If you're like me, the thought of using a waste product in your mouth is downright disgusting. But not all waste products are as gross as we think they are. Some waste products, in fact, are simply the unused part of a plant. And a new study suggests that the unused part of one plant can be quite beneficial to your teeth and gums.
As you may know, beer manufacturers use the flower from the hop plant to make their product. So what happens to the rest of this plant? Most of the time, it's just thrown away. But in recent years, scientists have found uses for the leaves of the hop. And, yes, one of those uses is protecting your choppers.
In this new study, researchers from Japan found that hop leaves have unique antioxidant compounds that can prevent tooth decay and gum disease. How does it work? The researchers discovered that these antioxidant compounds keep bacteria from latching onto teeth and gums. They can even stop some bacteria from forming in the first place. As a result, the extract can completely prevent cavities.
The Japanese team said, "Three new compounds, one known compound identified for the first time in plants, and 20 known compounds that have not been reported in hops, were found."
In addition to the new antioxidant compounds, the researchers also discovered that hop leaves contain huge amounts of proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins are a class of antioxidant polyphenols known as flavonols. These are extremely useful for treating many different types of diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
Unfortunately for beer lovers, you won't get all of these benefits by drinking beer. While there are many healthful compounds in beer, drinking it won't give you enough of the antioxidant compounds and flavonols that you need to fight disease. To get these benefits, you'll need to find a hop leaves extract, which is available, but can be hard to find. You can find hop leaves very easily online and make your own extract. But don't let your dogs anywhere near the leaves. They can cause dogs to experience malignant hyperthermia, which is typically fatal.
There isn't a product made specifically for treating your teeth and gums yet. After this study, you can be sure companies are looking to add hop leaves extract to a dental product. If I hear of one, you'll be the first to know. I also suspect we'll begin to see more uses for the leaves. So stay tuned for more information on this exciting new research.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
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