Sunday, 28 March 2010

The lemony way to lose extra weight

By Syed Akbar
No one can resist a glass of chilled lemon water on a hot summer afternoon. While lemon (as also its cousins from the citrus family) is the best fruit to quench one's thirst and beat the heat during this summer, this natural repository of vitamin C has several medicinal and health properties including losing weight and fighting fatigue.
Lemon acts good on the stomach, helping against constipation and assisting in easy digestion. It is also a natural way of keeping the skin glowing and in healthy condition.
This fruit from the citrus family contains five per cent citric acid, which is quite sufficient to meet the vitamin c requirement of an individual. It also contains minerals like calcium, phosphorous and magnesium,
besides vitamins of the B group. As lemon contains bioflavonoids, regular consumption of this fruit makes the blood vessels strong. It also improves the overall functioning of the heart.
More importantly, slimming experts the world over have been suggesting intake of lemon juice mixed with honey and hot water to fight excessive weight. Though modern doctors (allopaths) do not agree with this lemon-honey-hot water formula for obesity treatment, practitioners of traditional medicines still prescribe it for those who want to burn away those extra calories.
Home remedies
Suffering from headache and nausea? Why don't you try this simple health recipe. A glass of hot water mixed with juice from a lemon fruit. It not only gives relief from headache and nausea, but also clears the
For those conscious of their beauty and skin health, nothing beats a glass of water mixed with lemon extract, taken everyday in the early morning.
As said earlier, obese people as also those mildly overweight may consume a glass of honey-lemon juice-hot water concoction every morning.
For instant energy, take a glass of lemon juice mixed with water, salt and sugar. It fights dehydration by providing the much needed salts to the body.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Tamarind controls fever, cools body

By Syed Akbar
South Indian meal is incomplete without rasam and sambar. And as we all know, tamarind forms an essential ingredient in the preparation of palate-stimulating rasam and mouth-watering sambar.
Tamarind, though not a native tree of Asia, has become an important constituent of the Indian kitchen over the centuries, thanks to the health benefits it offers. Tamarind fruit, leaves and bark are recommended for
various ailments in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha. Pulihora (tamarind rice) and tender tamarind leaves curry are also popular items on the South Indian menu card.
Tamarind is a natural body coolant. While it keeps the body cool in the healthy, it brings down the body temperature (fever) in patients suffering from various ailments including malaria and typhoid. Tamarind leaves and fruit (pod) not only provide the much needed vitamin C to the body, but also fight away skin diseases, rashes, freckles (melanin concentration marks) and itches. Since tamarind is a good source of vitamin C, it helps in preventing scurvy (spots on skin and spongy gums).
Home remedies
If you are suffering from cold and resultant blockage of nose, a glass of hot tamarind rasam is the best bet.
Tamarind is a mild laxative and those suffering from simple constipation or slow bowel movement may consume two tablespoons of tamarind paste mixed with water. This mixture will also bring down the body temperature in case you suffer from fever.
For quick relief from sore throat, you may gargle with tamarind water (tamarind paste mixed with water).
A decoction prepared from tamarind leaves will kill harmful worms in the stomach and intestines.
Apply tamarind pulp on the affected portion of the skin for immediate relief from itching.

Control your BP through Sarpagandha

By Syed Akbar
Rauwolfia serpentina, popularly known as Sarpagandha, is the Nature's gift to man against high blood pressure, snake bites, sleeplessness, hysteria, paranoia and schizophrenia. But Rauwolfia is considered a wonder drug as far as its anti-hypertension
properties are concerned. It was once used as a front-line drug against high blood pressure, but because of its certain side effects, Sarpagandha is now used as a second line medicine to treat hypertension. Since pure alkaloids extracted from Rauwolfia act quickly on the human
body including the circulatory, reproductive and nervous systems, it is better to use the powdered raw roots of the plants for home remedies. Its extracts are sold in the form of differently branded drugs, but for the purpose of home remedies, one should take the raw roots, powder them and consume with either honey, milk or oil. In this way, one can reduce the highly dangerous side effects. A word of caution. Only those with high blood pressure should consume Sarpagandha as it will further bring down the blood pressure in normal
persons, leading to hypotension or low BP. Pregnant women and people with gastric ulcers better avoid the plant or its extracts.
The roots contain a chemical called reserpine, which is widely used in antihypertensive drugs. As its name suggests (Sarpa, snake; gandha, smell), Sarpagandha works against snake bites. It is also widely used in treatment of reptile bites.
Home remedies
For sound sleep and quick relief from insomnia or mental stress, take 500 mg of Sarpagandha root. Powder it and mix it with a teaspoon of sesame (gingelly or til) oil. Consume it before going to bed. To beat severe skin red rashes (hives), take a few fresh leaves of Sarpagandha. Crush them and apply the paste on the affected portions of the skin.
Those suffering from high BP may take Sarpagandha root preparation to keep the blood pressure under check. Take 500 mg of root, powder it and mix it with water or honey. The preparation may be taken twice daily. One should avoid extra dosage as it will lead to drastic fall in blood pressure, causing severe health trouble. Pregnant women should avoid it.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Garlic controls cholesterol, purifies blood

By Syed Akbar
Garlic bread, garlic papads, garlic pickle, and garlic pills. Garlic indeed finds its way into almost every Indian recipe. It is one of the oldest known herbs to man and has been an essential ingredient in many kitchens around the world.
Since garlic has strong and pungent odour thanks to its high sulphur content, this herbal pod is now commercially available in the form of pills. One or two garlic pills a day will keep the body strong through heightened immunity against microbes, bacteria, fungi, virus and other parasites.
Garlic is often described as a wonder drug that cures or prevents a variety of ailments ranging from common flu or cold to highly infectious and deadly diseases like plague. It is mainly used to control blood cholesterol and purify the blood system in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha. Garlic is also used in allopathic preparations.
For the young, garlic is a natural way of fighting pimples and acne. Make
sure that garlic is used in regular kitchen preparations for a glowing skin. If you cannot take raw garlic, garlic bread or garlic papads will be of great help. This way you can avoid bad breath caused by high sulphur content in raw garlic.
Recent research studies have proved that garlic is a broad spectrum antibiotic.
In other words, it fights a wide range of harmful organism. Thanks to its anti-oxidant properties, garlic prevents formation of cancerous cells in the body.
There's also a word of caution. Garlic acts against medicines that help blood clotting. Doctors do not recommend garlic preparations before surgery or when one is injured and bleeding.
Home remedies
For a healthy body and blood free of harmful cholesterol, take a few garlic
cloves every day.
You can make garlic cough syrup at home for relief from common cold and
sore throat. Take a few cloves of garlic. Wash and slice them. Pour a cup of boiling water and allow it over night. Add sugar or honey and take one or two teaspoons of the syrup.
Garlic oil is good for toothache.
Garlic ointment can be applied on affected portions of the skin for relief from fungal or bacterial infections.

Fenugreek is the best bet for obesity, diabetes

By Syed Akbar
Hot methi ke parathe. No one can resist eating them. Methi or fenugreek has always been a kitchen favourite all over the world since times immemorial. Fenugreek is an essential ingredient in many food stuffs in many cultures across the continents.
Methi contains special oils, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, which keep the body healthy. Methi has exclusive properties which fight obesity and diabetes. Recent research studies have shown that methi is good for those suffering from diabetes. For the obese, fenugreek fights the fat cells and reduces the overall body weight.
Fenugreek seeds and leaves can be consumed. The stem can also be eaten, but it is highly bitter in taste. Curry prepared from fenugreek leaves (since methi is bitter, it is generally used with other greens, meat or wheat) helps fight flatulence, indigestion and keep the bowels highly functional.
Ayurvedic doctors prescribe fenugreek for certain liver problems like some forms of jaundice. Methi is good for growing children and the elderly too. Nursing mothers are often encouraged to take fenugreek seeds as it increases lactation.
Home remedies
Methi chai: Fenugreek seeds tea acts as a body coolant and gives instant relief from high temperature (fever). The methi tea is slightly unpalatable, but has a good impact on health. We can make it a bit
tasty by adding lemon juice.
Since methi tea has the properties to reduce body temperature by producing sweat, Ayurvedic and Unani doctors believe that toxic elements are sent out of the body in the form of perspiration.
While fenugreek seeds soaked in water or fenugreek seed power in the form of capsules are good for controlling blood sugar, fenugreek leaves can be chewed to keep the stomach in healthy condition.
Chewing leaves also reduces gastric gases or flatulence.
Those suffering from anaemia can improve the iron content in their blood by eating raw fenugreek leaves.

Fennel fights flatulence

By Syed Akbar
Fennel seeds (saunf) are essential ingredient in gripe water fed to babies, suffering from indigestion and other gastric troubles. In adults too fennel seeds work wonders - fight flatulence, help in digestion, improve blood circulation, and increase milk production in lactating mothers.
While fennel seeds are good for health, fat obtained from them has been found to be harmful. Those with sensitive skin should better avoid fennel seed oil, though it has wide applications including treating insect
and even snake bites. In women it stimulates menstruation.
Saunf gets its medicinal properties because of the presence of a substance called anethole. In babies with the problem of painful teething, fennel water is the best home remedy.
A small dose of gripe water prepared by fennel seeds is good for babies with gastric troubles. For adults,fennel tea relaxes intestines and gives relief from constipation and bloating. Pregnant women should better
avoid fennel seeds, their extracts or preparations. Saunf may act on the uterus and may cause complications related to pregnancy.
Fennel contains carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin C and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and manganese.
Quick remedies
Fennel tea can be prepared by boiling a glass of water and adding a teaspoon of fennel seeds to it. The decoction should cooled and filtered before consuming. You may add honey to it. This is good for people
suffering from digestive disorders.
A teaspoon of fennel seeds, if consumed raw, improve vision, fight hypertension (high blood pressure) and increase lactation.
A teaspoon of fennel seeds give relief from stomach ache as they have antispasmodic effect.
Fennel seeds also help in losing weight and strengthening the muscles.

Friday, 12 March 2010

The magic of Aloe vera

By Syed Akbar
Aloe vera, a small succulent herb grown as an ornamental plant, is regarded as a panacea for a multitude of dermatological problems. It is also widely used as a general health tonic and an aphrodisiac. Both modern and traditional forms of medicine have recognised its importance as a wonder herb that's capable of fighting even cancerous cells in the body.
Research is presently underway in different parts of the world on the efficacy of Aloe vera in fighting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Aloe vera has been found to kill bacteria, fungi, viruses and other harmful micro-organisms present in human beings. Aloe vera has wide applications in veterinary medicine too.
Its multitude of benefits notwithstanding, Aloe vera has been found to contain allergy-causing chemicals. So experts in herbal medicine caution people from consuming too much of Aloe vera. It can be applied liberally on the skin, but one has to exercise caution in case of oral intake.
It is quite easy to grow Aloe vera at home. A small pot is enough to grow the plant. Ensure that sunlight falls on the plant. Do not water the plant too much, as it kills. Its succulent leaves are used for herbal preparations. For quick results, Aloe vera paste can be prepared freshly at home, for application on the skin for relief from local inflammation, infection and pain. Skin blemishes and pimples can also be tackled by Aloe paste.
Aloe vera juice can be consumed to kill intestinal worms like platyhelminthes (tape worms) and nemathelminthes (round worms), as a purgative, to fight vaginal infections and herpes and to reduce the impact of psoriasis and eczema.
For those conscious of their beauty, Aloe vera preparations can postpone wrinkles on face and body and improve the skin tone and texture, while giving a glowing look to the face.
Quick remedies
You may take Aloe vera juice as a general health tonic and to clean the digestive system of worms and harmful organism. To prepare a glass of fresh Aloe vera juice, cut a leaf, clean it with water and remove thorny edges on sides. Cut the leaf vertically and remove the gel. Blend the gel and add water. You may add sugar to taste and consume it fresh.
Do not discard the leaf after removing the gel. You may rub it on the affected portion of the skin for relief from acne, rashes, burns and bruises. You may also rub the leaf for glowing skin texture and as a natural moisturiser.
You may also prepare a paste from Aloe vera gel and apply it on your face and body. The gel works as a natural sunscreen. Aloe vera gel can also be mixed with egg yolk and olive oil for application on the skin as a herbal moisturiser.

Ginger, best cure for motion sickness

By Syed Akbar
Many complain of giddiness and vomiting while travelling by bus or train. This is quite common and doctors blame it on "motion sickness". For people, who suffer from motion sickness, morning sickness or chemotheraphy- related problems, the common kitchen ingredient, ginger, is the best herbal and handy cure.
Ginger, technically called Zingiber officinale, has been regarded as a "great herb/ medicine" or "Maha Aushadi" since times immemorial. This rhizome has found its way into all systems of medicine, including allopathy, and is regarded in many communities around the world as a quick herbal remedy for a number of common health problems and conditions.
Scientific studies conducted by several research institutions including the Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Nutrition have revealed that ginger contains medicinal properties that control high blood pressure, check ovarian cancer, prevents cancer of large intestine, gives relief from menstrual cramps, constipation, heartburn, cold and flu and migraine, and reduces damage to kidneys in diabetic patients. Ginger has also been found to be anti-inflammatory, anti-flatulent (controls digestive gases) and anti-oxidant (fights cancer).
Ginger rhizome contains proteins (2.3 per cent), fat (0.9 per cent), minerals (1.2 per cent), fibre (2.4 per cent) and carbohydrates (12.3 per cent), besides minerals like iron, calcium and phosphorous. Vitamins like thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The major active components found in ginger are gingerols.
The effectiveness of ginger (940 mg) in motion sickness was found to be equivalent of allopathic drug, dimenhydrinate (100 mg). Ginger administration (1g) prior to elective gynaecological laparoscopy was also
found to be effective in preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting.
Home remedies
For quick relief from sore throat and common cold, consume freshly prepared ginger tea. To prepare ginger tea, obtain decoction of freshly cut ginger pieces (10 grams) by boiling them in four cups of water for about 20 minutes. Filter the decoction and consume it. For additional health benefits and taste, you may add honey and lemon juice.
Since ginger has been scientifically proven to fight fungal infections, those suffering from skin problems including athlete's foot can prepare a ginger solution and soak their feet in it. They may also apply it to affected skin. It provides relief from itching and pain. To obtain the ginger solution, add a little ginger to warm water. Once it cools down, put your feet in the solution for about 10 minutes. If your body sweats too much and suffer from body odour, make it a habit to chew small pieces of ginger dried in lemon juice, salt and jeera (cumin seeds).
To fight nausea take "alla murabba" (ginger-jaggery sweet) available in the market.

Aswagandha fights insomnia, keeps body fit

By Syed Akbar
Aswagandha, scientifically called Withania somnifera, is often described as the Indian ginseng. As its scientific name "somnifera" suggests, Aswagandha induces sleep in people, who suffer from insomnia or sleeplessness. Unlike chemical sedatives and tranquillisers, Aswagandha calms the body and mind before inducing sleep.
Aswagandha's odour is not palatable. It smells like the horse's sweat (in Sanskrit "aswa" means horse and "gandha" means smell). But its health benefits range from fighting insomnia to improving fertility levels, and from controlling diabetes to keeping epilepsy under check. It improves the muscles, fights fatigue and brings down the levels of trauma and suffering.
In Ayurveda, Aswagandha finds a variety of uses including fighting cancerous cells, stomach and intestinal problems and rheumatoid arthritis. Despite all its benefits, it has a bad impact on pregnant women. Aswagandha may cause miscarriage and health experts advise that pregnant women should better avoid it. Some Ayurvedic doctors prescribe
Aswagandha as a memory booster.
The roots, leaves and seeds of this wonder herb are used in Ayurveda, Unani and other traditional medicines in different parts of the world.
Home Remedies
Infertility: Aswagandha is known to improve fertility levels in men. Those suffering from infertility may take daily a teaspoon of powder made from the roots of Aswagandha. The herb stimulates the reproductive hormones.
Weakness: For those suffering from general weakness and exhaustion, Aswagandha is one of the best bets. Take Aswagandha root powder and mix it with ghee and honey. Take a teaspoon everyday. It will remove general
weakness, strengthens the muscles and the bones.
Sound sleep: A teaspoon of Aswagandha root powder before going to bed will fight fatigue, mental anxiety and puts the brain to sound sleep. It acts on the brain and nervous system. Ayurvedic doctors use it as an adaptogen

Thursday, 11 March 2010

A bitter gourd a day keeps diabetes away

By Syed Akbar

No doubt, bitter gourd or bitter melon is the most unsavoury of all vegetables. And yet its medicinal properties far exceeds those of many herbs.
Though bitter gourd or karela is a universal plant, it is mostly cultivated in Indian sub-continent and parts of Asia.
Scientists are now exploring the possibility of developing injectible insulin from bitter gourd to keep the blood sugar levels under check in diabetic patients. Laboratory results have been successful. Like any other vegetable, karela does not have much calories.
It contains a variety of vitamins, trace elements and minerals, besides dietary fibre that keeps the body slim. Elements present in bitter gourd include iron, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese. Unani and Ayurvedic physicians prescribe bitter gourd juice for people suffering from skin problems like psoriasis.
The uniqueness of karela lies in the presence of a chemical called charantin, which reduces high blood glucose levels. Ayurvedic doctors recommend bitter gourd for treatment of diabetes, blood disorders, digestive problems and as an immune booster. It is often recommended for the treatment of piles.
Quick remedies
Prepare a very small glass of bitter gourd juice in a mixer. For taste, add some lemon juice. Drink it on empty stomach daily. This will improve your general health and skin tone and texture.
For people living with diabetes, bitter gourd is the best home remedy. You may consume bitter gourd pickle or curry with not much oil, karela chutney or simply drink bitter gourd juice. The juice should be taken in a little quantity every day. Excessive intake is not good. Pregnant women better avoid bitter gourd juice as it may lead to miscarriage.
Bitter gourd juice has been found to improve eyesight thanks to the presence of vitamin A in sufficiently large quantities.

Indian sarsaparilla cleans blood, fights VD

By Syed Akbar
Indian sarsaparilla, commonly called Nannari or Sugandhi, is a refreshing drink, full of health benefits. It
has a number of medicinal properties, including the ability to fight venereal diseases particularly syphilis.
Come summer and sarsaparilla drink becomes quite popular. It cools the body, removes heat, cleans the
stomach, improves blood circulation and fights infection. Indian or false sarsaparilla has been in use for
hundreds of years and traditional medicines around the world recognise this herb as a general tonic and
health booster. In Ayurveda it is used to treat venereal problems like syphilis.
It is also recommended for skin ailments like eczema and psoriasis. It has anti-pyretic properties too and
brings down the body temperature. No wonder then sarsaparilla drink is in great demand on hot summer
In sarsaparilla, the root finds use in traditional medicines. Its leaves and stem are not used. Some
practitioners of traditional medicines prescribe sarsaparilla for people suffering from rheumatic pains.
Indian sarsaparilla is known to improve the kidney functions as also protect the liver.
Home remedies
Beat the heat on a scorching summer day by drinking a glass of Indian sarsaparilla extract mixed with
lemon and soda. Take sarsaparilla roots and clean them with water. Take a vessel, pour water in it and put
the cleaned sarsaparilla roots. Boil the water for 20 minutes. Cool it and filter the water. Mix sugar in the
filtered water and keep it aside. Whenever you want to prepare a glass of sarsaparilla drink, pour one
quantity of sarsaparilla extract and mix it with four quantities of water. For taste, you may add lemon.
Instead of plain water, you may also use soda.
The sarsaparilla extract can also be mixed with chilled milk for a refreshing drink to reduce body heat.
You can prepare sarsaparilla tea too to keep the body hale and health and free from diseases. Sarsaparilla
tea is recommended as a general tonic. Take a few roots of sarsaparilla, wash them and soak them in hot
water for 15 minutes. Filter the water and drink it. You may add sugar for taste.

Herbal cure: Tulasi, the incomparable one

By Syed Akbar
Headache, cough and cold, worms in the stomach, skin infection, hypertension, diabetes and ulcers. If you
are suffering from any or all of these health problems and do not want to take chemical or synthetic drugs,
Tulasi is the best herbal and natural option. It is a good muscle relaxant.
Tulasi leaves, stems, flowers and seeds contain a variety of medicinal properties now proved by scientific
studies. It is an anti-oxidant and fights cancers. Not many know that Tulasi can also be used as a
contraceptive, to control birth rate. Studies show that Tulasi extracts, when used for about two months,
reduce sperm count, serving as a natural birth control source.
Tulasi, as the name in Sanskrit suggests, is "incomparable". Indeed, it is a herb with incomparable medicinal properties. The most common property of Tulasi is its ability to fight pain. It is analgesic and recent studies on alcoholic extract of Tulasi leaves showed that the herb provides relief from headaches. It is a wound-healer too, thanks to its anti-septic properties.
Tulasi extracts have been found to fight against helminths (parasitic worms), virus, fungi, bacteria (like
Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas), diabetes, inflammation, cataract, stress and memory loss. Tulasi derives
its medicinal properties because of the presence of several natural chemicals including oleanolic acid,
eugenol, rosmarinic acid, linalool, apigenin and ursolic acid.
This wonder herb, widely used in traditional medicines, particularly Ayurveda, for thousands of years,
improves the functioning of liver, brain and other vital organs.

Quick remedies

Joint pains: Crush 10 grams of Tulasi leaves to extract its essence. Add 10 grams of ginger extract and
consume the mixture.
Vomiting: Take a tablespoon of Tulasi seeds and wash them. Mix the seeds in honey and consume. It works
well as anti-emetic in children.
De-worming: Prepare 25 grams of Tulasi extract and mix it with 2 grams of black salt. Consume it once
daily for four days to get relief from parasitic worms and related problems.
Sore throat: Boil 10 grams of Tulasi leaves in 500 ml of water. Cool it and gargle for quick relief.