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WALA Plant Library
Carrot

Synonyms: Bird's Nest, Bee's Nest, Queen Anne's Lace
Scientific Name: Daucus carota L.
Family: Umbelliferae

Habitat

Asia

Constituents

Provitamin A (carotene), vitamin B1, B2 and C, flavonoids, essential oil.

Description

The carrot a medicinal herb? When you think of carrots you are more likely to think of using them for cooking or of munching them raw as a healthy snack. So you will probably wonder what this vegetable is doing amongst the portraits of medicinal herbs. But, as we shall see, the orange root shouldn't be underestimated. And what's more: there were times when a reader would have wondered what carrots were doing in soups and stews. But more about that later.

The carrot which comes to our table is the product of a long period of cultivation and is derived from its wild sister, the wild carrot. When you look at the root of the wild variety, which is found on meadows and at the edges of fields, it is hard to imagine that this could be the ancestor of our fleshy, succulent garden carrot. The spindle-shaped root of the wild carrot is dry and woody and only its smell is reminiscent of our root vegetable. The flower, which we seldom see with our garden carrot, is impressive. Fully grown, the biennial plant reaches a height of up to one metre in its second year. The woody stem, softly embraced by the finely divided leaves, is crowned throughout the summer and into October by flattened white flowerheads, the terminal umbels, almost as big as the palm of a hand. The umbels are composed of numerous small individual blossoms which are all arranged in a single plane. Wild carrot is easy to

distinguish from the other members of the large Umbelliferae family by having a few single flowers at the centre of the umbel which are deep purple in colour. The garden carrot has lost this feature in the course of its cultivation. Instead, it has a reddish-orange root which is, in turn, lacking in the wild variety in which the root is white. As the flower fades it contracts, giving it the appearance of a nest for its ripening fruits. These carry numerous small bristles on their surface as noticeable feature.

Uses

In conventional medicine carrots, in the form of the freshly grated root or juice, are used mainly for the treatment of nutritional disorders in babies, vitamin A deficiency and threadworms. They are occasionally used as a diuretic (to promote the elimination of water).

Carrot oil, the root extract in a carrier oil, helps skin with insufficient sebaceous secretion. It provides sustained care for rough, dry, flaky skin and preventive protection for normal skin.

People who eat a lot of carrots can see better and have a bronzed complexion. This healthy vegetable produces these two effects through its provitamin A, which is converted to vitamin A in the human body. Provitamin A is fat-soluble and therefore needs the presence of fat to be taken up by the body. Carrots should therefore always be eaten together with a little fat. Important minerals and trace elements in the carrot such as calcium, folic acid and selenium support the immune system and contribute to the development of beautiful hair and nails.

Interesting facts

The name carrot is derived from the scientific name carota. This Latin word means "burnt" and refers to the purple-red colour of the earlier cultivated forms.

The carrot is a plant with a rich history. It was already cultivated by the Germanic tribes who called it morha - root. This is the origin of the German word for carrot: Möhre. Carrot seeds were also found in Swiss pile dwellings. The Ancient Romans and Greeks only mentioned the carrot as medicinal plant. They already knew of its diuretic action. However, they presumably found the root too woody to eat as the plant had undergone little cultivation by that time. Then Charlemagne recommended the cultivation of carrots. From the Middle Ages onwards they were cultivated on a large scale.

Through the labours of the cultivators we now have 500 different varieties of carrots. It started with just two: a yellow and a violet one. It was only in the 17th century that the Dutch succeeded in cultivating the carrot with the orange colour we know today, which comes from the high ß-carotene content. Incidentally, the violet colour is produced by so-called anthocyans: pigments which give flowers their colour, for example the purple central flowers of the wild carrot. In England, where the carrot is also called Queen Anne's Lace on account of the filigree structure of its flowers, the following story is told about how these dark flowers came about. It is

said that Queen Anne pricked her finger while lace-making and that a drop of blood fell into the middle of the piece she was making. There is no scientific explanation for this phenomenon of the central purple flowers.

Roasted and ground carrots can be used as coffee surrogate. Chopped and steamed carrot greens make a tasty vegetable.

Use in Skin Care and Remedies

For Dr.Hauschka skin care products biodynamically grown carrots are carefully extracted with liquid carbon dioxide. The extract is taken up in jojoba oil. This carrot oil is used in Dr.Hauschka After Sun, Bronzing Powder, Concealer, Eye Balm, Melissa Day Cream, Quince Day Cream, Revitalising Day Cream, Clarifying Day Oil, Hydrating Hand Cream, Lemon Lemongrass Vitalising Body Milk , Quince Hydrating Body Milk, Lip Balm, Lip Care Stick, Lipsticks, Coverstick, Revitalising Mask and Foundation, in Dr.Hauschka Med Ice Plant Body Care Lotion and Intensive Ice Plant Cream.

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