Juice of the yucca plant is used for health and hygiene purposes. Native to warm, arid regions of North and Central America and the West Indies, Yucca schidigera is distinguished by its natural saponin properties for reducing cholesterol, as well as other natural health remedies. Used by natives for centuries as a mild shampoo and scalp treatment as well as a treatment for arthritis pain, yucca juice continues to enjoy popularity for health benefits. Cold press is a preferred method to obtain juice from yucca stems.
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Juicing methods include cold press, twin-gear, centrifugal and masticating. Cold press juicing involves running plant material through a hydraulic press in which the material is squeezed and filtered with a sieve. Twin-gear juicers work similarly to the beaters of a mixer, with gears rotating toward each other, crushing and grinding plant material to extract juice. A centrifugal juicer has a rapidly rotating blade that breaks up plant material, which is strained to obtain the juice. Masticating juicers operate similarly to centrifugal juicers, but more slowly.
Juicing Methods Comparison
Centrifugal juicing involves generation of heat during operation of the juicer, which kills many enzymes and produces juice with lower nutrient content than non-centrifugal juicers. Juice produced through the centrifugal juicing method also has a shorter shelf life because of oxidation during the juicing process. Cold press, non-centrifugal juicing yields more juice that lasts up to 72 hours without a preservative. Non-centrifugal juicing also creates less foam, an important factor when juicing yucca because of its saponin properties that can lead to profuse, sustained foam.
Use the flowering stems and trunk of the yucca plant for juicing. Fleshy stems are washed and cut into small enough pieces to fit through the hopper of the juicer. Pure water may be added in small quantities to aid extraction of the juices and nutrients from the plant fiber. Follow instructions supplied with your juicer.
Saponins are steroidal compounds found abundantly in Yucca schidigera. Steroidal saponins are toxic. However, although fish and certain animals are highly susceptible to the toxicity of saponins, they tend to pass through the human digestive tract, precipitating beneficial effects such as lowering cholesterol, yet they are not absorbed. Ask your doctor before making dietary changes such as adding yucca juice to your diet.