How did sunflowers originate?

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Sunflowers are native to both North and South America, where indigenous people were the first to cultivate them. Sunflowers have been cultivated for more than 5,000 years by the Native Americans, who used all the parts of the plant for various purposes, such as oil sources and dye pigments. The Spanish explorers took the sunflower back to Europe, from which it extended its beauty to adjoining countries.

Today, sunflower oil is one of the most popular oils in the world. The world's leading commercial producers of sunflower seeds are the Russian Federation, Spain, Argentina, France, China, Peru, and the United States. In the United States, North Dakota, Minnesota, and California are the leading producers.

Considered to be the most "cheerful" flower in the world, the sunflower is a symbol of light, hope, and innocence. The U.S. state of Kansas adopted the sunflower as its state flower, while Russia considers the sunflower its national flower. However, some U.S. farmers inexplicably thought otherwise and considered the sunflower a weed; in fact, in 1972 the state of Iowa officially declared the sunflower a "noxious weed."
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Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.