Despite what the name implies, Tartary Buckwheat (Fagopyrum tataricum) is not a wheat and, even though it produces a grain like seeds, it is actually a member of the rhubarb, sorrel and knotweed family which was domesticated in China’s western Yunnan province around 6000 BCE.
Today it is the staple food of the Yi tribe (inhabitants of Yunnan and Sichuan) and the primary ingredient in buckwheat noodles.
Like most quality delicacies, tartary buckwheat is difficult to cultivate – it takes more than ten days longer to grow than regular buckwheat – and flourishes best within a narrow window of ideal conditions.
Tartary Buckwheat in particular – the ingredient of Kooljoy Tea – is grown at one of the world’s highest elevations, in the cold, alpine conditions of Liangshan Mountain at heights of 3000 metres. The air is unpolluted and rich in sunlight (the nectar of the Tartary Buckwheat flower produces a superb, dark-coloured honey).
“Tartary buckwheat seeds contained more rutin (about 0.8 – 1.7% DW) than common buckwheat seeds (0.01% DW). Tartary buckwheat seeds contained traces of quercitrin and quercetin, which were not found in common buckwheat seeds.”
– The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Beyond benefits in combating blood related disorders, scientists are finding that Tartary Buckwheat is useful for the relief of osteoarthritis;
The main ingredient of bioflavonoids is rutin, also known as vitamin P which is hardly detected in most cereals. Rutin is a citrus flavonoid glycoside found in many plants including buckwheat. Tartary buckwheat seeds have been found to contain more rutin (about 0.8-1.7% dry weight) than common buckwheat seeds (0.01% dry weight). Its main function is to soften blood vessels, improve microcirculation, detox, improve blood circulation, decrease blood sugar, urine sugar and blood fat.
Tartary buckwheat contains a variety of elements which are beneficial to human health, such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc and trace element selenium, etc. Magnesium content is more than 11 times that of wheat flour, iron is 2-5 times that of other staple foods, zinc is 1.5 times or more, manganese is 1.4 times more, potassium is 2 times that of wheat, and 1.5 times of yellow cornmeal. High levels of magnesium and potassium greatly enhance the health function of buckwheat.
Buckwheat starch content is between 63.3% and 72.5%, the study has found that buckwheat starch contains a relatively high proportion of resistant starch which results in a slow release of glucose, and therefore can be used as a good diet food for diabetic patients.
Buckwheat is rich in vitamins. Vitamin B2 content is 2-10 times more than in corn flour and rice. Vitamin P can help lower body lipids and cholesterol. Therefore it plays an important role in treating high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. Especially for elderly people, Vitamin P can significantly reduce capillary fragility and permeability, and restore its elasticity. It can also help prevent strokes, maintain eye circulation, protect and improve vision. Vitamin E can help prevent oxidation and promote cell regeneration to prevent aging.
It is also known as dietary fiber. The content of cellulose is 1.6% in buckwheat, which is eight times as much as ordinary rice. It can help with bowel movements to remove toxins from the body, which is why it is also known as ‘the scavenger’ of the human digestive system.
Buckwheat has high contents of oleic and linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is one of the most important fatty acids for the human body which unfortunately cannot be synthesized naturally. It can help promote the growth and development of children. In adults, it can help prevent coronary heart diseases. Buckwheat can also help with the prevention of freckles and age spots due to the presence of skin melanin inhibiting substance (2, 4-dihydroxy-cis-cinnamic acid).
The protein content in buckwheat is approximately 11.82%, and contains 13 kinds of natural amino acids. It is lysine, arginine and histidine rich, which wheat and rice usually lack. Nearly a third of buckwheat proteins are clean-up proteins, which can clean up toxins and foreign material. Due to the arginine content, buckwheat protein can prevent an increase in body fat.