Botany & Composition
Family: Solanaceae (night shade).
Lycopene, is a bright red carotenoid pigment and a powerful antioxidant derived from the tomato that is high in vitamins A,C & K. Tomatoes are perennials that grow during the warm season and reach a height of 3-4 feet tall.
Geography: Native to Western South America, and grown worldwide.
Tomatoes were grown and harvested as early as 700 BC by the Aztecs and Incas. During the 16th century, the Spanish Conquistadors brought the tomato plant north to Central America and Mexico. Europeans took tomato seeds back to Europe and the tomato became popular in the countries of Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Lycopene is a carotenoid, which is responsible for giving fruits and vegetables – especially tomatoes – their red color, and is one of the most potent antioxidants among dietary carotenoids. It is used in toners and cleansers as a and for its exfoliating properties that cleanse pores to deliver brighter, glowing skin.
Stories & Legends
The tomato has been called many names including the “apple of paradise” by Germans, the “love apple” by the French, “golden apple” by Italian herbalist Mattioli, and even “unhealthy fruit”. The British believed the tomato was poisonous because of its bright red colour and close relationship to the very toxic nightshade plant.