Achiote is a shrub or small tree from the tropical region of the United States. With the scientific name Bixa orellana, the plant was used by the North, Central, and South American natives to make lipstick and red body paint. Due to this, achiote is sometimes referred to as the lipstick tree. Aside from its culinary uses, it also has the following health benefits.

General Nutrition

Achiote contains vitamins and minerals. According to Live Strong, the plant contains vitamins B and C. vitamin B promotes brain health while vitamin C raises the body’s defenses against infection and illness. The plant also contains calcium and phosphorus, which promote bone health, and iron, which ensure adequate oxygenation of cells and tissues.

Achiote as Treatment for Common Ailments

Achiote can be used to manage common ailments. According to Medical Health Guide, the plant’s leaves can be prepared as a concoction, which can be used to wash burn wounds and promote their healing; the leaves can also be used as purgative in dysentery, treatment for fever, gargle for sore throat, ointment for headache, treatment for gonorrhea, answer for snake bites, antidote for poisoning and allergy, treatment for nausea and vomiting, and treatment for gastric and stomach disorders.

Achiote and Vision

Achiote helps in vision. According to Organic Facts, the annatto seeds are red in color because they contain the pigment carotenoid. The pigment break down overtime; thus, the seeds should be bought if they are red to bright orange in hue. Carotenoids also act as antioxidants in the eyes, so they will prevent the development of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Achiote and Aging

Achiote also helps combat aging. According to Tip Disease, the carotenoids in the plant act as potent antioxidants, which help prevent the signs of aging . They fight off free radicals that destroy the cells and lead to aging. Also, research found that people who consume carotenoids from plant sources like achiote suffer from fewer chronic illnesses and have longer life span, as opposed to those who miss the antioxidant in their diet.

Achiote and Diabetes

Achiote can also be used in the management of diabetes mellitus, an endocrine disorder characterized by prolonged increase in the blood sugar. According to Healthy Focus, research shows that the plant’s seed extracts or annatto have shown the ability to reduce glucose in the blood. Also, the seed extract also prevented spikes in blood glucose after a meal. With this property, scientists claimed that the results were clinically significant in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.

Sample Recipe

Achiote can be added to various meal recipes, such as Achiote Paste. According to Bon Appetit, the ingredients include three whole cloves, one bay leaf, one-fourth cup of annatto seeds, two teaspoons of coriander seeds, two teaspoons of cumin seeds, two teaspoons of dried Mexican or Italian oregano, a teaspoon of black peppercorns, a teaspoon of kosher salt, four garlic cloves, one-fourth cup of distilled white vinegar, a teaspoon of finely grated lime zest, and a teaspoon of finely grated orange zest.

To prepare, as per the publication, the cloves, annatto seeds, cumin seeds, bay leaf, coriander seeds, peppercorns, oregano, and salt are blended in a blender. It is done on low speed, but increases to high, until the ingredients become finely ground. Next, vinegar, orange zest, lime zest, and garlic are added and are blended until a coarse paste forms. Then, the resulting mixture is transferred to a tiny airtight container and then chilled.

Achiote is one of the healthy herbs and spice. Its inclusion in meal recipes will help promote a person’s health and well-being.

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