The word umami comes from the Japanese language and used to describe a meaty or savoury taste.
The umami taste was initially proposed by a Japanese professor, Kikunae Ikeda, in 1906. In 1985, the scientific community acknowledge umami as the flavour that glutamates and nucleotides leave on the tongue.
Glutamate is an amino acid present in many proteins.
Within the body, glutamate performs many tasks, including: protein synthesis, ammonia detoxification and learning processes in the brain.
Nucleotides make up DNA and are present in every cell of every living being on this planet.
The human body, although is makes its own nucleotides, also uses food sources of nucleotides to build and repair cells that are used up quickly.
This includes cells that make up the gut wall and the immune system.
When the tongue tastes nucleotides, it is sampling the DNA present in the food.
It is in the DNA where the history of life on this planet is recorded.
Our DNA is the imprint of those who have gone before.
When the tongue is sampling nucleotides, it is seeking knowledge about the history of the food it is absorbing.
One has to wonder what the tongue samples when it tastes processed food.
The year I graduated from herb school, I had the opportunity to offer a talk about the benefits of using herbal medicine in long-term care facilities.
The day before my talk, the keynote speaker presented a workshop called Facts, Fiction and Myths about Herbal Medicine.
When he projected an image of a cartoon witch with green skin, a black pointy hat and warts onto the oversized screen at the front packed room, I knew I was in trouble.
He then went on of to ridicule and denounce herbal medicine and herbalists as nothing but quackery.
Through his two-hour presentation, he listed the numerous effect of several herbs and threw up hands and eyes towards heaven, asking, “How can a single plant do all that?”
He obviously did not know anything about herbal medicine.
Nettle is one of the plants he sited as offending his sensibilities.
Here are just a few of nettle’s indications: relieves pain and stiffness in joints, relieves allergic reactions and childhood eczema, rebuilds atrophied muscles, moderates blood sugars and builds blood, relieves anemia, heals the gut wall, slows the bleeding from fibroids and has been used for centuries to control post-partum hemorrhage.
Nettle tea is invaluable nutritive support in pregnancy or in recovery from chronic disease.
Nettle can do all this because it provides the body with essential minerals and protein needed to strengthen the body’s resistance to disease, rebuild tissue and improves the elimination of wastes.
Although frequently used in cleansing formulas, nettle is essentially a herb that rebuilds and restores the body’s natural vitality.
Being up to 40 per cent of its dry weight in protein, nettle has a umami taste.
Nettles are a rich source of nucleotides. Chronic illness and stress challenges rapidly replicating immune cells.
Herbs high in nucleotides are essential in helping immune systems rebuild and can relieve the stress of illness on the body. Nettles free up the body’s resources to speed the healing process along.
Adequate protein is essential for vigorous health.
Protein is an essential component of the messengers your immune system uses to direct its fight against infection and other illness.
Antibodies are made from protein.
Hormones are made with protein and essential fatty acids. It is well known that when a woman is malnourished, her fertility is at risk.
All the digestive enzymes are made with protein.
Blood and muscles are built from protein.
Nettles high protein content deeply nourishes the body, supporting its health.
A little secret about nettles: if there is a lack of protein in the diet, there is frequently cravings for simple carbohydrates.
Drink nettle tea throughout the day and the cravings will vanish.
I have not even mentioned its anti-inflammatory effects due to nettles’ chlorophyll and flavonoids, nor its ability to quiet down the histamine response when chronic inflammation causes debilitating pain in the body or limits absorption of nutrients from food.
If I had attended the good doctor’s seminar at this point in my career as a herbalist, I would of stood up and said just that.
Herbs for Life is written by Abrah Arneson, a local clinical herbalist. It is intended for information purposes only. Readers with a specific medical problem should consult a doctor. For more information, visit www.abraherbalist.ca. Arneson can be reached www.abraherbs.com.