Indian herbs, including Amaranthus paniculatus (cultiv.), Coccinia indica, and Coriandrum sativum (coriander) may soon be replacing chemical preservatives in many foods. The herbs have high quantities of antioxidants which are known to retard spoilage and “aging” in both foods and human beings as well. Most plants produce some antioxidants, but these herbs appear to have much higher levels and chemicals such as ascorbic acid, flavonoids, phenolics and tannin.
Tests have shown that the high levels of antioxidants in these herbs have a positive effect in people’s bodies and though not completely proven, can be utilized by people who are interested in a “natural” manner to preserve foods as well as to prevent aging.
One of these herbs, known to Westerners as Coriander and to Asians and Middle Easterners as “Cusbara” is very commonly used in households as a food enhancer and a cooking herb. Although the plant’s pungent, almost bitter, taste is not agreeable with many westerners, people living in the Mediterranean regions love it and use the plant in their foods almost every day.
Synthetic antioxidants used in many foods include butylhydroxytoluene (BHY) and Butylhydroxyanisole (BHA), both of which are very common. By using the Indian ideas of utilizing less synthetic and more natural vitamins, the end result may enable foods to be preserved in a healthier manner by using these herbs. Oxidation is a big factor in what causes food products to spoil so quickly. The Amaranthus plant contains high levels of beta carotene, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and folates, all of which are excellent anti-oxidants.
The demand for natural antioxidants has resulted in a global market for natural antioxidants that now reaches nearly $ 70 million. Indian herbs have been known to have many curative properties, and high antioxidant levels are just some of the many attributes of Indian herbs. These herbs are found in both fresh and dried versions, and those wishing to preserve food items simply have to add certain amounts of these herbs to the foods. In addition to preserving food, many of these herbs, including Coriander and Amaranthus are used extensively in salads to add a unique, zesty flavor.
Source: Natural News; Picture by Gernot Katzer