Cancer Causes and Control 2. 325-357. 1991

Vegetables, fruit, and cancer.
I Epidemiology

Kristi A. Steinmetz and John D. Potter
Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota. Minneapolis. MNst

Introduction

Historically, consumption of particular vegetables and fruits has been believed to bring healthful benefits. In fact, early medicine revolved largely around the prescription of specific food concoctions for certain ailments. In ancient Egypt, Pliny declared that consumption of cabbage would cure as many as 87 diseases and that consumption of onions would cure 28, garlic was considered a holy plant. Cruciferous vegetables were cultivated primarily for medicinal purposes and were used therapeutically against headache, deafness, diarrhea, gout, and stomach disorders. Celery and cucumber were given for urine retention and celery also was applied externally to stiff joints and wounds. Pliny believed that endive would relieve headaches, and the liver and bladder pain of drunkenness. Parsley was prescribed to treat an obstacle in the right side.” Radish juice was thought to cure an unknown disease, ‘Phtheiriasis.’ Peas often were prescribed for a condition that may have been angina pectoris. The ancient Romans believed that lentils were a cure for diarrhea and conducive to an even temper. The citron (similar to the lemon) was thought to be an antidote for poisons. Raisins and grapes had many medicinal uses and were incorporated into oral preparations, enemas, inhalations, and topical applications.

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