Sunday, 30 October 2011

Barleria lupulina: Hophead is natural treatment for insect bites

By Syed Akbar

Barleria lupulina or Hophead is a mountain plant that grows wildly in the hilly regions of India. It is not a native of India. Barleria was introduced into the country from outside. Thanks to its medicinal properties local Ayurveda and Unani practitioners included this herb in their pharmacopeia. It is also called Philippine violet.
Barleria is famous for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and is widely used in Ayurveda and Unani to treat insect bites. Some traditional herbalists prescribe it for snake bites too. It is used in massage to keep the skin free of harmful bacteria and germs.
It is often prescribed for treatment of herpes simplex, to calm down the nervous system, relax the muscles, for relief from painful boils and to control the blood sugar levels. Barleria is considered a natural treatment for rheumatic pains, pimples, ulcers in the intestines and as pain relief balm. Research has shown that Barleria helps in bringing down the high glucose levels in the blood, and thus it is prescribed in traditional systems of medicine as an anti-diabetic herb.
Home remedies
*For relief from painful insect bites including those by centipedes, take fresh leaves of Barleria lupulina, crush them and apply on the affected area. It reduces swelling, redness and pain.
*For boils, gently apply the paste obtained from the roots of Barleria lupulina on the affected portion. It reduces swelling and the associated pain. Decoction obtained from leaves if taken in small quantity will also give relief from boils.
*The paste obtained from leaves stops bleeding from wounds and helps in quick healing thanks to the herb’s anti-microbial properties.
*Take a couple of fresh leaves of Barleria lupulina, crush them and mix them with a little quantity of lime. Apply the paste on the affected area for relief from rheumatic pains.
*Herbal balms made of Barleria lupulina are available as skin ointment.

Shorea robusta: Indian dammer gives relief from bleeding piles

By Syed Akbar

Shorea robusta is considered a holy tree by Hindus and Buddhists. Ancient Indian texts show that Shorea or common sal is a favourite tree of Lord Sri Vishnu. Also known as Indian dammer, Shorea robusta finds its use in Ayurveda, Unani and tribal systems of medicine. It has a number of medicinal properties but the tree is valued for its ability to stop bleeding piles and provide relief to the patient.
Bark, leaves, fruit and resin of Shorea are used in medicinal preparations. The resin is also burnt as incense and the fumes thus obtained are said to have medicinal properties. Shorea ointments for skin troubles, breast enhancement and for bleeding piles are available in herbal stores.
Some herbal doctors consider Shorea as a natural remedy for diabetes, nervine pain, arthritis, burns, ulcers, and jaundice and skin infections. It has anti-bacterial properties too.
Home remedies
*Resin obtained from Shorea robusta bark is used for relief from arthritis. Take a few grams of Shorea resin and add it to the white of egg. Mix them well with a spoon and apply the paste on the affected portion. It gives relief from joint pains caused by arthritis.
*Herbal cream prepared from Shorea leaves is applied to wounds for quick healing. It kills germs including bacteria.
*For those suffering from diarrhea, a mixture of Shorea robusta and Mimosa pudica powder is administered orally. When taken in small quantities (one gram), it provides relief from diarrhea.
*Robusta resin is taken orally in small quantities for goiter. Goiter is caused due to iodine deficiency.
*In case of anaemia, intake of Shorea leaf powder with honey will help in improving the RBC count.
*Herbal doctors point out that fumes of Shorea resin provide relief from uncontrollable hiccups.

Acorus calamus: Sweet flag or Boch fights epilepsy

By Syed Akbar

Acorus calamus or Sweet flag is a wonder herb that has been in use in all systems of medicine including allopathy. In Sanskrit it is called Vacha, while in Hindi and Urdu it is popular by the name Boch. The rhizome of the plant is used in herbal preparations including ointments and balms for skin ailments, and treatment of burns. The rhizome is used in its dried form. A word of caution about this herb is that it should be taken in very minute quantities as it will cause vomiting and nausea if consumed in excess dosage. A teaspoon of rhizome powder is recommended twice a day.
Balms prepared from Calamus is used in massage to tone up the muscles and keep the skin in good condition. It is used in treatment of fevers particularly malaria, pain, stomach upsets, headache and tooth trouble. It is a laxative and diuretic. Calamus is also considered as natural herb to promote appetite. Some herbal doctors suggest Calamus for treatment of abdominal pain. In Ayurveda, it is considered as a tonic for the brain and nervous system as it improves memory in people suffering from amnesia or loss of memory. It is also recommended for asthma and killing intestinal worms.
Home remedies
*Persistent cough can be treated by inhaling the smoke of the dried rhizome. Make sure that too much smoke is not inhaled.
*Extract obtained from the rhizome of Calamus provides relief from headache and toothache. It is also considered good for oral problems.
*Readymade Calamus capsules are available in herbal stores. They can be consumed as prescribed by herbal specialists for treatment of epilepsy. Ensure that the prescribed dosage is followed.
*Calamus rhizome powder can be made into an ointment by adding a little of coconut oil for external application to treat small burns.
A little of Calamus root can be chewed for relief from motion sickness.
*Calamus tonics are available for improving memory power. Infusion obtained from Calamus rhizome can also be used.

Crinum latifolium: Milk and wine lily gives long and healthy life

By Syed Akbar

Crinum latifolium or milk and wine lily is a wonderful plant thanks to its “double” properties. It works on prostate gland in men and ovaries in women. Known in Sanskrit as Madhuparnika, this herb finds a special place in the “royal medicine” of Vietnam, where kings and queens in the past used this herb for a long and healthy life. In India, Crinum is used in Ayurveda and Unani preparations for a variety of health issues, and as a general tonic. Readymade herbal formulations of Crinum latifolium are available in herbal stores.
This herb is grown in gardens and houses as an ornamental plant. Its flowers resemble those of common garden lily. The bulb and leaves are used in medicinal formulae. Besides keeping the prostate and ovaries in good health, Crinum also helps in fighting cancers associated with these organs.
The bulb of Crinum has pungent taste. The bulb is often roasted for external applications. Extract of Crinum is used as a general tonic. It is believed that this herb helps in regulation of hormonal secretions and regeneration of body tissues to keep the body hale and healthy for a longer period. Care should be taken while using this herb for internal consumption as excess intake may upset stomach and cause vomiting. In small quantities, Crinum gives many health benefits.
Home remedies
*Take the bulb of Crinum, wash it properly and crush it. Apply it on joints for relief from rheumatic pains. The paste of Crinum helps in dilation of the blood capillaries in the area of application. Herbal doctors believe Crinum acts as rubefacient, though there’s no scientific evidence to the effect thus far.
*The crushed bulb can be applied on piles for relief. It is also often prescribed for wounds and abscesses.
*Herbal doctors recommend the juice obtained by crushing the leaves of Crinum as ear drops for relief from ear pain.
*The extract from bulbs is used internally in small quantities for longevity and healthy life. Crinum extract is believed to keep ovaries and prostate gland in proper function. Some recommend Crinum of treatment of fibroids in the uterus.
*Ayurveda and Unani doctors prescribe Crinum for treatment of prostate and ovarian cancers. Readymade herbal formulations of Crinum can be used.

Barleria prionitis or Porcupine flower: Vajradanti keeps dental health

By Syed Akbar

Barleria prionitis or porcupine flower is an ornamental plant, but some consider it as a weed. Ayurveda, Unani and other traditional systems of medicine the world over recognize the importance of Barleria prionitis as for as dental or oral health is concerned. Thanks to its unique properties of keeping teeth in good health and fighting tooth decay and gingivitis, this plant is popularly known as Vajradanti.

Apart from its dental benefits, Vajradanti is prescribed by practitioners of herbal medicine for problems like fever, respiratory diseases including whooping cough, joint pains including those related to arthritis, healing of wounds and boils, and curing of cracks in heels.
Some herbal experts believe that Barleria prionitis controls nocturnal emission and premature ejaculation in men. It is also recommended for removing worms from the digestive system. Other benefits of this herb include promotion of hair growth, increase in urine output and relief from scabies.
Home remedies
*Herbal doctors recommend decoction of Barleria prionitis root for treatment of viral fevers. Take a few leaves, fresh or dried, wash them properly and put them in a bowl. Add a glass of water and boil it to obtain decoction. Filter the solution and consume it in small quantities twice a day.
*If you are suffering from bleeding gums, loose teeth, dental cavities and sensitive teeth, Barleria prionitis is the best natural bet. You can do a mouth wash prepared from the root of this herb. Alternatively you can take dried leaves or roots, make them into powder. Take a little quantity and brush your teeth. It keeps the teeth strong and healthy.
*The leaves of Barleria prionitis can be crushed and applied on wounds, boils and in joints for relief. It also reduces swelling.
*Crushed leaves can also be applied on the scalp to fight fungal growth and promote hair growth. They can also be applied on cracks on the heels for relief.
*Herbal doctors suggest dried bark powder for whooping cough. Paste obtained from roots can be applied on boils for relief from pain.

Holarrhena antidysenterica: Bitter oleander or Kutaja stops amoebic dysentery

Syed Akbar

Holarrhena antidysenterica is popularly known as Kutaja among Ayurveda doctors. As the name antidysenterica suggests, this herb has properties that fight against dysentery of all types including the one caused by Entamoeba histolytica. In English this herb is called Bitter oleander or dysentery rose. The bark and seeds of the plant are used for treatment of a number of ailments particularly those related to stomach and intestines. Holarrhena is a good appetizer too and helps in easy digestion of food.

This is an ancient herb and finds mention in ancient Ayurvedic texts written by Charaka. Since it is considered good for digestive system, extracts from Holarrhena are used for treatment of bleeding piles and diarrhea too. Practitioners of herbal medicine believe that Kutaja is a divine herb bestowed by the Almighty. The herb should be used in limited and prescribed quantity only.

Home remedies
*Decoction obtained from bark is prescribed for killing harmful worms in the digestive tract. The decoction also gives relief from fever. Readymade capsules and tonics prepared from Kutaja are available in market for treatment of dysentery.
*Take seeds and powder them in a grinder. Sieve it to obtain fine powder. It can be sprinkled on wounds for quick healing. Ayurvedic doctors use the seed powder of Holarrhena for dressing of wounds. Paste obtained from the bark of the plant can be used for relief from painful boils
*It can also be taken as a general health tonic. Take a few grams of the bark of Holarrhena, wash it properly. Put it in a glass of water and boil it for 10 minutes to obtain decoction. Take a tablespoon of decoction twice a day for good health, and to fight stomach disorders and bleeding piles.

Curcuma caesia: Black turmeric cures stomach problems

Syed Akbar

Black turmeric or Curcuma caesia is an endangered medicinal plant grown in hilly areas of the country. It is fast dying and needs to be conserved for future generations. Curcuma caesia is a wonder herb and contains the highest content of curcumin, a chemical substance with many curative properties, among all curcuma or turmeric species. It is perhaps one of the few medicinal plants that is used in black magic as well as herbal treatment.
Curcuma caesia is used in Kali pooja and many practitioners of black magic use the herb in the fire pit set up for the purpose. Apart from its “spiritual ability” to drive away evil forces, Curcuma caesia has wide ranging herbal properties. It is prescribed for treatment of piles, impotency, menstrual disorders and epilepsy. It is used both externally and internally. Externally, it is used for treatment of wounds, white patches on the skin and leprosy sores. It is capable of enhancing fertility levels.
Some herbal doctors prescribe it for treatment of piles and enlargement of spleen and certain types of tuberculosis. The rhizome as well as the leaves of the plant are used in medical formulations.
Home remedies
*If you are suffering from toothache, take a little quantity of Curcuma caesia or black turmeric powder and rub it gently against the teeth. You will get relief from the problem. Ensure that only a little quantity is used, as excess of Curcuma caesia powder may induce vomiting.
*Take a fresh rhizome of black turmeric or kali haldi, wash it properly and crush it. Apply it to wounds and nagging sores for relief and quick healing.
Those suffering from leucoderma or white patches on the skin may apply the paste of Curcuma caesia rhizome on the skin. Readymade herbal preparations are also available in the market.
*Curcuma caesia provides relief from stomach problems including indigestion. Take a little of the rhizome and chew it for relief from indigestion or stomach pain. It also helps in easy digestion and proper functioning of liver and kidneys.

Commiphora wightii: Guggulu reduces body weight

Syed Akbar

Commiphora wightii or guggulu is used widely in homes in India, mainly to drive away evil spirits. It is also used for religious ceremonies. Apart from its use for religious 
purpose, guggulu is a natural medicine to reduce the body weight. It is a natural remedy for people suffering from overweight and obesity. The gum latex of this plant has several medicinal properties and many people burn it as incense for a feeling of goodness.
In English guggulu is known as Indian Bedellium and the plant is cultivated in many part of the country. Readymade capsules of guggulu are available in herbal stores and several weight loss programmes include it as part of the obesity treatment therapy.
It should be taken in small quantities for better results. In excess quantity it will 
cause health problems like irritation, skin rashes, loose motions and headache. Pregnant women should not use guggulu as it may cause miscarriage. Guggulu therapy is not recommended for children too.
Herbal doctors recommend guggulu for health issues like urinary disorders, haemorrhoids, high blood cholesterol and rheumatic pains. It is believed that guggulu reduces the blood cholesterol levels and burns excess fat, keeping the body healthy.
Home remedies
*Readymade guggulu capsules are available in herbal stores. Follow the course for weight reduction. Alternatively, one may take small quantities of guggulu gum latex twice a day to reduce the body weight, burn fat and control blood cholesterol levels.
*Herbal doctors recommend smoke of guggulu for earache. According to them, one should take a small piece of guggulu gum latex and burn it. The smoke can be directed towards the ear in which there’s pain. Guggulu smoke therapy helps in giving relief from earache.
*Guugulu extract can be mixed with sesame oil and gently massaged on the affected parts of the body for relief from rheumatic pains and swelling of joints.
*A little piece of guggulu gum, ginger and honey can be taken to control the body weight and fight obesity.

Semecarpus anacardium: Marking nut controls white patches

Syed Akbar

Leucoderma or white patches is a skin condition whose occurrence is shrouded in mystery. Despite the advancement in medical sciences it’s not still clear what exactly triggers leucoderma. Research has been going on the world over to understand the medical mechanism that triggers this skin problem, and find a permanent cure through medication.
Ancient Indian medical texts have described the problem of leucoderma in detail and have suggested that Semecarpus anacardium is a natural remedy. Though the skin problem does go completely through Semecarpus, it helps in keeping it under check. Semecarpus anacardium is known as bhilavan in Hindu and Urdu and as marking nut in English.
A number of health benefits have been attributed to this herb by Ayurveda and Unani 
doctors. It is also practiced by tribals and those following the forest medicine. The 
health benefits include control of white patches on the skin, piles, cough, nervous 
problems, infertility in men, healing of wounds, and relief from joint pains, baldness 
and enlargement of spleen.
As is the case with many herbs, Semecarpus should be used with caution, particularly when it is consumed internally. It may create health issues in young children, pregnant and lactating women and the elderly.
Home remedies
*Those suffering from piles may take Semecarpus tonic readily available in herbal stores. Alternatively, one can prepare extract from the Semecarpus fruit at home. Take the fruit, wash it properly and boil it in a little quantity of water. A tablespoon of this decoction can be taken. In case of juice obtained from Semecarpus fruit, a few drops are sufficient.
*The oil obtained from Semecarpus fruit can be mixed with coconut oil and applied on white patches, wounds, and skin portions affected by acne, ringworm and eczema. The oil can be applied on the scalp for treatment of alopecia or baldness.
*The oil of Semecarpus can be applied on swollen and painful joints for relief from 
*The juice obtained from Semecarpus can be applied on cracked heels for relief from pain.
*A little quantity of Semecarpus tonic is used internally every day for treatment of 

Decalepsis hamiltonii: Swallow root kills typhoid germs

By Syed Akbar

Decalepsis hamiltonii or swallow root is an ancient herb that has been
used for centuries by tribes deep in the jungles, down the Vindhyas.
Though there have been several claims on its medicinal properties,
it's only of late that scientific studies are conducted to verify some
of them. It has been found to be good against bacterial infection
including Salmonella typhii that causes typhoid and Helicobacter
pylori that is responsible for ulcers in the stomach and even cancers.
The root of Decalepsis is used in herbal medicine, particularly
Ayurveda and Unani. It is regarded as a blood purifier and general
health tonic to boost the immune system. Research on rats has shown
that it has anti-diabetic properties. It is found to protect the liver
and prevents formation of cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels.
Decalepsis should be used in small quantities as excessive intake may
lead to health troubles. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should
avoid Decalepsis as a precautionary measure. Those planning for a
surgical procedure should stop taking Decalepsis at least 15 days
before hospitalisation, as the herb is known to dilute the blood.
Those on anti-coagulant and blood thinning medicines should avoid
Home remedies
*The root extract of Swallow root works as a general tonic since it has
anti-oxidant properties. It also prevents cancers of various types.
Ready-made root extract of Swallow root is available in herbal stores.
One may also go in for Swallow root tonic to keep the physiological
functioning of the body in good condition. Alternatively, one can take
a few grams of fresh or dried root and prepare decoction adding it to
a glass of water. Filter the decoction and consume it.
*A little quantity of Swallow root powder daily will help in prevention
of complications linked to diabetes.
*Recent studies have shown that Swallow root can be used in cancer
therapy along with the regular medicines. Root extract or powder can
be consumed in a little quantity to prevent cancer complications.
*Swallow root powder is often prescribed to reduce swelling
(inflammation), and in treating typhoid. It is regarded as a good
appetiser. A little of root powder before the meal will increase the

Sesamum indicum: Gingelly lowers blood cholesterol

By Syed Akbar

Sesamum indicum or gingelly is one of the oldest herbs known to man.
In fact, man started cultivating this herb almost 4500 years ago.
Sesamum has been associated with a number of civilisations including
the Egyptian, Middle Eastern, and Indus Valley. The medicinal
properties of Sesamum have been exploited to their fullest in almost
all systems of medicine. It is believed that the plant had its origin
in Africa and then spread to various parts of the world, particularly
the Middle East, China, and Indian sub-continent.
Sesamum is known to induce abortion if consumed in large quantities.
It's better that pregnant women avoid using Sesamum in large
quantities. Sesamum seed and leaves are used in medicinal
preparations. Seeds can be used raw, roasted or in the form of oil
extracted from them. Leaves are grounded to obtain paste and used for
external applications.
The medicinal properties of Sesamum are many. But it is valued for its
cholesterol lowering property. Other medicinal uses are treatment of
piles, skin troubles including burns and wounds, loose motions,
dandruff, low haemoglobin content in the blood (anaemia), rheumatoid
arthritis and tooth decay. It also promotes hair growth and helps in
keeping the hair black for a longer period. It can be used as a
general health tonic.
Home Remedies
*If you are bothered by dried ear was, you can get relief by pouring
two or three drops of pure Sesamum oil into the ears. The wax gets
softened and it can be removed easily.

*Anaemia or low haemoglobin levels in the blood can be over come by
regularly taking Sesamum seeds with a pinch of jaggery. Pregnant women
should avoid Sesamum and jaggery as a precautionary measure.

*Since it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, chewing a
tablespoon of Sesamum seeds will help in keeping the stomach and
digestive tract free of harmful organism, and keeps the skin glowing.

*Since it is rich in vitamin E, Sesamum oil if gently massaged on the
head helps in promotion of hair growth. It also fights dandruff. Take
only a few drops of oil and massage on the scalp. Crushed leaves of
Sesamum can also be applied.

*Take Sesamum seeds, ground them into power, take a teaspoon of this
powder, mix it with a little quantity of honey and consume it twice a
day to keep the body in good health.

*Decoction obtained from the leaves of Sesamum can be massaged on the
head to prevent premature greying of hair.

*A few drop of lime juice mixed with a few drops of Sesamum oil can be
applied as natural ointment for relief from burns, and to beat dry skin.

*Make Sesamum seed paste and mix it with butter. Consume it twice a day
for relief from painful piles.

Bandicoot berry: Leea indica control diarrhea

By Syed Akbar

Leea indica or bandicoot berry is a small herbal tree found in many parts of the country. It is widely used in ethnomedical systems by various tribes in deep forests. There have been scientific research studies of late on the medicinal properties of Leea indica and they indicate it antioxidant property. Thanks to its antioxidant property it is 
considered as a natural medicine for inhibition or prevention of cancer.
The root and leaves of Leea indica are used in medicinal formulations. Ayurveda and Unani doctors also use Leea indica in their preparations. Herbal practitioners consider it as a natural coolant that gives a “cooling effect” to the body. During summer it is one of the natural coolants that quench the feeling of thirst.
Many tribal communities have been using Leea indica for treatment of diarrhoeal diseases. It is also used in cases of chronic dysentery. Other medicinal uses include skin ailments, gastric ulcers, vertigo (a severe form of dizziness) and digestive issue.
Home remedies
*For relief from colic (sudden, abrupt pain), herbal doctors prescribe decoction obtained from the root of Leea indica. Take a few grams of Leea indica roots, wash them properly and prepare decoction adding a cup of water. Filter the solution and consume a little quantity. Tribal medicine prescribes Leea indica for colic pains.

*Intake of a little quantity of powder obtained from the root of Leea indica gives relief 
from chronic dysentery.

*A few drops of juice obtained from the fresh leaves of Leea indica sets the digestive 
system right.

*Herbal doctors recommend external application of a little quantity of juice of Leea 
indica leaves on the head for relief from severe forms of dizziness like vertigo.

*Paste of Leea indica roots if applied on the affected portion of the skin gives relief 
from skin issues like rashes and allergic reactions.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Kulthi or horse gram: Macrotyloma uniflorum removes kidney, gall stones

Syed Akbar
Suffering from kidney or gall stones? Kulthi or horse gram is the best natural remedy if kidney or gall stones are detected in early stages, and they are not big enough warranting surgical intervention. Macrotyloma
uniflorum, as Kulthi is technically called, is a wonder legume that can cure a number of health problems including fighting kidney or gall stones.
Macrotyloma is used in tribal systems of medicine the world over, while in India practitioners of Unani and Ayurveda often prescribe it for health problems like cough, breathing trouble, ulcers and gas in the stomach, worm infection and excessive sweating. It is also recognised as a natural health tonic for general well being. Some herbalists consider Kulthi as a good food that controls arthritis.
A word of caution for pregnant women and those suffering from tuberculosis. Macrotyloma may cause severe health complications in pregnant women and TB patients. Even as a food legume, it's better for these groups to avoid it. Since it is a common legume used in kitchen preparations, Kulthi can be obtained from any grocery store. Ready- made herbal formulations based on Kulthi are also available in herbal stores.
Home remedies
*Regular intake of Kulthi as food (Ulvala charu, as it is famous in Andhra Pradesh) clears the digestive tract of worm infections including tape worms. It reduces flatulence and acidity and keeps the digestive system in good condition.
*Take a little quantity or horse gram, boil it in a glass of water, allow it to cool and filter it. Mix it in a grinder and add pure drinking water to make it semi-solid. Add a pinch of pepper powder and drink the preparation for relief from cold, cough or sore throat.
*Those suffering from stomach pain may try a little quantity of finely ground horse gram, dried ginger and asafoetida. You may prepare the mixture fresh as per the need, or prepare it in large quantity for storage in a clean and dry bottle for future use.
*If you are conscious about your weight, you may include horse gram in your regular diet. Herbal doctors point our that eating horse gram in daily meals will help reduce obesity to a large extent.
*Herbal doctors recommend that patients of kidney or gall stones may soak a little quantity of horse gram in glass of pure drinking water for about 10 hours. The infusion can be taken twice a day for relief from stones. Others suggest that the seeds thus soaked in water should be mashed and consumed twice daily.