Food as Medicine Update: Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbitaceae)

Pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) are an economically important fruit native to Central America and belong to the Cucurbitaceae family. This family consists of approximately 1,000 species of which 23 are cultivated in warm and temperate climates worldwide.1,2 In addition to pumpkins, other familiar cucurbits (species in Cucurbitaceae) include squashes, melons, and gourds.3,4 Cucurbita pepo as a species includes many … Continue reading Food as Medicine Update: Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbitaceae)

Food as Medicine: Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa, Rosaceae)

Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), also known as aronia berry, is a member of the economically important rose (Rosaceae) family, which includes other pome-producing plants like apple (Malus spp.), pear (Pyrus spp.), and quince (Cydonia oblonga). A pome is a fruit produced by the Malinae subtribe within Rosaceae. The genus Aronia includes two species of shrubs that are both native to … Continue reading Food as Medicine: Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa, Rosaceae)

Food as Medicine: Pear (Pyrus communis and P. pyrifolia, Rosaceae)

The genus Pyrus consists of 30 deciduous species and is closely related to the genus Malus, which includes apples (Malus spp.). Both genera are part of the economically important Rosaceae family.1,2 Similar to apples, Pyrus fruits are classified as pomes, where the seeds are contained in a central, compartmentalized core.3 The Pyrus genus is native to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.1 Capable of living … Continue reading Food as Medicine: Pear (Pyrus communis and P. pyrifolia, Rosaceae)

Food as Medicine: Pistachio (Pistacia vera, Anacardiaceae)

The pistachio (Pistacia vera) is the only commercially grown species in its genus, which belongs to the Anacardiaceae family. Members of the genus Pistacia are among the oldest flowering nut trees and are small to medium in size, and characterized by their ability to exude mastic (plant resin).1,2 Other economically important plants in Anacardiaceae include cashew (Anacardium occidentale) … Continue reading Food as Medicine: Pistachio (Pistacia vera, Anacardiaceae)

Food as Medicine Update: Carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus, Apiaceae)

Widely available at most supermarkets, the common root vegetable carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus, Apiaceae) is a biennial plant with erect, green stems and fine, feathery leaves.1 The plant produces densely clustered white blossoms in an umbrella shape, which is typical of plants in the Apiaceae family. The edible taproot comes in a variety of colors: orange is … Continue reading Food as Medicine Update: Carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus, Apiaceae)

Food as Medicine: Anise (Pimpinella anisum, Apiaceae)

Anise or aniseed (Pimpinella anisum, Apiaceae) is an herbaceous annual that grows to almost a meter (3.3 feet) in height.1,2 The lower leaves of the plant are dark green, heart-shaped, and shallowly lobed, while the upper leaves are feathery. In the summer, the plant produces small, white flowers in an umbrella-shaped head, and, in the fall, these flowers produce aromatic … Continue reading Food as Medicine: Anise (Pimpinella anisum, Apiaceae)

Food as Medicine: Date (Phoenix dactylifera, Arecaceae)

The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera, Arecaceae) has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years.1 Because of this long history of use and cultivation, the exact origin of the date palm is difficult to pinpoint. Dates have been harvested for centuries in northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and have played a large role in the economies … Continue reading Food as Medicine: Date (Phoenix dactylifera, Arecaceae)

Food as Medicine Update: Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas, Convolvulaceae)

The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas, Convolvulaceae) is a trailing, herbaceous perennial in the morning glory family.1,2 It is indigenous to Central and South America and grows best in subtropical climates, spreading along the ground and producing oblong, tuberous roots. There are more than 400 sweet potato varieties, and most have yellow-brown or copper-colored skins with bright … Continue reading Food as Medicine Update: Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas, Convolvulaceae)

Food as Medicine: Chickpea (Cicer arietinum, Fabaceae)

Chickpea is an annual crop with a small, bushy form. Its branched stems contain as many as 17 pairs of leaflets.1 Chickpea flowers are white to violet in color, appearing in spring to early summer.2 The edible chickpeas themselves are formed inside hairy, oblong pods which grow up to 1 ½” (38 mm) long, containing one to two … Continue reading Food as Medicine: Chickpea (Cicer arietinum, Fabaceae)

Food as Medicine: Cherry (Prunus avium and P. cerasus, Rosaceae)

Take advantage of the fleeting cherry season to explore the fruit’s sweet side, sour side, and beneficial side. Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, cherry fruit and cherry bark have been used to treat and support a wide variety of chronic inflammatory conditions. In addition, the fruit’s rich phenolic compound content has been studied for their … Continue reading Food as Medicine: Cherry (Prunus avium and P. cerasus, Rosaceae)