Introduction of Beta-Carotene:Carotenoid or provitamin A.

Popular Herbs. ✵The article gives records of the herb Beta-Carotene, its English name, common names, its botanical source plant species, with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these plant species, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Beta-Carotene(Carotenoid, provitamin A).

Carrots  English Name: Beta-Carotene.
 Latin Name: 
 Common Names: Carotenoid, provitamin A.
 Property and flavor: 

 Brief introduction: Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A, it is converted into a vitamin in the body, since ancient, humans have been getting beta-carotene from foods, carrots, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, squash, and cantaloupe are a few of the particularly rich sources.

 The richest sources of beta-carotene are green leafy vegetables and yellow or orange fruits, such as carrots, spinach, lettuce, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, etc. Beta-carotene, whose name comes from carrot in Latin, is an orange fat-soluble compound and a precursor of vitamin A. It is abundant in plants and makes fruits and vegetables have full colors. Beta-carotene is widely used in common foods and medical health products because of its coloring, antioxidant, and nutritional enhancement functions. As a food additive and nutritional fortifier, beta-carotene has been recommended by the Joint Expert Committee of Food Additives of FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and WHO (the World Health Organization). It has been recognized as a class A excellent nutritional pigment and has been approved for application in 52 countries and regions around the world.

 Botanical source: The best dietary sources of beta-carotene include carrots, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, green leafy lettuce, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, and winter squash. Ordinary cooking does not destroy beta-carotene. These common plant species are introduced:


 fresh reddish Carrots with green seedlings and residual soils Botanical description: Daucus carota is a plant of the Daucus L genus and Apiaceae family (Umbelliferae, parsley family), biennial plant, it grows up to 15~120 cm tall. The stems are solitary, and all of them have white bristles. The basal leaves are membranous, oblong, pinnately divided two or three times and the final lobes are linear or lanceolate, 2~15 mm long and 0.5~4 mm wide, with sharp tips, smooth or hirsute; Petiole is 3~12 cm long; Stem leaves are subsessile, with sheath, and the terminal lobes are small or slender.

 Compound umbel, the peduncle is 10~55 cm long, hirsute; Involucre has many bracts, which are leaflike, pinnately divided, rarely indehiscent, and its lobes are linear, 3~30 mm long; Umbrella spokes are numerous, 2~7.5 cm long, and as a result, the umbrella spokes at the outer edge bend inward; 5~7 bracteoles, linear, undivided or 2~3-lobed, the margin is membranous, ciliate; Flowers are usually white, sometimes reddish; The flower stalks are unequal in length, 3~10 mm long. The fruit is oval, 3~4 mm long, and 2 mm wide, with white bristles on its edges. Flowering from May to July.

 Carrot originated in southwest Asia, with Afghanistan as the earliest evolution center, and its cultivation history is more than 2,000 years. It was introduced into the European continent from Iran in the 10th century A.D., appeared in Britain in the 15th century, and developed into a European ecotype, especially on the Mediterranean coast. It was introduced to America in the 16th century. Furthermore, it was introduced into China from Iran in the 13th century and developed into a Chinese ecotype. Carrots were introduced into other area of East Asia from China in the 16th century.


 green Spinaches grow in field with dark green leaves Botanical description: Spinacia oleracea L. is a plant of the Spinacia L. genus and Chenopodiaceae family (goosefoot family) and is one of the most common vegetables. Spinach can grow up to 1 meter, without powder. The root is conical shaped, reddish, some are white. The stem is upright, hollow, fragile, juicy, unbranched, or with a few branches. The leaves are halberd-shaped to oval, bright green, tender and juicy, slightly shiny, whole, or with a few tooth-shaped lobes. The male flowers are integrated into globose cymes, and then arranged in intermittent spike panicles at the upper parts of branches and stems; Tepals are usually 4, filaments are filiform, flat, anthers without appendages; Female flowers gathered in axils of leaves; Bracteoles are slightly flattened on both sides, with 2 denticles remaining at the top, and usually 1 spinous appendage on the back; Ovary is spherical, 4 or 5 stigmas, overhanging. The fruit is ovoid or suborbicular, about 2.5 mm in diameter, flat on both sides; Peel is brown.


 light green Lettuce grow in field Botanical description: Lettuce is an annual or biennial plant of the genus Lactuca and Compositae family. The species Romaine lettuce (Lactuca dolichophylla Kitam), cabbage lettuce (head lettuce, or Lactuca sativa L. var. capitata L.) and several other species are all green leafy lettuce, the Romaine lettuce is an annual or biennial plant, it grows up to 1 meter tall. Stem is upright, solitary, upper panicle is branched, all stems and branches are glabrous. All stems and leaves are linear or linear and long lanceolate, the tip is long and gradually pointed, the edge is entire, the base is arrow-shaped and half-clasped, the base and lower stems and leaves are larger, the upward leaves are gradually smaller, and all leaves are glabrous on both surfaces. Lettuce is native to the Mediterranean coast of Europe. Ancient Greeks and Romans first ate it. Lettuce has been introduced into China for a long time, and its cultivation area has expanded rapidly.

 Its leaves are long and obovate, dense into cabbage-shaped leaves, which can be eaten raw, crisp and refreshing, and slightly sweet. The stem is upright and solitary, the upper part is panicle branched, and all stems and branches are white. The basal leaves and lower stems and leaves are large, undivided, oblanceolate, elliptic or elliptic oblanceolate, 6~15 cm long and 1.5~6.5 cm wide, with sharp, short tapering or round tips, sessile stems, cordate or arrow-shaped semi-clasped stems at the base, wavy or serrate edges, tapered upward, and shaped or lanceolate with the basal leaves and lower stems and leaves.

(4).Sweet potato.

 light pinkish sweet potatos with leaves and piled in field Botanical description: Dioscorea esculenta (Lour.) Burkill is a plant of the Dioscorea L genus, the Dioscoreaceae family (the yam family), twisted herbaceous vines. The top branch of the underground tuber expands into an ovoid tuber with a pale yellow and smooth outer skin. Stems are left-handed, with spines at the base, and T-shaped pilose. Leaves are alternate, broad cordate; Male inflorescences are spikes, solitary, and male flowers are sessile or with very short stalks; Bracts are ovate, the apex is acuminate; Flowers are shallowly cyathiform (cotyloid), pubescent; The capsular fruit is triangular, the top is slightly concave, the base is truncated, and each rib is wing-shaped; Seeds are round and winged. Flowering in early summer. Sweet potato is a light-loving short-day crop, which is warm-loving, not cold-tolerant and drought-tolerant. It is mainly distributed in the south of 40 north latitudes. It is cultivated mainly in Asia, Africa, and America.


 green Broccoli grow in field Botanical description: Brassica oleracea L.var.italic Planch., or broccoli, is a plant of the Brassica genus and Brassicaceae family (Cruciferae, mustard family), broccoli originated in Italy along the Mediterranean coast of Europe, and today it has distributed all over the world. Its leaves are large, and the top of the main stem forms an enlarged flower ball, which is green or purple-green. The small flower buds on the surface are not densely packed together, and the top of the side branches each has a small flower ball. It is a common vegetable. The morphology and growth habits of broccoli are basically similar to those of cauliflower, but they are strong in growth, heat resistance, and cold resistance. The plant is tall. After growing over 20 leaves, the flower stems are pulled out, the cluster buds with compact clusters and integrated flowers are formed at the top, and the buds are turquoise. The color of the leaves is blue-green, gradually turning to dark blue-green, and the wax powder increases. The petiole is long and narrow. There are two kinds of leaf shapes: broadleaf and long leaf.


 a fruiting plant of Cantaloupe with yellow fruit grow in field Botanical description: Cantaloupe is a plant of the Cucumis genus and Cucurbitaceae family (gourd, squash family), an annual trailing herb, it has a well-developed root system, its main root grows over 1 meter deep, and its lateral roots are 2~3 meters in diameter. However, its root regeneration is weak, so it is not suitable for transplanting. The stem is round, angular, short-bristled, and highly branched. Leaves are alternate, suborbicular or reniform, and piliferous. Flowers are axillary, unisexual (separate flower), hermaphroditic, insect-borne, and yellow. The fruit shapes are round, oval, spindle, long tube, etc., and the peel of mature fruit is white, green, yellow, brown, or with various stripes and spots. The fruit surface is smooth or reticulate, cracked, and furrowed. The flesh is white, orange, green, and yellow, and has an aroma. Seeds are lanceolate or oblate, with different sizes. It is native to tropical desert areas in Africa.

(7).Winter squash.

 Winter squash with green fruits grow in field Botanical description: Winter squash is the fruit of Cucurbita maxima Duch. ex Lam., a plant of the Cucurbita Lin genus, the Cucurbitaceae family (gourd, squash family), an annual stout vine; The plant is native to Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina in South America, and has now spread all over the world. The Cucurbita maxima is an annual vine with thick, cylindrical stems and short white bristles. Its petiole is stout, cylindrical, 15~20 cm long, densely covered with short bristles, its leaves are reniform or round reniform, monoecious, and its seeds are plump, flat, blunt, or somewhat arched. Winter squash is not strict with soil, but sandy loam and loam are the most suitable.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.antioxidant; ②.reduces the risk of certain cancers; ③.reduce sensitivity to the sun;

 Related studies indicate beta-carotene benefits the body in several ways, primarily as an antioxidant, it controls the formation of dangerous substances in the body called free radicals, free radicals can severely damage cells through oxidation and contribute to the risk of cancer cell formation, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, or premature aging, studies indicated beta-carotene reduces the risk of certain cancers, such as lung or colon cancer, as studies showed that if a person has low levels of beta-carotene in the bloodstream then the risk of developing lung cancer or colon cancer increases. But related studies indicated high dose of beta-carotene could not help but increase the risk of cancer among smokers.

 Studies have shown that high doses of beta-carotene will reduce sensitivity to the sun, especially for those who suffer from skin diseases caused by exposure to the sun. Under the proper guidance of health professionals, they can take a beta-carotene supplement, and their symptoms can be gradually relieved in about a few weeks.

 Medicinal efficacy: Beta-carotene supplement is believed to help reduce the risks of certain types of cancer, boost the immune system, enhance the senses, and prolong life, these benefits are attributed to the fact that beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant.

 In Europe, beta-carotene supplement is accepted and advised for prophylaxis of vitamin A deficiency, for photosensitivity reactions in erythropoietic protoporphyria, and severe polymorphous light eruption, it has also been used for unproven applications, for angina, asthma, cancer prevention, cardiovascular disease, cataract prevention, diabetes, free-radical reduction, immunostimulation, night vision, and oral leukoplakia.

 Administration of Beta-Carotene (Carotenoid, provitamin A): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Beta-Carotene (Carotenoid, provitamin A)
Herbal classic books: In North America, beta-carotene's recommended dosage ranges from 6 to 30 milligrams (10,000 to 50,000 IU) daily. Average supplemental doses range from 15 to 30 milligrams(25,000 to 50,000 IU) daily. In Europe, beta-carotene is recommended for erythropoietic protoporphyria for adults at 30 to 300 mg daily in single or divided doses, children under 14 years old 30 to 150 mg daily. Beta-carotene is recommended for vitamin A deficiency or prophylaxis of adults and adolescents at 6 to 15 mg daily, and 3 to 6 mg daily for children.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: Beta-carotene is generally considered safe to take in dosages up to 6 milligrams (10,000 IU) a day, no recommended daily allowance has been set for beta-carotene. As the body converts only as much beta-carotene as needed to create vitamin A, the more beta-carotene is ingested, the less efficient the intestines turn in absorbing it, a high level of beta-carotene may cause the skin to acquire a harmless orange tint. Although ingesting high levels of vitamin A is hazardous, it is not true for beta-carotene.
 Beta-carotene supplements are not recommended for lung cancer or asbestosis, impaired renal function, impaired liver function, hypervitaminosis A, and anorexia, it may cause yellow skin discoloration due to carotenodermia, using beta-carotene might lead to slight diarrhea or loose stool. No problems with pregnancy have been documented in women taking up to 30 mg of beta-carotene daily, beta-carotene is safe in normal dietary amounts.




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  • 1.Introduction of Beta-Carotene:Carotenoid or provitamin A.

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