Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is the green pigment present in most plants and aids in manufacturing food for the plants through a process known as photosynthesis. Over the years, chlorophyll has been used by physicians as well as laymen to do away with bad breath and also to lessen the pungent smell of urine, feces and wounds infected by bacteria or fungus. It is important to note here that chlorophyll possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant as well as wound healing properties. These remedial qualities of chlorophyll have made it popular among the people since ages.

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Chlorophyll is not only found in plants, but also in some algae and even in some bacteria that can soak up sunlight that is essential for photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is found in abundance in the plant leaves and is also often present in some other plant tissues or parts like the stems and imparts the green color to the plants. The chlorophyll present in the leaves is camouflaged by other pigments as well. This is proved from the fact that during the winter chlorophyll present in the leaves declines and the leaves change color owing to the prevalence of the other pigments. Primarily, chlorophyll absorbs violet-blue and orange-red light emitted by the sun.

Generally, chlorophylls are large molecules that mostly comprise carbon and hydrogen. A single magnesium atom encircled by nitrogen-containing group of atoms called a porphyrin ring can be found at the center of each chlorophyll molecule. The arrangement inside a chlorophyll molecule bears a resemblance to that of the dynamic ingredients of hemoglobin in the blood. A long and uninterrupted chain of carbon and hydrogen atoms carries on from the core of the chlorophyll molecule and links it to the internal casing of the chloroplast - the cell organelle where the process of photosynthesis occurs. When a chlorophyll molecule soaks up a photon of light, electrons present in the molecule become active and move to higher energy planes. In turn, this kicks off a series of complex chemical reactions in the chloroplast enabling the energy obtained from the sunlight to be stored in chemical bonds.

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Interestingly, there are several kinds of chlorophylls and each of them is at variance with the other. They also differ in their molecular structure and absorb somewhat diverse wavelengths of light. Among these, the most common type is the chlorophyll a - this comprises almost 75 % of the chlorophyll present in most green plants. Chlorophyll is also present in cyanobacteria, which was earlier known as blue-green algae. The green pigment can also be found in more composite cells. In fact, chlorophyll is an associate pigment that can be found in green plants and other complicated photosynthetic cells that absorb diverse wave lengths of sunlight and transmits them to the chlorophyll for eventual alteration into chemical energy. Some chlorophylls that are of lesser significance are also found in some micro-organisms.

Going by the history, in earlier ages people used chlorophyll to heal gastro-intestinal ailments like constipation. Chlorophyll was also widely used to boost formation of blood cells in people suffering from anemia. Some introductory studies conducted on chlorophyll also indicate that the green pigment found in plants may also be beneficial in detoxifying substances that lead to cancer or cancerous growth.

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Uses

Simply speaking, chlorophyll is the green pigment present in the plants. It is responsible for the photosynthesis process by absorbing the energy from sunlight and transforming it into other molecules. In the process, chlorophyll helps plants to prepare their own foods by helping to combine carbon dioxide with water to form glucose. Broad analysis of chlorophyll has shown that the green herbal pigment comprises enzymes and superoxide dismutase - a copper containing protein present in mellow red blood cells. The enzymes found in chlorophyll helps in moldering superoxide radicals in the body. This makes the superoxide radicals more controllable thereby aiding in the retardation of the aging process in a person.

In the early 20th century, German scientist Hans Fisher and his colleagues successfully synthetically set up a form of hemin and demonstrated its association to chlorophyll. These group of scientists examined that the chlorophyll molecules bore a thoroughly resemblance to hemin - a pigment that blends with protein to develop into hemoglobin. It may be mentioned here that hemoglobin is generally found in red blood cells and it carries oxygen to the tissues thereby making it possible for the body to generate energy as well as life.

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However, one of the key dissimilarities between chlorophyll and hemin is that while chlorophyll comprises magnesium at its hub, hemin molecules contain iron as their central atom. As there is a striking similarity between the chlorophyll and hemin molecules, German scientist Hans Miller assumed chlorophyll to be nature's blood-forming constituent for all plant consuming animals, including humans.

Later, in their clinical study with exceptional types of anemia caused by pigmenticity, scientists Putek and Minot scrutinized a small, but encouraging augmentation in hemoglobin concentration on intravenous injection of a derivative from chlorophyll. Meanwhile, according to reports, Dr Fisher has been successfully using chlorophyll derivatives while treating anemic patients. According to Dr Fisher, the result in most of the cases varied from good to excellent.

In a different clinical study with chlorophyll, Dr Putek conducted a series of experiments on 15 mature patients suffering from chronic hypochromic anemia. During the study, these patients were administered chlorophyll and related substances and put on diets that did not include any type of meat and egg, but were rich in all other aspects. He used raw chlorophyll resembling tar-like material extracted from alfalfa leaves, but found that such crude chlorophyll alone was not effectual or enough to cure the patients. However, when the same patients were administered chlorophyll along with its derivatives, an increase in hemoglobin level was witnessed in the blood. Besides, it was found that there was a sense of well being among these patients too.

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Many other studies conducted with chlorophyll also reported healing effects from the green plant pigment. While some of these researches were clinical studies, others pertained to experiments carried on different animals. But all the studies were carried on subjects suffering from different types of anemia, protein insufficiency hemorrhagic, phenol-hydrazine poisoning, pernicious, hypochromic of unidentified etiology and 'experimental nutritional anemia" of anonymous nature. Most of these studies demonstrated that administration of very small dosages of unadulterated chlorophyll offered a positive result on blood renewal. However, it has been found that when chlorophyll is taken in large doses, it can prove to be toxic or even lethal for the bone marrow.

Significantly, when large doses of crude chlorophyll were administered on patients suffering from anemia, it demonstrated positive or favorable consequences vis-à-vis hemoglobin rejuvenation. Hence, it may be deduced from these studies that there is some aspect in the crude chlorophyll that neutralizes the venomous effects of pure chlorophyll.

Sources of chlorophyll

All green leafy vegetables, algae, spirulina, chlorella, wheat grass and barley grass are a few among the superior dietary sources of chlorophyll. Commercially chlorophyll dietary supplements are available in the drug stores in the form of powder, capsule, tablets and even various kinds of drinks.

Deficiencies and susceptibility

Anyone has hardly ever been found to be suffering from chlorophyll deficiency. In fact chlorophyll deficiency does not exist as chlorophyll is not considered to be an essential nutrient for the body. Plainly speaking, people who do not eat lots of green foods lack chlorophyll in their food habits.

Usual dosage

Despite several researches on chlorophyll, the scientists are yet to ascertain the most favorable levels of chlorophyll to be ingested. Herbal practitioners suggest that normally, people may ingest 100 mg of chlorophyll twice or thrice daily for deodorization.

Side effects and cautions

Thus far no side effects following the use of chlorophyll have been reported from anywhere. Hence, it can be said that use of chlorophyll is completely safe.

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