Treatment of fibroids: the use of beets (Beta vulgaris) and molasses (Saccharum officinarum) as an herbal therapy by Dominican healers in New York City
Fugh-Berman, A.; Balick, M.J.; Kronenberg, F.; Ososki, A.L.; O'Connor, B.; Reiff, M.; Roble, M.; Lohr, P.; Brosi, B.J.; Lee, R.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 92(2-3): 337-339
ISSN/ISBN: 0378-8741 PMID: 15138021 DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2004.03.009
The consumption of beets combined with molasses is thought by Dominican healers to shrink fibroids or to strengthen and fortify the uterus after the fibroid had been drained from the body. The possible nutritional and cultural justification for using beets and molasses in Dominican ethnomedicine was rationalized. Beets contain high levels of soluble and insoluble fibre, which could theoretically affect oestrogen levels. The total dietary fibre in raw beets is 2.8 g/100 g, which translates into 7.62 g for a 2-cup serving, or approximately 30% of the daily value based on a 2000-cal diet. A high dietary intake of beetroot could conceivably reduce endogenous oestrogen levels through increased intake of fibre. Beets are extremely high in carotenoids, which might conceivably inhibit the growth of fibroids. However, no clinical trials have tested carotenoids or retinoic acid in the treatment of fibroids. In addition, beets might serve as treatment for iron deficiency, especially when combined with molasses. Boiled beetroots contain 1.55 mg of iron per tablespoon. A "potion" for fibroids containing 2 cups of beet juice with 2 tablespoons of molasses would provide approximately 12.6 mg of iron, or approximately 70% of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance for premenopausal women. In populations deficient in both vitamin A [retinol] and iron, combining both supplements is more effective for treating iron deficiency anaemia than iron alone.