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Turmeric

A plant vital for good health

Tumeric powder that is cooked before use

One of the most popular of the Indian spices, turmeric is also known as halad or haldi and its botanical name is Curcuma longa. Turmeric is a perennial herb with short and thick stem and multiple branches with unforgettable aromatic smell. The stems are underground (called rhizomes) and have food, medicinal as well as ritual value.

Turmeric is regularly included in Indian cookery for giving musky mouth watering flavour and beautiful yellow colour to recipe. See the Golden Milk recipe below.

The use of turmeric starts from day 1 in Indian life. A mixture of turmeric+ split gram floor+ milk is used to give bath to

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Cinnamon

A delicious sweet spice – Cinnamomum verum

We all know the rhyme ‘cinnamon and spice make all things nice’. Cinnamon of course is a spice best known for flavouring cakes and sweets, it’s great sprinkled on top of hot chocolate drinks although it can be mixed into almost any hot drink, especially coffee.

Cinnamon was once one of the world’s most highly sought after commodities, it has been in use for thousands of years as a medicine, an embalming agent, a means of preserving food, and as a flavouring. The earliest reports of cinnamon date back to ancient Egypt in 2000 B.C. Cinnamon is also described in the Old Testament as an ingredient in anointing oil.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is

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Tongkat Ali

Also known as Eurycoma and Longifolia Jack

Tongkat Ali is a tall slender shrub which grows wild along the hilly slopes of the rainforests of S.E.Asia and in Malaysia it is sometimes referred to as the ‘herb of a hundred healing qualities’ by the people of south-east Asia. It has of late been identified as also having unique male sexuality improvement qualities.

Research has shown that Eurycoma Longifolia Jack contains several phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that increase the level of testosterone the sex hormone required for male sexual functions, It is also required in the development of the sexual organ and the brain.

The New Straits Sunday Times reported on 30.5.99. That according to Dr. Johan Mohd Saad of University Malaya,

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Sage

Salvia Officinalis

Sage before flowering

There are many sage varieties and here we are referring to White sage, a common culinary herb native to Southern Europe, but now cultivated worldwide. Its botanical name, Salvia, stems from the Latin “Salvere” – “to be in good health, cure or save”. This indicates the wide range of beneficial effects the herb has:

Healing uses: Sage is anti-fungal, antiseptic and astringent. A simple infusion can treat gingivitis, or sore throats:

Sage Infusion: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried sage or 1 tablespoon of fresh sage. Leave to stand for 15-20 minutes.

This should be swilled about the mouth daily to treat gingivitis, or gargled to treat a sore

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Aromatherapy

The health benefits of fragrance

The fragrance of Rosemary enhances memory.

Aromatherapy came about when a French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse seriously burned himself one day while working in his lab. Gattefosse thrust his burnt hand and arm into a container of pure lavender oil and gained almost instant relief. For this reason, lavender oil should be part of every first-aid kit for the immediate treatment of burns.

But not only that, in the days that followed, his hand did not present with all the normal signs of a serious burn and his arm healed remarkably quickly leaving no scaring. Gattefosse was so intrigued by this he dedicated the rest of his life to what be named “Aromatherapy”.

But

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Herbal or Botanical Medicine

Natures medicines

Herbal or Botanical Medicine is the use of herbs (plants) for disease prevention and restoration of health.

Herbs and other plants have been used as medicines in most cultures and civilisations throughout history, either as single entities or as complex mixtures of several herbs or of herbs and other substances.

Modern medicine (pharmacology) grew from herbal medicines and to save costs and / or to make profits, the chemical/drug companies synthesised the active healing compounds found in plants to make most of the drugs we know today.

Herbal medicine is a major component in indigenous peoples’ traditional medicine and a common element in Ayurvedic, homoeopathic, naturopathic and traditional oriental medicine.

The prescription of specific herbal treatments

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Kalonji – Black Cummin

Nigella sativa L

Kalonji is also widely known as kalonji or nigella, but also, less commonly for Bunium persicum (Boiss.) B. Fedtsch of the family Apiaceae. Kalonji is cultivated across Asia from Italy to Indonesia and is a popular remedy for many common symptoms.

Providing relief from many ailments, Kalonji is a herbal/bush which grows to about 500mm high producing blue flowers and black seeds from which the oil is extracted. The seeds are triangular in shape and have a pungent smell.

Chemical Composition – seeds contain 1.5% volatile oil, while 37.5% Non volatile oil. In addition to this Albumen, Sugar, Organic acids, Glucoside Melanthin Metarbin and bitter substances are also found. The Glucoside is toxic in nature, hence the

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Isapghula

Plantago ovata

The Asian name for isapghula is iasapgol and it’s famous by the name spogel seeds or fleaseeds. Isapghula is a small and short herb with narrow leaves, minute flowers and oval fruits. When it ripens, the upper half of the fruit burst opens and the seeds see air. These seeds, also known as fleaseeds are white in colour, sweetish in taste and have medicinal value. Isapghula is indigenous to India and neighbouring countries. Isapghula is known to Indian system of medicine from ancient time and is used in many disorders as a corrective measure. It comes under the group of safer medicines and is used by common man in day to day problems without seeking medical advice.

In

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Ginger in Ayurveda

Zingiber officinalis

Known in India as zingiber adrak or aale, ginger is a perennial herb. It has irregular, underground, branched stems, which are juicy, shiny, yellowish, with threads inside, unevenly thick and tough. It has a characteristic fragrance when shredded or cut. It can be used in fresh or dried form. Fresh ginger called adrak and dried ginger is soonth.

Ginger is known for its medicinal properties from ages and has being in use as a medicine in India, China and Far East since long. Ayurvedic scholars use ginger in carminative and anti-flatulent mixtures. It is routinely used in Indian recipes as a spice where it serves both flavouring as well as medicinal purposes. It is a common constituent of

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Ginger

Zingiber officinalis

Also known as zingiber, Ginger is a potent culinary spice, often used for extra flavour in both sweet and savoury dishes. The root is the active component, which is widely available, both fresh and dried. A rich source of vitamin C, it also contains vitamin A along with magnesium, calcium and potassium.

Healing properties: A ginger bath is a very healing experience. It promotes perspiration, which can hasten the process of eliminating toxins from the body, and stimulates circulation. In addition, a ginger bath will ease stress and menstrual cramps, and aid the healing of muscular injuries. When running a bath, add 2 tablespoons of powdered ginger to the water. Test the potency and add more ginger according

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