I’ve recently been reading an excellent article by Colin Tudge about the inclusion of many of what I call the ‘lost nutrients’ – and that Colin calls ‘cryptonutrients’ – in our modern diets. You can read his article by clicking on this link.
This subject has nagged at me for years, coming at the intersection of my experiments in eating only wild food, with my work as a research herbalist looking into plant phytochemistry (the natural compounds that plants create), and my interests in anthropology and ethnobotany. We know that plants contain hundreds of chemicals and that, sometimes, these are unique to each species or at least its genus. In large doses they have medicinal effect. For example: Scutellarin from the skullcaps Scutellaria species. Turmeric, a common spice contains well over 230 identified compounds, including curcumin.