Monday, February 29, 2016

Five healthy herbs to our everyday cooking

A path breaking research by scientists from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) may provide relief to the many people who suffer from Alzheimer’s. According to preliminary findings, the ashwagandha root (an Ayurveda extract) could help cure Alzheimer’s.
That the herbs found in our backyards contain immense health benefits, is known to all. But, in the process of saving time, we tend to rely on artificial ingredients, and not use the goodness that nature gives us. While we don’t need to go in search of the exotic variety, there are many common herbs that we can incorporate in to our daily cooking, and avail of their health benefits. Here we take a look at the common herbs we use and their medicinal properties:
Tulsi: the holy basil, is found in many Indian houses, and is high in medicinal value. The herb is known to provide relief from respiratory problems, and is useful in the treatment of asthma, fever, cold and cough, and heart diseases. It also has a strong fungicidal property, hence is used in oral care products. Being high in antioxidants, the humble herb is also known to prevent the progression of some forms of cancer, such as breast and oral cancer. It also purifies the blood, and helps prevent the appearance of acne on the skin. Add it on to your tea, make tomato basil soup with it, garnish your food with tulsi, or just chew a handful of the leaves – this is one herb which is loaded with goodness.
Tulsi also known as basil leaves, is a fairly common plant in Indian households. Considered holy by many religions, the Tulsi plant is revered for its divine properties.

Besides praying to the plant, a number of people advice including the leaves and roots of the plant in various medical decoctions. With immense benefits right from clear skin to dissolving kidney stones, tulsi is tonic for the entire body. Here are the top 10 benefits of tulsi. Tulsi has very potent germicidal, fungicidal, anti-bacterial and anti-biotic properties that are great for resolving fevers. It has the potential to cure any fever right from those caused due to common infections to those caused due to malaria as well. In ayurveda, it is strongly advised that a person suffering from fever should have a decoction made of tulsi leaves.
Mint: The fresh smelling mint, or pudina leaves, widely used in making pudina chutney, is another staple in many Indian homes. The herb is known to help relieve stomach crams and aid in digestion. Pudina reduces pains and aches – the cooling effect of the leaf helps to numb the area, hence providing a relief from pain. It also helps soothe itchy skin and cure acne. A number of face washes have mint leaves as an ingredient – the presence of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties prevent the growth of bacteria in the skin. Chewing mint leaves also helps remove bad breath and cleanses the teeth naturally. For expecting moms suffering from morning sickness, chewing on pudina leaves is known to help settle the stomach – it activates the enzymes needed for digestion, thus helping relieve nausea. Digestion: Mint is a great appetizer or palate cleanser, and it promotes digestion. It also soothes stomachs in cases of indigestion or inflammation. When you feel sick to your stomach, drinking a cup of mint tea can give you relief. Also, if you are someone who travels long distances via plane or boat, the menthol oil derived from mint can be very soothing for nausea and related motion sickness.

Sage: Though not as widely used in Indian cooking, sage is another herb that has a number of health benefits. It contains a high amount of antioxidants, such as rosmarinic acid, which are known to help reduce DNA oxidative damage, thereby improving brain function. It also helps aid in digestion, and is useful for treating inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatic arthritis. It can be used as a seasoning, or as a stuffing ingredient for samosas, salads and other dishes. You can use sage in its natural, dried or preserved form.
Health Benefits of Sage

An outstanding memory enhancer, sage promotes better brain functioning and is an effective remedy for cerebrovascular disease. Besides, it makes a good treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, sage effectively cures inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Furthermore, inflammation on the skin, ingestion caused due to spicy foods, inflammation occurring due to high fever, and detoxification of the blood in case of poisonous material in the bloodstream are successfully treated with sage.
People with inflammatory conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, bronchial asthma, and atherosclerosis are recommended to increase their intake of sage as a seasoning in food.
With anti-bacterial properties, sage is used for alleviating bacterial infections occurring in the intestines, urethra, genitals, eyes, throat, nose and ears.

  •  Sage is an excellent source of antioxidants that clear up the metabolism and other environmental toxins like smoke and pesticides, from the body. Additionally, these antioxidants protect free radicals from damaging the cell tissues, prevent early aging, and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
  •  Studies have revealed the usage of sage associated with modulating mood and providing effective means of handling stress. It boosts the overall mood and enhances alertness, calmness, and contentedness.
  • Symptoms of menopause, like hot flushes, insomnia, nocturnal sweating, dizziness, headaches, palpitations and other signs of an estrogen deficiency are effectively relieved with sage tea in menopausal women.
  • Fungal infections, like dermatitis, athlete’s foot, and other skin diseases and ailments are cured with sage due to the presence of Camphor and Camphene that contain anti-fungal properties.
  •  Sage is an excellent digestive aid and appetite stimulant. It helps in reducing gas in the intestines and relieving abdominal cramps and bloating.
  • Oral and dental problems, such as mouth ulcers, infected and bleeding gums, dental abscesses and throat infections are also effectively healed with sage consumption.
  •  Sage, when taken in tea, works as an expectorant for producing sweat and flushing out toxins, thereby relieving bronchitis, cold and flu symptoms.
  • It is used by nursing mothers to stop the production of breast milk when weaning a child from breastfeeding and starting to introduce other food articles.
  •  Sage is highly recommended for reducing dizziness and nervousness, and strengthening the nervous system that has been incapacitated.
    Some other health advantages associated with sage include curing typhoid fever, laryngitis, tonsillitis, sore throat, liver complaints, kidney troubles, hemorrhage from the lungs or stomach, colds in the head, menstrual bleeding, measles, pains in the joints, lethargy and palsy.

Brahmi: This is one herb which should be getting much more importance in our kitchens. The Indian herb, Brahmi, is packed with health benefits. It has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of mental fatigue and anxiety, improve IQ levels and concentration in children, contain cancer fighting properties, aid the liver to flush toxins from the body, help prevent neonatal hypoglycemia, or low blood pressure in newborns. Add brahmi as a seasoning to your food, or use it in chutneys.
Brahmi, in Ayurveda, is known as a brain tonic and may actually work on the brain through its effect on the gut microbiology. Recent studies suggest that Brahmi supports healthy skin, lymph, and circulatory functions. In particular, Brahmi seems to balance the inner skin that lines the digestive tract where healthy skin supports healthy microbes; these make neurotransmitters that support healthy and stable mood and cognitive function
Amla: Amla, or gooseberry, is a definite superfood that must be included in your diet. It is packed with antioxidants and contains anti-inflammatory properties. Mix amla powder with honey and consume it three to four times to help cure cough and cold, gargle with amla juice and water to heal mouth ulcers, or use it for relief against constipation. Being high in fibre content, amla is good for the stomach. Amla also contains anti ageing properties which are beneficial for your skin and hair. Eat the fruit, dry it and mix it with coconut oil to form a paste that you can apply on your scalp, drink its juice – whichever way you decide to use it, the Indian gooseberry is packed with goodness.The health benefits of Indian Gooseberry, also known as Amla, can be partially attributed to its high vitamin-C content. Amla enhances food absorption, balances stomach acid, fortifies the liver, nourishes the brain and mental functioning, supports the heart, strengthens the lungs, regulates elimination of free radicals, enhances fertility, helps the urinary system, increases skin health, promotes healthier hair, acts as a body coolant, flushes out toxins, increases vitality, strengthens eyes, improves muscle tone and, acts as an antioxidant.

The Indian Gooseberry belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family. This fruit ripens in the autumn in wet, forested, hilly areas on the Indian subcontinent. In India it is considered a sacred tree. The fruit is very nourishing, but it tastes sour. Both dried and fresh fruits can be consumed for their health benefits.

It provides remedies for many diseases, so it is widely used in Ayurvedic treatment. Gooseberry is very rich in Vitamin C, and contains many minerals and vitamins like Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Carotene and Vitamin B Complex. Amla is also a powerful antioxidant agent.

Many health problems are caused by oxidative damage (when body cells use oxygen, they produce by-products called free radicals that can cause damage). Antioxidant agents prevent and repair these damages. Vitamin-C is a good antioxidant agent, which makes gooseberries a powerful tool against a variety of conditions, including various types of cancer.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Medicinal Flowers

 Lotus Flowers - Medicinal Use
 The lotus symbolizes growth in nature. The honeybee prepares honey with its pollens, and the flower is used to prepare Gulkand. Gulkand is used as a medicaton to cure irregularity and different diseases. One can see green colored seeds inside the lotus flower, that are baked to make makhana. If the raw seeds are skinned and taken as a medication, it boosts strength and vigor. It is chilled in nature. It is used as an eyeliner together with honey to better the eyesight. The lotus leaves can be used as a cosmetic as well. Grind the lotus leaves and blend them with the ubatan (which is a pack generally made of gram flour, raw milk, curd and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder) and apply on the face. Apply it softly on the face, the skin blushes and the face will look gorgeous.

The roots of the Lotus are planted in the soil of the pond or river bottom, while the leaves float on top of the water surface. The Lotus flowers are usually found on thick stems rising several centimeters above the water.
The Lotus flowers, seeds, young leaves and rhizomes are all edible. In Asia, the petals are sometimes used for garnish, while the large leaves are used as a wrap for food.
Various parts of the sacred Lotus are also used in traditional Asian herbal medicine.
The Lotus fruits are a conical pod with seeds contained in holes in the pod. Nucifera means having hard fruit. When the seeds are ripe, they become loose in the pod. The pod then tips down towards the water, releasing the seeds.
 When the Lotus flower's petals fall, they are replaced by a flat-topped seed pod divided into compartments, resembling a wasp's hive. The tender seeds are munched happily in north-east India.
The Lotus stem is eaten almost in all parts of India, and pickled too.

Rose Flower-Medicinal Use

Rose symbolizes beauty, affection and love. The gulkand made of rose is a laxative in nature and lowers the heat in the intestines and stomach. It causes the heart and mind joyful. Wash the eyes with rose water to lower the ruddiness of the eyes and swelling. Its fragrance is life-giving, and its oil causes the mind cool. rose essence are also used in sweet recipes. It supplies coolness in the hot summer season
Rose petals are rejuvenating and prove to be a tonic.
They are used to treat internal asthma, high blood pressure, bronchitis, slow circulation, diarrhea, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), cough, fever and fluid retention, indigestion, insomnia, palpitation, stress and urinary tract infections.
Due to their strong and pleasant fragrance, rose petals are used for making essential oils and perfumes.
They are ingested as a tea to provide a comforting effect and diminish body temperatures during high fevers.
The tea also effectively cleanses toxins and heat from the body.
The infusion prepared from the rose petals is used to alleviate cold and flu symptoms.
The infusion is also effective in treating sore throats, runny nose and congested bronchial tracts.
The petals effectively combat infections in the digestive system and restore the normal and essential bacteria in the intestines.
They have a diuretic effect and hence, are beneficial in relieving excessive fluids from the urinary bladder.
Rose petals help to get rid of the waste and toxic substances in the body, through the kidneys.
They alleviate problems of insomnia, depression, fatigue and comfort tetchiness.

Saffron-Medicinal Use

This flower delivers happiness and makes glowing skin. It provides strength, stops vomiting and destroys to wind, bile and phlegm-related problems to all the three Dosha disorders. Saffron calms down the nervousness and stress present in various systems. Therefore, it is also notable as a natural barbiturate. It provides vigor, strength, activity and glow if eaten along with betel leaf.
 Commercial saffron comes from the bright red stigmas of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) which flowers in the Fall in many different countries, including Greece, India, Iran, Afghanistan and Spain. The Crocus sativus stigmas are the female part of the flower. In a good year, each saffron crocus plant might produce several flowers. Each flower contains three stigmas, which are the only part of the saffron crocus that when dried (cured) properly, become commercial saffron. Each red stigma is like a little capsule that encloses the complex chemicals that make up saffron's aroma, flavor, and yellow dye. In order to release these chemicals, you must steep the threads. Powdered saffron is more efficient because it does not need to be steeped

Cestrum Nocturnum-Medicinal Use

Cestrum nocturnum commonly recognized as ‘Raat ki Rani’ in India, it owns and very good fragrance, that can be felt up from a long distance. The flower produces an aroma from evening to midnight, and later it bit by bit reduces. Further benefit of this flower is that mosquitoes are put by at bay. Its aroma makes the person sleepy and puts one to sleep.
Night-blooming jasmine blooms when the weather is warm, and its narrow, tubular, greenish-white blossoms only open at night. The flowers produce a strong, sweet fragrance that attracts moths and butterflies. Glossy white berries follow the flowers. It works well as a specimen plant or as a border shrub, or as a fragrant addition to a butterfly garden. Night-blooming jasmine is relatively easy to care for in warm climates, but may need additional care in cold environments.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Best Houseplants to Relax body ,Mind and Purify the air

Some well-placed greenery can not only brighten a space but also purify the air -- and they're also helpful in creating a more relaxing, restful ambiance in any room.

 Aloe Plant

The gel of the aloe plant has a number of healing properties. Not only does it soothe skin burns and cuts, it can also help to monitor the air quality in your home. The plant can help clear the air of pollutants found in chemical cleaning products, and when the amount of harmful chemicals in the air becomes excessive.Aloe is also an excellent treatment for skin conditions such as burns and eczema. It is often reported that burns can be healed remarkably quickly and the pain reduced very quickly with topical application of Aloe Vera to the burn area. As well as applying topically, Aloe can also be taken internally so it is just as useful for internal epithelial tissue as it is for the skin. For example, mouth and stomach ulcers, nasal and sinuses, bowels, lungs and genital tracts. Aloe works on membranes and surfaces

 Rubber Tree

 Rubber trees are good for cleaning the air and are one of the easiest plants to grow, as they thrive even in dim lighting and cooler climates. The low-maintenance plant is a powerful toxin eliminator and air purifier.The rubber tree plant also needs the right balance of water. During the growing season, it needs to be kept moist. It is also a good idea to wipe off the leaves of your rubber tree houseplant with a damp cloth or spritz it with water. If you water the rubber tree plant too much, the leaves will turn yellow and brown and fall off

 Peace Lily

The beautiful peace lily plant is a wonderful low-maintenance flower to keep in the home. Peace lilies do well in shade and cooler temperatures, and they can reduce the levels of a number of toxins in the air.Like many popular indoor plants, peace lilies enjoy medium to low light. Which kind of light you need to provide will depend more on what you want your peace lily plant to look like. Peace lilies that are placed in more light tend to produce the lovely white spathes and flowers more, while peace lilies in low light will bloom less and will look more like a traditional foliage plant

Snake Plant

Snake plants don't need much light or water to survive, so they're an easy choice for any corner of your home. The plant absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen during the night , so add one to your bedroom for a clean-air boost.The Snake Plant, or Mother-in-Law's Tongue, is one of the most recommended plants for improving air quality. The optimal place to keep this relatively inexpensive and low-maintenance plant is the bedroom, because it converts CO2 into oxygen at night

Bamboo Palm

This plant is a natural defense tool against indoor air pollution. It improves the air quality by filtering the indoor air of toxins such as nitrogen oxide and formaldehyde.
 and is also said to act as a natural humidifier. Always allow the top 1/3 of the soil of a Bamboo Palm to dry out before watering. Never allow a Bamboo Palm to sit in water. Do not use water that has passed through a softener on a Bamboo Palm because it has a high salt content and it will damage the leaves of a Bamboo Palm. Leaf tips turn pale and green leaves fall off of a Bamboo Palm because of over-watering. New growth and leaf tips on a Bamboo Palm turn brown from under-watering.

Red-Edged Dracaena

This beautiful, vibrant plant can grow to be ceiling-height (15-foot dracaenas are common), making it a great plant for decorating and filling up space. It also removes toxins including xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from the air. Grows best in sunlight. Light: Relatively bright light.
Water: Allow the plants to dry between waterings, but not completely. These are more susceptible to root rot, so be very careful never to allow them to sit in water.
Temperature: They thrive between 65ºF and 80ºF. They will suffer if it gets too cold and cannot tolerate freezing.
Soil: Loose, well-drained potting mix.
Fertilizer: They have a lower need for fertilizer, so fertilizer lightly at the beginning of spring or twice a year with controlled-release fertilizer.

Spider Plant
 One of the most common house plants, spider plants are decorative, easy to grow, and also make the NASA list of the best air-purifying plants. Spider plants are effective at fighting pollutants including benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.Caring for spider plants is easy. These tough plants tolerate lots of abuse, making them excellent candidates for newbie gardeners or those without a green thumb. Provide them with well-drained soil and bright, indirect light and they will flourish. Water them well but do not allow the plants to become too soggy, which can lead to root rot. In fact, spider plants prefer to dry out some between waterings.