An edited version of this article has been published on Sivana Spirit.
Herbs have been widely used in almost all cultures since centuries. The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda tells us that herbs can be used both in the form of medicine and food. It seems the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.” Whether all these legends travelled from one place to another with adaptations or it was an astral travel of the same soul remains a mystery. For now, let us focus on the knowledge they bestowed upon us. Thousands of known, unknown, rare, extinct herbs are residing in the lap of nature. Below given are the four herbs and their usage which you can employ in your daily routine to reap their benefits:
1. Indian Basil (Tulsi)
You will find basil plant in most of the homes in India. It is considered holy as it is believed to be an earthly form of the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. The leaves are used as offerings in prayers. Every part of tulsi is considered sacred. Even the soil around the plant is holy. The fragrance, they say, help in the ascension of our spirit.
Basil is anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants and anti-bacterial. Eat three-five fresh leaves of basil first thing in the morning. Do not to chew it. It has a sweet taste with a fresh aroma. It purifies the blood and makes you calm from within.
You can put them in your tea. Boil them in the water until the water becomes light green. After that, put tea leaves and follow your recipe of tea. You would love this basil tea. You can add ginger and clove along with basil in the boiling water and make tea; this will cure your cold and sore throat. This is an age-old remedy used by all the Indian mothers.
Sun – dried leaves can be kept in a moisture-free place for use in various dishes like pasta, pizzas or cheese macaroni.
2.Indian Gooseberry (Amla)
The Amla fruit is considered to be so nutritious that the tree is worshipped in India from ancient times and is said to be nurturing mankind.
Its juice has twenty times more vitamin C than the orange juice. It is best for liver ailments, digestion and internal body heat. It lowers cholesterol, cures diabetes, strengthens lungs and kidneys, flushes out toxins, gives glowing skin and healthier hair, increases vitality, good for eyes, improves muscle tone and is an antioxidant.
Drink gooseberry juice in the morning by mixing it in lukewarm water with 1:4 ratio of juice and water. You can add honey to it. It treats digestion issues. It also acts as an anti-ageing skin treatment and improves the quality of your hair. Almost all the benefits of gooseberry can be achieved by this modest recipe.
Other ways of consumption are as chutney and dried form.
With its yellow color denoting the energies of sun and healing properties, turmeric is significant in Hinduism, Buddhism and throughout South-Asian society. In Hinduism, it symbolizes luck, fertility and inner purity. Turmeric paste is used in wedding ceremonies and applied to bride’s skin as a purification ritual. A pregnant woman is given turmeric roots as a gift. It is also used in anointing deities. It is believed that any cloth dyed with turmeric wards away infections, fevers and an evil eye. Traditionally, it was used to dye marriage clothes in India and also Buddhist monks used to dye their clothes with it. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, analgesic and cancer-preventive. It balances hormones, purifies blood, protects liver and normalizes metabolism.
Warm milk mixed with turmeric cures cold, fever, infection within the body, heals bruises and wounds rapidly.
It is a herb which is used daily in almost every vegetarian recipe. Sprinkle it on any vegetable recipe where it is cooked for few minutes.
David Frawley: “If I had only a single herb to depend upon for all possible health and dietary needs, I would without much hesitation choose the Indian spice turmeric.
Ginger is supposed to be a plant from Garden of Eden. There were wars between dynasties for the motive of seizing it. It is beneficial in heart diseases, cancer, arthritis, common cold and many other ailments. You can include it in your daily food by sautéing it along with other vegetables. My way of including it in the diet is having ginger tea in winters. Apart from making tea tasty, it keeps cold and flu at bay. It relieves stomach ailments too. It can also be consumed in dried form.
Ayurveda believes in keeping the diet right so that no medicine is needed. With changing food habits and unnatural preservatives mixing in our lifestyle, it is getting difficult to eat right. Still, we should try using right herbs regularly so that the toxins can be flushed out and immunity can be boosted.
May we always live in abundance of the magical herbs!