Psoralea Benefits and Information
Short for polyploid grass, PSB or polysorbic acid, is an inexpensive composite grass that produces a lush clump of low-maintenance grass. With large clusters of rich purple cabbage blooms that re-grow for several harvests, these large, bushy plants are also very impressive. They are an excellent choice for landscaping in hot, sunny areas like southern California and Arizona, where they can tolerate moderate drought and heat. There's also evidence that Psalterias charantia, with a variety of cultivars, is able to grow well in clay soils. And because they are tolerant of high temperatures, they do well on golf courses.
Cabbage, with a long history as a source of cabbage soup, has been cultivated for its edible greens for as long as anyone can remember. The first cultivated cabbages were probably the French, who used the seeds to make a leek-style sauce for pork and beef. In China, seeds were roasted and crushed, and the resulting "Corked Cork" was used to flavor rice and other dishes. A few centuries later, in the early 1500s, a Portuguese ship captain introduced cabbage to Europe, probably bringing some cabbages from China.
There are several different cultivars of Psoralea, all of which vary in size, color, and coarse grasses. Oriental (or Psoralea orientale) Psoralea seeds are small and round, nearly oval, with lobular shaped seeds. Other common varieties are Longiflorum axis, Italian/Swedish Gold, and African Giant. Oriental and Italian/Swedish Gold seeds tend to be more reddish than golden, with darker green leaves. Giant has large dark green leaves and has a medium-length gray-green beard.
All varieties are hairy, and their stems are needle-like. They can be found in grassy open spaces, along trails and other terrain, in rocks and under rocks, and in fields. Some varieties produce very distinct tubers that range in size from the size of an eraser to the size of a matchstick. These tubers usually contain two types of seeds: the large sward-seeded cambium, and the small, fleshy rhizome-like seeds called innate.
Psoralea seeds are eaten, either alone or with other herbs, as tea (which is called Psoralea tea in Japan, and Psoralea zing in China), with great results. A single-celled algae living on the ocean floor produces the prized blue-green algae used in Chinese medicine. In Japan, it is called "Kuro-Sensei." A similar alga, the genus Cynocos nodula, is the source of another famous Psoralea remedy, a tea called Uji-gerya.
The leaves can be used as gargles, and they are popular in Eastern medicine. They are also used to make liniments and poultices. When ground into a fine powder, they are often used as a digestive tonic. An entire bulbous plant, the cambium, is used in warts and other skin problems.
The tubers have a gelatinous covering with the seeds enclosed. When mixed with water, they swell and dry out to form a gelatinous mass that resembles rice. When exposed to heat, the seeds expand to become tiny rice grains. The seeds can be cracked open by hand. They are good for treating diarrhea and mouth ulcers.
Psoralea can be successfully used in any form to cure many ailments. It is a natural, alternative approach to disease. Many alternative practitioners use the plant in their herbal treatments. For thousands of years, the peoples of Thailand, India and Malaysia used it as a medicine. It has now been studied in modern times.
Psoralea contains many essential fatty acids, vitamin C and B complex vitamins. It is a powerful antioxidant, able to destroy cancer cells. It also has the effect of reducing inflammation. Like all plants, psoralea contains naturally occurring toxins. These are generally removed by cooking the seeds or leaves, like other oils, or through exposure to heat.
Psoralea is considered to be an organic, living, tree-like substance. It has been used by the Asians for thousands of years as a food supplement and for its soothing effects on the nervous system. It has also been used to treat cancerous tumors, as well as inflammatory bowel disease and inflammatory arthritis. It has also been used in Japan for thousands of years. It has recently become popular in the West.
Psoralea is now available in the United States as a supplement sold as either fresh leaves or dry seeds. Fresh leaves are often used as a dietary supplement to help treat inflammatory diseases and to promote general health. Dry leaves are taken regularly by people who prefer to take it in supplement form. The seeds are considered to be very beneficial for the heart and general health.