The green color we associate with plants is due to the presence of chlorophyll, an amazing substance that makes life on planet earth possible. Chlorophyll makes it possible for plants to capture light energy from the sun to produce carbohydrates, the basic energy source for people and animals. Chlorophyll has been called the green “blood” of plants and is believed to be a tonic to help build up blood in humans and animals.
This idea comes from the similarities between the chlorophyll and hemoglobin molecules. The central structure of both is a series of carbon rings with hydrogens in the center. In chlorophyll, the center of this ring is occupied by a molecule of magnesium. In the heme structure of hemoglobin, the center is occupied by a molecule of iron. While the structures are similar, they are not identical, and there is no scientific evidence that chlorophyll aids in the production of hemoglobin.
You can see the two molecules compared in the illustration on the right. I’ve highlighted the magnesium molecule in the center of chlorophyll in green and the iron molecule in the center of hemoglobin in red. You can see how these molecules are bound at the center of a ring of nitrogen molecules (N), which are surrounded by rings of carbon atoms. There is also a 3D rendition of the chlorophyll molecule farther down the page. You can also see that the two molecules are different enough, that chlorophyll wouldn’t automatically be turned into hemoglobin.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Chlorophyll is one of the nutrients we obtain when we eat green leafy vegetables, something that just about every nutritionist on the plant will advise as being food for us. Because chlorophyll is based on magnesium, greens are a good source of this mineral, a mineral in which most people are deficient. Experts estimate that at least 70% of the population doesn’t get enough of this very important mineral, which aids energy production in the mitochondria of our cells, helps the liver detoxify, aids regularity, relaxes muscle spasms and aids nerve function.
Natural chlorophyll is a fat soluble substance, which is why a person can get grass stains on their clothes. One can get this natural chlorophyll from Nature’s Sunshine in gel cap form. The Chlorophyll Capsules will act as a mild laxative and help relax muscle because of their magnesium content. However, since natural chlorophyll is not water soluble it must be altered to make liquid chlorophyll.
Liquid chlorophyll is derived from alfalfa leaves. The chlorophyll is extracted from the leaf juice and the magnesium molecule is replaced with a molecule of copper at the center. Sodium is also added to the arrangement. This substance, known as sodium copper chlorophyllin is depicted on the left. I’ve highlighted the copper molecule (Cu) in orange and the sodium molecules (Na) in yellow. This is the form of chlorophyll found in Nature’s Sunshine’s Liquid Chlorophyll and Chlorophyll ES.
I’ve shown these illustrations to help dispel a couple of myths I’ve heard people repeat about chlorophyll over the years. First, liquid chlorophyll products are NOT a source of magnesium. However, they are a good copper supplement. Second, chlorophyll is not rich in minerals. While it’s true that alfalfa is rich in minerals, liquid chlorophyll is NOT alfalfa juice. It’s simply chlorophyll that has been extracted from alfalfa. So you can’t ascribe all the properties of alfalfa or even natural chlorophyll to liquid chlorophyll.
Properties of Liquid Chlorophyll
There is surprisingly little research that has been done on the properties of sodium copper chlorophyllin. However, here are some of the things that have been studied.
In 1994, The American Association for Cancer Research found that chlorophyll has the capability to ward off cancer-causing agents within the body. Some of the carcinogens chlorophyll has the ability to combat include benzopyrene (associated with tobacco smoke) and certain carbamates (elements found in insecticides that result in convulsions and death in lab rats). Upon oral administration of chlorophyll, there was a significant drop in the incidence of cancerous growths.
Oregon State University and the University of Hawaii found that chlorophyll inhibits an amine from fried foods, an element that has been found to instigate cancers within the mammary glands and the liver in human subjects. Chlorophyll also has some antioxidant effects that may decrease oxidative damage from radiation and carcinogens.
Chorophyll has been used to reduce body odor. It was found in the 1940s and 50s that applying chlorophyllin to wounds had a deodorizing effect on foul-smelling wounds. It was subsequently used orally to reduce fecal and urinary odor. Research has yielded mixed results in testing this hypothesis, but many people have subjectively noticed a drop in body odor from taking chlorophyll. Pet owners have also reported that adding chlorophyll to a pet’s drinking water results in less odors from pets. People also take it during cleansing programs to reduce odors from detoxification.
Research going back to the 1940s showed that chlorophyll could aid in wound healing. It slows the growth of anaerobic bacteria and accelerated the healing of wounds.
Although I don’t have any research backing this up, people who do live blood cell analysis have reported to me that chlorophyll reduces agglutination (stickiness which causes the clumping of red blood cells). This reduces the tendency toward clotting, while increasing oxygen uptake in the blood.
Also not well researched is the idea that chlorophyll is alkalizing to the body, although experientially this seems to be true. Chorophyll does appear to increase oxygenation in the blood, too. One of my midwife friends used it a lot during labor to help bring up a woman’s energy and reduce fetal distress. It also seems to act as a good pregnancy tonic.
Take 1-2 capsules of chlorophyll two or three times daily or put 1-2 teaspoons of liquid chlorophyll in a large glass of water or juice and drink as often as desired. Many people regularly add liquid chlorophyll to their own drinking water and that of their children and pets. I’ve used vitamin C ascorbates (powdered vitamin C) with liquid chlorophyll in a glass of water for a quick energy pick-me-up. Another great energy pick-me-up is a mixture of Chlorophyll ES with Thai-Go or Herbal Punch.
Regular liquid chlorophyll has peppermint oil and a preservative in it. The peppermint oil makes it a good carminative for indigestion, bloating and gas. Chlorophyll ES has double the amount of chlorophyll in it, plus no preservatives. It is preserved with glycerine and has spearmint oil in it. It is not quite as effective as a carminative, but the glycerin gives it a slightly sweet and more pleasant flavor.
The Comprehensive Guide to Nature’s Sunshine Products by Tree of Light Publishing