Carrot (Daucus carota)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Alpha-carotene, anthocyanins, beta-carotene, carotenoid, carotenoids, carrot cake, carrot jam, carrot juice, carrot puree, carrot soup, Daucus carota, dietary fiber, grated carrots, lycopene, lycopene red carrots, myristicin, purple carrots, red carrots, Umbelliferae (family), vitamin A, white carrots.
Carrot (Daucus carota) is a well-known root vegetable. The thick tap root's color can range from white to orange to red or purple. This change in color represents the nutrients in the carrot because some pigments, such as beta-carotene and lycopene, are also nutrients.
Carrot probably originated around Afghanistan where there is the greatest variety of carrots today. Usually only the root is consumed, although the leaves are also edible. Although primarily used as a food source, carrots have also traditionally been used to treat infantile diarrhea. Carrot roots have been used to treat digestive problems, intestinal parasites, and tonsillitis. Other potential uses include vitamin A deficiency, antioxidant activity, constipation, and anemia. More research is need in all of these areas as the currently available research is of low quality.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
A carrot-rice based rehydration solution may decrease the duration of diarrhea when compared to two conventional rehydration solutions. However, more research is needed.
Carrot ingestion may have antioxidant activity, although more research is needed in this area.
Vitamin A deficiency
Carrot jam may improve growth in young children with vitamin A deficiency. Although the results seem promising, more research is needed.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Anemia (red blood cell deficiency), cancer, constipation, deficiency (zinc), diabetes, fertility, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorders, immunomodulation, intestinal parasites, menopausal symptoms, tonsillitis, vitamin C deficiency.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (over 18 years old)
There is no proven effective dose for carrots. However, 100 grams of grated carrots daily for 60 days has been used to improve vitamin A status in breastfeeding women in one study.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven effective dose for carrots in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to carrot. Carrot pollen contains an allergen that is similar to the birch pollen allergens. Because of this similarity, patients allergic to birch pollen may have allergic reactions to carrot as well. Several other plants also have similar allergens, including apples, stone fruits, celery, carrot, nuts, orange, lychee fruit, strawberry, persimmon, zucchini, mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), pear, potato, spices, nuts, mustard, Leguminoseae vegetables, and soybeans. Food allergy symptoms include hives, swelling, skin rashes, asthma, diarrhea, or anaphylactic reactions.
Side Effects and Warnings
Carrot is likely safe when taken in food amounts but, carrot products should not be used excessively in nursing bottles for small children as they are likely unsafe.
Carrot food allergy symptoms include hives, swelling, skin rashes, asthma, diarrhea, or anaphylactic reactions.
Compulsive carrot eating is a rare condition in which the patient craves carrots. Withdrawal symptoms include nervousness, cravings, insomnia, water brash, and irritability.
Use cautiously in patients with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), diabetes, hormone-sensitive conditions, or bowel obstruction.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Carrot, as an herbal medicine, in not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of scientific research. Carrot juice may alter the flavor of breast milk. Eating grated carrots may improve vitamin A and iron levels in the blood of breastfeeding mothers at risk of deficiency.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Consumption of processed and cooked carrots may alter blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or taking blood sugar-altering medications.
A carrot-rice based rehydration solution may cause diarrhea in children. Caution is advised in patients taking antidiarrheal medications due to conflicting effects.
Several studies in humans suggest that carrot juice may interact with antioxidants. Caution is advised in patients taking antioxidant medications due to possible additive effects.
Although not well studied in humans, carrot extracts may have hormonal effects. Caution is advised in patients taking hormones due to possible additive effects.
Preliminary evidence suggests that consumption of carrots may increase fecal bulking/weight and dry matter. Caution is advised in patients taking laxatives due to possible additive effects.
Preliminary evidence suggests that consumption of carrots may increase gastrointestinal transit time. Caution is advised in patients taking any medications by mouth.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
A carrot-rice based solution may cause diarrhea in children and therefore, caution is advised in patients taking antidiarrheal herbs or supplements due to conflicting effects.
Several studies in humans suggest that carrot juice may interact with antioxidants. Caution is advised in patients taking other herbs or supplements with antioxidant activity due to possible additive effects.
Consumption of processed and cooked carrots may alter blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients taking blood sugar-altering herbs or supplements.
Preliminary evidence suggests that consumption of carrots may increase fecal bulking/weight and dry matter. Caution is advised in patients taking laxative herbs or supplements due to possible additive effects.
Ingestion of grated carrots may increase iron, zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin C levels in the blood. Combined use with iron supplements or multivitamins may have additive effects.
Preliminary evidence suggests that consumption of carrots may increase gastrointestinal transit time. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements by mouth.
Although not well studied in humans, carrot extracts may have hormonal effects. Caution is advised in patients on hormone therapy or taking hormonal supplements.
Based on a clinical study in breastfeeding women, ingestion of grated carrots may increase serum levels.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Agte V, Jahagirdar M, Chiplonkar S. GLV supplements increased plasma beta-carotene, vitamin C, zinc and hemoglobin in young healthy adults. Eur J Nutr 2006;45(1):29-36. View Abstract
Briviba K, Schnabele K, Rechkemmer G, et al. Supplementation of a diet low in carotenoids with tomato or carrot juice does not affect lipid peroxidation in plasma and feces of healthy men. J Nutr 2004;134(5):1081-1083. View Abstract
Bub A., Barth SW, Watzl B, et al. Paraoxonase 1 Q192R (PON1-192) polymorphism is associated with reduced lipid peroxidation in healthy young men on a low-carotenoid diet supplemented with tomato juice. Br J Nutr 2005;93(3):291-297. View Abstract
Cardinault N, Tyssandier V, Grolier P, et al. Comparison of the postprandial chylomicron carotenoid responses in young and older subjects. Eur J Nutr 2003;42(6):315-323. View Abstract
Donaldson MS, Speight N, Loomis S. Fibromyalgia syndrome improved using a mostly raw vegetarian diet: an observational study. BMC Complement Altern Med 2001;1:7. View Abstract
el Arab AE, Khalil F, Hussein L. Vitamin A deficiency among preschool children in a rural area of Egypt: the results of dietary assessment and biochemical assay. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2002;53(6):465-474. View Abstract
Gerrish CJ, Mennella JA. Flavor variety enhances food acceptance in formula-fed infants. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;73(6):1080-1085. View Abstract
Horvitz MA, Simon PW, Tanumihardjo SA. Lycopene and beta-carotene are bioavailable from lycopene 'red' carrots in humans. Eur J Clin Nutr 2004;58(5):803-811. View Abstract
Kurilich AC, Clevidence BA, Britz SJ, et al. Plasma and urine responses are lower for acylated vs nonacylated anthocyanins from raw and cooked purple carrots. J Agric Food Chem 8-10-2005;53(16):6537-6542. View Abstract
Moller P, Loft S. Oxidative DNA damage in human white blood cells in dietary antioxidant intervention studies. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76(2):303-310. View Abstract
Ncube TN, Greiner T, Malaba LC, et al. Supplementing lactating women with pureed papaya and grated carrots improved vitamin A status in a placebo-controlled trial. J Nutr 2001;131(5):1497-1502. View Abstract
Thurmann PA, Steffen J, Zwernemann C, et al. Plasma concentration response to drinks containing beta-carotene as carrot juice or formulated as a water dispersible powder. Eur J Nutr 2002;41(5):228-235. View Abstract
Tyssandier V, Reboul E, Dumas JF, et al. Processing of vegetable-borne carotenoids in the human stomach and duodenum. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2003;284(6):G913-G923. View Abstract
Vieths S, Scheurer S, Ballmer-Weber B. Current understanding of cross-reactivity of food allergens and pollen. Ann NY Acad Sci 2002;964:47-68. View Abstract
Watzl B, Bub A, Briviba K, et al. Supplementation of a low-carotenoid diet with tomato or carrot juice modulates immune functions in healthy men. Ann Nutr Metab 2003;47(6):255-261. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017