Pokeweed is said to exert a positive influence on the lymphatic system, stimulating glandular action and relieving swollen glands, goiter, enlarged thyroid glands, lymphadenitis and mumps. It is a very potent herb, and its unique chemistry is believed to enhance immune function and act as an antiviral and anti-inflammatory. Pokeweed also acts as a powerful purgative.
Almond is a middle-sized tree with simple grayish leaves (when mature) and white-tinged red, showy flowers. The fruits are velvety drupes, separating into two halves, exposing stones, which contain the kernel called almond.
There is common belief that vegetarian food contains no protein. Almond removes all such myths as it contains twenty per cent protein—a percentage that is hardly found in the plants. Among all the nuts that are used as food, almonds are highly nutritive. They are packed with all the food components, which are vital to health, strength, and sound body. It has been said, “No man need starve on a journey that will fill his waist coat pocket with shelled almonds.” Leave alone the quantity; the quality of the protein is such that it is very easily digested.
The Ayurvedic herbarium is enriched with many more household food items. Among them Asafetida is one.
These plants grow in Kashmir and the Himalayas. They bear massive carrot shape roots that are 5-6 inches in diameter at the top when they are 4-5 years old. The fresh roots are incised at the top and the latex is collected in earthen vessels, dried, and packed in leather bags in the form of asafetida.
Black pepper is one of the most popular spices used in a variety of food preparations and is a household remedy for many ailments. Volatile oil of black pepper, the alkaloid piperine and the pungent substance chavicin act directly as gastric stimulants by secreting more saliva and gastric juice. It increases gastrointestinal movements and expels the strangulated gas thereby relaxing the intestines. It is therefore, used as an excellent carminative and digestive agent in dyspepsia, indigestion, flatulent colic, diarrhea, and fermentation of food, if taken along with thin buttermilk.
Its Botanical name is Carum copticum. Deepyakaa and Yavaanee are its Sanskrit names. It is called Ajwain in Hindi.
It is a household herb in India. It is being used as a carminative medicine from the time of Charaka and Sushrutha. Ajwain plant belongs to the family of coriander, resembles dill plant and grows up to 3 feet. It is available in almost all parts of India.
The banyan tree is quite a common sight in the plains of our country, providing much-needed relief from the hot sun. The British people who found Hindu baniyas (traders) transacting their business briskly under the shade of this tree began to refer to it as the ‘banyan’. In Ayurveda, it is one of the five great kshiravrikshas, i.e., milk-exuding trees, the other four being Udumbara (Ficus glomerata), Aswattha (Ficus religiosa), Paareesha (Thespesia populnea) and Plaksha (Ficus lacor).
Cardamom is called the “Queen of Spices.” It has digestive, antispasmodic, and carminative properties. It helps stop belching, vomiting, and nausea. It induces perspiration and improves circulation. Cardamom is added to tea, coffee, and milk to counteract their bad effects, such as caffeine toxicity and phlegm formation.
Ayurvedic wisdom held that one big glass of the frothy, rangy buttermilk would fortify and fuel you through a summer-day’s work. While today’s techno-dependent toilers are more likely to find their morning boost in cups of espresso, we have not forsaken buttermilk’s culinary and therapeutic attributes. Contrary to its name and characteristics, thick, rich buttermilk contains no butter at all. The word reflects buttermilk’s cottage-industry beginnings as the milky liquid reserved when heavy cream is churned into butter, hence the term “buttermilk.” In our country, preparation of buttermilk (takra is its Sanskrit name) and its medicinal values are known from the time of Atreya and Agnivesa, the Ayurvedic sages who learnt the art of healing from Lord Indra. Even the Rumanians and Bulgarians knew the art of making yoghurt and used it as a medicine for gastrointestinal disorders.
The Vedas describe the coconut tree as Kalpa vriksha or the Tree of Heaven and perhaps no other phrase can give a better description of this versatile tree. Almost every part of the tree has some medicinal value. Even the shell of this tough nut has its uses. Let’s take a look at what medical benefits each part has to offer.
Ayurveda, which is often called National Medical Treatment of this country, recognizes castor oil to be a wonderful panacea for several health concerns. Botanically derived from the Ricinus communis, castor is an evergreen shrub, which grows wildly in warmer temperatures. In Ayurveda, castor oil is called Eranda taila or Gandharva hasta (hand of a celestial being) taila; in the West, it is known as Palma Christi (hand of Christ).