Orchis Latifolia Linn
Habitat: Kashmir to Nepal at altitudes of 2,500-5,000 m in damp places.
Action: Considered an aphrodisiac and nervine tonic by Unani physicians. Tuber-nutritive, demulcent, restorative. Given to convalescents suffering from chronic diarrhea and bilious fevers. Allays irritation of gastro-intestinal tracts.
Description: Most orchis flower from April-August and can reach an attainable height up to a foot or more.
Orchis species contain:
- Salep: Used as a food, expectorant, aphrodisiac and nervine tonic. It is an ingredient in many Unani medicines which are used for sexual weakness and low sperm count. It is shown to increase testosterone level and increase sexual desire. Salep is also known to help treat certain illnesses.
- Glucans: Found in sources such as baker’s yeast, shiitake mushrooms and cereal grains. It is widely known to strengthen the immune system, making it more efficient to fight off the common cold and respiratory infections. Glucans also have the capability to lower cholesterol levels in males and females, as carried out by a study from the US Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland.
- Glucomannans (partially acetylized): It is a sugar made from the konjac plant. Common uses are for treatment of type 2 diabetes, blood sugar control, and lowering cholesterol.
- Starch: Associated with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, promoting “good” bacteria and suppressing “bad” bacteria, and promoting bowel regularity – it is obvious that we need to eat foods rich in resistant starch.
- Proteins: Building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, blood, enzymes, hormones and vitamins. It is also used to carry oxygen to the blood.
The leaves of Orchis latifolia contain a glucoside called loroglossin which is known to make up the ecology of the orchis, but has not discovered any medical benefit.
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