Monday, October 6, 2008

Pudina(Mint) - The Agent of Freshness

  • Family Name: LAMIACEAE 
  • Part Used: WHOLE PLANT, OIL 
  • Habitat: Found through out India. 

Pudina – another essential component in Indian kitchen is herb with rich medical properties. Pudina is also popularly known as mint. The entire mint plant is anti-bacterial and anti-febrile. Essential oil and menthol is extracted from mint. The rapid evaporation of this oil and menthol is slightly anesthetic and anodyne local effect. Oil and menthol is also effective in tackling with headache, rhinitis, cough, sore throat, colic and vomiting. Menthol is used in balm.

Mint is also used as flavoring agent in culinary preparations. The leaf, fresh or dried, is the culinary source of mint. Fresh mint is usually preferred over dried mint. The leaves have a pleasant warm, fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste. Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, and ice creams. In Middle Eastern cuisine mint is used on lamb dishes. In British cuisine, mint sauce is popular with lamb.

Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains. To cure stomach aches, put dried mint leaves in boiling water, then, when it cools drink it. This tea is called monstranzo. During the middle Ages, powdered mint leaves were used to whiten teeth. Mint tea is a strong diuretic. Mint also aids digestion.

Menthol from mint essential oil (40-90%) is an ingredient of many cosmetics and some perfumes. Menthol and mint essential oil are also much used in medicine as a component of many drugs, and are very popular in aromatherapy.

Mint is also used as insecticides. Mint leaves are often used by many campers to repel mosquitoes. It is also said that extracts from mint leaves have a particular mosquito-killing capability.

Mint oil is also used as an environmentally-friendly insecticide for its ability to kill some common pests like wasps, hornets, ants and cockroaches.

Disclaimer : Article is only intended to uncover the medical properties of the herb. Please consult your doctor before using.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Broccoli - A Super Food

Broccoli is a plant of the Cabbage family, Brassicaceae. It closely resembles cauliflower with only difference of color. Broccoli is green whereas cauliflower is white.

Broccoli provides a high amount of vitamin C, which aids iron absorption, prevents the development of cataracts and eases the symptoms of the common cold. The folic acid in broccoli helps women sustain normal tissue growth. The potassium in it aids those battling high blood pressure, while a large amount of calcium helps combat osteoporosis. Good news is this vegetable is also fiber-rich, which enhances absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as aims to reduce blood cholesterol levels. The health benefits of broccoli have also been linked to preventing and controlling the following medical concerns like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, calcium deficiencies, stomach and colon cancer, malignant tumors, lung cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and even the aging process.

Broccoli sprouts are more effective than modern antibiotics against the peptic-ulcers-causing bacteria. Moreover, tests in mice show that the compound offers tremendous protection against stomach cancer - the second most common form of cancer in the world. Also a research revels that the individuals having broccoli in their diet are less prone to the lung cancer than others.

Preparing Broccoli-

 When preparing the vegetable, it is important to remember that over cooking broccoli — especially boiling it in water equals a reduction in vital nutrients which include anticancer compounds. Instead, try steaming, microwaving, or preparing broccoli in a tasty stir-fry. Look out for those broccoli tops which appear more purple than others. This means that they possess a higher level of carotenoids, which is better for your health.

Besides all its medical usage, it also tastes very good. So next time you buy vegetables....make sure this super food is in your cart.

Disclaimer : Article is only intended to uncover the medical properties of the herb. Please consult your doctor before using.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Garlic - Wonder Drug among all herbs

Botanical Name : Allium sativum (LINN.)

Family : N.O. Liliaceae

The Common Garlic a member of the same group of plants as the Onion, is of such ancientness as a cultivated plant, that it is difficult with any certainty to trace the country of its origin.

Garlic is a potent antioxidant that has been found to inhibit tumor cell formation and is currently being studied by the National Cancer Institute. It may be effective in fighting stomach, skin and colon cancer.

Though it is best know as a culinary herb and vampire retardant, the medicinal benefits and claims for garlic have awarded it the name "Wonder Drug among all herbs". Although Garlic directly attacks bacteria and viruses, it also stimulates the body's natural defenses against foreign invaders. Garlic is reported to be more effective than penicillin against typhus disease, and works well against strep, staph bacteria, and the organisms responsible for cholera, dysentery and enteritis.

Garlic has great value as a long-term dietary supplement, helping to maintain healthy circulation, balance blood sugar and pressure, reduce fat levels in the blood, and improve resistance to infection. It can be taken with conventional antibiotics to support their action and ward off side effects.

Garlic has also been used in treating upper respiratory infections, late-onset diabetes, urinary infections, acne, asthma, sinusitis, arthritis, and ulcers.

Garlic is said to be used for

  • Lowering cholesterol levels
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Cancer prevention
  • Treating infection
  • Enhancing immune function
  • Antioxidant effects
 Garlic can assist in:
  • Coughs, colds and other infections of the lungs and throat
  • Reducing and expelling catarrh
  • Asthma
  • Fevers (can induce sweating);
  • Healing of wounds, boils, sores etc (applied externally and taken  internally). Garlic can be valuable for infected wounds and used as a preventative against infection
  • Fungal infections, athlete's foot for example
  • Ear & Sinus infections;

Some of the most popular traditional uses of garlic have been for colds, flu and other infections, earaches, vaginal yeast infections, and high blood pressure. Modern research has focused on four main areas: heart disease, cancer, infectious disease, and antioxidant effects.

In addition to its culinary uses, garlic has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years. Garlic is used raw, dried, or processed into pills or tablets. Since garlic flavor is strong, garlic supplements may help avoid garlic breath.

Be aware that in rare instances, there may be gastrointestinal symptoms, changes to the flora of the intestine, or allergic reactions on using garlic. 

Disclaimer : Article is only intended to uncover the medical properties of the herb. Please consult your doctor before using.