Friday, November 30, 2012

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.): The Kitchen Herb of India!

Fenugreek: One of the Healthiest Indian Spices !
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.)  is an oldest cultivated medicinal plant native to the Mediterranean countries and across Asia. It is aromatic, astringent, carminative, expectorant, mucilagenous, galactogogue and aphrodiasiac in nature. It is high in vitamins A, D, B1, B2, B3 and contains lecithinm, minerals and proteins. Owing to its excellent medicinal properties, fenugreek is used in common folk remedies for the treatment of various health ailments. Find here some of such time-tested folk remedies with fenugreek- 

Fresh Leaves of Fenugreek!
  • To treat anemia, cook fenugreek leaves and have it with meals. A tsp of fenugreek seeds can also be taken with water to cure Anemia.
  • Take a cup of fenugreek decoction with a spoonful of honey and fresh ginger juice. This formulation acts as an excellent expectorant during Asthma.
  • Soak about 10 g of fenugreek seeds overnight and consume them on an empty stomach in the morning. Soak another 10 g of fenugreek seeds in the morning and consume them half an hour before dinner. Fiber present in fenugreek swells in the stomach and gives the feeling of satiety. It is an effective remedy for Losing weight.
  • Taking a tsp of fenugreek seeds powder with curd is said to be effective in treating vaginal discharge associated with yeast infections.
  • Consuming about 50g of fenugreek seeds daily, either with water or in diet, is said to  lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of Heart attacks.
  • Mix a tsp of powdered fenugreek seeds in buttermilk. Drink the mixture to relieve  abdominal pain due to Indigestion. This remedy also works well against Diarrhea.
  • Taking about 1-2 g of fenugreek twice a day is recommended to improve milk flow in Lactating mothers.
Fenugreek Seeds are Rich in Therapeutic Properties!
  • Consuming about 2 tsp of fenugreek seeds with a tsp of honey and lemon juice, thrice a day, is known to treat Fever.
  • One of the effective remedies against acid reflux or Heartburn is to have a tsp of fenugreek seeds with juice or water before meals.
  • Consuming a tbsp of powdered fenugreek seeds with lukewarm water gives relief from Joint pains.
  • To get rid of Acne and Blackheads, apply a paste of fenugreek leaves over the face overnight. Rinse off after 10-15 min.
  • To remove Dandruff, mix about 3-5 g of fenugreek seeds powder in a cup of curd and to it, mix 1/2 tsp of lemon  juice. Apply the mixture on scalp for an hour and rinse off.
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Green Healers of India!

Herbs of Medicinal Value!

We find various herbs commonly growing around us but never take much notice of them. But you will be surprised to know and learn about their therapeutic and medicinal potentials in treating common health ailments. The Ayurvedic and the Siddha system of medicine have been incorporating such plants in treating illnesses since ages. Its time to recognize this wealth of health easily found grown in our backyards and kitchen gardens and make use of it in staying healthy.
  1. Neem is used for multi purpose remedies. This includes sprains, flu, skin diseases, heart diseases, fever, indigestion, viral infection, etc. Some serious health concerns like cancer, kidney diseases, sexually transmitted diseases are also claimed to be treated by neem extract.
  2. Basil (Tulsi) acts as blood purifier and anti bacterial. It is effective against cough & cold. Basil enhances digestion, improves appetite & increases blood circulation. Regular consumption of basil the boosts up the immune system.
  3. Peppermint is carminative, relieves muscular spasms, increases sweating, stimulates secretion of bile and is an antiseptic. It’s  therapeutic value lies in its ability to relieve wind, flatulence, bloating and colic. Studies indicate that it relieves colon spasms and helps to cure ulcers. Peppermint also eases headaches. Menthol, its main constituent, is known to have antibacterial properties.  
  4. The Indian Gooseberry is aphrodisiac, hemostatic, carminative, stomachic, diuretic and laxative. Being nutritive, it increases red blood cells count. It is one of the highest natural resources of Vitamin C (3,000 mg / fruit). 
  5. Ashoka relieves diabetes, treats dyspepsia, diseases of the blood, tumors, abdominal enlargement, colic, piles, ulcers and bone fractures as well as diarrhea & bleeding piles. The leaves of the plant has a special blood purifying property. It also serves as an excellent uterine tonic and is very useful to treat syphilis and biliousness.  
  6. Coriander leaves stimulate appetite and improves digestion. These are rich in magnesium, potassium & fibers. Regular consumption boosts immunity and purifies blood. Studies how their role in curing diabetes. 
  7. Lemon helps to control Blood Pressure, purifies blood, reduces swelling of the spleen & strengthens the immune system. It is rich in vitamins C, B, B2, and calcium & iron. The plant protects our body against germs and bacteria.  
  8. Betel leaf exhibits carminative, stimulant, astringent and aromatic properties. The leaf improves taste & appetite. Betel leaf juice is a tonic to brain, heart, liver and other internal organs. It is beneficial in improving bowel action in cases of constipation. Betel leaves juice also cures eye problems and night blindness effectively. 
  9. Peepal tree is useful in inflammations & glandular swelling of the neck. Its root bark is useful for stomatitis and in ulcers. Roots of peepal tree are good for gout. The roots when chewed are considered beneficial for treating gum diseases. Its fruit promotes digestion, checks vomiting, treats asthma & is useful in urinary troubles & heart diseases. The leaves of peepal are also used to treat constipation. 
  10. Bay has a reputation for soothing the stomach and relieving flatulence. Its leaves are known for their ability to relieve aches & pains associated with rheumatism, & for sprains, bruises, and skin rashes.  

Cure Health Ailments with Emblica officinalis (Amla)!

Emblica officinalis of the Euphorbiaceae family has aperient, antidiarrhoeal, antispasmodic, antioxidative, aphrodisiac, astringent, carminative, diuretic, expectorant and laxative properties. It has antioxidant properties due to its rich vitamin C content. It is also rich in tannins and other polyphenols, flavonoides and kaempferol. Amla has been used to treat various health-related problems dating back centuries. Learn more about the herbal remedies with amla in curing some of the common diseases of the modern world.
Emblica officinalis: A Health Booster!

  • Acidity: Powder dry amla fruits, and add a pinch of asafetida and rock salt to it. Take a tsp of the mixture with lukewarm water after meals.
  • Asthma: Mix powdered amla (1 tbsp), mulethi  roots (4 tbsp), guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) stems (2 tbsp), ginger roots (1/2 tbsp), harra fruits (1tbsp), nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundusroots (1tbsp) and chirchira (Achyranthes aspera) leaves (1/2 tbsp). A tsp of the same should be taken after meals with water.
  • Arthritis: Prepare a mixture of amla fruit powder (1 tbsp), pipli (Piper longumfruits (1 tbsp), kantakari (Solanum virginianumwhole plant (1 tbsp), ashwagandha roots (1 tbsp), harra (Terminalia chebula) fruits (1 tbsp), bahera (Terminalia belliricafruits (1 tbsp), kachur (Curcuma zedoariaroots (1 tbsp) and eranda (Ricinus communisroots (1 tbsp). Take a tsp of the preparation with lukewarm water before meals.
  • Indigestion: Prepare a mixture of amla (2 tbsp) with Isubgol (Plantago ovate) husk (2 tbsp), harra fruits (1 1/2 tbsp), kalinga (Holarrhena pubescens) bark (1 tbsp) and swarnamukhi (Cassia senna) leaves (2 tbsp). Administer a tbsp before going to bed.
  • Dysentery: A teaspoon of dried amla fruit powder taken with equal proportions of harra powder is said to be effective against dysentery.
  • Healthy hairSoak two tablespoons each of powdered amla and reetha (Sapindus emarginatus) fruits overnight. Next morning, use it for hair wash. This formulation is also known to strengthen the hair roots and make hair healthy.
  • Immunity: Shade dry and powder amla fruits. Store the prepared powder in an air-tight container. Drinking a tsp of amla powder with water every day helps improve immunity.
  • Skin problems: Mix powdered amla fruits (1 tbsp) with neem bark (1tbsp) and a pinch of turmeric. Apply a paste of this herbal preparation over the affected skin.
  • Diabetes: Mix a tbsp of amla fruit juice in a cup of fresh bitter gourd juice. Have it daily for two months to control diabetes.
  • Throat infection: Mix powdered amla (1 tbsp) with mulethiroots (3 tbsp), pipli  fruits (1 tbsp), harra fruits (1 tbsp), kungyi (Sida cordifolia) roots (1 tbsp) and bahera fruits (1 tbsp). One tspof the formulation can be administered twice a day with water.
  • Weight loss: Prepare a mixture of powdered amla (1 tbsp), gokshura (Tribulus terrestris) fruits (2 tbsp), harra fruits (2 tbsp) and ginger roots (1 tbsp). A tbsp of the mixture can be taken with warm water after meals.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tinospora cordifolia : A Versatile Rejuvenating Herb!

Tinospora cordifolia, a member of the Menispermaceae family, is a glabrous climbing shrub, typically found growing in deciduous and dry forests. Commonly known as Guduchi, the plant is indigenous to the tropical areas of India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. It is a perennial deciduous twine with succulent stem and papery bark.  The herb bears paripinnate leaves and yellow flowers.

Tinospora cordifolia : A Versatile Rejuvenating Herb!
The medicinal and therapeutic properties are owing to its constituents such as giloin, gilenin, cordifol, heptacosanol, tinosporin, tinosporide, tinosporic acid, tinosporol, Tinosporidine, and sitosterol found in different parts of the plant.

The root, stems, and leaves of T. cordifolia are used for medicinal purpose. Guduchi is mentioned in Ayurvedic literature as a constituent of several compound formulations used to treat dyspepsia, general debility, fever, and urinary diseases. It is claimed to be useful in treating leprosy, asthma, anorexia, jaundice, gonorrhea, gout, skin infections, diabetes, chronic diarrhea, and dysentery. 
Tinospora cordifolia
The plant is used in preparing Rasayanas for enhancing the immune system and the body’s resistance against infections. In traditional folk medicines, it is used to treat burning, general debility, leucorrhea, cough, bone fracture, ear pain, asthma, skin disease, and snake & insect bite. In compound formulations, Guduchi is clinically used to treat diabetes, jaundice & rheumatoid arthritis. 

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): The Health Booster!

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): The Health Booster!

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) of the Solanaceae family, is said to be a most potential herb for general toning of the body and improving immunity. Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means 'horse smell', probably due to the odour of its root which gives out the smell of that of a sweaty horse. Its useful parts are seeds, roots and the leaves. This small perennial plant is a native to India, Pakistan, Srilanka and Bangladesh.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

The herb is bitter in taste, germicidal, aphrodisiac and diuretic. It is one of the well known valuable herbs reputed to cure cough, fever, ulcers, dropsy, impotency, insomnia, rheumatism, leukoderma and toxicosis. It is also known to increase physical endurance and improve nerve function. It is also known to regenerate the hormonal system and promote healing of tissues. Also, Ashwagandha is known inhibit the aging process and is prescribed in all general debilities.

The extract obtained from the herb is used in the preparation of chavanaprash, herbal tea, tablets and syrups. Dried roots of the plant are used as a tonic for cold and cough, hiccup, ulcers, female disorders as well as a sedative. The leaves of Ashwagandha are used to treat inflammation and swellings. Clinical research supports the use of Ashwagandha for anxiety, cognitive, inflammation & Parkinson's disease. Experimental studies have also proposed its anti-tumorigenic and anti-inflammatory role in rodents and other mammalian systems. 

The herb is characterized by the presence of alkaloids and withanoloids which impart its pharmacological and therapeutic properties.Ashwagandha roots are reported to contain more than 30 steroidal lactones and about 20 alkaloids. Many of the chemical constituents have been investigated for different biological activities. All experimental studies and clinical trials clearly show why Ayurveda has such a high opinion of Ashwagandha as a  health booster.
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