Sunday, 19 December 2010

Cassia occidentalis is good for the liver

By Syed Akbar
Cassia occidentalis is often regarded as a weed or “waste” plant, because it grows wildly in barren soils and wastelands. Some of the species of Cassia grow taller, but occidentalis is a small herb or at best a shrub. Cassia occidentalis has been used in traditional medicines the world over, from Mexico to India and from China to Egypt. It is widely 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 “liver tonics” available in the market.

Apart from its anti-hepatotoxic properties that remove impurities and toxic elements from the liver, Cassia is used as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial herb in Ayurveda and Unani. It is particularly prescribed as a hepato or liver tonic for jaundice patients. Other medical actions of Cassia include its ability to fight malarial parasites in 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 common ringworm infection. It also helps in healing of wounds and cuts. Take some leaves of Cassia, wash them properly and make them into a paste. Apply the paste on the affected area. 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-pyretic properties. A little of Cassia root bark extract will bring down the high body temperature giving relief from fever and associated health troubles.

Herbal doctors prescribe Cassia pulp for quick relief from constipation. Soak a little quantity of Cassia pulp in a glass of water. Remove the pulp and filter the water. You may add a teaspoon of sugar for taste before drinking it early in the morning for relief from 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, prevent pregnancy for a full menstrual cycle or one month.

If common cold clogs your nose with mucus discharge making it difficult for you to breathe, you may try Cassia root smoke. Get a few twigs of Cassia root, wash them properly and then burn them. You may inhale the Cassia root smoke for relief from clogged nose and flu. Do make it sure that you do not inhale large quantities of smoke, as it may cause lung problems.

Stone apple or Bael: Bilva fights cholera germs

By Syed Akbar

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 sacred tree 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 Unani medicines. 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 of  tannins present in it. Bilva kills cholera bacteria. It is also prescribed for a number of stomach disorders including constipation and diarrhoea.Bilva has laxative properties and cleans the digestive system.
Home Remedies
For immediate relief from painful haemorrhoids, Bilva is the best natural herbal medicine. 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 wash them properly. Mix them in a grinder to obtain juice. Take a few drops of this freshly prepared juice of Bilva leaves 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 and intestines.

Paste made from Bilva roots, bark, fruit or leaves are applied on wounds for quick healing. 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 take chances with bites of poisonous creatures.

Gymnema sylvestre: Gurmar controls blood sugar naturally

By Syed AkbarGymnema sylvestre or Gurmar is hailed as a natural `sugar buster'. As its Hindi name Gurmar suggests, the plant has properties to kill sugar (Gur, jaggery or sugar; mar, kill) in the blood stream. Its wonderful hypoglycaemic (sugar lowering) properties have made this herb a natural choice of Ayurveda and Unani doctors as an anti-diabetes drug. It is a time tested herb as its formulations have been in use in traditional systems of  medicine 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 herbal formulations. The fruit is not used. Gurmar's action is quick and instant. If you want to test whether Gurmar leaves  have hypoglycaemic properties, take a leaf, wash it properly and chew it. For the next two hours you will not be able to  taste 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 will  have to take insulin supplement along with Gurmar.
Home remedies
If you want to fight obesity by reducing the intake of sugar, chocolates or sweets, just  chew 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 to keep your blood sugar levels under check, in case you are a diabetic. Non-diabetics may also drink Gymnema herbal tea as 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 with herbal stores.

Finely ground and sieved seeds of Gurmar are often prescribed for asthma.

Shatavari: Asparagus racemosus promotes fertility in women

By Syed AkbarAsparagus racemosus, commonly known as Shatavari, has been regarded as the queen of herbs from 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 also used in Siddha and naturopathy. Even homoeopathy practitioners prescribe Asparagus for a number of ailments.

Asparagus gains medicinal prominence for its unique properties that fights infertility in women and enhances sperm production in men. It is also noted for its lactation inducing property. Women, who are unable to breastfeed their babies, may try Asparagus racemosus for increased milk production. Various research studies have shown that Shatavari works on mammary glands and stimulates them to produce more milk.

Ayurveda and Unani doctors have been prescribing for ages Shatavari for infertility in women. It tones up the reproductive system in women, stimulates ovulation and maintains pregnancy. 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 for hyperactive children. Other uses of Shatavari include fighting gastric ulcers and liver and infectious diseases. It is also a good appetizer.  The roots, stem as well as the leaves of Shatavari plant are used in herbal preparations. Here is a word of caution for kidney 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. Or alternatively, if one has easy access of Asparagus racemosus herb, one may take a few grams of its roots, wash them properly and dry them. The root can be powdered and stored in a clean and neat container for use daily.

Extract obtained from the Shatavari root is often prescribed for the control of loose motions 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 to it in a mixer. The juice thus obtained can be used to tone up reproductive system in women 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.

Cinnamomum camphora: Camphor or Kapoor fights eczema effectively

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.

Sadabahar or Catharanthus roseus: Vinca rosea kills cancers

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


Gokshura or puncture vine: Tribulus terrestris increases testosterone levels

By Syed AkbarTribulus terrestris or Gokshura is a highly neglected weed that grows in dry and waste lands. Many consider it as an invasive weed and there have been several attempts in different parts of the world to eradicate it altogether. However, ancient Indian and Chinese herbalists had recognised its medicinal importance and used it as an herbal formulation to treat a number of health issues. More importantly, Ayurveda and Unani 
doctors prescribe it as a natural aphrodisiac that improves the testosterone levels and fights infertility and erectile dysfunction in men. With its secret medicinal values being revealed of late, Tribulus is increasingly used even in allopathy and sports medicine.

Tribulus, also called puncture vine because its spiny seeds are capable of causing flat tyres in bicycles, increases the body muscles making one look stronger and highly muscular. This herb is not prescribed for pregnant women as it is capable of causing severe 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 their performance in national and international sporting events. Tribulus is available as powder or alcoholic extract in any leading herbal shop. Gokshura is known to promote gynaecomastia (increase in breast size in men). It is used in combination with other herbs to treat itching, high blood pressure and to maintain hormone levels in women suffer 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 body system. Gokshura powder available in herbal shops can be used to prepare Gokshura tea at home. Since it stimulates testosterone, the male hormone, problems like sexual weakness can be over come through Gokshura tea. Alternatively one can prepare infusion from the Gokshura powder.

Gokshura powder can be prepared at home. Take the Gokshura plant, wash it properly and dry it. Once it is dry and free of impurities, make it into fine powder in a mixer and sieve it to remove any rough particles. The decoction obtained from it can be used for relief from kidney stones.

Ayurvedic and Unani doctors prescribe a particular daily intake limit of Gokshura powder or extract if it is taken as a home remedy. You may try readily available formulations to ensure that correct dosage is taken for the given problem.

Body-builders may try Gokshura preparation to tone up muscles and obtain the athletic look.

Gokshura churnam is available in the market. Those who cannot make Gokshura powder at home, may purchase readymade Gokshura churnam. The churnam is made combining other herbs in prescribed quantities for quick results.