Colton DavisDr. PiechnikBiol 1085 December 2018Ethnobotany Research Assignment: Northern Highbush BlueberryMy interest is in the northern highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum, because it is being shown to contain important antioxidants that can be naturally used to help combat cancers. Moreover, blueberries are shown to have many other health benefits. The northern highbush blueberry is apart of the Ericaceae family. It shares the same genus as the other types of blueberries such as the lowbush and rabbiteye. The ancestor of the northern highbush blueberry was originally used by the Native Americans.
The northern highbush is mostly grown in North America and is common in the northeast region of the United States due to the slight acidic soil which the blueberry grows best in. It has been shown to have profound health benefits due to its high nutrient content (Cumo 124-126). Currently, blueberries are used to supplement one’s diet of many nutrients. As a result, blueberries are being used as a natural way to help aid in medical problems.
One of the benefits that blueberries offer is how they aid in the strengthening of bones. Strengthening of one’s bones is especially important in women and the elderly as they are more prone to osteoporosis. Calcium and vitamin K are present in blueberries that play a role in bone strength. Blueberries have also shown to help diabetes as it aids in maintaining moderate insulin levels (Patil). This is mainly due to the blueberry’s chlorogenic acid, which is a natural acid that lowers blood glucose levels (Cumo 125). Blueberries have been researched and consumed to help the rising issue of cancer in the world. The biggest property of blueberries that has said to help treat cancer are their antioxidants. Antioxidants are profoundly known to prevent the formation of free radicals. Additionally, certain antioxidants that are in blueberries can help DNA from being damaged by outside sources, such as the sun. Antioxidants also act as anti-inflammatories, which can also help treat cancer as inflammation is often a symptom of cancer (Patil). In an article in the Journal of Food Processing and Technology, consuming blueberries is shown to decrease the chances of developing colon cancer (Rotjanapun).A modern problem that deals with the growing of the blueberry plant is blueberry rust. Blueberry rust is a fungus that causes the leaves to dry up in which it has a hard time photosynthesizing, killing the plant. This has become a problem in certain regions of the world including Hawaii. The initial fungicides that were used to help combat the rust were ultimately ineffective. Some scientists are agreeing that the best way to combat the rust will be to introduce a new variant of the northern highbush that is genetically modified to be resistant to the fungus (Nelson). Blueberries are relatively safe for the environment. They occupy acidic soil that cannot host a wide variety of plans. Additionally, their fruit provides many micronutrients to the surrounding animals that are essential for life (Cumo 125). The biggest negative environmental impact of these blueberries comes from humans. The major concern is the excessive amount of pesticides that are being used on the blueberries. These pesticides are running off into water sources as well as affecting the bee population. Bees play a significant role in the reproduction of many of the plants in the world. These pesticides are ultimately killing the bee population. Without bees many plants will struggle to survive (Unprecedented Bee Declines Threaten Thanksgiving Dinner). Blueberries have shown profound helpful effects on human health. The use of natural products to help treat medical conditions is on the rise due to the increasing price of manufactured medicine. Another possible reason for this transition is the idea that many of the medicines that are used today were derived from a plant source, so using the more natural product is better recognized by the body and still treats the same medical ailments. Blueberries are a cheap and natural alternative to modern medicine. Blueberries have shown to be very effective in boosting immune systems as it is high in vitamin C (Patil). Additionally, mental health has become a significant part of modern research as depression and other mental health disorders have been on the rise. Many doctors are treating these patients by putting them on manufactured antidepressant medicine. These medicines are fairly new and have shown a wide variety of side effects. Blueberries contain certain flavonoids that act as a natural form of an antidepressant medicine (Patil). Blueberries, as well as other fruits, should be researched further on their benefits for human health. They are an important part of the future of human beings and their nutrition as the population continues to grow. Works CitedCumo, Christopher. 2013. Encyclopedia of cultivated plants: from acacia to zinnia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN: 9781598847758.Nelson, Scot. Blueberry Rust. Ethnobotany Research and Applications, Oct. 2008, pp. 1-6, Patil, Kiran. 20 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Blueberries. Organic Facts, 23 Oct. 2018, Kunjana, et al. Anti-Cancer Effects of Blueberry Polyphenols on Colon Cancer. Journal of Food Processing & Technology, vol. 6, no. 5, 16 June 2015, pp. 106. Omics, doi: 10.4172/2157-7110.S1.018.Unprecedented Bee Declines Threaten Thanksgiving Dinner. Environment America, 23 Nov. 2015,