Courtesy of Vicki Cheeseman – When you were a kid, did you ever sneak a taste of grass?
Or a tiny bit of a plant or dirt?
You know, if the dog eats it, why can’t we, right?
A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE spoke of a new scientific analysis of skeletons of ancient people living in Sudan 2,000 years ago.
The people were eating a tuber known as purple nutsedge – one of the world’s worst weeds – and not giving it a second thought.
This nasty weed is highly resistant to herbicides and spreads underground as if on a mission, yet it has been shown to slow the growth of bacteria widely implicated in tooth decay.
When scientists delved deeper into their study of ancient life, they found that the early human population generally had relatively few cavities, partially due to the fact that their diet was light on carbs and heavier on meat.
The antibacterial properties of the nutsedge may also have had a hand in helping boost the oral health of the people; much is still unknown.
Further back … thousands of years ago – 8,700, to be exact – even before farming, analysis shows that ancient people in Sudan likewise consumed purple nutsedge, probably as food. Researchers speculate that the weed could have served as both a nutritious meal and a primitive antibacterial medicine. They surmise that since medicine doesn’t usually taste good, the bitter-tasting weed would indeed fit the bill. Summed up, just like today, what we eat has a definite effect on our oral health.
To read more about how weeds helped ancient people, visit Vicki Cheeseman’s article at: http://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2014/08/how-weeds-may-have-helped-prevent-tooth-decay-in-ancient-people.html