Yucca plants are one of those things Mother Nature stuffed with resveratrol. Resveratrol is the antioxidant produced by plants to protect and ward off disease and infection. We kinda like it. (It is not to be confused with the Yuca plant, which didn’t get any of the fancy resveratrol stuff.) Yucca plants’ cells contain a wide spectrum of beneficial vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients including:
Main Nutrients of Yucca Plants
Together these nutrients have antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial properties.
The anti-inflammatory benefits
Polyphenols (including our favorite one, resveratrol) in yucca and a recently discovered compound called gloriosaols serve as anti-inflammatory aids. They actually stop the body from doing the inflammation thing by confusing the nitric oxide in the body. Three different studies printed in the “Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry” (2001), in “Life Sciences” (2004) and the “Journal of Inflammation” (2006) showed how this works.
Read more about Yucca health benefits
The antifungal benefits
In February of 2005 the journal “Phytotherapy Research” reported on a study that pitted yucca extract (otherwise known as alexin) against fungi and yeasts. The goal of the study was to find out if yucca extract could perform as well as conventional antifungal aids. Surprisingly, alexin worked well against almost all the yeasts and fungi – including Candida. So if you’re taking antifungal medicine speak with your doctor prior to supplementing with yucca extract.
Along with fiber (which is an essential part of a healthy diet), the steroidal saponins we mentioned above are known to reduce cholesterol in the blood. The saponins are like cholesterol ninjas. They dissolve in both fat and water, enter the stomach and attach themselves to the cholesterol cells. Those cells are then excreted form the body as bile – reducing your bad cholesterol numbers.
Arthritis and Yucca
Saponin is also an important part of the cartilage growth process, inhibiting the chemicals that prevent new cartilage growth. This has led to the claims that yucca is effective in the treatment of arthritis. While that is a commonly held belief now, thanks to marketing, there aren’t any definitive studies showing why.
The resveratrol in the yucca bark is a fat-soluble compound commonly associated with red wine and most abundantly found in the japanese knotweed plant. In test tube and animal experiments resveratrol has been shown to extend the life of rats, reduce cardiovascular disease and even reverse cancer growth.
Resveratrol is a very effective antioxidant that protects the body from the damaging effects of free-radicals. Free radicals are the by-product of oxidation and are often the cause of damage made to cell walls. Cellular damage is the underlying cause of cancer, melanoma, aging and disease.
Recipes using Yucca Plants
To get the most of yucca plants, check out our Yucca Recipes and Yucca Root Recipes pages.
Author: Dan R Morris