Home > Natural Health > Medicinal plants 06 August 2015 Chlorophyll Remember the term “chlorophyll” from your school biology days? Let's learn more about its health benefits. 0 Assess Ask the natural health expert » Learn Natural therapies to try » Quiz Is my vegetarian diet balanced? » Test yourself: How flexible are you? » A quick guide to The Atkins Diet This medicinal plant that only grows in the Western Cape could replace antibiotics one day Chlorophyll is a chemoprotein known for its contribution to the green pigmentation in plants and algae. Plants use chlorophyll to trap light to make photosynthesis possible. This is the process of converting light energy to chemical energy, and storing it as food.Read:Chlorophyll in medicinal form has long been used to combat bad breath and unpleasant odours related to the digestive system.It’s found in abundance in green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, alfalfa and parsley, to name but a few.HistoryThe name “chlorophyll” comes from the Greek word “chloros” which means a yellowish green colour and from “phyllon”, which means “leaf”.Chlorophyll was first isolated in 1817 by two scientists named Joseph Caventou and Pierre Pelletier. In 1883 a German physiologist Julius von Sachs proved that chlorophyll played an important part in the photosynthetic process. He showed that chlorophyll was found in special structures called chloroplasts, and was not spread evenly around all the plant structures.Two scientists were awarded Nobel prizes for their work on chlorophyll: Richard Willstatter in 1933 for separating chlorophyll a and b chromatographically, and in 1965 Robert Burns Woodward for figuring out the structure of the chlorophyll molecule.In 2011 the Australian Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year was awarded to Min Chen for her discovery of a new type of chlorophyll in the stromatolites of Shark Bay in Western Australia.Possible benefitsStudies on the possible benefits of chlorophyll are ongoing, but most of the claims made in connection with the properties of chlorophyll, such as that it can reduce odours, kill bacteria and assist in wound healing, are based on research performed in the early 20th century. The one exception is that it does seem to help reduce pain in patients with pancreatitis. Read:Many of the benefits of chlorophyll are apocryphal, but its traditional uses are many:• To improve bad breath• To reduce the odour of urine and faeces (especially for people with colostomy bags)• To help with wound healing• To assist in the removal of toxins via the liver• To give relief from constipation• To help reduce pain and other symptoms in those with recurring pancreatitis• To protect from aflatoxins and help to combat the tumour-producing effects of carcinogens• To assist in the management of auto-immune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritisHow to include chlorophyll in your dietNatural chlorophylls aren’t toxic. When taken orally, chlorophyll tablets or liquid may cause green discolouration of urine and faeces. As the safety of chlorophyll supplements has not been tested in pregnant or lactating women, it’s not recommended for use by them.Read:Liquid chlorophyll is widely available and is made from alfalfa concentrate. Chlorophyll is also available as tablets and powdered extracts. Alternatively you could just include some of the following foods in your diet, either as side dishes, or juiced:• Asparagus• Broccoli• Brussels sprouts• Green beans• Peas• Parsley• Spinach • WheatgrassRead More:Sources: Biology.clc.uc.edu, WebMD, Lpi.oregonstate.edu, Healthline Susan Erasmus, Health24 More in Natural Health Can rooibos help you lose weight? More: Natural HealthMedicinal plants advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... From our sponsors Keep an eye on your vision Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Win 1 of 6 R5000 cash prizes Win a R2 000 Skin Renewal voucher Live healthier Exercise benefits for seniors » Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them. No relief for MS » Drug shows promise against MS in mouse study Vitamin D may slow multiple sclerosis Obesity in girls tied to higher MS risk Exercise may not lower women's risk of MS A Harvard study showed no evidence to support the idea that exercise lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis.