ISSN 2250-3153
Other references: Paracelsus. Supreme Mysteries of Nature (trans. R. Turner)
London, 1656. Medicus, F. The Significance of Paracelsus, Bulletin of the Institute of the History of Medicine (IV), 5:353-366, 1936.
Kocher, P. Paracelsan Medicine in England: The First Thirty Five Years, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied
Sciences (II), 4:451-480, 1947. Giambattista Porta, Phytognomonica. Naples., 1588. Pearce, J.M.S. “The Doctrine of Signatures” (PDF).
European Neurology (karger.com), 60 (1): 51–52, 2008. Cole, W. Art of Simpling. London: Nathaniel Brook., 1656
Yin and Yang - Asians traditionally classify foods as yin, yang, or neutral, depending on the energy they impart to the body. Yin, or cooling, foods are said to have a calming effect, whereas yang foods are warming. Neutral foods, such as rice and other whole grains, provide balance. Westerners tend to over indulge in yang foods, such as french fries and meat. The aim is to maintain health through a proper balance of yin and yang.
Yin (cooling) foods include Steamed, poached, or boiled foods. Bok choy, bean sprouts, cucumber, eggplant, tofu, seafood.
Yang (warming) foods include Deep fried, stir-fried, or roasted foods. Meats & poultry. Garlic, ginger, spices, carrots, onion.
- Synthetic colours added to colour food should be used
with great caution. Many food colours are being banned by Governments of
several countries. Food colours are only a matter of choice. Colour is added
to food to improve the appearance, delight the on-looker and deceive the
senses. But the colour itself does not alter the nutritive value or taste in
any way. Carrots, saffron, turmeric, cocoa, caramel, annatto, etc., are all
food colouring agents obtained from natural sources. They generally contain
lignans, carotene, quercetin, flavonoids and isoflavanoids, which are known
to have a profound preventive effect on certain types of cancer. It is
possible to extract natural colours from coloured fruits and vegetables and
use them to colour other foods. For example, pink and orange colour can be
extracted from beetroot and carrot and used to colour sweets.
Chromotherapy is a method of treatment of diseases by colour. It is best used as a supportive therapy along with other natural methods of preserving health such as correct diet, adequate rest and relaxation, exercise, yogic asanas and so on.
According to practitioners of chromotherapy, the cause of any disease can be traced to the lack of a particular colour in the human system. Colour therapy is a technique of restoring imbalance by means of applying coloured light to the body. It was a popular method of cure even in ancient times. Some 2,500 years ago, Pythagoras applied colour light therapeutically and 'colour halls' were used for healing in ancient Egypt, China and India.
The orange Carrot colour is symbolic of prosperity and pride, and is useful for stimulating blood supply and energising the nerves. It is beneficial in the treatment of kidney and gall stones, hernia and appendicitis. It is also used to stimulate the milk producing action of breasts after childbirth.
Click here to access The Womens Health Page. Find out why Women should eat carrots but beware during motherhood. This page also examines cosmetic uses of carrots and touches on weight management. Otherwise skip on to the cultivation page.
Visit Choose My Plate (previously My Pyramid) for some good information on diet and health.. Traditional Medicinal Uses for Carrot and its seeds around the world (pdf).
NOTE: The information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a replacement for medical advice from your personal physician.
more nutrition guidance Here is a link to an interesting paper,
co-authored by Meghan Lambert from the
Public Health Foundation covering: healthy balanced diet, various food groups, physical activity, nutritional needs during pregnancy and breast feeding, nutrition for the preschool children and more.
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