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Lettuce: Health Benefits of Lettuce
Lettuce is one of the most delicate salad plants - there is usually nothing but disappointment to be gained from trying to bring a wilting specimen back to life. It has been cultivated since the earliest times, and varieties such as Cos or Romaine had become popular by the middle ages. Culpeper, the old English herbalist said, `The juice of lettuce mixed with oil of roses, applied to the forehead and temples procureth sleep and ease the head-ache'. He goes on to say that when taken 'it abateth bodily lust' this, it seems, is an accurate observation.
Lettuce juice has been likened in effect to the sedative action of opium without the accompanying excitement. H.M. Evans of the University of California demonstrated in a series of experiments that whilst the lettuce had a calming effect on sexual ardour, there was a surprisingly strong compensatory effect in that the rate of fertility was greatly increased. So although the normal person might well find these two results to be incompatible (or at any rate inconceivable) lettuce is frequently suggested to help men who suffer from premature ejaculation.
Pythagoras, the ancient Greek mathematician, therefore knew only half of this information when he called lettuce 'The plant of the eunuchs: This compensation results from a mixture of tonic and sedative components in which the calming effect on the nervous system and digestive organs as well as the sexual is combined with a tonic action upon the glands. There is a slight laxative action with the unusual feature that the odor of ill-smelling stools is often much improved.
Lettuce contains a good spectrum of minerals, although these are present in average rather than exceptional quantities. The vitamin content includes a fair amount of carotene, but it is essential to bear in mind that the outer leaves may contain fifty times more than the white inside leaves, so juice everything. The strong therapeutic effect results from the many alkaloids present. These include asparagine (see asparagus), lactucine, lactucic acid and hyoscyamine.
A mixture of lettuce and spinach juice is said to help the growth of hair if drunk to the extent of a pint or so a day. So much hair loss is caused by your genetic inheritance and not through deficiencies that this information is given for the sake of the desperate. There is much more evidence for its effectiveness in dealing with a nervous cough and as supportive therapy which might help but not cure the diabetic and the asthmatic and help ease those who have continuous pain.
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