Ingredient Corner

Cactus Pear: Food Applications and Biological Activities

Posted by Jasenka Piljac Zegarac, PhD on Oct 17, 2016 5:11:56 PM

Cactus pear. Image source: Depositphotos

Plants belonging to the Opuntia genus (Cactae family), thrive in the warm and dry climates of the Mediterranean basin, Central America and Africa. The most investigated and commercially exploited species in this genus is Opuntia ficus-indica; it is valued for its large, sweet fruits characterized by fairly high sugar content and low acidity.1 Opuntia fruits are commonly known as cactus pears, Indian figs, or prickly pears.

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Tags: food, nutraceuticals, antioxidant, ORAC, nutrition, bioactivity, clinical studies, anticancer

Hydrogen. Light Element. Bioactivity Heavyweight.

Posted by Steven Jackson on Mar 29, 2016 3:22:58 PM

Hydrogen: Biological Effects of the Simplest Element on Earth

Hydrogen is the simplest chemical element found on Earth and the most abundant one in the Universe. At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen exists as a diatomic gas, H2. Because it is lighter than air, hydrogen gas rises in the atmosphere and does not occur in appreciable quantities on Earth.  However, quite contrary, it is one of the main constituents of planets and stars, like the Sun. When two hydrogen atoms in the Sun's core combine to form an atom of helium, the all-familiar radiant energy is given off. On Earth, hydrogen is found mostly in molecular forms with other elements. In combination with oxygen, it makes up water – a molecule essential for sustaining life.

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Tags: bioactivity, CACO-2, hydrogen, LDL, SIRT1, hydrogen water, HDL

Turmeric: The Gold Inside the Golden Spice

Posted by Jasenka Piljac Zegarac, PhD on Dec 9, 2015 6:37:17 PM

The lovely purple flowers of the Turmeric plant (Curcuma longa). Image: Depositphotos

Turmeric, the bright yellow spice derived from the rhizome of curcuma longa plant, has been in research spotlight for over a decade. What is so precious about the Golden Spice and what exactly are scientists so excited about? Let's take a scientific look at turmeric with Brunswick Labs Ingredient Corner.

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Tags: clinical study, antioxidant, ORAC, anti-inflammatory, bioactivity, theobroma cacao, cacao fruit, functional assay, bioanalytic assay, turmeric

Cacao Fruit (Theobroma cacao): An Interesting Source of Functional Components with Anti-Inflammatory Potential

Posted by Jasenka Piljac Zegarac, PhD on Jul 21, 2015 12:00:00 PM

theobroma cacao fruit antioxidant anti-inflammatory
Theobroma cacao pods. It's about the fruit this time. Image: Depositphotos

The botanical name Theobroma, given to the cacao plant by the Swedish  scientist Linnaeus, perhaps aptly means ‘’food of the goods’’.1 

This time it's about the fruit, not the beans! Of course we all know cacao in the very popular and friendly forms of chocolate of all different types and stripes. It's been cultivated for centuries, originally prepared as a savory, spicy drink, later and finally to take the myriad mostly confectionary forms we all know and love today. The history of cacao is hardly done. Its future will be a little bit of returning to its past and even more of many, many new functional and delicious uses. This Brunswick Labs analysis report takes a deep look at the fruit - not the beans - of the "food of the gods".

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Tags: clinical study, antioxidant, ORAC, anti-inflammatory, bioactivity, theobroma cacao, cacao fruit, functional assay, bioanalytic assay

Greek Mountain Tea (Sideritis L.): Functional Components and Biological Activity

Posted by Jasenka Piljac Zegarac, PhD on Mar 10, 2015 12:45:00 PM

Klio’s Greek Mountain Tea in two forms: fresh herbs and brewed

Greek Mountain Tea. Image courtesy: Klio Tea

HOT off the Brunswick Labs presses, our Ingredient Corner spotlight on Sideritis, or Greek Mountain Tea. Heard of it? It's an important beverage in some parts of the world - well, such as Greece. Here's a great Brunswick Labs look at what it is and how it works. Enjoy!

The dried inflorescences of several Sideritis L. (Lamiaceae) species, especially Sideritis scardica Griseb. and Sideritis raeseri Boiss. Et Heldr., are used in Greece and the other Balkan countries to prepare a traditional beverage, an herbal infusion most commonly known as Greek Mountain Tea.1 The common name for Sideritis plants in the US is ironwort. Depending on the country of origin and the mountain where the plants grow, Greek Mountain Tea is also known as Shepherds Tea or Olympus Tea (Greece), Malotira (Crete), Pirin tea or Mursalski tea (Bulgaria), or Sharplaninski chaj (Macedonia). 

“Greek Mountain Tea (Sideritis) grows wild throughout Greece typically at elevations of 3000 feet or more above sea level and is also cultivated in small plots within the high elevations of the mountain regions” according to Steve Raftopoulos, the founder of Klio Tea - a major US based importer of Greek herbal teas. Greek Mountain Tea has a profound effect on Greek culture and tradition; the Greeks refer to it as the Tea of Gods or the Tea of the Titans. In Greek mythology, the Titans were powerful deities who lived on Mount Othrys and ruled the world before the Olympians. In reality, the consumption of Greek Mountain Tea dates back to ancient civilization in Greece. “Herbs play a significant role in the Greek/Mediterranean diet, both in culinary form and as herbal teas” says Raftopoulos.  ''The unique growing environment of Greece’s mountains uniquely favors herbs and results in herbs of distinctive quality”, he adds.

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Tags: functional foods, functional foods marketing, functional assay, Greek Mountain Tea, Sideritis, antioxidants