The quest for good health has remained a major concern in today’s living with an increasing awareness on achieving such. This continues to pose a serious challenge as several degenerative diseases have been on the rise. With the ever dynamic global health conditions, and the rising recognition of the detrimental impacts of certain unchecked food products, the use of plant products has received global recognition. Plants and herbal extracts have gained high recognition in present day medicine, due to their naturally occurring chemical and medicinal components.
Simoes et al., (2009) suggest the need to scientifically examine the plants around us in order to ascertain what we can benefit from these plants. One of such plants that is of great interest is arugula. Arugula is botanically known as syn. E. vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell., Brassica eruca L. and locally referred to as Taramira.
Arugula is also known as salad rocket, rucoli, salad vegetable, rugula, arugula, roquette, rocket leaves, colewort or rucola, garden rocket, salad leaf and it belongs to the Brassicaceae family. Eruca sativa (L.) Mill. is one of the most important oilseed crop known for its therapeutic benefits since time immemorial (Sharma et al., 2012). Arugula is originally from the Mediterranean region, Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco, Portugal and Syria before spreading to other parts of the world. It is an annual edible green leafy vegetable that grows between 20 to 100 centimeters.
The fresh leaves and sprouts of arugula are distinguished by their flavourful peppery taste. The leaves are pinnately lobed with a large terminal lobe and 4 to 10 lateral lobes.
Arugula flowers measure approximately 2 to 4 cm in diameter and are arranged in a Brassicaceae form. Eruca bears creamy white petals that are veined with yellow and purple stamens. Salad rocket fruit has a pod shape that measures between 12 to 35 millimetres long with an apical beak. The fruit normally contains several edible seeds. Both the fruits, seed pods, leaves and flowers of arugula can be consumed.
Researchers reveal that Eruca sativa possess both antinociception, antihyperglycemic, antioxidant, pharmaceutical, aphrodisiac, antiscorbutic, antiplatelets, anti-allergic, anti-ulcer, diuretic, anti-hyperlipidemic, laxative, depurative, stomachic, stimulating, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties.
Nutritional Values of Eruca sativa
Eruca sativa is an excellent source of manganese, folate, potassium, vitamin K, carbohydrates, vitamin B3, dietary fibre, iron, Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, calcium, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin C.
Arugula seed extracts also contain saponins, flavonoids, ascorbic acid, alkaloids, phenols and tannins, which are essential for the healthy functioning of the body and for tackling diseases.
Awesome Benefits of Arugula
Arugula can be eaten fresh as fresh green vegetables. It can be used for preparing assorted dishes such as arugula pizza, rucola pizza, arugula pasta cavatiéddi, arugula sauce, arugula soup etc.
Salad rocket can also be added in salad and can be used for making arugula smoothie. It can also be added to meats (e.g. straccietti), fish and other sea-foods. Whichever method you choose to prepare your dish with arugula, remember not to overcook it to prevent it from losing all its vital nutrients. Fresh arugula can also be used for making omelets while the seeds can be pressed for making taramira oil. Digestive alcohol known as rucolino is normally produced from arugula.
Promotes Good Vision
Arugula is an excellent source of vitamin A, which is essential for promoting healthy eyes and good vision. Daily intake of salad rocket helps to prevent macular degeneration and several age-related vision issues. Moreover, the omega 3 fatty acid in arugula acts as an antioxidant that protects the eyes and prevents cataract.
Akkol et al., (2008) agree that Eruca sativa contains powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. It can result in immunosuppression in high doses. The rich content of Omega 3 fatty acids and Indole 3 Carbinol in salad rocket act as natural painkillers and prevent inflammation. Omega 3 fatty acids speed up the body’s healing process and naturally reduce pain. Abodola et al., (2015) suggest further studies on eruca sativa in order to determine the appropriate doses of this vegetable that can achieve the required anti-inflammatory effects with the lowest side effects.
Aids Easy Digestion
Consuming arugula is highly recommended for preventing chronic and acute indigestion. Eating salad rocket before eating your main meal is essential for releasing the digestive enzymes that aid in food digestion. Moreover, salad rocket is an excellent source of dietary fiber that facilitates easy food digestion. It also helps to clean up the gastrointestinal tract and keep it healthy. The dietary fiber adds bulk to the stool thereby softening it for easy elimination from the body.
Arugula is aphrodisiac in nature thus stimulates sexual desire. Researchers reveal that this vegetable helps to boost testosterone levels and sperm production. To increase your sexual libido, eat more arugula.
Treatment of Peptic Ulcer
Alqasoumi et al., (2009) report that Eruca sativa helps to subdue gastric acid secretion thereby facilitating healing of peptic ulcer in animal models.
Arugula can serve as fodder for feeding livestock and farm animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, cows and goats.
Acts as an Antidote
Arugula can be used for preparing herbal medicines for drawing out poisons such as scorpion venom from the body.
Treatment of Stomachache
Eruca seeds can be used for preparing herbal medicines for treating stomach ache.
Benefits of Eruca sativa Oil
The Eruca sativa oil (Eso) is the oil extracted from the seeds of eruca. This oil has gained increased attention over the past years due to its medicinal and therapeutic properties. Eruca seeds oil contains erucic acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid and eicosenoic acid. Eruca oil is non-edible and as such used for several non-edible purposes such as; soap production, lubricating, making cream, producing paper and for biodiesel. Other uses of eruca sativa oil are discussed below;
Ali et al., (2014) evaluated the antimicrobial activity of Eruca sativa Mill. oil against phytopathogenic bacterial species (Pseudomonas syringae, Xenorhabdus luminescens, Acinetobacter sp., Bordetella pertussis, Ensifer adhaerens, Acidovorax temperans, Xanthomonas axonopodis) and fungal species (Alternaria alternata, Dreschlera halodes, Aspergillus nidulans, Acremoniun kiliense, Fusarium oxysporum, Curvularia clavata, Rhizopus oryzae).
Their results showed that eruca sativa oil has high anti-fungal activity in the range of 6.0 to 6.8cm inhibition zone against R. oryzae, D. halodes, C. clavata and A. nidulans. It also exhibits least active against F. oxysporum with 1.1cm zone of inhibition. They suggested that the antimicrobial constituents from this oil can be used as an alternative for developing pesticides used against plant diseases. The antimicrobial properties of this oil is attributed to the synergistic effect of all the components present in it.
Gulfraz et al., (2011) examined the antibacterial properties of various solvent extracts of Eruca sativa seed and the seed oil against Gram+ve and Gram-ve bacterial strains. Maximum zone of inhibition was observed from the seed oil followed by the methanolic seed extracts from all bacterial strains compared with broad spectrum antibiotics gentamicine. The seed oil proved effective for inhibiting the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Boosts Broiler Performance
Many people now resort to natural alternatives for promoting poultry growth since the recent banning of antibiotics Peric et al., (2009). Razooqi et al., (2014) conducted a study to ascertain the impact of Eruca sativa oil ( ESO) on the performance and some blood traits of broiler. Their findings showed that augmenting broiler foods with ESO is beneficial on their performance. Eruca sativa oil helps to boost broilers appetite, regulates their intestinal microflora, increases the secretion of the digestive enzymes, boosts their vitality, stimulates their immune system and protects them against bacterial and virus attacks.
Treatment of Hair Loss
Eruca sativa oil can be applied on the hair for treating hair loss.
Treatment of Burns
Eruca sativa oil can be applied on burns and scalds for healing.
Sharma et al., (2014) revealed that eruca sativa oil is suitable for several industrial applications such as biodiesel production. Eruca oil is an excellent source of erucic acid (EA) thus suitable for biodiesel production.
This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnosis and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
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8] Pixabay (2016), Images from pixabay.com
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