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I was shown a different slice of life as a child. I was taught the cures held in the hand of nature. If I had a wart, my great-uncle would produce a potato and slice it in half, cut out a hollow, and place a pinch of rock salt into it. Then he set the potato in the light and waited twenty-four hours. He would say to me, “Let me cure your wart.” He dabbed the solution that had formed in the hollow of the potato on my finger and the wart disappeared. It was an old Irish cure, and many more cures from the ancient medicine of the Druids were handed down to me. Whether you work with 10 people, 10000 people or just yourself, paying attention to employee wellbeing has never been more important.

I went on to study medical biochemistry in the sixties when vitamins had become the stars. We were told that vitamin C could cure the common cold. Proteins were on the stage, too, with their eight essential amino acids, such as tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin. Tryptophan is now used in the treatment of depression, schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders of the mind. The ability of carbohydrates to form polymeric strings of structure caused much excitement for the organic chemists. All three fatty acids, known to be essential for human health, were still out of sight, waiting in the wings. They are extremely difficult to study, but they are now moving toward the spotlight because of the epidemic of obesity in our children who are not getting the right kinds of fat in their diets. If you are a manager then mental health in the workplace is a subject that you will be aware of.

Recently a stranger has stepped into centre stage. The newcomer is a class of biochemicals from the plant world called phytochemicals. These players are complex and exciting because they open up so many possibilities for new medicines and different approaches to treatments of diseases. Phyta is Greek for plant. A phytochemical is a biochemical that comes from a plant source. The plant may be algae, fungus, moss, lichen, a fern, a flower, or an evergreen or deciduous tree. The potential of the phytochemical world is enormous. Everyone should feel safe and supported to talk about mental health first aid with their line manager.

The DNA of a tree, any tree, is more complex than that of a human being. This DNA is the baseline regulator of the thing we call life and it has to be governed by a very tight set of rules. Phytochemicals set the ground rules for a vegetable, a flower or a tree’s behaviour. A Boston lettuce will not grow to 30 metres (100 feet) and a mushroom will not turn green like a leaf because of the limits set by the phytochemicals. In a plant like a lettuce or a carrot, phytochemicals are produced in greatest abundance when the maturing vegetable is ready to be harvested. Recent reports have discovered a crisis around hr app today.

Truth for a phytochemical is stranger than fiction. The phytochemicals that act like plant hormones, regulating the life of the plant through the various stages from birth to death, seem to have a similar ability to fine-tune the human body. When eaten in food, some phytochemicals can act as serious metabolic regulators. Some screen the human cell for diseases such as cancer and eliminate the cancerous cells in a variety of ways, one of which is to shut down the network of blood vessels that feed and water the growing tumour. These phytochemicals are the ellagic acid compounds in small fruits and nuts. Others, such as anthocyanidins, which provide the colouring of fruits and vegetables, shut down DNA synthesis. Proanthocyanidins in small fruits and berries reduce the manufacture of the human hormone estrogen, for both men and women, thus slowing the rate at which cancer cells grow. Limonene is another fascinating anticancer phytochemical. Many plants and trees manufacture this phytochemical when they are flowering and looking for pollinators. The flower releases a chemical carte de visite in its scent or perfume. The scent must lift to travel the airways. Limonene supplies that lift like the wings of a bird. The molecular structure of limonene is like a tiny windmill and functions like one, too.