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.