By Syed Akbar Cassia occidentalis is often regarded as a weed or “waste” plant, because it grows wildlyin barren soils and wastelands. Some of the species of Cassia grow taller, butoccidentalis is a small herb or at best a shrub. Cassia occidentalis has been used intraditional medicines the world over, from Mexico to India and from China to Egypt. It iswidely used in Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicine too, notably in treating problems and complications related to liver. It forms the basic ingredient in most of the “livertonics” available in the market. Apart from its anti-hepatotoxic properties that remove impurities and toxic elements fromthe liver, Cassia is used as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial herb inAyurveda and Unani. It is particularly prescribed as a hepato or liver tonic for jaundicepatients. Other medical actions of Cassia include its ability to fight malarial parasitesin the blood and dermatological issues, provide relief from muscle discomfiture, boost the immune system, and promote sweating to reduce high body temperature. Some practitioners of herbal medicine believe that Cassia is a good natural contraceptive that puts off pregnancy for a full menstrual cycle. ------------------ Home remedies ----------------- Leaves of Cassia are helpful in providing relief from skin diseases, rashes and commonringworm infection. It also helps in healing of wounds and cuts. Take some leaves ofCassia, wash them properly and make them into a paste. Apply the paste on the affectedarea. You may also apply the leaves directly on the wound for fast healing. Extract of Cassia root bark readily available in any herbal shop contains anti-pyreticproperties. A little of Cassia root bark extract will bring down the high bodytemperature giving relief from fever and associated health troubles. Herbal doctors prescribe Cassia pulp for quick relief from constipation. Soak a littlequantity of Cassia pulp in a glass of water. Remove the pulp and filter the water. Youmay add a teaspoon of sugar for taste before drinking it early in the morning for relieffrom bowel discomfiture, Extract of Cassia fistula leaves acts as a natural contraceptive, particularly in women.A few drops of Cassia fistula extra taken two times daily for about a week, preventpregnancy for a full menstrual cycle or one month. If common cold clogs your nose with mucus discharge making it difficult for you tobreathe, you may try Cassia root smoke. Get a few twigs of Cassia root, wash themproperly and then burn them. You may inhale the Cassia root smoke for relief from cloggednose and flu. Do make it sure that you do not inhale large quantities of smoke, as it maycause lung problems.
Stone apple, Bael or Bilva is interlinked with religious rituals and customs in India.For thousands of years Bilva fruit and leaves have found their way in religious functions. Many associate this sacredtree with Lord Shiva and thus, it is often called Shivafal (Shiva fruit). Apart from its religious significance, Bilva finds its use in several Ayurvedic and Unanimedicines. In Naturopathy too, Bilva fruit and leaves are used extensively. Bilva is considered as the best natural remedy for cholera thanks to the high content oftannins present in it. Bilva kills cholera bacteria. It is also prescribed for a number of stomach disorders includingconstipation and diarrhoea.Bilva has laxative properties and cleans the digestive system. -------------------- Home Remedies ============= For immediate relief from painful haemorrhoids, Bilva is the best natural herbalmedicine. You may either purchase readily available Bilva formulations from a reputed herbal store, or take a Bilva fruit,wash it properly and prepare decoction from it. You may added a few drops of ginger juice to the Bilva decoction before consuming it. Bilva leaves have temperature lowering properties. Take a few fresh Bilva leaves and washthem properly. Mix them in a grinder to obtain juice. Take a few drops of this freshly prepared juice of Bilvaleaves for relief from fever. For taste you may add some honey. Ayurveda and Unani doctors believe that Bilva has anti-malarial properties. Besides,Bilva extract is administered for cholera patients to kill the bacteria and reduce water loss (dehydration). It is also believed that Bilva extract will provide relief from ulcers in the stomach andintestines. Paste made from Bilva roots, bark, fruit or leaves are applied on wounds for quickhealing. Some herbal doctors consider Bilva extracts obtained from bark and leaves contain anti-venom properties i.e. fight snake poison. But it is always better to administer an anti-venom dose at the nearest hospital as one cannot takechances with bites of poisonous creatures.
By Syed AkbarGymnema sylvestre or Gurmar is hailed as a natural `sugar buster'. As its Hindi nameGurmar suggests, the plant has properties to kill sugar (Gur, jaggery or sugar; mar, kill) in the blood stream. Itswonderful hypoglycaemic (sugar lowering) properties have made this herb a natural choice of Ayurveda and Unani doctorsas an anti-diabetes drug. It is a time tested herb as its formulations have been in use in traditional systems ofmedicine in different parts of the world for at least 2500 years. Herbalists often call Gymnema as a miracle fruit. However, its leaves are used in herbalformulations. The fruit is not used. Gurmar's action is quick and instant. If you want to test whether Gurmar leaveshave hypoglycaemic properties, take a leaf, wash it properly and chew it. For the next two hours you will not be able totaste or feel anything sweet. Sugar will not "taste" sweet to your taste buds. Ancient Ayurveda texts had dwelt at length on the health benefits of Gurmar(mesha-shringi in Sanskrit) in diabetics. It is also known as Madhu-naashini in Sanskrit. Modern experiments, both in vivo and in vitro, have shown that Gurmar works well with type 2 or non-insulin dependent diabetes. In case of type 1 or insulin dependent diabetes, intake of Gurmar reduces the need of external insulin injections. Type 1 diabetics willhave to take insulin supplement along with Gurmar. -------------------- Home remedies -------------------- If you want to fight obesity by reducing the intake of sugar, chocolates or sweets, justchew a leaf or two of Gurmar. It will reduce your craving for sugar or sweet preparations. Gurmar leaf acts on the taste buds that recognise sweetness and thus your cravings for sugary things will go down the natural way. Gymnema herbal tea is readily available in the market. You may try this special tea tokeep your blood sugar levels under check, in case you are a diabetic. Non-diabetics may also drink Gymnema herbal teaas a general tonic, as the herb is considered as a body "refrigerant". Herbal practitioners believe that Gurmar has special properties that fights snake venom.Snakebite is often treated by using a paste prepared from the root of Gurmar plant. Fever (high body temperature) can be brought down through Gurmar extracts available withherbal stores. Finely ground and sieved seeds of Gurmar are often prescribed for asthma.
By Syed AkbarAsparagus racemosus, commonly known as Shatavari, has been regarded as the queen of herbsfrom times immemorial. It has been used in various systems of medicines the world over,particularly in the Indian traditional herbal systems like Ayurveda and Unani. It is alsoused in Siddha and naturopathy. Even homoeopathy practitioners prescribe Asparagus for anumber of ailments. Asparagus gains medicinal prominence for its unique properties that fights infertility inwomen and enhances sperm production in men. It is also noted for its lactation inducingproperty. Women, who are unable to breastfeed their babies, may try Asparagus racemosusfor increased milk production. Various research studies have shown that Shatavari workson mammary glands and stimulates them to produce more milk. Ayurveda and Unani doctors have been prescribing for ages Shatavari for infertility inwomen. It tones up the reproductive system in women, stimulates ovulation and maintainspregnancy. The herb has also been a favourite prescription for women post menopause. The herb Induces growth in children and is regarded a good natural medicine forhyperactive children. Other uses of Shatavari include fighting gastric ulcers and liverand infectious diseases. It is also a good appetizer. The roots, stem as well as theleaves of Shatavari plant are used in herbal preparations. Here is a word of caution forkidney and heart patients. Herbal doctors do not prescribe Shatavari preparations for such patients. ---------------------- Home remedies --------------------- Asparagus racemosus is available in any herbal shop in the form of powder and tablets.Lactating mothers may use a tablet or two everyday to induce more milk production. Oralternatively, if one has easy access of Asparagus racemosus herb, one may take a fewgrams of its roots, wash them properly and dry them. The root can be powdered and storedin a clean and neat container for use daily. Extract obtained from the Shatavari root is often prescribed for the control of loosemotions and dysentery. The extract is readily available in any leading herbal shop. Take a small quantity of Shatavari bark, clean it and prepare its juice by adding milk toit in a mixer. The juice thus obtained can be used to tone up reproductive system inwomen and fight infertility. Shatavari leaves are often used to treat skin problems like boils. Take a leaf or two,boil it in water and then put it on the affected portion for relief.
By Syed Akbar Cinnamomum camphora is a tree native to Asia where it is used in a variety of ways - from religious rituals to aroma therapy, and killing insects and moths to fighting skin diseases. As the tree's scientific name suggests, Cinnamomum camphora yields a crystalline aromatic substance called camphor. Camphor, Karpoor or Kapoor finds its way in Ayurvedic medicines from times immemorial. Even multinational pharma companies that manufacture allopathic drugs use camphor in medicines meant for treating common cold and body aches, and as an antiseptic substance, and in cough syrups. Camphor can be used both in its crystalline form and as an essential oil. But utmost caution should be taken while using raw camphor or camphor oil at home. If taken in excessive quantities, camphor oil may prove dangerous to health. Research studies have shown that camphor has medicinal properties to fight skin ailments, particularly eczema. It also provides relief from itching and rashes. Since it has anti-septic properties, camphor can heal wounds fast, killing harmful germs. --------------------- Home remedies --------------------- Camphor has been found to be most effective in providing relief from common cold, nasal blockade, congestion of lungs, and uncontrolled sneezing. Take a few drops of camphor oil and pour it on a piece of clean cloth or handkerchief. Inhale the vapours for relief from common cold including headache. It is regarded as a good expectorant too.
For quick healing of wounds and cuts, apply a paste of camphor powder and ghee to the affected area. It aids in quick healing. Those suffering from eczema may try camphor ointment for relief from itching. Apply a little of camphor oil or camphor ointment available in the market to the affected portion. Camphor is often prescribed for relief from joint pains. Take a little quantity of camphor and add it to a few drops of til (sesame) oil. Gently rub it against the affected parts of the body. A few drops of camphor oil can be added to bathing water to keep the body free of bacteria, fungus and viruses. Herbal doctors prescribe camphor oil for pimples and acne. Apply a little quantity of camphor oil to the affected area.
By Syed AkbarVinca rosea or Sadabahar is a wonder herb but many do not know its importance, probably because it grows on waste lands. Only recently did scientists studied its pharmacological importance in controlling a number of health problems and fighting a variety of cancers. However, it has been used in tradtional systems of medicine for many centuries. Vinca rosea is also popular by its latest technical nomenclature, Catharanthus roseus. Many herbalists also know the herb by its English common name, Madagascar Periwinkle. It is now increasingly being used in Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicine for complications like stomach cramps, diabetes, asthma and hypertension. Vinca rosea is used as a natural tranquilliser too as it acts on the central nervous system. Sadabahar decoction is one the best natural methods of killing and expelling harmful organism in the digestive system, particularly parasitic worms.Extract from the leaves is used for relief from wasp and bee bites in several parts of the globe. A word of caution of pregnant women. Vinca rosea is not recommended for pregnant women as it may cause abortion. -------------------- Home Remedies -------------------- For relief from stomach cramps take Vinca rosea decoction prepared from its leaves. Take a couple of tender leaves, wash them properly and put them in a clean, small vessel. Add two cups of water and boil it to obtain the Vinca decoction. Drink a cup of decoction each in the morning and the evening. For relief from burns, take some leaves of Vinca rosea and wash them. Make a paste of the leaves and apply on the affection portion. Decoction prepared from the roots of Vinca rosea is often administered for diabetics as the plant has been found to possess sugar-lowering properties. Vinca rosea has two important alkaloids which kill cancer cells. In fact, some of the allopathic drugs used for cancer treatment are based on Vinca extracts. It is particularly recommended for Hodgkin's disease, breast cancer and leukaemia in children. Herbal doctors prescribe Vinca leaf and root decoctions for cancer patients. Parasites in the stomach and intestines eat away much of our food and energy. They also create major health complications. Vinca decoction obtained from its roots kills and expels harmful parasites inside our digestive system.
By Syed AkbarTribulus terrestris or Gokshura is a highly neglected weed that grows in dry and wastelands. Many consider it as an invasive weed and there have been several attempts indifferent parts of the world to eradicate it altogether. However, ancient Indian andChinese herbalists had recognised its medicinal importance and used it as an herbalformulation to treat a number of health issues. More importantly, Ayurveda and Unani doctors prescribe it as a natural aphrodisiac that improves the testosterone levels andfights infertility and erectile dysfunction in men. With its secret medicinal valuesbeing revealed of late, Tribulus is increasingly used even in allopathy and sportsmedicine. Tribulus, also called puncture vine because its spiny seeds are capable of causing flattyres in bicycles, increases the body muscles making one look stronger and highlymuscular. This herb is not prescribed for pregnant women as it is capable of causingsevere complications including miscarriage. Gokshura is often prescribed as an appetizer,laxative, general tonic, to fight common cold and cough, intestinal worms, asthma, urinary problems, and ulcers in the stomach. Tribulus is a good diuretic (promotes urine)and applied externally for relief from joint pains in arthritis. There have been several instances of sportspersons using Tribulus to improve theirperformance in national and international sporting events. Tribulus is available aspowder or alcoholic extract in any leading herbal shop. Gokshura is known to promotegynaecomastia (increase in breast size in men). It is used in combination with otherherbs to treat itching, high blood pressure and to maintain hormone levels in womensuffer from hormonal imbalance due to premenstrual or menopausal syndromes. -------------------------- Home remedies -------------------------- Gokshura, also popular as caltrops, can be used as an herbal tea to tone up the bodysystem. Gokshura powder available in herbal shops can be used to prepare Gokshura tea athome. Since it stimulates testosterone, the male hormone, problems like sexual weaknesscan be over come through Gokshura tea. Alternatively one can prepare infusion from theGokshura powder. Gokshura powder can be prepared at home. Take the Gokshura plant, wash it properly anddry it. Once it is dry and free of impurities, make it into fine powder in a mixer andsieve it to remove any rough particles. The decoction obtained from it can be used forrelief from kidney stones. Ayurvedic and Unani doctors prescribe a particular daily intake limit of Gokshura powderor extract if it is taken as a home remedy. You may try readily available formulations toensure that correct dosage is taken for the given problem. Body-builders may try Gokshura preparation to tone up muscles and obtain the athleticlook. Gokshura churnam is available in the market. Those who cannot make Gokshura powder athome, may purchase readymade Gokshura churnam. The churnam is made combining other herbsin prescribed quantities for quick results.