Job's Tears: Uses, Health Benefits and Side Effects - Mind Body Bloom
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Job’s Tears: Uses, Health Benefits and Side Effects

Job's Tears Uses, Health Benefits and Side Effects

Job’s Tears (botanical name – Coix lacryma-jobi) are useful as a source of food (cereals) as well as for remedial purposes for a prolonged period.

Depending on exactly where you happen to be in the world, this plant goes by many different names such as – Chinese pearl barley, coix seed, hato mugi, tear grass, adlai, adlay, Cherokee corn beads (by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), or Herbe aux Perles.

The plant grows to a height of around 3 feet and is native to India (has been cultivated for at least 4000 years), China, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Malaysia. In the United States, it has been naturalized recently to Louisiana, Hawaii, Tennessee, and New Jersey.

Uses

These seeds are used to make beads for rosaries and necklaces (because they have a natural hole in the center). In addition, they are easy to grow in temperate climates, making them an attractive plant in summer gardens.

Nutritional profile

The seeds are rich in minerals, vitamins (with a similar amount of B-complex vitamins as brown rice), dietary fiber, and essential amino acids. Moreover, the plant contains a much higher level of calcium, iron, and protein than brown rice.

Health benefits of Job’s tears seeds

Lower LDL cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat in your blood. There are two types of cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein is the “good” cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein is the “bad” cholesterol (the type of cholesterol which puts your heart at risk). Factors within your control that contribute to low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol include – obesity, physical inactivity, and a diet rich in saturated and trans fats. A regular consumption of these seeds instead of animal products can considerably lower low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol.

Stomach cancer prevention

Stomach cancer mostly affects older patients and approximately 10,960 individuals will die from this condition every year in the United States (4,240 women and 6,720 men). These seeds were also able to decrease stomach ulcers and inhibited gastric cancer cells in vitro in animal studies. In addition, according to traditional Chinese medicine, this plant can be used to damp-heat conditions and to treat internal dampness, including other serious disorders of the stomach, spleen, large intestine, and lungs.

Anti-inflammatory properties

In some studies, this plant has also been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation in the body is incredibly important because it helps your physical body to repair tissue damage and to fight infections. Nevertheless, inflammation can become a real health problem when it is long-term (chronic) and directed against the body’s own tissues.

Constipation relief   

Dietary fiber, also known as bulk or roughage, is found only in plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. Fiber is most likely best known for its capacity to relieve or prevent constipation. An inverse association has been found between heart attack and dietary fiber intake, plus, studies concluded that individuals eating rich fiber foods have a 40% lower risk of heart disease.

Good potassium source

Potassium is an essential mineral vital for the proper functioning of all living cells. Potassium also helps to keep blood pressure healthy and to balance minerals and fluid in the body. This important mineral isn’t produced naturally by the body, therefore it’s essential to consume the right balance of potassium-rich beverages and foods daily.

Additionally, sodium and potassium work together to control blood pressure, but ingesting too much salt (which is 40 percent sodium) raises blood pressure which ultimately leads to cardiovascular disease. The majority of Americans get barely 50 percent of the recommended amount of potassium, hence, introducing these seeds in your diet would be a good idea.

Iron anemia prevention

Iron is a mineral vital for your health which plays a role in the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin and helps metabolize proteins. Hemoglobin is the main transporter of oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. Iron deficiency anemia is caused when there’s not enough of this mineral in your red blood cells.

Symptoms include – weakness, mood changes, fatigue, trouble getting good sleep, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, shortness of breath. Moreover, insufficient consumption of vitamin C-rich foods may also contribute to iron deficiency anemia (especially for vegans), because vitamin C is essential for the absorption of non-heme iron found in plant foods.

Recipes

These seeds can be prepared by steaming or boiling. They can also be added to soups or can be combined with rice.

Coix seeds tea

In some health stores, you can find these seeds in a powdered form which can be used to make tea.

Side effects of Chinese pearl barley

There is little concern that these seeds might lower the blood sugar level after a surgery. Thus, it is recommended to stop eating the plant at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery. In addition, there are some reports that over-consumption may lead to dehydration.

There is not enough information available to know if it is safe to eat for pregnant and nursing women.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19335713

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319562X15000662

Image credit - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/
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