Natural Freeze Dried
Wasabi is a root vegetable with outstanding health benefits and is a staple in Japanese cooking. Please note: unlike most advertised wasabi being sold in the U.S., there is no horseradish (or mustard, for that matter) in real wasabi, even though it has sometimes been called “Japanese horseradish”. Check the ingredients lists before you buy.
The health benefit of wasabi is it’s protective nature against cancers, due to the isothiocyanates, which are anti-cancer chemicals which are also found in cabbage and broccoli. These chemicals help detoxify cancer cells in the liver before the body has time to absorb them and do not affect normal cells. This Pure (Green) Rhizome Powder is the penultimate source of these isothiocyanates. Although it is expensive, due to it being a difficult vegetable to grow, the benefits are immense! Numerous studies have demonstrated that Wasabia japonica contains natural chemicals which are highly efficacious against a variety of cancers. These chemicals are known as isothiocyanates which arise from the enzymatic breakdown of glucosinolate molecules found in intact cells. When Wasabi cells are disrupted (i.e. macerated) the glucosinolates come in contact with the myrosinase enzyme, which catalyses the conversion to isothiocyanates. Wasabi has been shown (Ina et al. 1990, Sakura et al. 1993) to possess more than twenty different isothiocyanates.
Wasabi benefits go on: It helps prevent platelet application which makes it a great anti-inflammatory. With this in mind, wasabi can help those who suffer from allergic reactions, asthma and arthritis. With the platelet aggregation, the chances of strokes and heart attacks are reduced due to the prevention of blood clots. It can prevent the formation of tumors, stop food poisoning from bacteria on food and it is also used in hand-washes as an antibacterial hand cleaner.
Isothiocyanate extracts from Wasabi have been proven effective against stomach cancers (Tanida et al. 1991, Fuke et al. 1994, Fuke et al. 1997, Shin and Lee 1998, Ono et al 1998), lung cancer (Yano et al. 2000) leukemia(Nakamura et al. 2001) and breast cancer (Nomura et al. 2005).
Furthermore, isothiocyanates from other sources, but also shown to be present in Wasabi (Ina et al. 1990, Sakura et al. 1993), have been found to be effective against lung and esophageal cancers (Stoner and Morse (1997), prostate cancer (Chiao et al. 2000, Scott et al. 2000) and breast, forestomach and colon cancers (Wattenberg 1977, 1981). Numerous studies (Stoner et al. 1998, Hecht et al. 1996a and b, Hecht et al. 2000, Chung 2001) have shown isothiocyanates to block the cancer inducing effects of compounds that are associated with cigarette smoke. Included in these findings is the observation that the isothiocyanates may be effective in preventing cancer induction in both smokers and ex-smokers.
Isothiocyanates are easily administered which sets them apart from many pharmaceutically-based cancer treatments currently in use. The high efficacies of isothiocyanates against cancer is maintained even when they are administered orally or a part of a diet (Morse et al. 1993, Kirlin et al. 1999, Hou et al. 2000, Fuke et al. 2000 [in the drinking water!!], Chiao et al. 2004, Tang and Zhang 2004, Tseng et al. 2004). On the other hand, present pharmaceutically-based cancer treatments are expensive, difficult to administer, and have many well-documented adverse side effects including toxicity.
Medicinal properties of isothiocyanates
The medicinal value of chemicals extracted from wasabi were first documented in the Japanese medicinal encyclopaedia during the 10th century (1). Recently, research interest in ITCs has become more intense because of their potential to have a wide variety of medicinal, pharmacological or industrial applications. These exciting applications are at an early stage of investigation, most likely because of wasabi’s high present commercial value and scarcity.
Anticancer effects Medicinally, the most important feature of ITCs is evidence that they have a chemopreventive effect on cancer at a variety of organ sites including lung, mammary glands, liver, oesophagus, bladder, pancreas, colon and prostrate (2). A recent case-control study in Los Angeles (3) showed that high consumption of cruciferae vegetables containing ITCs reduced the risk of developing colon cancer (4-8). Tests have been carried out on tumors in rats and it has been reported that some ITCs have a protective role against breast, stomach and colon cancers in rats (9, 10). Several mechanisms have been proposed and investigated for tumor inhibition by ITCs, for instance sulfoforane (SFN) and phenylethyl ITC (PEITC) are reported as potent inducers of the phase II enzymes involved in detoxification of carcinogens (11). The inhibition of chemically induced lung tumorigenesis by PEITC was mediated primarily by the inhibition of metabolism which resulted in a decrease in O6 methylguanine in lung DNA, indicating that ITC targets cytochrome P450s (12, 13). Results from recent bioassays in A/J mice appear to support the mechanism of induction of apoptosis in lung by PEITC and butyl ITC (BITC) (14). Extensive research on ITCs commonly found in cruciferous vegetables such as watercress, broccoli, radish and cabbage have been linked to the reduced risk of certain human cancers (4, 5). From the chemoprevention point of view it is important to know whether the beneficial effects come, at least in part, from ITCs in the diet. In a cohort study it was clearly shown that individuals with detectable levels of ITCs in the urine were less likely to develop lung cancer (15). It has been suggested that normal dietary levels of ITCs derived from wasabi or other fresh cruciferous vegetables eaten regularly can protect against the low levels of carcinogens encountered in everyday life (2). As a result, the American Cancer Society recommends that cruciferous vegetables should be part of every person’s daily diet to reduce the risk of several cancers.
Effects of isothiocyanates on blood
The ITCs in wasabi have been tested for inhibition of platelet aggregation mediated by arachidonic acid (16, and for deaggregation. ITCs showed a ten times higher response than is reported for aspirin. In the case of heart attacks, where aspirin is commonly prescribed, ITCs have been shown to have a more rapid action at low levels than the thirty minutes for aspirin. In this regard, the most potent ITCs reported are ω-methylthioalkyl ITCs, especially 6-methylthiohexyl followed by 7-methylthioheptyl and 5-methylthiopentyl ITCs. The anticoagulant property of ITCs could be used in the treatment of elderly people and during surgery where preventing platelet aggregation is vital for the well being of the patient. The mechanism by which the ITCs inhibit platelet aggregation from occurring has not been precisely determined but may be through a specific inhibition of the arachidonic acid cascade (17). This therefore raises the possibility of using ITCs to limit inflammation in tissues.
Anti-asthmatic and anti-inflammatory properties
Benzyl and allyl ITCs from onion extracts showed anti-asthmatic effects when studied by Dorsch et al. (18). Thromboxanes (generated by lung tissue and by aggregating platelets during lung anaphylaxis) and prostaglandins (generated by mast cells during activation) are known to cause bronchial obstruction and generally play a role in the pathogenesis of bronchial asthma. The isothiocyanates prevented bronchial obstruction caused by subsequent inhalation of ovalbumin but did not prevent obstruction caused by inhalation of histamine acetylcholine. This indicates that the anti-asthmatic effect of ITCs are not due to an anti-histamine effect but act by inhibiting the inflammatory process at an earlier stage, possibly the production or action of other inflammatory molecules such as thromboxanes or prostaglandins. Thus, ITCs could potentially be used to counter inflammatory conditions such as asthma or even anaphylaxis.
Traditionally, horseradish and mustard have been used as a remedy for clogged sinuses, relief of congestion, muscular pain and inflamed joints (17).
Masuda (19) has suggested that wasabi could contribute to a healthy smile by inhibiting the growth of the bacteria on teeth and gums in the mouth. Streptococcus mutans is known to cause dental caries and the consumption of wasabi can reduce bacterial activity. This was explained by wasabi’s ability to interfere with the sucrose-dependent adherence of cells to the surface of teeth and gums.
Other industrial applications
ITCs extracted from wasabi can be used to make antibiotics, fungicides, insecticides, nematocides and as wood preservatives (20). ITCs are said to act as an antidote to food poisoning bacteria, one factor that has led to the use of wasabi with raw fish dishes in Japan (21-23). It is also reported that ITCs may have a role in protecting against diarrhea (24). ITCs have also been used as antifouling compounds to stop seaweed growing on ships’ hulls. Recently it has been shown that wasabi contains anti-fungal metabolites that can render plants resistant to virulent isolates of the blackleg fungus (25). This fungus can devastate commercially important crops such as the oilseed plants rapeseed and canola. There is a potential to develop a natural fungicide using wasabi extracts.
We test all products for Heavy Metals and update the data below when needed:
Heavy Metal test results
Common Name: Wasabi
Scientific Name: Wasabis japonica
Part used: rhizome
Arsenic: 0.039 ppm
Cadmium: 0.098 ppm
Lead: 0.067 ppm
Mercury: <0.004 ppm
24- Ina K, Sano A, Nobukuni M and Kishima I. 1981. Nippon Shokuhin Kogyo Gakkaishi 28: 365-370. 25- Chung FL. 2002. Chapter 7 in Phytochemicals in Nutrition and Health edited by Meskin MS, Bidlack WR, Davies AJ and Omaye ST, CRC Press USA.
26- Lin HJ, Probst-Hensch NM, Louie AD, Kau IH, Witte JS, Ingles SA, Frankl HD, Lee ER and Haile RW. (1998). Cancer Epid Biomark Prev 7: 647-652.
27- Verhoeven DTH, Goldbohm RA, van Poppel G, Verhagen H and van den Brandt PA.1996. Cancer Epid Biomark Prev 5: 733-748.
28- Steinmetz KA and Potter JD. 1991. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer. II: Mechanisms. Cancer Causes Control 2: 427-442.
29- Tanida N, Kawaura A, Takahashi A, Sawada K and Shimoyama T. 1991. Nutr Cancer 16: 53-58.
30- Fuke Y, Haga Y, Ono H, Nomura T and Ryoyama K. 1997. Cytotech 25: 197-203.
31- Fuke Y, Ohishi Y, Iwashita K, Ono H and Shinohara K. 1994. J Japanese Soc Food Sci Technol 41:709-711 (In Japanese with English summary).
32- Wattenberg LW. 1977. J Nat Cancer Inst 58: 359-398.
33- Wattenburg LW. 1981. Cancer Res 41: 2991-2994.
34- Zhang Y and Talalay P. 1994. Cancer Res 9 (suppl.), 54: 1976-1981.
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36- Morse MA, Eklind KL, Hecht SS, Jordan KG, Choi CI, Desai DH, Amin SG and Chung FL. 1991. Cancer Res 51: 1846-1850.
37- Yang YM, Conaway CC, Wang CX, Dai W, Chiao JW, Albino AP and Chung FL. 2002. Cancer Res, In press.
38- Seow A, Shi C-Y, Jiao D, Hankin JH, Lee H-P, Coetzee GA and Yu M. 1998. Cancer Epid Biomark Prev 7:775-781.
39- Kumagai H, Kishima N, Seki T, Sakurai, H., Ishii K and Ariga T. 1994. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 58:2131-2135.
40- Depree JA Howard TM and Savage GP. 1999. Food Res Inter 31: 329-337.
41- Dorsch W, Adam O, Weber J. and Ziegeltrum T. 1985. Euro J Pharmacol 107: 17-25.
42- Matsuda H. 2000. Sci News 159: 29.
43- Brown PD and Morra MJ. 1997. Adv Agron 61: 167-231.
44- Ono H, Tesaki S, Tanabe S and Watanabe M. 1998. Biosci Biotech Biochem 62(2): 363-365.
45- Shin IS and Lee JM. 1998. Bull Korean Fish Soc 31: 835-841.
46- Hasegawa N, Matsumoto Y, Hoshino A and Iwashita K. 1999. Internat J Food Microbiol 49: 27-34.
47- Nakayama H, Suzuki T and Suzuki Y. 1998. Nippon Nogeikagaku Kaishi 72: 499-507.
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Why Freeze Drying vs. other less expensive drying methods?
Freeze drying, or Lyophilization is the most common processing method for removing moisture from biopharmaceuticals, and it can increase the stability, temperature tolerance, and shelf life of these products. Although Freeze drying is well established within the industry, it requires expensive equipment that takes up a great deal of space within a production facility. Freeze drying also can take days to complete, and manufacturers that need a powdered product must incorporate a granulation step to the process. In an environment where budgets are tightening, and where time and facility space are at a premium, Freeze drying might be a difficult option for some companies.
Freeze drying removes the water, not the flavor. So freeze dried foods retain virtually all their fresh food taste, vitamins and nutritional content. Weighs less than fresh Freeze dried foods have 98% of their water removed. This significantly reduces the food’s weight, making it easier to handle and less costly to transport.
Once freeze dried, food products have the following benefits:
Appearance – Freeze dried foods maintain their original shape and texture, unlike air dried foods which shrink and shrivel due to high temperature processing. Just add water and in minutes the food rehydrates to its original form.
Taste – Tastes as good as fresh. Freeze drying removes the water, not the flavor. So freeze dried foods retain virtually all their fresh food taste, vitamins and nutritional content.
Weight – Weighs less than fresh. Freeze dried foods have 98% of their water removed. This significantly reduces the food’s weight, making it easier to handle and less costly to transport.
Long Shelf Life – Freeze dried foods can be stored for months or years at room temperature without deterioration or spoilage.
Low Storage Costs – Because it can be stored at room temperature, freeze dried food does not require costly cold or chilled storage facilities, making it much cheaper to store.
Freeze Drying vs. Other Drying Methods: