Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Healing Herb of India: Carica papaya (Papaya)

Papaya tree
The Healing Herb of India: Carica papaya 
Carica papaya L. (Caricaceae family) is cultivated throughout India, in many places as commercial crop. It is a small, soft wooded, plant with straight trunk without branches that grows to a height up to 8m. The leaves are deeply lobed with long, hollow petioles. Inflorescence bears unisexual white or yellowish white flowers. It bears green fruits when immature, which turn yellow when ripe. The hollow of fruit contains bright orange flesh with small black seeds clustered in the center.

Papaya fruit is a rich source of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids, the B vitamins, folate, pantothenic acid, minerals (potassium, magnesium and fiber). Latex found in the unripe fruit contains enzymes like papain, peptides and chymopapain A and B.  In this post, learn about various health benefits and remedies with papaya:

Papaya Fruit
Carica papaya 

Skin and Hair
Topical application of papaya fruit pulp is found beneficial in removing tanning, sunburn and age spots. Owing to the high levels of alpha hydroxy acids and papain enzyme, regular application of fruit pulp helps reduce wrinkles and fine lines from the skin. A face pack prepared from the fruit pulp also helps to get rid of pimples and ugly scars. Applying 1 tsp of papaya latex (diluted with water) on the scalp twice a week helps to eradicate head lice completely. Applying latex of the plant on the affected area thrice daily cures ring worms.

Stomach Related Ailments
For constipation, consuming a bowl of papaya fruit would prove to be beneficial. Colon infection can also be treated by regularly having papaya fruit juice. For improving appetite, take 2-3 drops of papaya latex with water in the morning. Eating fruit pulp with a pinch black salt and black pepper, controls windiness in stomach. Chewing or swallowing the seeds of papaya with honey, after meals helps expel worms. Administering 30 drops of raw papaya latex diluted with 1 tsp of water and taken with a little milk, cures dysentery.

Weight Loss
Papaya is a low calorie fruit with high fiber content. Eating a bowl of ripe papaya as mid time snacks helps to feel full for a longer period of time. This keeps you satisfied, curbs the hunger cravings, and keeps you from overeating. The digestive enzymes papain and chymonpapain found in papaya are known to cleanse your digestive tract, further supporting fat loss. 

Papaya can treat fevers too. Drinking 1 tsp juice of young leaves of papaya in a cup of water is an effective treatment for fever. This also treats vomiting, headache and inflammation accompanying fever. One should take this medication thrice daily for 3-5 days for complete cure.

Administering about 30 drops of the latex of the unripe fruit in half a cup of water and added sugar controls liver dysfunction causing jaundice. Take this formulation thrice daily for 5 days; reduce the dose to twice a day for next one week.

Cardiovascular Diseases
Papaya is a rich source of vitamins and soluble dietary fibers. Studies have shown that eating papaya fruit daily works to lower high cholesterol levels and provides protection against heart related ailments.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Tree of Life: Peepal (Ficus religious)

Peepal (Ficus religious) is a native to the Indian sub-continent. It is also found inhabiting Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet and China as well. It is a large deciduous tree with the wonderful wide spreading branches. Its bark is light gray and peels in patches. The leaves are cordate; fruits are small figs about 1 cm in diameter. It is one of the longest living trees. 

Peepal, Ficus religious
The Tree of Life- Peepal 
The peepal is the first-known depicted tree in India! A seal discovered at Mohenjodaro, one of the cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation (c. 3000 BC - 1700 BC), shows the peepal tree being worshipped in those days. During the Vedic period, its wood was used to make fire by friction. 

Hindus in India holds the great spiritual regard for the peepal tree, they regard it as the tree beneath which Lord Vishnu was born. The peepal is also sacred to Buddhists, because the Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment under it. Hence it is also called the Bodhi tree or 'tree of enlightenment'. Peepal is known by various names such as the Bo-Tree, Bodhi, Arani, Ashvattha, Bodhidruma, Beepul, Pipers, Pipalla, Pimpal, Sacred fig and Shuchidruma.

Peepal tree is of great medicinal value and is extensively used in Ayurveda. Almost all parts of the tree such as bark, leaves, shoots, fruit, seeds and latex are used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. Some of the compounds found in the tree are steroids, tannins, flavonoids, saponins, terpenoids and cardiac glycosides. Other bio-chemicals include vitamin K1, bergapten, bergaptol, lanosterol, B-sitosterol, stigmasterol, lupen-3-one, B-sitosterol-d-glucoside, leucocyanidin-3-0-B-D-glucopyrancoside, leucopelargondin-3-0-B-D-glucopyranoside, lupeol, lupeol acetate, leucopelargonidin-3-0-A-L-rhamnopyranoside, ceryl behenate, A-amyrin acetate, leucoanthocyanidin, leucoanthocyanin, stigmasterol, campestrol, isofucosterol, tannic acid, A-amyrin, arginine, serine, aspartic acid, glycine, threonine, proline, alanine, methionine, valine, tyrosine, tryptophan, isoleucine and leucine, etc.

Peepal, Ficus religious
Owing to its active components, Peepal is believed to cure diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, gonorrhea, gastrohelcosis, neuralgia and inflammations. Its leaves serve as a wonderful laxative as well as tonic for the body. It is especially useful for patients suffering from jaundice. It helps to control the excessive amount of urine released during jaundice. Peepal leaf is also considered valuable in the treatment of various kinds of skin disorders and heart diseases.

Peepal leaves are of great use in getting rid of mumps, boils and keep a check on pus formation. The leaves are also used as the ear drops as well as for healing the wounds. The bark of the tree is useful in inflammations and glandular swelling of the neck. Its root is beneficial in curing stomatitis, ulcers as well as gout. The roots of the plant are chewed to prevent gum diseases. The powered fruit is taken for Asthma. Its seeds have proved useful in treating urinary troubles.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Healing Herbs of India: Momordica charantia (Bitter Gourd)

Bitter gourd (Karela)
Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) originated on the Indian subcontinent, and was introduced into China in the 14th century. Todau, widely grown in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Asia, Africa, South America, it is unsavory yet very nutritious and healthy. Bitter gourd primarily grows in vines. It bears its fruits during the month of September and November. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Bitter gourd received different names such as  Karela (Hindi), bitter melon and bitter gourd (English), Goya (Japanese), ampalaya (Filipino), etc.

Health Benefits of Bitter gourd (Karela)

  • Bitter gourd is also useful for those suffering from piles. Drinking bitter gourd juice or taking it with buttermilk every morning for a month would be beneficial in getting rid of this painful ailment.
  • Bitter gourd is high in fiber and hence, prevents constipation. It can cure stomach related disorders by stimulating the secretion of gastric juices.
  • It is highly beneficial for those suffering from dyspepsia. People suffering from heartburn and ulcers must cut down on its consumption.
  • Bitter gourd purifies blood because of its blood-purifying properties and also said to treat boils and itching caused for similar reasons.
  • Bitter gourd contains a chemical called Charantin which reduces high blood glucose levels; hence it is useful for diabetics. Bitter gourd juice can be taken in the morning on an empty stomach to keep a check on the blood sugar levels.
  • Bitter gourd juice taken in the morning is beneficial to strengthen the immune system by improving our body’s fighting mechanism against infection and diseases.
  • Bitter gourd works well for those who want to lose weight. Add bitter gourd to your diet as it stimulates excretion of bile juices in the liver that are very essential for fat metabolism.
  • Fresh juice of bitter gourd leaves can be used to treat cholera in early stages.
  • Bitter gourd has high amount of beta-carotene that helps cure eye problems and improve eyesight.

Pregnant women must be careful and should try to minimize bitter gourd intake! Bitter gourd is known to have a property that causes abortion. It has monorcharins substance that might have side effects on the gravid uterus.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Healing Herb of India: Aegle marmelos (Bael)

The healing herbs of India
Aegle marmelos (Bael)
Bael (Aegle marmelos, family: Rutaceae) is one of the sacred trees of the Hindus used in religious rituals. It is a medium sized deciduous tree with sharp axillary thorns. Bael fruit is greenish brown & woody that turns yellow when ripe. The rind is hard and woody. It is considered a vast source of several pharmacologically active principles and compounds commonly used in home remedies against multiple health ailments.

Bael tree occurs from the sub-mountainous regions to the dry plains of throughout India. Though it is native to India but has been naturalized throughout most southeastern Asian countries. Bael is commonly known as holy fruit, bel, sirphal, bili, belpatri, Bilvapatra, shivadrum, shreepahal, sadaphal, stone apple, wood apple, Belada Hannu & Bilva. Leaves, fruit, flowers, stem and roots of this tree are used as ethno medicine against various ailments.  In this post, let’s learn about the herbal remedies with Bael for treating a number of common diseases-

Herbal Remedies with Bael (Aegle marmelos)
Leaves of  Aegle marmelos (Bael)
  • For fever, make a paste of 50 g bael leaves & apply the same over head and chest daily till it cures. Another remedy is to boil 100 g bael leaves with water, filter and take it orally twice daily for 2 days.
  • To cure cough and cold, administer 1 tsp of dried bael leaves powder with water thrice a day.
  • To expel intestinal worms, taking 1 tbsp of dried pulp of bael fruit for 5 days thrice daily, is helpful in curing the problem.
  • A paste prepared from 2 g bael flowers and 250 mg black pepper is said to cure vomiting, diarrhea & excessive thirst.
  • For diabetes, administering 4-5 bael leaves extract with honey is said to be beneficial in controlling sugar.
  • For amoebic dysentery, the pulp of half of the dried bael fruit taken with water twice daily for 3 days relieves the same.
  • For abdominal discomfort, boil 50 g bael bark, 25 g flower of caraway & 25 g dried ginger. Administer this formulation twice daily on an empty stomach for for 2-3 days.
  • To get relief from stomachache, powdered fruit pulp taken with milk twice daily is said to be beneficial in curing the ailment.
  • Consuming 5 bael leaves in the morning on an empty stomach for a week is said to indigestion and constipation.
  • Boil 250 g of ripe bael fruit 1 liter of water along with 250 g of sugar & cook till it thickens. Store in a container. Mix 2 tbsp of this syrup to a glass of water and administer to the patient suffering from constipation, or diarrhea. The same remedy is also effective against bleeding piles.
  • The pulp of roasted raw bael fruit taken with curd is believed to benefit the patient suffering from bleeding piles.
  • Boil 10 bael leaves in ½ liter of water & take this decoction twice daily for 5 days to cure bed wetting.
  • To treat mouth ulcers, open and boil raw bael fruit in water and gurgle with the extract 4-5 times a day.
  • For urinary disorders, consuming 4-5 bael leaves daily for a week is said to treat the ailment.
  • For jaundice, a tsp of bael leaves juice taken for a week daily is said to effective in curing the ailment.
  • To treat body odour, prepare a paste of bael leaves in water and apply over body. Wash off after two hours. Continue this treatment daily for 7 days to get rid of body odour.
(Toxicity: The leaves are said to cause abortion and sterility in women. The bark is used as a fish poison in the Celebes. Tannin ingested frequently and in quantity over a long period of time, is antinutrient and carcinogenic.)

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Healing Herb of India: Lawsonia inermis (Henna)

The Healing HErb of India-Lawsonia inermis (Mehandi)
Natural Remedies with Lawsonia inermis 
Heena (Lawsonia inermis, family: Lythraceae) is a much branched glabrous medicinal shrub distributed throughout India. It is chiefly cultivated in Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat. The bark, seeds, flowers and leaves of the plant are used in Unani and ayurvedic medicines. Henna is commonly known as Mehandi, Mehanti, Medhika, Medhini, Madyantika, Giri Mallika, Ban Mallika, Nakhranjani, Cypress shrub & Egyptian priven.

This plant has been used since ages to dye skin, hair, finger nails, leather, silk and wool. In several parts of the World, Henna is traditionally used in various festivals and celebrations. People also cultivate Henna as a Hedge plant. In this post, learn about the traditional medicinal uses and remedies with henna to cure general health problems-
Traditionally, Henna is used to dye hands & feet
in various festivals and celebrations.
Traditional Herbal Remedies with Henna 
  • Massage with Henna oil over the affected area relieves rheumatic and arthritic pains. Coarsely Henna ground leaves can also be applied to sore flints to ease rheumatism, inflammatory swelling, bruises & leprosy.
  • Massaging juice of Henna leaves with mustard oil, relieves pain in the neck.
  • To treat dysentery, powder the seeds of the plant & mix with clarified butter. Now prepare small balls of the mixture & have it with water.
  • Washing eyes with decoction of henna leaves, cures conjunctivitis and catarrh.
  • Gurgling with henna leaves decoction is said to be a useful remedy for sore throat.
  • To get relief from prickly heat, ground henna leaves in water and apply over the affected area. Henna leaves are also quite effective in the treatment of skin disorders such as boils & burns.
  • Henna leaves mixed with vinegar can be applied onto the soles to treat burning feet.
  • Application of a paste of fresh henna leaves on hands and feet cures inflammation.
  • Application of a paste of henna flowers prepared in vinegar cures headache due to sun exposure.
    The Healing Herb of India: Henna
  • To cure spermatorrhea, take a tsp of Henna leave juice with water or with milk twice daily for seven days. The same formulation is useful in cases of leucorrhea in women as well.
  • Applying decoction of henna leaves on the scalp cures dandruff effectively.
  • To treat baldness, boil henna leaves in mustard oil and massage the scalp with the same regularly.
  • Prepare a paste of powdered Henna leaves, Indian gooseberry, reetha (Sapindus emarginatus), shikakai (Acacia sinuata) seeds & fenugreek seeds in water. Leave this mixture overnight. Mix to it 2 tsp curd in the morning & apply the same over the scalp and hair. This is one of the best solutions for graying of hair.
  • Prepare a decoction of henna leaves in til oil, & apply over the skin to treat wrinkles.
  • Sleeping on a pillow filled with henna flowers brings about a sound sleep.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Healing Herb of India: Commiphora wightii (Guggul)

Commiphora wightii (Guggul)
Commiphora wightii (Guggul) is a flowering plant of the family Burseraceae. It is a small tree with thin papery bark and thorny branches. It occurs in the dry zones from the Deccan and west India to the north-west and Karachi, Sind and Balochistan in Pakistan. C. wightii is commonly known as Guggulu, Koushika, Devadhupa, Palankasha, Guggul, Guggal, Guggal lipid, Commiphora, Mukul,Mukul myrrh tree and Balsamodendron.

Guggul contains contains resin, volatile oils and gum. The gum resin of the Commiphora tree is renowned for the treatment of inflammatory disorders, burns, rheumatoid arthritis, lipid disorders, obesity, skin diseases, and other ailments. It is used internally as an expectorant and for the treatment of diarrhea, fatigue, headache, jaundice and ingestion. It is also used as an insecticide and insect repellent. Guggul is also used for treating cervical adenitis, and acts as bitter stomachic and carminative, stimulating appetite and improving digestion.

Guggul resin
Commiphora wightii :Resin (gum)
The gum of the plant is laxative, aphrodiasiac, alternative, tonic and anthelmintic. It causes biliousness, heals fractures, ulcers, fistula and piles. It also cures indigestion, urinary discharges, urinary discharges, urinary concretions, leucoderma, tuberous glands in the neck, and tridosha, removes vata and kapha. It is useful in ascites, asthma and troubles of the chest, and in treating chronic discharges from the ear.

Commiphora wightii -Guggul plant
The fruit of commiphora cures abdominal troubles. The gum enriches blood and is useful in muscular rheumatism, lung complaints, dyspepsia and piles. It is used as mouthwash, dentifrice, and in curing ulcers of the mouth and pharynx, for cleaning foul and indolent ulcers, for healing wounds in the veterinary practice, as an ingredient in incense and perfume in the holy oil of Jews, and in the ‘Kyphi’ of Egyptians for embalming and fumigation.

Guggul is effective as weight loss and fat burning agent. It increases white blood cell counts and possess disinfecting properties. It is often used as a carrier & combined with other herbs to treat specific conditions. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Queen of Herbs: Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari)

Asparagus racemosus -Shatavari
Asparagus racemosus: The Queen of Herbs

The ‘Queen of Herbs’, Asparagus racemosus (family Liliaceae) is a spiny-stemmed, woody climber native to the Himalayas. Also popular as Shatavari, it has been mentioned in Ayurvedic texts like the Charak Samhita, Susruta Samhita, Astanga Samgraha & Kashyap Samhita for preventing and treating various health disorders. Other vernacular names for this herb are Shatawari, Satmuli, Shatamuli, Asparagus, Satawari, Kurilo and Satawar.

Its principal constituents include steroidal saponins, rhamnose moieties, sarsasapogenin, alkaloids, proteins, starch, tannin, isoflavones including 8-methoxy - 5, 6, 4 - trihydroxyisoflavone 7 - 0 - beta - D - glucopyranoside, asparagamine, racemosol, polysaccharides. The dried roots (tubers) of asparagus contain a large amount of saccharine, mucilage & minerals.

The healing properties of Asparagus are useful to a wide array of ailments. The tuber of asparagus is the main source of ‘Shatawar’ drug, used in indigenous medicine as a tonic, for improving appetite and increasing the secretion of milk in lactating women. The drug is a demulcent and aphrodisiac. It has diuretic and gastric sedative properties, and is used to treat urinary problems and rheumatic conditions. It is also prescribed for treating cases of nervous breakdown and menstrual trouble.

Asparagus racemosus
Asparagus Tubers (Roots)
The tubers are considered stomachic, tonic & astringent to the bowels. The tubers are also useful in dysentery, tumors, inflammation, biliousness, leprosy, epilepsy, night blindness, and diseases of the nervous system. It is also used for diabetes, jaundice, gleet, gonorrhea, as well as kidney and liver disorders. The herb is capable of improving memory, intelligence and physical strength.

Asparagus is effective in curing diseases due to impurities of the blood, piles, eye diseases, vaginal disorders like leucorrhea, uterine disorders & also regulates menstruation. It is also used for sexual debility & infertility for both men and women.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Healing Herb of India: Black pepper (Piper nigrum)

Black pepper (Piper nigrum, family Piperaceae), a native of India, occupies a prominent place in Indian kitchens owing to its aromatic, culinary & medicinal properties. It is also cultivated in other countries such as Egypt and Madagascar. 

Black pepper is rich in iron, manganese & dietary fiber. Piperine, a principle alkaloid found in black pepper helps in promoting brain functions, inhibits metabolism of nutrients present in body, improves digestion and reduces the incidence of stomach ulcers and colon cancer. It also acts as an anti-depressant. The fruits are widely used as an active ingredient in various home remedies for a variety of illnesses such as colic, tooth decay, liver problems, lung disease, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea and urinary disorders. 

Find in this post some useful natural remedies with black pepper that would help to deal with common health ailments.
  • To cure all kinds of cough, grind black pepper and add sugar to it. Take it with clarified butter.
  • Grind 5-6 black pepper & mix with honey. Lick this paste to relieve dry cough. This remedy is also effective as appetite stimulant.
  • To cure toothache, mix powdered black pepper in clove oil. Apply this paste on the affected part.
  • In case of indigestion, mix black pepper powder in ginger juice. Take this formulation after meals.
  • Chewing 8-10 black pepper in betel leaf is known to help in gaining weight.
  • Take a cup of water and add to it ¼ tsp black pepper, 2 tsp lemon juice and honey. Drinking the same would help a person in reducing weight.
  • To treat sexual debility, heat a tsp of clarified butter in a pan & add 3-4 black pepper to it, followed by a glass of milk. Now add 3-4 crushed almonds and let it come to a boil. Add sugar to taste. This formulation is beneficial when taken at bed time.
  • To keep a check on cholesterol level, add ¼ tsp black pepper powder in a glass of butter milk. Mix finely diced onion to it and drink.
  • For treating skin allergies and eczema, prepare a paste by mixing black pepper powder in clarified butter. Topical application of this paste is said to be beneficial.
  • For asthma, boil 8-10 black pepper, 2 clove buds & about 10 basil leaves in water for 15 minutes. Filter and add two tsp honey. Drink the same with milk.
  • Take equal amounts of powdered black pepper, cinnamon, cumin & cardamom seeds.  Sniffing the same would induce sneezing and help treat blocked nose. 
  • While preparing tea, add 2-4 black pepper powder, ginger, a clove and few basil leaves. It works as anti-tussive and is also effective against cold.
  • Administrating powdered black pepper with jaggery is said to be effective in curing chronic cold.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Healing Herb of India: Syzygium aromaticum (Clove)

Syzygium aromaticum (Myrtaceae family) commonly known as lawang or cloveis one of the oldest aromatic spices of the world, having many therapeutic virtues. It is a a pyramidal or conical evergreen tree with single main stem and obliquely oriented branches, that grows to a height 12 m. Lawang is also known as Laung (Hindi), shriisanjnan, lavanga, deokusumum (Sanskrit), clove (English). It is grown as a spice crop in western coasts and southern states of India (Karnataka, Kerala & TamilNadu).
Cloves have antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, germicidal, rubefacient, carminative, expectorant, stomachic and stimulant properties. Dried flower buds and clove oil are used to cure ailments and for other culinary purposes. Find in this post about the medicinal uses of clove in treating common health problems as a natural remedy:
  • Having 250 mg of lawang paste with warm water after meals cures indigestion, caused due to overeating and characterized by vomiting, gastritis or loss of appetite. 
  • The same remedy is also useful in treating headache due to sun exposure, smoke or pollution. Application of a paste of clove also relives headache.
  • Cough and throat congestion can be cured by chewing roasted clove. It is also an effective remedy in cases of inflammation in the pharynx (pharyngitis). Another cure is to prepare a decoction by boiling 5-6 cloves in 30 ml of water. Take this decoction with honey thrice a day as an expectorant. 
  • Taking paste of 3-4 cloves with warm water removes windiness of abdomen.
  • For toothache, pressing a clove bud between the jaws, at the site of aching tooth eases the pain. Apply clove oil in the cavity of decayed tooth. This would reduce the pain and help to ameliorate infection.
  • For asthma, soak 2 cloves, 12-15 basil leaves, 10 black pepper in water and boil for 15 minutes. Filter the same. To this, add two tsp honey and drink with milk.
  • For treating spasmodic coughs during tuberculosis, bronchitis & asthma, mix a few drops of clove oil and garlic in honey. Take this formulation before going to bed.
  • In cases of nausea and vomiting, prepare a paste by mixing clove powder in honey and lick it. Clove bud boiled in water and given to a pregnant lady eases vomiting sensation.
  • Application of a few drops of clove oil mixed with mustard oil is effective in joint pain and muscular cramps.
  • In earache, mix clove oil and sesame oil. Warm the mixture and put 2-3 drops in the ear.
  • For acne, apply a paste of clove powder in honey over the affected area. Mix a few drops of clove oil in jojoba or coconut oil and apply over acne. This home remedy not only removes acne but also leftover spots.
  • Clove oil is an effective insect repellent when diluted with water in 1:10 ratio. Spray this solution to keep the insects at bay.
  • Eating a clove in betel leaf is a useful remedy for treating catarrh.
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Herb of Medicinal Value: Rubia cordifola (Manjistha)

Rubia cordifolia:
A Herb of Therapeutic Benefits!

Rubia cordifolia, (Rubiaceae family) is a perennial, herbaceous climber, found throughout Asiatic and African regions of the world. It is considered to be one of the most valuable herbs in Ayurveda and has been largely used by physicians since ancient times for the maintenance of general health. This is commonly known as Manjistha or Indian Madder.

In regions of Asia, Africa & Europe, Rubia was an economically important source of a red pigment called Alizarin, that gives its red color to a textile dye known as Rose Madder. It was also used as a colourant, especially for paint, called as Madder lake.

Rubia is bitter, astringent and sweet in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has hot potency. It has been used in tuberculosis and intestinal ulcer and is recommended by Ayurvedic physicians as a blood purifier for skin diseases and to improve the complexion. The herb is useful in treating skin related problems. The roots of Rubia are widely used in treating pimples, reducing wrinkles, improving complexion, treating burns, healing injuries and lessening inflammations.

Leaves of Rubia cordifolia
The roots of Rubia are said to be alternative, anodyne, antiphlogistic, antitussive, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, styptic, tonic, and vulnerary. They are used to lower blood pressure, as well as internally in the treatment of abnormally uterine bleeding; internal and external hemorrhage; bronchitis; rheumatism, stones in the kidney and bladder, and gall, dysentery, and so on. The roots and fruit are used in treating paralysis and conditions of ulcer. The stem is used in treating cobra bite and scorpion sting. It is used in the treatment of liver fluke, dysentery, maggots & intestinal worms in animals.
The roots contain resinous and extractive matter, gum, sugar, coloring matter, the salt of the pigment being a red crystalline principle purpurine. The yellow glucoside manjistin and a xanthine are also present, besides garancin and orange red alizarin. Anthroquinones pentacyclic triterpenes, quinines, cyclic hexapeptides and diethylesters are also reported. Other compounds isolated are xantho-purpurin, glucose, sucrose and ruberythric acid. Alizarin, purpurin, purpurin carbohydrate, quinizarine and christofin isolated from roots. Antitumor cyclic hexapeptides – RA-V and RA-VII – isolated from roots.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

The Healing Herb of India: Neem (Azadirachta indica)

Neem has been used in Ayurvedic, Unani &
Homeopathic Medicines Since Ages!
Neem (Azadirachta indica) is a tall evergreen tree, native to the tropical regions of Asia. Since ages, the plant has been used in the ayurvedic, unani and homoeopathic medicines. The seeds, leaves & the bark of neem are said to have antiseptic, antiviral, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, anti cancer and antifungal properties. 

Various active compounds present in the plant are isoprenoids ( diterpenoids and triterpenoid)s, limonoids, azadirone, gedunin, vilasinin, nimbin, salanin and azadirachtin. The non-isoprenoids include proteins, carbohydrates, sulphurous compounds, polyphenolics, dihydrochalcone, coumarin and tannins, aliphatic compounds, etc. In this post learn about the healing proerties of neem and the remedies used to cure common health illnesses:

Traditional Medicinal Remedies with Neem
Traditional Remedies with Neem!
  • For acidity, 40g of dry neem leaves powder can be administered with water early   morning on an empty stomach.
  • For curing indigestion & hyperacidity, douse 5g of crushed neem bark in hot water overnight. Drink the extract early in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • In case of loss of appetite, 25-30g neem leaves powder can be cooked with wheat porridge (sooji). This preparation should be taken for a week.
  • To get relief from biliary pain, prepare a mixture of neem bark (1g), Indian gooseberry powder (1g), turmeric powder (500mg). This preparation should be taken with water early in the morning on an empty stomach. Administer this formulation to the sufferer for a week. 
  • To expel intestinal worms, administer 2 g of powdered neem leaves early in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • For skin problems, neem leaves extract should be given orally in small quantities, throughout the day.
  • For healthy skin, boil neem leaves in water. Use the same for bathing as it works as a good antiseptic and deodorant.
  • To treat leprosy in its early stages, neem bark extract should be taken orally. Washing wounds with neem bark extract also helps control the disease.To heal wounds, neem gum (2g) can be administered with milk.
  • For jaundice, take a tbsp of neem leaves juice with honey, early in the morning on empty stomach.
  • For treating diabetes, chew neem leaves together with black pepper early in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • For night blindness, roasted neem flowers helps cure the illness.
  • To treat non-hemorrhagic piles, mesocarp of about 5 neem fruits should be eaten twice daily.
  • For itchy groins, prepare neem leaves paste with 5g of turmeric. Administer this formulation to the patient early in the morning on empty stomach.
  • To treat persistent vomiting, add 5-6 drops of neem leaves juice to a glass of warm milk. The same preparation can be used to check excessive sleepiness.
  • To repel mosquitoes & flies, smoke from smoldering neem leaves is quite effective.
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Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Medicinal Herb: Sesamum indicum (Sesame)

Sesame oil has Various Medicinal Uses!
Sesame (Sesamum indicum Linn) or Til, is an annual erect hairy herb cultivated in all tropical and sub-tropical countries of the world. India, Indonesia, China, Burma, Sudan, Ethiopia, Venezuela & Mexico are the main countries growing it. The parts of the herb used for medicinal purposes are the seed, oil and the whole plant. 

The plant is high in Vitamin, B1, B6, E & K and also contains good amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, copper, calcium, iron and zinc. The oil contains oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, and the glycosides, namely, sesamin and the sesamolin.
Seeds of Sesame are Highly Nutritious!
  • For constipation: Taking a tbsp of sesame oil with 1/4th ginger juice at bed time is said to loosen the bowels. Its oil is a known mild laxative.
  • To cure arthritis: Take 500 g of sesame oil in a bottle and to it mix 20 g of camphor and fix the cap tightly. Keep the bottle in sunlight so that the camphor dissolves well in the oil. Apply this mixture twice daily at the site of pain.
  • For swelling- For relief from swelling in any part of the body, mix ginger powder into sesame oil and massage over the area.
  • To relieve headache: Rubbing warm sesame oil on the forehead relieves headache.
  • For chest congestion: To treat chest congestion, warm 2 tbsp of sesame oil with a pinch of black salt and massage onto the chest followed by a eucalyptus steam inhalation.
  • For healthy HairEating 3-4 tsp of sesame seeds every morning provides nourishment to the hair.
  • For dandruff: Massage the oil into the scalp and leave it overnight. This treatment not only cures itching scalp, but also helps get rid of dandruff.
  • Skin Care: Massaging the skin gently with sesame oil has multiple benefits. Sesame oil being rich in antioxidants and vitamin E, works as a moisturizer, as anti-aging cream, and a treatment for skin diseases, such as eczema and psoriasis. Gentle oil massage also helps to sooth sunburn, minor burns and helps in the healing process.
  • ScabiesApplication of paste of turmeric prepared in sesame (Sesamum indicum) oil on the infected areas cures scabies.
  • To gain weight: Daily consumption of sesame seeds helps in gaining weight because of its high calorific contents.
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