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Herbs that are packed with power

health-and-fitness Updated: Dec 10, 2011 19:51 IST
Dr Shikha Sharma
Dr Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Our health depends on good nutrition, daily activity and a cheerful state of mind. In reality, we eat an unbalanced diet, are susceptible to food addictions, and worry ourselves to ill health. In the chapters of ayurveda, the reason why cosmic knowledge was given to the sages was explained thus; that human beings over centuries shall fall to the stage where they have imbalance in almost everything; therefore cosmic knowledge will assist the human race in recovering from their ill health. Several plants have special properties that can work in several ways within the body to effect improvement and change.



SeabuckthornSeabuckthorn

This is a berry that is slightly orangish in colour. The berry is difficult to harvest as prickly thorns surround it, and it cannot be eaten raw due to a very high astringent taste. It is found in China, Russia and many Scandinavian countries. In India, it is particularly found in the Himalayan belt and has been the focus of interest of several organisations. The most consistent has been the Defense Research Development Organisation (DRDO), which has used seabuckthorn for soldiers manning the high borders near glaciers (Siachen) and has a factory in Leh.

Medical Benefits: The benefits of this herb are many: It removes cholesterol and calcium plaques in the arteries and helps to prevent heart attacks. It works on maintaining circulation in micro blood capillaries, and this is a great help in diabetes. It helps to balance the cholesterol in the body through its action on the liver, and thus it is able to lower high cholesterol. The berry is also rich in beta sitsterol, carotenoids, vitamin B, flavonol and catechin.

RhododendronRhododendron

This plant’s beautiful large flowers have an active compound that is healing for human beings. It is found in many areas, including Kashmir, Assam and Darjeeling.



Medical Benefits: The flowers that have healing and curative powers are rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids, saponins and phenolic compounds. These have three important health benefits: The first is its protective effects on the liver, the second is its anti-inflammatory effect and the third is the protection it affords from cancerous mutations (anti-cancer effect). Due to these benefits, it has been used over several generations by local people. Many studies being undertaken on Himalayan herbs include rhododendron too.



GotukolaGotukola

This ancient herb is well known for its beneficial effects. It has been mentioned in several Indian and Chinese texts. Li Ching Yun was purported to be a Chinese master who lived a very long life due to the regular use of this herb as a tea.



Medical Benefits: The medicinal benefits of this herb are that it repairs nerves, calms the mind, improves memory and aids adrenal functioning, thus improving blood pressure control and relieving water retention. It also improves blood circulation by its action on the nervous system.

From HT Brunch, December 11

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