Beet Root

Although little used in modern herbalism, beet has a long history of folk use, especially in the treatment of tumours[269]. The root of white-rooted forms contain betaine which promotes the regeneration of liver cells and the metabolism of fat cells[254]. The root of red-rooted forms contains betanin - an anthocyanin similar to those found in red wine - which is partly responsible for red beet's immune-enhancing effect[254]. The root is carminative, haemostatic, stomachic and a tonic for women[218]. The root can be used as part of the diet, or the juice can be extracted and used as a health-promoting drink[254]. At least one litre of the juice from red-rooted forms must be taken each day in order to stimulate the immune system[254]. The juice is prescribed by herbalists as part of a cancer-treatment regime[254]. A decoction prepared from the seed has been used as a remedy for tumours of the intestines. The seed, boiled in water, is said to cure genital tumours[269]. The juice or other parts of the plant is said to help in the treatment of tumours, leukaemia and other forms of cancer such as cancer of the breast, oesophagus, glands, head, intestines, leg, lip, lung, prostate, rectum, spleen, stomach, and uterus[269]. Some figure that betacyanin and anthocyanin are important in the exchange of substances of cancer cells; others note two main components of the amines, choline and its oxidation product betaine, whose absence produces tumours in mice[269]. The juice has been applied to ulcers[269]. A decoction is used as a purgative by those who suffer from haemorrhoids in South Africa[269]. Leaves and roots used as an emmenagogue[269]. Plant effective in the treatment of feline ascariasis[269]. In the old days, beet juice was recommended as a remedy for anaemia and yellow jaundice, and, put into the nostrils to purge the head, clear ringing ears, and alleviate toothache[269]. Beet juice in vinegar was said to rid the scalp of dandruff as scurf, and was recommended to prevent falling hair[269].

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