Yucca is a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae. Its 40-50 species are notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal panicles of white or whitish flowers.
- Yuccas are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens. Many species also bear edible parts, including fruits, seeds, flowers, flowering stems, and more rarely roots. References to yucca root as food often arise from confusion with the similarly pronounced, but botanically unrelated, yuca, also called cassava or manioc (Manihot esculenta).
- Roots of soaptree yucca (Yucca elata) are high in saponins and are used as a shampoo in Native American rituals.
- Dried yucca leaves and trunk fibers have a low ignition temperature, making the plant desirable for use in starting fires via friction. In rural Appalachian areas, species such as Yucca filamentosa are referred to as “meat hangers”.
- The tough, fibrous leaves with their sharp-spined tips were used to puncture meat and knotted to form a loop with which to hang meat for salt curing or in smoke houses.
- Used for medicine purposes
Digestive Efficiency: The dense and nutrient-rich root of the yucca plant also means that it is full of valuable dietary fiber. This fiber can help stimulate peristaltic motion in your bowels and keep you regular, eliminating problems like constipation and diarrhea. A diet high in dietary fiber can also help you reduce bloating, cramping, excessive flatulence, and more serious gastrointestinal issues.
- Weight Loss: Due to the fact that dietary fiber makes you feel full and regulates the uptake of nutrients in an efficient way, you are less likely to snack or break from your dietary restrictions. Simple sugars often leave us feeling hungry when we’re not, simply because our body’s glucose levels are imbalanced. Yucca root can prevent that and help in your weight loss efforts in a way that other carbohydrates can’t.
- Diabetes Control: Adding yucca to your diet, as mentioned above, can help regulate insulin and glucose levels, thereby preventing the peaks and plunges of blood sugar that can lead to diabetes. Given that diabetes is considered by some to be a global “pandemics”, adding yucca to your diet seems like a great choice!
- Heart Health: The dietary fiber of yucca can help to lower cholesterol levels and promote a healthier cardiovascular system by balancing fatty acid levels. However, the potassium found in yucca can also help relieve the tension in the blood vessels and arteries, thereby lowering your chances of stress on the heart, which can lead to atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks.
- Immune Health: Yucca has a high level of vitamin C, far more than most other edible roots, and this makes it incredibly important for immune system health. Vitamin C is the first line of defense for our immune system, stimulating the production and activity of white blood cells. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, preventing free radicals from damaging our organ systems and causing cell mutation.
- Wound Healing and Growth: Vitamin C is also a key component in the production of collagen, which we need for all blood vessels, cells, tissues, and muscles, so adding a vitamin C boost to your diet can help repair and growth throughout your body.
- Ease Arthritic Pain: The resveratrol and saponins present in yucca root have been directly linked to anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, making it a very good natural treatment for inflammation issues, particularly arthritis. Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between the two, but the precise chemical pathway remains somewhat mysterious.
- Improve Cognition: The high levels of potassium and folate, both of which are known to stimulate blood flow to the brain and increase cognitive abilities, makes yucca a “brain food”. Stimulating pathways in the brain and increasing blood flow is also good for combating cognitive disorders and keeping you sharp well into your old age.
- Skin and Eye Health: Folic acid has also been connected to improving the overall skin and eye health in humans, mainly through its antioxidant activities. Furthermore, folic acid has been directly linked to a reduced chance of neural tube defects in infants, so pregnant mothers are encouraged to add folic acid to their diet in recommended amounts. Yucca is a great way to boost that vitamin intake!
Although the benefits of yucca are quite clear, there have also been numerous reports of upset stomachs by those who have consumed yucca in large quantities, including diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. As with any new addition to your diet, eat yucca in moderation, and always consult a medical professional or nutritionist before adding a new component to your daily or weekly diet.
Unknown, please consult with your doctor.
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Source: Organic Facts, https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/yucca.html
Image source: Live Strong.com