Traditional herbal and ayurvedic remedies are now getting popular along with allopathic medicines and statistics reveal that 4 out of every 5 Indians rely on traditional medicines. No wonder many are reviving a preference for a concoction of honey, ginger and tulsi (basil) leaves over a cough syrup when struck by cold and cough.
Though most herbs are known to be effective as conventional medicines
, there are a few special ones that give you an extra health bonus. Aloe vera:
Very popular as an anti-acne product, Aloe vera is now an herbal component that has maximum applications in cosmetic and beauty products. The efficiency of this fleshy green plant is evident by the fact that this plant has been used since centuries ago by several cultures, in Greece, India, Egypt, China and Japan for different medicinal purposes.
Power packed with over 75 active ingredients ranging from enzymes, sugars, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antiseptic and healing properties, aloe vera restores lost elasticity of the skin, makes it less wrinkled and even protects the skin from the ill-effects of radiation. Being an amazing antiseptic, aloe vera also helps speed up healing of wounds. This plant is also effective in flushing out toxins and waste from the body. Furthermore, it also acts as a great laxative by increasing intestinal water, mucus secretion and intestinal peristalsis. The ability of aloe vera to regenerate cells makes it a great anti-wrinkle agent that and also reduces stretch marks and scars and speeds up the healing of pimples and acne.
Though internal dosage of aloe vera requires prior consent of a doctor or an herbalist, topical application of aloe vera is extremely safe and effective. People with sensitive skin should do a patch test before proceeding with application. Tulsi:
Also known as the holy basil in India, this plant which is considered sacred in certain traditions has fragrant leaves known to aid digestive function. A simple 100mg per kilo of body weight consumption of tulsi leaves is thought to reduce acid secretion and protect the mucous membrane of the stomach wonderfully. Another bonus ó it also heals ulcers.
Tulsi leaves are loaded with phytochemicals that possess strong antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Chewing on tulsi leaves helps boost immunity making the body strong and fit to fight different ailments. Its use has also been renowned for cold and cough as it helps mobilize the mucus and induce its expulsion from the body. Tulsi capsules are easily available at an Ayurvedic store. You can also gargle with a glass of water boiled with tulsi leaves. Turmeric:
Turmeric needs absolutely no introduction in Indian households. This yellow-colored root is first dried, powdered and then used for a variety of purposes including flavoring, coloring and as a stimulant. However, very few people know its medicinal value.
People having cold and cough can benefit by consuming a teaspoon of honey with a pinch of turmeric powder. A substance called curcumin, which is an important part of turmeric, has wonderful antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties that are useful in the treatment of arthritis. Garlic:
A pungent, flavorsome herb from the onion family, garlic has a variety of medicinal uses and its application dates back to ancient Egypt.
Indians are at a much lesser risk of developing colon and cervical cancer due to their liberal use of spices and condiments in their food preparation. Garlic, in particular is extremely beneficial and helps prevent many grave ailments like high blood pressure, gastric cancer and high blood cholesterol. A recent study conducted by Tagore Medical College, Udaipur, revealed that regular garlic consumption by heart patients showed a significant change and improvement in their condition and they experienced a significant drop in their blood pressure rates and revealed reduced chances of mortality.
Heart patients often suffer from angina (chest pain), which can be easily controlled by regular intake of garlic. You canít go wrong with this versatile herb. Add it to your soups and gravies; it adds flavor and boosts heart health too. Fenugreek seeds:
An Asian herb with aromatic seeds, fenugreek has been used since long to counter appetite loss, reduce blood sugar levels, and to aid healing of ulcers and boils.
A clinical study conducted by the Gandhi Medical College, Hyderabad found that the cholesterol levels of patients who were given 25gms of powdered fenugreek seeds before meals everyday were significantly lower than those who werenít given fenugreek..
Needless to say, fenugreek is an all-rounder, as it is recommended for patients with diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol problems.