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PALMITIC ACID is a saturated fatty acid found in palm oil and other fats. Palmitic acid is the most abundant saturated fatty acid that is found naturally. Palmitic acid is also produced by the human body.

PANACEA - a remedy for all diseases.

PANCREAS - The pancreas is a grayish-pink gland. Weighing about three ounces and measuring six to nine inches. It extends posteriorly from the small intestine to the spleen. The pancreas functions both as an endocrine and exocrine gland. The greater part of the tissue is composed of endocrine cells arranged in a group called islets of langerhans.. With the islets, there are alpha cells which secrete glucagon and beta cells which secrete insulin. Both hormones are involved in regulating blood sugar levels. The exocrine cells produce pancreatic juice, which is secreted through the common bile duct into the small intestines. The pancreatic juice is composed of enzymes and alkaline fluid. This fluid neutralizes stomach acids contained in food as it moves into the small intestine.

PARATHYROID glands are round bodies, about one-quarter to four-fifths inches in height, located in the neck near the thyroid gland. Usually there are a pair associated with each thyroid gland. Parathyroids are endocrine glands which secrete parathormone. This hormone is involved in increasing blood calcium levels and decreasing blood phosphate levels. The hormone can cause the breakdown of bones to provide calcium; severe breakdown of the bone can lead to osteoporosis..

PASSION FLOWER (Passiflora incarnata) Family: Passifloraceae. It has a long vine which grows for 30 feet in length and bears alternate, serrate leaves with finely toothed lobes. The flowers are white with purple centers developing in the leaf axils, blooming from May to July. The fruit is a smooth, yellow, ovate berry containing numerous seeds.

Common names: apricot vine, maypop herb, passion vine, purple passion flower.

Habitat: grows in partially shaded dry areas, and along fences and woods of the United States.

It has a long vine which grows for 30 feet in length and bears alternate, serrate leaves with finely toothed lobes. The flowers are white with purple centers developing in the leaf axils, blooming from May to July. The fruit is a smooth, yellow, ovate berry containing numerous seeds.

Medicinal parts: Plant - dried, collected after some of the berries have natured, Flower - dried

For more information see the HERBS section of the Nutrition Notebook.


PECTIN is a polysaccharide found in all plant tissue. It is used by plants as a cementing material between cells. Pectin has shown antibacterial and fungicidal properties. It has also been shown to lower high cholesterol levels in humans. Pectin is used commercially for its gel-forming property in jams and jellies, and therapeutically to control diarrhea.

PECTORAL - an agent which relieves chest conditions such as a cough.

PENICILLIN: The best present for a man who’s got everything.

PEPTIDES are simple proteins made up of only a few amino acids. The word peptide comes from the Greek word peptos, which means "cooked", an interesting way of referring to digestion. Peptides are often no more than digested proteins, and many can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream without digestion or breakdown into individual amino acids. Many peptides work as neurotransmitters and as natural pain relieving substances in the brain.

PEREGRINOL is a diterpene alcohol found in hops.

PHARYNX - The pharynx is the space behind the nasal cavity, and larynx. It is lined with a mucous membrane has three subdivisions: nasopharynx, oropharynx, and laryngopharynx.

The nasopharynx, the uppermost section, is closely associated with the nasal sinuses. It warms and moistens inhaled air. During swallowing, it is closed by a soft palate to prevent food from entering the nasal area.

The oropharynx is a passage for air and food. It is lined by the tonsils and adenoids. The laryngopharynx is involved in swallowing.

PHARYNGITIS is an inflammation of the pharynx.

PHELLANDRENES have been classified as volatile oils and may be isolated from angelica and many other plants. Phellandrenes are two compounds - alpha- and beta-phellandrene, which have the same chemical composition, but slightly different structures. Alpha-phellandrene can be easily absorbed through the skin and has been shown to be irritating to the skin.

PHENOLIC ACIDS are a class of compounds grouped together due to their similar chemical structure. Phenolic acids are found in artichokes, (which contain cynarin); sage (which contains salvin), and other sources. The biological activities of phenolic acids are varied. Cynarin increases bile secretion and reduces blood cholesterol and lipid levels. Salvin shows antimicrobial activity against some strains of bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus among others.

PHOSPHATE S are salts of phosphoric acid, distributed throughout the body. Inorganic phosphates occur chiefly in the skeleton in association with calcium, where they play a role in the mineralization of bone, and in body fluids, where they play a role in the mineralization of bone, and in body fluids, where they play a role in the regulation of acid/base balance.

PHOTOPHOBIA is the intolerance or fear of light.

PHTHALIDES are a group of compounds classified together due to similar chemical structures. They are found in celery seeds and responsible for the celery odor. An example of a phthalide is sedanenolide, which has sedative properties on mice.

PINENE - alpha-pinene and beta-pinene are monoterpenes found in valerian root, juniper berries, and other plants. Alpha- and beta-pinene are two different compounds which have the same chemical composition in respect to number and type of atoms, but which differ slight in structure. Both alpha- and beta-pinene will cause allergic reactions on contact. They also exhibit antimicrobial activity.

PITUITARY - The pituitary is a pea-sized, reddish-gray vascular mass at the base of the brain, approximately above the tonsils, at the level of the eyes. It consists of two lobes: the anterior lobe (adenohypophysis) and the posterior lobe (neurohypophysis). The posterior pituitary is of neural origin and is controlled through direct electrical stimulation from the hypothalamus. It is not a true endocrine gland because it does not synthesize hormones. Instead, it stores oxytocin and antidiuretic hormones, hormones that have been produced by specialized neural cells of the hypothalamus. The anterior pituitary is of oral origin; it is an outgrowth of the pharynx. Regulation of hormones released by this endocrine gland is through chemical stimulation from the hypothalamus. These chemicals are called releasing factors because they stimulate other endocrine glands to secrete hormones. Hormones synthesized by the anterior pituitary are the growth hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, prolactin, and melanoctye stimulating hormone.

PLANT ACIDS' range of activities varies. They promote the healing of injured tissue and help fight infection. Plant acids often combine with plant protein to rebuild muscle fiber and nerve endings, and may also be involved with enzyme activity. Phenolic acids are one example. Plant acids such as gallic acid may be astringent, inhibit the growth of bacteria and stop bleeding by contracting blood vessels..

PLANT ALCOHOLS are colorless liquids producing sharp, biting sensations of taste and smell, and manifest extremely changeable properties. Plant alcohols may vary in their applications and functions. Cholesterol, for instance is a crystalline alcohol found primarily in animal and plant fats, blood, and liver bile. Thymol, on the other hand, is an alcohol with strong disinfectant properties which can go anywhere in the body, but may find greater affinity to those areas responsible for body immunity (lymph glands) or bodily waste functions (kidney, bladder, and colon).

PNEUMONIA: What you get after you’ve had old monia.

PODIATRIST: Corn borer.

POLYACETYLENE is a compound composed of repeating acetylene units.

POLYSACCHARIDES are compounds which contain sugar molecules linked together. The sugar molecules linked together may be glucose, galactose, or any of the many other sugar molecules. Some examples of polysaccharides are starch and cellulose. Starch and cellulose are formed entirely of glucose molecules linked together.

PORPHYRIA - Abnormalities of porphyrin metabolism (often hereditary) characterized by excretion of excess porphyrins in the urine.

PORPHYRIN - compounds of a structure that consists of four pyrrole rings joined by four =C- groups; esp: one (as chorophyll or hemoglobin) containing a central metal atom, and usually having biological activity.

PROTEINS , one of the three classes of energy nutrients, are formed from different numbers and kinds of amino acids. Protein is essential for growth, the building of new tissue, and the repair of injured or broken-down tissue. They serve as enzymes, structural elements, hormones, immunoglobulins, etc., and are involved in oxygen transport and other activities throughout the body, and in photosynthesis. Protein can be oxidized in the body, liberating heat and energy at the rate of four calories per gram.

PROSTAGLANDINS - A whole family of compounds classified as hormones which have a multitude of functions including: regulation of blood pressure, blood clotting, pain perception, and regulation of other hormonal functions as well.

PURGATIVE - a substance which causes a water evacuation of the bowels.

PURULENT is that pertaining to the content or formation of pus.

PYROCATECHOL (catechol) is a compound found in comfrey and other plants. Pyrocatechol can cause inflammation of the skin when applied locally. Ingestion may cause vomiting, nausea, convulsions, and other symptoms similar to those caused by phenol. Pyrocatechol is used therapeutically as an antiseptic. It is also used in dying fur and photography.

PYRROLIZIDINE is a type of alkaloid which is found in comfrey.

PYRUVIC ACID is the end product of the glycolytic pathway. This three-carbon metabolite is an important junction point for two reasons: it is the gateway to the final common energy-producing pathway, the Krebs cycle; and it provides acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl CoA), through which fatty acids, and in turn fat, are produced from glucose. Pyruvic acid converts to lactic acid as needed. Pyruvic acid increases in quantity in the blood and tissues in Thiamin (vitamin B-1) deficiency. Vitamin B-1 is essential for its oxidation.

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