Botanical Name(s): Fagopyrum Esculentum
Species: F. esculentum
Popular Name(s): Buckwheat
Parts Used: Buckwheat, Bucwheat Hulls
Habitat: Native to Central and Northern Asia
The name 'buckwheat' or "beech wheat" comes from the triangular seeds of the herb, which resemble the much larger seeds of the beechnut from the beech tree. Buckwheat is a short season crop that does well in poor acidic soils, but the soil must be well drained. Too much fertilizer, especially nitrogen, will greatly reduce yields. In hot climates, it can be grown only by sowing late, so that it will bloom in cooler weather. Buckwheat is sometimes used as a green manure, as a plant for erosion control, or as wildlife cover and feed.
Salicylaldehyde (2-hydroxybenzaldehyde) is a characteristic component of buckwheat aroma. 2, 5-dimethyl-4-hydroxy-3(2H)-furanone, (E,E)-2,4-decadienal, phenylacetaldehyde, 2-methoxy-4-vinylphenol, hexanal and (E)-2-nonenal, decanal are other compounds that account for the aroma of the herb. Starch, proteins, minerals, and antioxidants are the other compounds find in it.
Uses & Benefits of Buckwheat
Buckwheat, best taken as tea or tablet, is used for a wide range of circulatory problems. Its most important quality, in terms of pain relief, is that the material conforms to the exact contours of the head and neck, providing a compliant passive support. The plant contains rutin, a medicinal chemical that serves to strengthen the capillary walls and reduce hemorrhaging instances in people suffering from high blood pressure. The chemical also increases microcirculation in patients of chronic venous insufficiency. D-chiro-inositol, contained in buckwheat, is also supposed to be beneficial in type-2 diabetes. A protein found in the plant binds the cholesterol tightly. The protein is being studied for its effects on reducing plasma cholesterol in people who suffer from its excess.
Buckwheat seed is also used for making flour. It is similar to the sunflower seed, with a single seed inside a solid outer hull. The starchy endosperm is used to make flour. The seed coat is green or tan in color, which accounts for the dark color of buckwheat flour. This black wheat is used to make a variety of dishes in various countries of Western Asia and Eastern Europe.
Buckwheat hull is used to fill a range of upholstered goods, such as pillows and zafu. The hull is durable, and as compared to the synthetic drills, it reflects less heat. In fact, buckwheat hull has, sometimes, been marketed as an alternative natural fill in pillows, for those who suffer from allergies.
Buckwheat has been used as a gluten-free substitute grain in beer. It can be used in the same way as barley, to produce malt that can form the basis of a beer-brewing mash, which doesn’t contain gliadin or hordein. The beer made from buckwheat is suitable for coeliacs or others, who are sensitive to certain glycoproteins.