Carotene, or provitamin A
Carotene, or provitamin A, is a yellow pigment found in plant foods. It is three times weaker than vitamin A, unstable, is destroyed by the action of oxygen, sunlight and high temperature. Carotene and vitamin A are deposited in the body. The accumulated excess of these vitamins can persist for more than a year, so it is advisable to maximize the use of plants containing carotene in the summer-autumn period. The amount of carotene in plants directly depends on the degree of leafiness and the content of chlorophyll in the leaves. Plants with a more intense green color, having a large leaf surface, are richer in chlorophyll. In the leaves of plants with yellow, red, orange fruits and root crops, there is a large amount of carotene.
Carotene of green plants is more active than carotene of yellow and orange vegetables and fruits. A high content of carotene is noted in the roots of carrots of red-orange, red, fruits of red tomatoes, sea buckthorn, in peaches, red pepper, rosehip, pumpkin (pulp), sea buckthorn and palm oil, greens - parsley, spinach, lettuce, celery, sorrel, sour, chicory, peppermint, dandelion, alfalfa and pine needles.
The daily need of the human body for carotene is 5-10,000 IU (5 mg), i.e. equal to the amount contained in 20, 50, 100 g of red carrots, 100-300 g of red tomatoes, 25-100 g of sorrel, 20-70 g of parsley leaves, 40-130 g of spinach, 35-100 g of green onion, 20 g of red pepper, young nettle, 25 g of frozen fruits of sea buckthorn, mountain ash, 40 g of dried rosehips, 100 g of apricot, etc. Spinach carotene has twice the biological activity of carrot carotene, asparagus carotene activity is 20% of vitamin A. 1 mg Vitamin A corresponds to 3300 IU.
As a therapeutic agent, carotene is prescribed for various diseases of the eyes, liver, atherosclerosis, hypertension, thyrotoxicosis, and infectious diseases. Carotene and retinol are necessary for pregnant women and nursing mothers for normal nutrition and fetal growth.
The raw materials for the industrial production of carotene are high- carotene varieties of carrots and pumpkins. Carotene is prescribed in undiluted form and in the form of ointments, emulsions (5-10-25-50%). A solution in oil of a mixture of carotenes isolated from natural sources - carotoline - an oil extract of carotenoids from the hips of rose hips, contains tocopherols, unsaturated fatty acids, etc. (1 ml of solution contains 2 mg of carotene). It is used externally in the treatment of trophic ulcers, eczema, atrophic changes in the mucous membranes, some types of erythroderma (psoriatic, desquamative).
Carotene in food and some other plants:
Chlorophyll-carotene paste obtained from pine needles is used to treat burns, sluggishly healing wounds, ulcers, colpitis, vulvovaginitis and cervical erosion in the form of dressings, tampons, vaginal douching.