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Two Surprising Benefits Of Organically Grown Herbs
By: Dr. Michael E. Rosenbaum
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Updated June 15, 2020
You've probably heard that organically grown food and herbs may be better for you. But do you know why they're so good?
Sure, organic crops have less pesticide, herbicide and fungicide residues than conventional crops. But it goes deeper than just that. Organically grown herbs and foods may be more nourishing for your body.
You Are What You Eat, Taken A Step Further!
What we eat changes the chemistry of our bodies. It's the same thing with plants. The nutritional value of the plants you eat and the powerful chemistry of the herbs you use are linked to the food they take up from the soil.
Well-tended organic soil contains helpful microbes. Synthetic fertilizers don't contain the thousands of unique molecules and trace minerals housed in good organic compost. Organic soil contains a distinctively rich environment for plants to eat and grow.
In 2004, researchers at the University of Texas published a landmark study in the Journal of American College of Nutrition. They looked at 43 different fruits and vegetables, comparing nutritional data collected in 1950 and 1999.
It turns out, the fruits and vegetables we eat today were consistently lower in nutrients than the ones from half a century ago in protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B2 and vitamin C levels.  Several factors contribute to this decline, and the researchers pointed to declining soil chemistry as a major part of the problem.
Research conducted by William Albrecht in the 1967 also showed the connection between conventional fertilizers and declining nutritional value. In his study, soybeans grown with conventional fertilizers produced more soybeans but were lower in calcium and phosphorus than soybeans grown without the conventional fertilizers.
What we're eating is losing its nutritional value when it's not raised on healthy soils. Certified organic farming requires the use of complex organic fertilizers, manure, and compost. In contrast, conventional farming usually uses no more than a simple 3-component fertilizer. These conventional fertilizers contain varying ratios of only nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Organically Raised Plants Have To Fight For Survival
Some believe that the only difference between organic and conventional produce is the different levels of pesticide residues. However, they're wrong.
The Organic Farming Research Foundation has drawn from dozens of studies to show organically grown foods have significantly higher levels of antioxidants and other unique compounds than conventional foods. For example, one study showed that organic peaches had at least 129% more antioxidants than conventionally grown peaches. And organically grown pears had as much as 315% more antioxidants than their conventional counterparts.
Why Is This?
To fend off fungus, bacteria, and viruses, plants produce their own defensive chemistry. However, when pesticides and fungicides do this work for them, plants don't have to take on this protective work as much.
Organic farmers help a little with natural, organically approved sprays. But their main defensive maneuver against plant disease is to build plants' own health and internal defenses. Nourishing soil and good cultivation methods create the best environment for growing healthy, strong plants. And when these plants are strong enough to defend themselves, they produce high levels of compounds your body can use to defend you!
One Of Our Most Powerful Herbs Is Now Organically Grown
I suspect these findings extend to herbs as well. For example, one of my favorite herbs is the adaptogenic herb eleuthero. Eleuthero works exceptionally well in supporting our bodies during occasional stress. While there isn't yet specific research available comparing organic eleuthero to conventionally grown eleuthero, there may be similar biochemical differences. And if this research on organically grown food extends to the all organically grown herbs, the advantages of using organic eleuthero may go even further.
For years, Sun Chlorella has been proud to offer high quality eleuthero tablets. Learn more about how the benefits of eleuthero have stood the test of time, and even became a closely guarded Soviet state secret.
Davis DR et al. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 23: 669-682 (2004)
Albrecht, William A. Soil Reaction (pH) and Balanced Plant Nutrition. Paper prepared for an illustrated lecture in Alamosa, Colorado, August 31, 1967.
Benbrook, C. Elevating antioxidant levels in food through organic farming and food processing. Organic Center State of Science Review. Organic Research Center. January 2005.