Beneficial Effects of Plant Hormones to Human Health
By: Heda Belle Decrito, R.N.
Plant hormones or Phytohormones are organic compounds that are synthesized in a particular part of a plant and then conveyed to other parts. Even in low concentration, phytohormones are able to regulate the growth and development of plants, as well as affect their ability to differentiate cells and tissues. Phytohormones affect the plants’ ability to respond to environmental stimuli. They are also responsible for the plants’ longevity and death, time of flowering, as well as in the development and ripening of fruit. Plant hormones are abundant in embryonic plant tissues and not in mature plant cells.
Like plants, the human body also produces hormones and enzymes. In people and vertebrate animals, hormones act as chemical messengers that are utilized by the endocrine, nervous, and immune systems to convey unseen electrical impulses and chemical signals that would facilitate communication within a cell or between cell and/or among system organs. Hormones and enzymes also regulate body functions, control human behavior and integrate systemic functions – nervous, immune and endocrine systems, etc.
Plants cannot benefit from human hormones; however, plant hormones can do wondrous health effects to human health. Laboratory findings show that plant hormones can stimulate human immune cells that boost the body’s natural defense against stressors and diseases. There are three types of plant hormones that have shown promising benefits to us humans - Plant Growth Hormone (PGH), Plant Stress Hormone (PSH) and Plant Immune Hormone (PIH).
Plant Growth Hormone
As the name suggests, plant growth hormone regulates plant growth and development. There are 4 plant growth hormones with known beneficial effects to humans – Gibberellins, Auxins, Brassinosteroids, and Cytokinins.
Gibberellins (GAs) are plant growth hormones that are found mainly in the buds and young shoots. When extracted from these embryonic plant parts and incorporated in PSC therapy, gibberellins are able to offer numerous health benefits. GAs stimulate RNA and Protein synthesis. Gibberellic acid also aids in drainage, a process characterized as detoxification by means of organ stimulation, tissue excitation and toxins elimination.
Auxins are plant growth hormones that are involved plant-cell elongation. A well-known natural auxin extracted from plants is Indole Acetic Acid (IAA). Research shows that auxins have fetal hormonal action. They also stimulate cellular growth and provide better resistance to disease. The IAA in auxins acts as an antiinflammatory and helps tissue to regenerate. Also, when used in combination with the plant enzyme peroxidase, Indole Acetic Acid can produce byproducts that are toxic to cancer cells, yet harmless to healthy cells.
Another plant growth hormone is Cytokinin. Cytokinins provide protection to the cells as they undergo cell division (mitosis). DNA is constantly copied as the cells undergo division. Cytokinins prevent the mistranslation of the DNA molecules during the replication phase, making each cell a mirror image of the other divided cell. Cytokinins are also known to inhibit senescence. They can slow down the aging process by inhibiting the breakdown of proteins through the stimulation of RNA and protein synthesis.
Brassinosteroids are similar to animal steroids in many respects. However, at the cellular level, they appear to function differently. The most abundant brassinosteroid found in plants is Brassinolide, which was first isolated from the pollen of Brassica Napus. Brassinolide can act synergistically with auxins gibberellins and other hormones. Brassinosteroids are used safely and successfully for lowering serum cholesterol levels.
Plant Stress Hormone (PSH)
Plant stress hormones are responsible for activating the plants cellular response to diverse stress situations, including cell death. They are made in the cells of the plants that are faced with a massive scarcity of nutrients. Abscisic acid, ethylene, Jasmonic acid and salicylates are the most common PSHs that have shown positive health effects to humans. Researchers have found that these plant stress hormones, like any other anticancer hormones, have the ability to adversely affect human cancer cells.
Jasmonic acid suppresses and destroys major types of human cancer cells. Jasmonic acid is helpful in preventing and treating vaginal and/or reproductive problems in mammalian females. Jasmonates facilitate the renewal of the regressing vaginal mucosa and prevent vaginal wall dryness.
Plant Immune Hormone (PIH)
Plant immune hormones are organic compounds that trigger the plant’s immune response to bacterial, fungal and viral infections. Some of the most common PIHs are Salicylates, Auxins and Jasmonic acid. Salicylic acid is the primary immune hormone found in plants, which have antipyretic and antiinflammatory properties.
Acceleration of wound healing and rehabilitation following injury and reversal of biological and physical effects of aging are just some of the numerous benefits that plant hormones have to give. Plant hormones also reverse muscle wasting, improve vision kidney, liver and other organ function, improve memory retention and other cognitive factors, reduces stress and enhances the immune system, as well as promote tighter, younger and more supple skin.
Contrary to Human Growth Hormones, which pose the risk of cancer, embryonic plant extracts do not pose such risk. Nor will it affect the function of the pituitary gland as in the use of human growth hormone.