Sunday, 22 May 2011

Swallow root: Decalepsis hamiltonii kills typhoid germs

Syed Akbar
Decalepsis hamiltonii or swallow root is an ancient herb that has been used for centuries by tribes deep in the jungles, down the Vindhyas. Though there have been several claims on its medicinal properties, it's
only of late that scientific studies are conducted to verify some of them. It has been found to be good against bacterial infection including Salmonella typhii that causes typhoid and Helicobacter pylori that is
responsible for ulcers in the stomach and even cancers.
The root of Decalepsis is used in herbal medicine, particularly Ayurveda and Unani. It is regarded as a blood purifier and general health tonic to boost the immune system. Research on rats has shown that it has anti-diabetic properties. It is found to protect the liver and prevents formation of cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels.
Decalepsis should be used in small quantities as excessive intake may lead to health troubles. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should avoid Decalepsis as a precautionary measure. Those planning for a surgical procedure should stop taking Decalepsis at least 15 days before hospitalisation, as the herb is known to dilute the blood. Those on anti-coagulant and blood thinning medicines should avoid Decalepsis.
Home remedies
The root extract of Swallow root works as a general tonic since it has anti-oxidant properties. It also prevents cancers of various types. Ready-made root extract of Swallow root is available in herbal stores. One may also go in for Swallow root tonic to keep the physiological functioning of the body in good condition. Alternatively, one can take a few grams of fresh or dried root and prepare decoction adding it to a glass of water. Filter the decoction and consume it.
A little quantity of Swallow root powder daily will help in preventionof complications linked to diabetes.
Recent studies have shown that Swallow root can be used in cancer therapy along with the regular medicines. Root extract or powder can be consumed in a little quantity to prevent cancer complications.
Swallow root powder is often prescribed to reduce swelling (inflammation), and in treating typhoid. It is regarded as a good appetiser. A little of root powder before the meal will increase the hunger.

Parsley keeps bad breath away

Syed Akbar
Parsley or Petroselinum crispum is a native of the Middle East. But it is now grown widely for its medicinal properties and health value. This leafy vegetable is used in Ayurveda, Unani and even in the modern medicine.
Though it is generally recommended for its ability to fight bad breath, Parsley is used for treatment of a number of health issues like stones and calculi in the kidney, infection of gall bladder, boils, sting and bites by insects, flatulence and indigestion. It is also recommended as a natural blood purifier and general health tonic.
The leaves of Parsley, both fresh and dried, as also its tap root are used in herbal formulations. The leaves can be chewed raw or consumed as herbal tea, decoction or tincture. Ointment, poultice or leaf paste of Parsley can be applied externally for skin problems including inflammation. Some herbal doctors prescribe head wash using paste of Parsley leaves to kill head lice.
The leaves are rich in vitamin C and thus they help in purifying the blood and keeping the circulatory system in good condition. Pregnant women should avoid Parsley as it may create health problems. Others should use it in prescribed quantities as heavy dosage may lead to complications.
Home remedies
Take a few leaves of Parsley, clean them with water and chew them. This prevents bad breath. Parsley is rich in chlorophyll and other natural substances that prevent harmful bacteria from growing in the mouth and causing bad breath. You can also prepare mouth gargle using Parsley leaves. Take a few leaves, clean them and put them in a glass of water. Boil the water, filter the solution and use it for gargling the mouth, twice a 
day. Prepare solution fresh everyday.
Some herbal doctors prescribe Parsley tea for problems like stones and calculi in kidneys. It is also recommended for jaundice.
Chewing a few leaves of Parsley daily will help in fighting flatulence and indigestion and keeps the digestive system healthy.
Take a few leaves, crush them and apply on painful boils, insect bites or sting for relief from the trouble. Inflammation or swelling can also be reduced by applying leaf paste or ointment on the affected area.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Medicinal properties of soap nut: Sapindus mukorossi keeps skin in good health

By Syed Akbar
Sapindus mukorossi or soap nut is one of the oldest cultivated medicinal plants in the world. In fact, some botanists trace it to the period of the Vedas, about 5000 years ago. Many do not know that it has a number of health benefits, besides the famous benefit of keeping the hair long and healthy.
Sapindus is generally used for external applications. Expert herbal doctors often prescribe it for internal use in minute quantities to remove accumulated phlegm or mucous from the respiratory tract in the form of vomit. Sapindus has properties that promote vomiting (emetic). Care should be taken to avoid contact with the eyes while applying Sapindus for hair or as a body wash.
It is not recommended for pregnant women as there are reports of Sapindus causing miscarriage. It is an excellent external use herb for a variety of skin problems ranging from simple freckles to psoriasis and eczema. Since it has properties to kill insects, regular use of Sapindus for hair wash or Coconut oil mixed with Sapindus will help in keeping the hair free of lice. It is mucolytic or capable of attacking fungi. It is 
primarily because of this property, Sapindus is prescribed for treatment of dandruff.
Other benefits of Sapindus include its ability to kill sperm (as a contraceptive), fight common itch, treat chlorosis (a type of anaemia) and control the infection of Helicobacter pylori, a gut pathogen.
Home Remedies
Take about a dozen soap nuts, gently crack them, and soak in a small bowl of water for two to four hours. Gently rub the soaked soap nuts against hands to obtain a good froth. The froth is due to its unique chemical called saponin, which has a number of medicinal properties. Wash your head using this saponin-rich liquid to promote long hair. It also kills lice and gives relief from dandruff. You may use readily available Sapindus powder instead of the nuts.
Those suffering from skin problems like eczema and psoriasis may wash the affected portion using soap nut liquid. Regular use will keep the skin smooth and provide relief from the problem.
Some Ayurveda doctors suggest Sapindus snuff for migraine. It should be taken under the supervision of expert doctors.
For relief from joint pains, prepare a poultice of soap nuts and apply it on the affected portion.
Instead of soap, Sapindus powder can be used for body wash once in a while to remove bacterial and fungal infections from the body.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Ephedra or desert tea fights asthma

By Syed Akbar
Ephedra or desert tea is a double-edged sword. It has a number of benefits if it is consumed in minute quantities and for a limited number of days. If it is taken in large quantities and for a longer period, Ephedra may cause severe health complications including cardiac arrest. Those using Ephedra herbal formulations should take extra caution to derive its health benefits to the fullest. Always use the herb in minute 
quantities and ensure that the usage does not extend to more than five days.
Ephedra is an ancient herb and has been in use in Chinese medicinal system for almost 5000 years. It is also used in Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicine. It is, however, popular in Chinese system of medicine. It has a number of health benefits, but Ephedra is primarily used for treatment of upper respiratory tract diseases like asthma and bronchitis. Other uses include treatment of common cold, nasal blockade, low blood 
pressure, depression, and alleviation of fever. It purifies blood. It is often recommended in the treatment of syphilis, rheumatic pains and for reduction of weight.
Those suffering from heart problems, glaucoma, diabetes, and high blood pressure and thyroid issues should avoid using Ephedra. Others may use it in minute quantities. The leaves and stem of Ephedra are used in medical formulations. Caution has to be exercised because Ephedra contains a chemical called ephedrine, which is narcotic in nature and acts on the central nervous system.
Home remedies
Take two grams of dried Ephedra plant, add a cup of water and boil it. Filter the decoction and consume it thrice a day for relief from asthma and bronchitis.
Ephedra is also used as a general health tonic. Ephedra decoction obtained by boiling two grams of its dried stem or leaves in a glass of water can be used once a day to improve blood circulation. Ephedra opens up the wind pipe and air passages in the lungs enabling them to take extra oxygen and supply oxygen rich blood to the body.
Ephedra is prescribed for treatment of depression as it is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. A word of caution, Ephedra should never be combined with coffee, tea or anti-depressant drugs. When on use of Ephedra, avoid coffee, tea and anti-depressant drugs. A little quantity (two to three ml) of Ephedra tincture is often prescribed to fight depression.
A little quantity of decoction of root and stem of Ephedra will provide relief from rheumatic pains.

Eucalyptus has anti-tumour action too

Syed Akbar
We all know that Eucalyptus is a natural remedy for common cold. It has been used in folk and tribal medicines for thousands of years. It is now used in Unani, Ayurveda and modern medical preparations too. But what many do not know is that Eucalyptus has special properties to fight infection (antibiotic), helps in excretion of urine from the body to provide relief from body swelling and inflammation (diuretic) and prevents formation of cancerous cells in the body (anti-tumour).
Eucalyptus also provides relief from burns, wounds, sores, skin rashes, gum diseases like pyorrhoea, and rheumatic pains. Eucalyptus has a strong and soothing flavour that attracts one’s attention instantaneously. Coming to its famous anti-cold properties, Eucalyptus contains certain natural chemicals that fight common cold and pneumonia. Ointments, herbal teas and extracts of Eucalyptus are available in the market. Even 
multinational companies are into herbal preparations based on Eucalyptus.
Honey obtained from bees fed on Eucalyptus flowers is said to possess special properties that boost the body immunity and fights infections. Eucalyptus honey is available in leading herbal stores.
Here’s a word of caution for those suffering from kidney and liver diseases as also asthma. They should avoid Eucalyptus preparations as the herb may aggravate their problem. Pregnant women too should avoid Eucalyptus preparations including vapours, 
ointments and rubs.
Home remedies
Take a drop of Eucalyptus oil; mix it in a glass of warm water and gargle. Repeat it twice a day. You will get relief from gum problems like pyorrhoea.
Eucalyptus infusion or tea can be consumed in small quantities twice a day for relief from common cold, fever and body aches.
Rub Eucalyptus oil gently on affected portion for relief from rheumatic pains and local swellings.
Take a few Eucalyptus leaves, crush and put them in a bowl of boiling water. Inhale the vapours for decongestion of the chest and relief from cough and cold.
Readymade Eucalyptus ointment can also be massaged gently on the chest and back for quick relief from “heavy chest” and cold.