Pistachio: Potent Medicine for Heart and Airway

For thousands of years Ayurvedic medicine has utilized the galls of the pistachio tree to treat asthma, skin conditions and heart conditions. Now science is showing us the proof.

In Hawaii and parts of Asia, there is a local term for the activity of partially cracked shells and seeds of pistachio nuts along with a few other notable seeds such as apricot: “Crack seed.”

One might appreciate the term “crack” with the fact that these nuts – together with the surrounding partially opened shell – are typically roasted and nicely flavored with salts and spices. They can be, well, sort of addictive, and the sweet-salty flavor of the shell often rivals the rich taste of the nut meat inside.

My point? Well, for starters, new research is finding that the galls and shells of the humble pistachio seed contain a special biochemical that has become of interest to pharmaceutical researchers.

It gets more interesting when we find that pistachio galls have been used for thousands of years inAyurvedic medicine.

But why is pistachio research so important to pharmaceutical companies? Because a particular substance in pistachios blocks enzymes called phosphodiesterases. Phosphodiesterases are enzymes that will break apart phosphodiesters.

What’s the big deal about phosphodiesters?

It just so happens that practically every protein is assembled using a phosphodiester backbone. This means that an enzyme that breaks apart phosphodiesters can really interrupt our metabolism.

Now not all phosphodiesterases are necessarily bad. In fact, our bodies produce and utilize these enzymes to help control and regulate processes. They are also used to help signal the ending and beginning of certain metabolic processes.

But phosphodiesterases are also involved in a number of disease symptoms and metabolic problems. This is why pharmaceutical companies are so interested in what are called selective phosphodiesterase-inhibitors.

Read more