Posted: 2021-11-13 20:00:00
Folk medicine such as herbal and natural products have been used for centuries in every culture throughout the world. The Chenopodiaceae family with more than 1500 species is dispersed worldwide. The Iranian wild spinach (Blitum virgatum L.) is an important traditional medicinal plant used for antiviral diseases such as pneumonia and other respiratory track infections. This plant is a mountainous herb and is growing upper than 3000 m. We performed a mass selection plant breeding program on wild populations of this Iranian wild spinach during 2013-2020. Based on experimental and field characteristics this plant was identified as B. virgatum, |abbaricum|, and related characteristics were prepared with reference to the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). Mass selection program resulted from an adapted population named as medicinal spinach (MSP) population. To compare the mineral content of the mass-selected population with cultivated spinach (Spinacia oleracea L. |Varamin 88|), both plants were planted in pots and fields under similar conditions. In five leaves stage, plant samples were taken from both leaf and crown sections and used for experimental analysis. Atomic absorption spectroscopy was used to determine the mineral content including iron (Fe), zinc (Z), manganese (Mn), and copper (Cu). Our results showed the selected medicinal spinach population (MSP) with about 509 ppm iron was an important iron-rich population with about 3.5-4 times more than the amount of iron in cultivated spinach in the same conditions. Because iron is an important essential element for blood production, respiration process, energy metabolisms, synthesis of collagen, and some neurotransmitters are needed for proper immune function, so the supply of absorbable adequate iron is very important. The reasons such as the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which affects the amount of exchangeable oxygen in the lungs and historical local evidences of the use of this plant (MSP) for pneumonia, could open new horizons for focusing on studies related to the use of ancestral human experiences in addition to scientifically modern research.
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