So far in my naturopathic medicine studies, I have really enjoyed learning about Botanical Medicine. Here are some neat facts learned in today's class:
- Coca-Cola originally contained cocaine and while today this drink is free of illegal drugs, it still contains coca plant leaves. Cocaine is derived from coca leaves. Coca-Cola has permission to bring coca leaves into the US, but another company extracts the actually drug properties from the leaves to use in the synthesis of anesthetics, and then Coca-Cola grinds up the remaining drug-free leaves to make their signature soda (and the presence of these leaves is why Coca-Cola actually does taste different from Pepsi).
- Pungent herbs (e.g. ginger, tumeric, cayenne pepper) give a burning sensation when consumed, but the "heat" felt is just a perception as these herbs stimulate thermogenic receptors.
- Coffee isn't really a stimulant (meaning it doesn't directly stimulate nerve receptors) but instead it increases the stimulants that are already present in the body.
- Absinthe is a liquor made from the herb Wormwood. It stimulates and mellows the nervous system at the same time, which made people psycotic. The original Absinthe formula is banned from production (modern products now only contain very minimal compounds (i.e. thujone molecules) that affect the nervous system). It caused people to see everything in a shade of green, which is why modern Absinthe products are typically dyed green. Absinthe was also nicknamed the "green fairy".
- Awhile back I talked about tannins in tea. I mentioned how people add milk to tea to bind the tannins, making it less astringent. Well, I asked my professor whether non-dairy milks have the same effect. He said that this isn't a property unique to dairy milk, it's just the milk proteins that bind to the tannins (so higher protein non-dairy milks should work too, such as soy or hemp). Almond and rice milks tend to be lower in protein, so you will likely need more of these milks to reduce the bitter taste of tea.