Sezione Medicina

from Leadership Medica n. 7/2000

An old mot from Moscow was entitled to the “Inconsolable humorist “: A humorist appears inside a shop of seeds and asks: “Do you have rice?”

“Surely!” they answer. “You, at least,” he whispers tossing his head and drawing back. It's a gag very few laughing stimulating, as very few rice there is in the so advertised “rice oils “ a fresh fashion, launched by conferences and press releases, articles and corresponding advertising. Maybe it's so “alternative”, it's so “natural”, it's so “oriental chic”, maybe it's so “new age”, of so an appealing taste of medical-healthy, it maybe does everything you want, make of it all what you want. For me it's enough that it DOES NOT COME FROM RICE, if for 'rice' you mean as the 99,999999 per cent people means, the grains of rice. No:

the oil rice is derived - by thermo-chemical processes such to make all the macrobiotics, worthy of respect, wrinkle their nose - from the trash of rice winnowing that is from the grains' skin.

An overview (anthological) of the scientific-medical articles describing its preparation will allow a more careful information and meditation. This way we learn that: “the rice oil (for nourishment and cosmetics) is the result of a technology set out in Japan in the seventies: after separating the caryopsis, husk is exposed for few minutes to a high temperature (95°-105° C) in order to deactivate the enzymes that provoke the degradation of the fat acids; later they are dried till reaching 6-7 per cent dump.

So they go on pressing its and subjecting to rectification to ensure to the rice oil the highest purity, indispensable requirement for a functional food”. “Make smoke!”: that's the order of the ancient steam navy, gave to the to stokers down in the engine room, so to achieve the “smoke curtains “ get thicker and get confused this way the enemy that by manoeuvring the draught of the funnels. Here the predestined to be leaded astray seems to be just the consumer. With whom we deal here, because they are the supporters of the rice oil to give us space, by destining with clear letters their product to “patients” and “pharmacies” because it's a “system that makes therapy “. So it deals fully with whom deals with the “Health of the Health system “. Indeed we read in the pages of the “Information reserved to physicians “, that the RICE OIL plays an effective therapeutic role by introducing naturally it in the patient's nourishment habits “.

We leave to the acumen of the reader the analysis of the ambiguous meaning of this smoky “naturally” put wisely here. But now let's try to lift the semantic smoke at least, that is of little words and great words threw out just to make smoke. “Functional food” is used for “the foods that have natural active ingredients having concrete pharmaco-dinamic properties and documented preventive effects and/or therapeutic effects for certain pathologies “.

Passim. “Caryopsis “ insinuates mortal assonances, evoking the image of an inexorable insect devoted to rot and oxidise the health of what he rots, a “woodworm of health “, that to make healthy the rice oil is (luckily!) set apart for principle and since the beginning. Indeed - the explanation results unequivocal - the rice oil extraction is made “after setting apart the caryopsis “. Since the “caryopsis “ is not other but the grain, if it is not made of grains (called “caryopsis “ so it is less noted, and further ...and then the amid oil...), of what is done this rice oil? More clearly, some of the scientific works mentioned and deserved to physicians, write about rice bran oil “.

Meaning this case, since that with rice it is not made mainly flour, not the residual of milling but the residual of husking. Remembered the evangelic “separating the grain from ryegrass “, let's go on our navigation on board of the dictionary to disentangle from the smoke curtains round the “rice oil”. So “Husking: winnowing of the paddy from the husk”; “Husk: a by-product of the husking, constituted by the leaves that envelope the grains; symbol of physical and moral weakness: 'he's a husk man'”. With the “husk” we are still there, since it is the “trash represented by the envelope of the grains, specially cereals “.

Summing up: while rice grains (so to not understand well, pointed out as “caryopsis “) are normally traded, with the residual from their husking and winnowing, the husk and the hull, residuals to which belong in a very little percentage also (they say minimally also) the embryo of the grain (I beg your pardon: of the caryopsis), the germen, the oil of rice is produced. Husk and hull are indeed overheated (“toasted”), so dehumified and finally pressed and depurated for the rectification, usually with chemical solvents as for the refuses of processed olives oil, to which the “rice oil “ (that it would be clearer to point at as “oil of rice bran”) must be, by a productive point of view, related to. All that in order to the clearness about the origin of the “rice oil “.

About the therapeutic effects declared in the “information reserved to physicians “ - where one reads, “it reduces up to 40 per cent the cholesterol bond to the LDL and the concentration of the Apolipoproteins B” and “the tryglicerids in the haematic circulation till 25 per cent” - we have no means to tell about.

We may just note that the related, very serious scientific works recalled expressly in library are: Nicolosi and others: “Lipoproteins levels in monkeys nourished with a rice oil containing diet “; “Circulation” 88, 1989 and Sasaki/ Takada/ Honda/ Kusada/ Tanabe/ Matsunaga and Arakava, “Effects of the gamma-orizanolo in lipids and serum apoliproteins in schizophrenic hyperlipidemics administered with major tranquillizer “; Clin. Therapeutics 12, 1990. We won't surely be us to make racism against our strict relatives and biological stand-ins laboratory monkeys, about whose most vegetarian frame lipidic metabolism, notwithstanding, we recall attention. And less we would make racism against the poor schizophrenic hyperlipidemics undergoing heavy pharmacological therapies. But about the interactions between narcoleptics drugs and their neurovegetative metabolic activity, we have some meaningful perplexity. Did you laugh? I would say not.

Sergio Angeletti