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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