Aug 18, 2016

Ajwain - Omam

Botanical Name: Trachyspermum ammi
Sanskrit: Ajamoda, Yavanika, Agnivardhana
Tamil: Omam
Hindi: Ajwain
Kannada: Oma
Telugu: Vamu
Malayalam: Omum
Marathi: Ova

Family: Apiaceae (Carrot family)
Synonyms: Sison ammi, Trachyspermum copticum, Carum ajowan, Bishop’s weed

Ajwain is an erect, hairless or minutely pubescent, branched annual herb. The stems are grooved. the leaves are rather distant, 2-3-pinnately divided in narrow linear segments. Flowers are borne in terminal or seemingly-lateral stalked, compound umbels, white and small. The fruits are ovoid, aromatic, greyish brown. The mericarps, which are the components of the fruit, are compressed, with distinct ridges and tubercular surface, 1-seeded. This is what is used as the spice Ajwain, in cooking.

Ajwain in Hindi and Yavanika or Agnivardhana in Sanskrit. ‘Agnivardhana’ –meaning, stimulation of agni or digestive fire in our body. Its pungent taste and aromatic smell has made it a favored spice in preparing pickles, confectionary, curries, biscuits and beverages. It is also used as an effective preservative and anti-oxidant. Crushed Ajwain seeds find utility in pot-pourri and scented powders.

Ajwain was originally grown in Mediterranean region. It is now grown in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Central Asian countries, China and Africa. In India, it is grown in the plains and higher altitudes as a garden crop or in small fields.

Medicinal uses:
Ajwain is also traditionally known as a digestive aid, relieves abdominal discomfort due to indigestion and antiseptic.

Dissolve Kidney Stones: When the mix of Ajwain seeds +honey + vinegar is used for 10 days, it helps to dissolve kidney stone that ultimately remove with urine.

Ajwain reduces Gas and Flatulence: Ajwain is one of the best herbal wonder drug for gas, flatulence and indigestion. Ajwain distilled water is good for the above said problems and also enhances appetite.

Relieves diarrhea and colic due to their stimulating, carminative and anti-spasmodic properties.

Acts as expectorant: Relieves bronchitis, habitual drinking, sore-throat and decongest digestive and respiratory tracts. Relieves cough, cold, influenza, arthritis, asthma and rheumatism.

Common cold: Ajwain seeds open up blocked nasal passage. Inhalation using crushed seeds tied in cloth or placing it beside one’s pillow relieves congestion. Alternately, one can inhale steam by boiling one teaspoon seeds in water.

Aphrodisiac: Consuming a teaspoon of powder obtained by frying equal quantities of Ajwain seeds, kemel of seeds from tamarind in ghee with one tablespoon honey and milk before bed-time makes an effective aphrodisiac increasing virility and averting premature ejaculation.

Mouth disorders: An infusion of Ajwain seeds with common salt makes an effective gargle for severe pharyngitis.

Aug 14, 2016

Kalmegh - Siriyanangai

Botanical Name: Andrographis Paniculata
Hindi: Kalmegh
Sanskrit: Kalmegh
Tamil: Siriyanangai
Marathi: Kadu kirayata
Bengali: Kalmegh
Gujarati: Kariyatu

Andrographis Paniculata is traditionally known as kalmegh. The plant belongs to family Acanthaceae, native to India and Sri Lanka. It is an erect annual herb extremely bitter in taste in each and every part of the plant body. It grows erect to a height of 30-110 cm in moist shady places with glabrous leaves and white flowers having rose-purple spots on the petals. Flowers are small, solitary in panicles. Fruit is approximately 2 cm long. Seeds are numerous, yellow-brown in colour. The flowers of Siriyanangai looks like a snake cobra. This medicinal plant is used for snake bites in some villages.

The plant grows in waste grounds and prefers moist habitat. The herb is bitter in taste and has weak odour. The whole plant may be used in medicine. It is widely cultivated in southern Asia, where it is used to treat infections and some diseases, often being used before antibiotics were created. Mostly the leaves and roots were used for medicinal purposes.

Both in Ayurveda and Unani, it is often confused with 'Chirayita' (Swertia chirata), but both are different plants. It is widely available in Arabia and It is given for fever along with several herbs.

Properties and uses of Siriyanangai
Siriyanangai has been found to be an effective anti-biotic, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and immune system stimulant. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. It has been described as antipyretic and hepatoprotective.

1. It is used for fever and liver disorders.
2. It has beneficial effect in reducing diarrhoea.
3. It is used in treatment of Jaundice.
4. It is used in case of diseases like flu, sinusites, upper respiratory tract infection and cough.
5. Used as one of the best remedies for Malaria.
6. It acts to dispel heat and remove toxins.
7. It is a blood purifier, so used to cure torbid liver, jaundice, and dermatological diseases.
8. It is used in viral hepatitis, children’s bowel complaints, gastric acidity, liver congestion, flatulence.
9. Tincture of roots is tonic, stimulant and aperients.
10. Kills intestinal worms and support intestine.
11. Siriyanangai is also used for snake bites in the villages of Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka
12. It is also used in Ayurvedic Preparation which is used to treat vitiligo.

Aug 7, 2016

Anar - Madhulai

Botanical Name: Punica Granatum
Sanskrit: Darima
Hindi: Anar
Tamil: Madulai
Kannada: Dalimbe
Telugu: Danimma
Bengali: Dalim
Urdu: Anar
Punjabi: Anar
Persian: Anar, Anaar

Pomegranate or Anar (Punica granatum) is an attractive fruit having lots of health benefits. It is a big gift on the earth from the God to the human beings. Pomegranate is a super seedy fruit having brilliant red seeds considered as the wonderful fruit in the world. It is also known as the seeded apple extensively used for its health benefits and medicinal values.

Pomegranates were originated in the surrounding area of the Iran in the ancient time. Now, it has been started cultivating all through the Mediterranean areas of the Middle East, southern Europe, northern and tropical Africa, Indian regions, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, parts of California and Arizona and etc. It is sufficiently available in the winter season from September to February and in the summer season from March to May.

Pomegranate plant is tolerant to the entire climate which can be easily grown in the dry areas or in the winter rainfall weather or in the summer rainfall weather.

Pomegranate Peel is used in the formulation of medicines for sore throat, heart and blood vessels, stomatitis, gum disease, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, skin and hair care products.

Health Benefits of Pomegranate peel:

Prevents from Anemia
-          It prevents from the anaemia as it contains sufficient amount of iron which helps in increasing hemoglobin level.

Induces Hunger
-          It induces hunger and manages thirst as well as acts as a good tonic for the stomach, liver and heart.

Prevents from UTI
-          It helps in curing the urinary tract infection.

Improves Digestion
-          It has both soluble and insoluble dietary fibres which improves the digestion as well as normalize the bowel movement.
-          It helps in increasing the libido in male thus enhances the fertility.

Treats Diarrhoea
-          Pomegranate peel extract is a great home remedy to treat diarrhoea and dysentery as well as to improve the digestion.

Provides Glow to Skin
-          Pomegranate peels have the highest amount of the antioxidants thus it nourishes the skin and makes it glowing and fair.

Provides Relief from Stress
-          Applying the paste of it on head helps in treating headache, half headache and other stress related problems.

Regulates Irregular Period
-          One table spoonful of Pomegranate powder with normal water twice a day is the best home remedy to normalize irregular periods.