VALEPOTRIATES comprise a group of
compounds found in valerian root and other plants. Two examples of valepotriate
compounds are isovalerate and valtrate. On experimental animals, the
valepotriates in valerian root have shown antispasmodic and central nervous
system depressant properties.
VALERIAN is found in Europe and
Asia, and prefers damp places and swamp grounds. It is a perennial plant with a
hollow, angular, furrowed, pale-green stem. Valerian grows from two to four
feet in height. It bears opposite, pinnate leaves having 7 to 25 lanceolate,
sharply pointed leaflets. Small, white or pink flowers grow in terminal
clusters from June to August. The fruit is a pale brown capsule, oblong-ovate,
containing a single seed. The medicinal part is the rootstock.
Other common names for this plant are:
All-heal, English Valerian, German valerian, Great wild valerian, Heliotrope,
Setwall, Vandall root, Vermont valerian, Wild valerian.
For more information see the HERBS section
of the Nutrition Notebook.
VALERINE is an alkaloid found in the
plant valerian root.
VARICOSE VEINS - blood returning to
the heart is powered by the action of our skeletal muscles. Large muscles in
the leges help power the blood the long way through the veins. This system is
called the muscle-vein pump. When we use a large muscle that muscle presses on
veins at the same time, which helps push the blood on its path back to the
heart. These veins have one-way valves that prevent the blood from being pulled
back by gravity when there are no muscle contractions to aid this process.
Inactivity fro long periods of time causes this pump to not be active, thus
increasing the blood volume in the veins and causing the pressure to rise. The
one-way valves in these veins can give in, allowing gravity to pull the blood,
resulting in edema, swelling and pain, and over time, varicose veins and/or
hemorrhoids. In addition to exercise, OPCs have been found to help this
condition by strengthening blood vessel walls and preventing leakage through
the blood vessel walls (an additional cause of varicose veins).
VIRUS - a virus is a minute
infectious organism that is visible only by an electron microscope. A virus
lacks an independent metabolism and can replicate solely within another living
"host" cell. They are responsible for some of the most important diseases
affecting man: e.g. influenza, poliomyelitis, smallpox, yellow fever, A.I.D.S.,
etc. Subgroups are classified according to their origin, mode of transmission
and manifestations produced in the host; many are named for the geographic
locations where they were first isolated.
VIRUS: A word used by doctors to mean
"your guess is as good as mine."
VITAMIN - A vitamin is a substance
essential to ones body that the body is unable to synthesize from its own
metabolism, and must be obtained from an outside source.
This leads to the question: "If the
substance must be secured from an outside source, is it necessary that it be
natural?" Although chemically a synthetic vitamin may be identical, its field
of polarity as compared to a natural vitamin may be reversed, and hence its
molecular structure may not fit as well into the vitamins receptor sites
which are designed to receive the polarity and molecular structure common to
the natural vitamin.
There are fifteen vitamins in the
scientific world, plus another fifteen possibly essential, to human life, in
Water soluble vitamins consist of the B
Complex and Vitamin C. They have this name because they are readily passed off
into the urine rather than stored.
Fat soluble vitamins consist of vitamins
A,D,E, and K. These vitamins are less affected by heat, and are less likely to
be lost in the cooking and processing of foods. Also, because they are not
soluble in water they are not excreted in the urine, but instead stored in the
body, chiefly in the liver.
VITAMIN A - One of the chief
functions of Vitamin A is to maintain the health of the skin. It also aids in
the growth of bones, allows for night vision and is crucial to the immune
VITAMIN B COMPLEX - All B Complex
Vitamins are obtained from bacteria, yeast, fungi, or molds. The B Vitamins are
necessary for the normal function of the nervous system, and may be the single
most important factor for the health of nerves.
VITAMIN B-1 (THIAMINE) - Thiamine is
a water soluble vitamin that breaks down in the bodys natural acids. It
is vulnerable to heat, air, water, and cooking. The best sources are wheat
germ, bran, and the hulls of rice. Vitamin B-1 assists in the conversion of
carbohydrates to glucose, stabilizes the appetite, is necessary for normal
growth and fertility, and is quite necessary for the function of the nervous
VITAMIN B-2 (RIBOFLAVIN) - This is a
difficult vitamin to describe. It assists the eyes to adapt to light, and aids
in the conversion of to niacin. Deficiency symptoms usually lead to some
breaking of the skin and dermatitis.
VITAMIN B-3 (NIACIN OR NIACINAMIDE) -
The amino acid tryptophan is chemically converted into niacin in the body
tissues, and a small amount can be synthesized by the intestinal flora.
Therefore, along with Niacin, it is necessary to maintain an adequate protein
diet. The functions of Niacin (B-3) are to maintain active portions of
coenzymes that play an essential role in healthy tissue oxidation and
VITAMIN B-5 - PANTOTHENIC ACID -
This vitamin is necessary for the makeup of coenzyme A. Without it people
suffer fatigue, headaches, dizziness, personality changes, numbness and
tingling in the hands, and a tendency to hypoglycemia.
VITAMIN B-6 (PYRIDOXINE) - VITAMIN
B-6 is essential for the complete metabolism of fat, helps maintain a
sodium/potassium balance, and is involved in DNA and RNA action.
VITAMIN B-9 - FOLIC ACID -
This vitamin is necessary for the synthesis of nucleic acid, necessary for the
synthesis of certain amino acids, and for the utilization of certain amino
VITAMIN B-12 - This is the most
complex of all B vitamins, and cannot be synthesized. Neither man nor animal is
able to synthesize it, and even the higher forms of plant life are not able to
produce it. Only the lowly fungi and bacteria manufacture Vitamin B-12. Vitamin
B-12 is essential for normal functioning of all cells - particularly bone
marrow, nervous system, and cells of the gastrointestinal tract.
OTHER B VITAMINS
BIOTIN - The best source for Biotin
is raw egg white. The heating of raw egg white prevents it from being a good
source of Biotin. Biotin is necessary for the formation of nucleic acids, the
formation of glycogen, and is required for the synthesis of several
nonessential amino acids.
INOSITOL - Many nutritionists do not
agree on this substance. Since man appears capable of synthesizing this
substance, it does not technically fit the definition of a vitamin, although
many nutritionists consider it part of the B Complex. Inositol aids in the
metabolism of fats and is a growth factor.
VITAMIN C - This is probably
the least stable of vitamins, and is very sensitive to oxidants. Its potency
can be lost due to exposure to heat, air, and light. The functions of Vitamin C
are: to assist in the formation of skin, tendon, and bone, to maintain the
strength in the blood vessel, to promote healing of wounds, to help assist in
secretion of hormones from the adrenals, and to convert folic acid to
VITAMIN D - This vitamin is
often overlooked, because we think it is only necessary to expose ourselves to
sunlight. Vitamin D is essential in the proper growth and mineralization of
bone and teeth. There is a growing concern among nutritionists that
overexposure to vitamin D may be dangerous, but very high doses are necessary
before this occurs.
VITAMIN E - This vitamin is usually
associated with reproductive organs; however, the most important function of
Vitamin E is to help prevent peroxide formation. Vitamin E also protects the
fat soluble vitamins, prevents scar tissue from forming, assists in normal
blood viscosity, and extends cell life when present.
VITAMIN K - This vitamin is
known as the "coagulating factor." It is found in such foods as alfalfa,
casein, soybean oil, and most green, leafy vegetables. One of the functions of
Vitamin K is to assist in the coagulation of blood to prevent excessive
VITEXIN is a flavonoid found in
VOLATILE OILS are butyric acid and
isovaleric acid, which influence the central nervous system and are slightly
VULGAROL is a diterpene alcohol found
VULNERARY - any form of first
aid for wounds and skin abrasions.