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Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera health benefit

Also called "the elixir of youth" by the Russians,"the herb of immortality" by the old Egyptians or

Saturday, 23 April 2011 Comments

Aparjit

Aparajita (Clitoria tern

Aparajita has several synonyms in Ayurvedic scriptures like gokarnika, ardrakarni, girikarnika, supu

Saturday, 23 April 2011 Comments

Arecanut


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Arecanut

Image - Arecanut

PlantCharacteristics The arecanut palms grow under a variety of climatic and so

Monday, 14 March 2011 Comments

Ash Gourd

ASH GOURD (Benincasa his

Image - ASH GOURD (Benincasa his

PlantCharacteristics It is annual vine trailing on the soil surface. It is also k

Monday, 14 March 2011 Comments

Crops & Vegetables

Aloe Vera health benefits

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Also called "the elixir of youth" by the Russians,"the herb of immortality" by the old Egyptians or the "harmonious remedy" by the Chinese, Aloe vera is without a doubt the medicinal herb most widely known for its noticeable impacts on health and at the same time the ingredient most widely used in the cosmetic industry. Not one study conducted so far was fully able to explain the wonders which lie within this herb and how its compounds work together in a miraculous way to bring about the treatment or the alleviation of some of the most serious illnesses like cancer or AIDS.


Description

Aloe vera or "Aloe Barbadensis" is a plant which originated in North Africa and spread to the fertile lands with mild climate. Its physical aspect is similar to that of the cactus; the thick rind hides a succulent core formed mostly of water.

The aforementioned herb gained worldwide recognition and has been intensively used from the oldest of times due to its extraordinary features. A clear proof of this fact is a clay plank found in the antic city of Nippur, Babilon (the Irak from today) dating from year 2200 b.c. From Greek physicians like Celsius and Dioscorides to Romanians (Pylni the Great) and Arabs (Al-Kindi) to C.E. Collins, the one who published the first modern medical thesis in United States (1934), "aloe vera" has always been an issue with a long history behind it. Just about every important civilization used it for its benefical effects over health and beauty. Egyptians would mix aloe with other herbs while preparing remedies for internal and external anomalies. After the Second World War, aloe vera was introduced in treating the victims of the catastrophies from Nagasaki and Hiroshima because of its ability of mitigating the pain of the patients and renewing skin tissues.

Proprieties of aloe vera

The most oftenly used substance from this herb is the aloe gel, a thick viscid liquid found in the interior of the leaves. The leaves are used in the treatment of burns and the aloine - a bitter milky yellowish liquid is used as a laxative. The herb contains: 20 minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Chromium , Selenium), 12 vitamins (A, B, C, E, folic acid), 20 aminoacids from the 22 which are necessary to the human body, over 200 active components including enzymes and polysaccharides. All the active substances enumerated before contribute to the therapeutical value of the herb. We shall move on to presenting the main effects that the herb has over the human body: it toughens up the immune system owing to the 23 peptides contained by the aloe vera, it accelerates and regulates the methabolism, purifies the human body from toxins, bringing about a feeling of calm. Moreover, aloe vera has an antiseptic effect (by distroying the bacterias, viruses and fungi), disinfectant capabilities and can also stimulate the cell-renewing process. Aloe vera nourishes and supports the digesting of aliments. Cutting across the human organism, aloe vera manages to bring the human body to a general balanced state.

Treatments

Aloe vera has proved its efficiency from the simplest allergies to the treatment of wounds and skin infections and even to its usage in alleviating more serious afflictions. With the help of this herb a wide variety of internal and external afflictions are controlled, like: asthma, virosis, arthritis, arthrosis, gingivitis, bronchitis, pharyngitis, intestinal inflamations, constipations, obesity, sprains, muscle strains, cutaneous inflamations. The efficiency of the herb was also proven in the cases of anemia, deficiency illnesses, insomnia and depressions and the B-sisterole from the Aloe vera brings about the lowering of the cholesterol level. Also, this herb is used for controlling the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, diabetes, hepatitis and pancreatitis and multiple sclerosis.

Mixtures

A wide array of products with curative and therapeutic effects is obtained from aloe vera. This herb is one of the main attractions of the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries and also the most widely used ingredient - starting from vitamins and laxatives to face creams and body care lotions. Aloe vera gel contains B-sisterole, powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cholesterol formulas and lupeol - a strong antiseptic tranquilizer. The aloe-based lotions and gels are used as protections against the powerful sunlight and as a remedy against sunburns. Ointments having aloe as a main ingredient moist the skin and protect it against bug stings and scratches. Furthermore, the aloe-based ointment is efficient in treating acne. Owing to its proprieties, Aloe vera was incorporated in the composition of deodorants.

What should be noted is the fact that this herb can be also administrated internally due to its high nourishing influence. When mixed with other fruits, aloe vera can be ingested as an excellent natural beverage rich in vitamins and minerals. Also, it is recommended that it is ingested during travels to prevent dehydration.

Cultivation of aloe vera

Because it is not a pretentious herb, aloe vera can be easily tended for. This herb requires a great amount of light (even if it is artificial - 16 hours a day) and a little bit of water (especially in the cold season).


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Benefits of Parsley plant

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From a medicinal point of view, parsleybehaves as an anticacerous herb (it protects the liver, the intestines against cancer), antirheumatic, stimulant of digestion, of kidneys, eliminating toxins and kidney stones. Moreover, parsley seeds stimulate fertility and helps against dependency upon alcohol and against brain tumors.

 

Description of Parsley plant

The latin name used for parsley (Petroselinum hortense), is formed from two Greek words: "petros" which means "stone" and "selinon" which means "celery". Parsley seems to be native to the East Mediterranean part from Southern Europe, even though in the Middle Ages parsley was one of the most known spices, used even in Northern Europe. Earlier during the Middle Ages around 3rd century b.c. parsley was used in various foods and in Antiquity people would use parsley leaves to keep a fresh breath.In oriental foods, parsley was a very appreciated ingredient. Presently the United States along with Canada and Europe are the main growers of parsley. The two types grown are: petroselinum tuberosum (for the root) and petroselinum crispum (for the leaves). Due to their flavor, parsley leaves can stimulate food appetite (which is a reason why they are used in soups, salads, and meat foods), while the root is used as a vegetable. From a medicinal point of view, parsley behaves as an anticacerous herb (it helps protect the liver and intestines form cancer), antirheumatic, stimulant of digestion, of kidneys, eliminating toxins and kidney stones. It is important to bear in mind that parsley seeds have an outstanding aphrodisiac effect by stimulating the sexual glands. Moreover, they stimulate fertility and helps against dependency upon alcohol and against brain tumors.

Proprieties and benefits of Parsley

Between 25-30 mg of parsley a day are enough to provide the daily dosage of vitamin C. It is important to mention that parsley contains more vitamin C than lemon, orange or any other fruit. It has abundant quantities of other vitamins and minerals such as: provitamine A, vitamine B, vitamine E, vitamine K, beta-carotene, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, sodium, potassium, sulfur and calcium. It acts like an antioxidant (eliminates toxins and maintains the elasticity of the blood vessels), it is a general stimulant, diuretic, antiseptic, antiinfectious, antirachitic and more. Apart from these, parsley is a great neutralizer of the negative effects brought about by smoking and dependence upon alcohol. Among other effects that it has: it straightens the body and immune system, has a beneficial effect over the liver, spleen, digestive and endocrine organs. 

Mixtures and treatments

From cosmetic solutions for face cleaning or removing of freckles up to treatments of various illnesses, parsley proves to be a wonderful herb. Whether it is asthma, anemia, obesity, rheumatic illnesses, toothaches, indigestions, intestinal parasites, menstrual disorders or even tumors, parsley leaves are an invaluable adjuvant. It is also beneficial for the stomach, kidneys, bladder, blood flow etc.

Parsley infusion

Over two spoonfuls of grained parsley are put in 2 cups of hot water. After about an hour, the mixture is passed through a sieve and is consumed three times a day before meals. The same procedure is to be applied for the infusion made out of parsley seeds. The time for macerating is of about 8 hours, after which the mixture is passed through a sieve. Owing to the quantity of vitamin A (for beauty) and vitamin E (for elasticity) that it contains, parsley has multiple cosmetic effects. Infusion of parsley is used as a face tonic.

Parsley powder

With the help of an electrical grinder, parsley seeds are ground. The resulting mixture is placed in a recipient hermetically closed which would then be kept in the fridge. It is enough to consume half a spoon of parsley 2 to 3 times a day in order to fully enjoy its effects. 

Parsley poultices

The powder obtained from parsley or from the crushed parsley leaves is used to make poultices from which are then applied on areas affected by mosquito bites or itchiness. Caution: in order to obtained the desired effect it is necessary that the poultice to be used for half an hour. 

Warning

The products containing parsley are not advisable to pregnant women or those who breastfeed. However they can consume parsley in foods.


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Piper Longum

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It is one of the herbs mentioned in all ancient scriptures of Ayurveda. In Sanskrit, it possesses various synonyms, describing its properties and specialities, like usana –pungent, capala – quickly acting, krsna – black, magadhi – from Magadha region, upakulya – growing near water resources, kola improving the test sensation etc. The great sage Caraka has categorized it as dipaniya – an appetizer, kanthya – beneficial for the throat, uptighna – anti-saturative, asthapanao-paga – an adjunct to decoction enema, sirovirecaniya – a cleansing nasal therapy, purisa sangrahaniya – give form to the faeces, purisa virajaniya – give color to the stool, sita prasamana – relieve cold sensation on the skin, sulaghna – anti colic, rasayana – a rejuvenator, kasahara-anti-tussive, vamaka- emetic, hikka nigrahana – mitigates hiccup. The root of pippali, pippal mula is cited as dipaniya – an appetizer and sulaghna – anti colic. Pippali is on of the ingredients of trikatu – three pungents viz. sunthi, marica and pippali, which is the most commonly, used combination for the remedy of kapha dosha. Trikatu is anti-cold, anti tussive an well as anti-asthmatic in its properties. Pippali is a specially recommended rasayana for respiratory system (Pranavaha srotasa) and is the best rasayana rejuvenative to kapha dosha.

The plant grows all over India, in evergreen forests and is cultivated in Assam, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. A small shrub with a large woody root and numerous creeping, jointed stems, thickened at the nodes. The leaves are alternate, spreading, without stipules and blade varying greatly in size. The lowest leaves are 5-7 cm long, whereas, the uppermost 2-3 cm long. The flowers are in solitary spikes. The fruits, berries, in fleshy spikes 2.5-3.5 cm long and 5 mm thick, oblong, blunt and blackish green in color. The mature spikes collected and dried, form the commercial form of pippali and the root radix is known as pippalimula.

The botanical name of pippali is piper longum and it belongs to family piperaceae. The fruits contain 1% volatile oil, resin, a waxy alkaloid, a terpenoid substance and alkaloids piperine and piperlongumine. The roots contain piperine, piperlongumine or piplartine. The seeds contain sylvatin, sesamin and diaeudesmin. Two new alkaloids piperlongumine (piplartine) and piperlonguminine – from roots and stem bark, isolated. Piperlingumine, piperlonguminine, piperine and sesamin isolated from roots. Two new piperidine alkaloids – pipermonaline and piperundecalidine-isolated from fruit and their structure determined. Isolation and structure determination of three new pyrrolidides-brachyamide A, brachyamide B and brachystine

Properties

Pippali, when fresh and wet, is sweet in taste, sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency and heavy attribute. On drying, it is pungent in the taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and semi-hot in potency. It possesses light, sharp and fresh pippali, alleviates pitta but aggravates vata and kapha doshas. On the contrary, the dry pippali, which is commonly used, alleviates vata but aggravates pitta dosha. It is an appetizer, digestant, rejuvenative, febrifuge and a brain tonic and alleviates all the three dosas

Uses

The fruit, commonly known as pippali itself and its root, called as pippali mula are used for medicinal purpose. Pippali is seldom used externally, in case of painful and swollen conditions, wherein its paste is applied. Though it has mild antiseptic property, it is an irritant to the skin and manifistates allergic reactions. Internally, pippali is invaluable in vast range of diseases. Pippali is the best drug recommended in the disorders of the spleen. It is a powerful stimulant for the digestive and respiratory systems. It is strongly heating and removes cold, congestion and ama – the undigested toxic elements and revives the weakened organic functions. It is also a rejuvenative to lungs and kapha dosha. Trikatu is the most popular formulation used to mitigate the diseases due to kapha dosha, to digest ama and also it increases the bioavailability of the drug, when it is used as a complementary medicine.

Pippali effectively reconciles the digestive functions and is used with benefit in anorexia, indigestion, flatulence, abdominal pain, hyperacidity, piles etc. It works well with honey to combat hyperacidity. The decoction or its medicated milk can be used for the same. Pippali is beneficial, when given with amalaki in the treatment of anemia. For treating any type of fever, the medicated ghee of pippali is very useful. In chronic fever and tuberculosis, the preparation Vardhamana pippali is more effective. In fact, Vardhamana pippali is a regimen, praised in ancient scriptures in which the doses of pippali are increased gradually. On the first day, an infusion of 3 pippalis, boiled for a few minutes in a mixture of milk and water is taken (4:1). Then for 10 successive days the dose is increased by 1 pippali everyday. After 10 days, the dose is gradually decreased by 1 pippali daily. During this regimen only milk is consumed as a diet. This method is useful in treating chronic respiratory ailments, anemia, recurrent fevers, piles and digestive problems. It strengthens the immune system of the body.

Pippali is beneficial as a brain tonic and in the diseases of vata. The decoction is effectively used in sciatica and hemiplegia. Being the best rejuvenative, pippali sidda ghrta is useful in tuberculosis, cough and with the ghee and honey, it reduces the frequency of paroxysms in bronchial asthma. It also helps controlling hiccup, when given with honey. It boosts the reproductive system too, hence, is used as an aphrodisiac. It also works well in amenorrhea. Causasti pippali is one of the unique preparations, which is prepared by fortifying the pippali powder by triburating it with the decoction of pippali itself, for the duration of 8 days (64 prahara). It makes pippali very potent and fortified, so used in very small doses. Pippali mula, the root of pippali is used in the respiratory ailments, flatulence and to induce sleep and relieve abdominal colicky pain.

Classical Ayurvedic Preparations

Pippalyasava

Vardhamana pippali

Causasti pippali

Pippali khanda

Sitopaladi curna

Guda pippali etc.


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TULASI (Ocimum Sanctum)

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Tulasi is perhaps the most sacred plant of India nest to kamala – the lotus. Particularly, the leaves of Tulasi are used to worship Visnu. It is interesting to note that the plants sacred to Sankara, Ganesha and Visnu are bilva, durva and tulasi, which alleviate vata, pitta and kapha doshas, respectively. There are innumerable references of Tulasi in Indian mythology. The ancient Ayurvedic scriptures have mentioned the plant in the management of several diseases. The plant is supposed to have a purifying influence by liberating ozone and also is said to repel the mosquitoes. Thus, in many parts of India, the plant is grown in the courtyard, traditionally and worshipped daily as a necessary ritual for family will-being. Ayurvedic texts categorise it as kasaghna – alleviates cough, svedala – induces sweating, ajirna nasaka – mitigates indigestion and agnimandya nasaka – alleviates anorexia (Bhavaprakas)

The plant grows all over India up to 2000 meters height. It is grown in houses, temples and gardens. An erectannual grows 0.5-1.5 meters in height and has red or purple quadrangular branches. The leaves are opposite, about 2-4 cm long, margins entire or toothed, hairy on both the surfaces, dotted with minute glands and are aromatic. The flowers tiny, purple and inflorescence is a long spike or 12-14 cm in length. The fruits are small, smooth nut lets, reddish grey in color.

Botanically, Tulasi is known as Ocimum sanctum and it belongs to family Lamiaceae. The leaves contain an essential oil, which contains eugenol, eugenal, carvacrol, methylchavicol, limatrol and caryophylline. The seeds contain oil composed of fatty acids and sitosterol. The roots contain sitosterol and three triterpenes A, B, and C. The leaves also contain a steroid ursolic acid and n-triacontanol. Eugenol (70.5), its methyl ether (4.8), nerol (6.4), caryophyllene (7.5), terpinen –4-(0.4), decylaldehyde (0.2), selinene (0.4), pinene (0.4), camphene (2.0) and a-pinene (3.5%) identified in essential oil by GC.

Properties

Tulasi is pungent and bitter in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has hot potency. It alleviates kapha and vata doshas, but slightly aggravates the pitta dosha. It possesses light and dry attributes. On the contrary the seeds are oily and slimy in attributes and have a cold potency. Tulasi is a stimulant, aromatic herb and effectively reduces the fever.(Bhavaprakash)

Uses

The seeds, leaves and the roots of Tulasi have great medicinal value. It is used both, internally as well as externally. Tulasi has mild antiseptic, analgesic properties and it relieves the swellings also. Hence, it beneficial, externally, in various skin diseases. The paste of leaves works well, with marica powder, when applied topically in ringworm infestations. The dressing with the pulp of its leaves effectively controls the infections and hastens the healing of chronic infected wounds. The leaves when chewed mitigate the infections of the gums. Instillation of fresh juice of the leaves into ears is an effective domestic medicament for ear aches. The massage with the leaves juice improves the circulation beneath the skin and augments the sensation in the skin. In the headache due to sinusitis, the instillation of juice in the nose facilitates the secretions of kapha and relieves the headache. The dried powder of the leaves can be inhaled, like a snuff, for the same purpose.

Internally, Tulasi is used on many occasions, as a vehicle or an adjuvant. It enhances the bioavailability of the medicine or acts synergistically, respectively. It is also used in number of Ayurvedic proparations for bhavana, to potentate their effects, namely in Tribhuvana kurti, Caturbhuja rasa etc. Tulsi is salutary to increase the appetite and improve digestion. It has a mild laxative as well as vermicidal action, hence is rewarding in worm infestations. It is a good blood purifier and is helpful in the diseases of the blood and heart. A tea prepared with the leaves of Tulasi is a common domestic remedy for cold, cough, milk indigestion, diminished appetite and malaise.

Tulasi has specified actions on the respiratory system-pranavaha srotasa. It effectively liquefies the phlegm due to its hot and sharp attributes. It gives excellent results in cough due to kapha, allergic bronchitis, asthma and eosinophilia. Combined with honey, the juice works well to control the hiccup. In tubercular cough, Tulasi is also beneficial. It is an effective panacea for fever, especially of kapha type, while given with honey and marica fruit powder. In such conditions it effectively controls colds and reduces pain. Tulasi juice works as amapacana, meaning it digests and destroys ama – the toxins.

The seeds of tulasi being cool and sweet along with its slimy-(picchila) attribite, are beneficial in dysuria. The khira or pudding, prepared from the seeds, is useful to boost the energy in debility, especially due to pitta dosha. In diarrhea associated with bleeding, the seeds soaked overnight in water to which a teaspoon of sugar is added, and taken in the morning.

Ayurvedic Preparations

Tribhuvana kirti

Caturbhuja rasa

Tulasi svarasa

Tulasi taila

Mukta pancamrta

Jvarasamharaka rasa


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Aparajita (Clitoria ternatea)

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Aparajita has several synonyms in Ayurvedic scriptures like gokarnika, ardrakarni, girikarnika, supuspi, mohanasini, sveta etc. It is one of the herbs mentioned in all ancient scriptures of Ayurveda. The great sage Caraka has categorized it as sirovirecana- usefil in cleansing nasal therepy (Caraka Samhita. Sutra-4) In Raja Nighantu it is cited as caksusya- beneficial to eyes in ophthal mopathy. In Dhanvantari Nighantu it is mentioned as visadosaghni – which alleviates toxins. Sustruta has also mentioned it as visaghna – which eliminates toxins.

Aparajita grows throughout India. It is a beautiful-looking plant, hence cultivated in gardens. It is a perennial twining herb having 7 leaflets, which are elliptic and obtuse; There are few varieties with white, violet and blue flowers. The pods are 5-7 cm long, flat with 6 to 10 seed, in each pod. The flowers resemble in shape to cow’s ear, hence the synonym- gokarnika.

The botanical name of aparajita is Clitoria ternatea and it belongs to family Fabaceae, Pipilionaceae. The root bark contains starch, tannin and resin. The seeds contain a fixed oil, a bitter acid resin (the active principle), tannic acid, glucose (a light brown resin) and ash. The taste of the seeds is brittle and contains a cotyledon, which is full of granular starch. From leaves, clitorin and kaempferol have been isolated. A lactone-aparajitin from leaves, sitosterol from seeds, taraxerol from roots and sitosterol and anthoxanthin from seed are isolated (Ind. J. Pharm. 1968, 30, 167.) Isolation and identifi-cation of cyanine chloride and kaempferol from the flowers has been done. From seed-oil palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids are yielded. Six acylated anthocyanins A, B, C, D, E and F are isolated from blue flowers along with kaempferol and its 3- glucoside, robinin, quercetin and 3-glucoside and ternatins A and B are partially characterized

Properties

Two varieties, blue and white flowered, are mentioned in Ayurvedic texts. Aparajita is bitter in taste (rasa), pungent in the post digestive effect (vipaka) and has cold potency (virya). It alleviates all the three dosas. It possesses light (laghu), dry (ruksa) and sharp (tiksna) attributes. It alleviates ama, oidema, toxins (visa) and pain. It is a valuable medicament for skin diseases. (Kaiyadeva Nighantu).


Medicinal Uses

The roots, seeds and leaves are used for medicinal purpose; Aparajita is used both, internally as well as externally. Externally, the paste of the roots, of white flowered variety, is applied in skin diseases and simultaneously, the seeds fried in ghee are powdered and given orally, with hot water. The same variety of roots is salutary in guinea worm infestation, to expel them out, by their topical application. The paste of its leaves, combined with little salt is applied in retroauricular adenitis, with great benefit. The seeds mashed with honey, applied topically, in tonsillitis render excellent relief. In migraine, the root juice instilled into nostrils helps to ward off kapha.

Internally, aparajita is used in various diseases. It works well as an appetizer, digestant, and vermicide and digests ama. The powder of its roots or seeds, combined with sunthi of fennel is recommended in ascites, with hot water. Being sharp in attribute, it breaks down the accumulations of dosas and malas. The sticky phlegm in cough and asthma is relieved, when the root juice with milk is given. It works well as febrifuge especially in gout. In glandular swellings like cervical adenitis, the root powder or juice is valuable. The decoction of its roots alleviates the burning sensation in the vagina, effectively. In habitual abortion, the roots of white varity, mashed in milk are given orally to avert the abortion and stabilize the foetus. The juice of its leaves mitigates the toxins. The fresh leaves juice, combined with ginger juice, effectively controls the excessive sweating. It is also used to promote the intellect (medhya).


Classical Ayurvedic Preparation

  • Aparajita bija curna
  • Mula curna


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