Tag Archives: Alternative Foods

Is it necessary to have sugar?

Most of us label sugar as the biggest evil today. We try our best to eliminate it from our diets and feel guilty whenever we ocassionally give in. But did it ever occur to you if these white crystals that were once an inseparable part of our daily diets, may not be that big an evil as they are touted to be? Well, the question did occur to us and we started digging further...

It is surprised to know that World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends having 6-12 teaspoons of sugar every day, much contrary to what most nutritionists and health experts believe.

Let us first distinguish between different kinds of sugars, artificial sweeteners, sugarcane extracted crystallized sugar and natural sugars (sugar we get from our foods and fruits).

Crystallized sugar: This is the sugar we consume on a daily basis. We add a spoonful in our milk, tea, coffee, desserts and often foods like dals and subzis.

Artificial sweeteners: These are sweeteners like stevia, saccharin, sucrose and aspartame, most commonly renamed as “sugar-free” substitutes for dietary sugar.

Natural sugars: All vegetables, seeds, fruits have natural sugar content in them. These vary from food to food and are often the safest kind of sugar to be consumed.

We most commonly consume sugar which comes from Sugarcane or Beetroot is actually beneficial for us.

However, the processed and packaged foods which contain sugar extracted from high fructose corn syrup, is the dangerous kind and should be avoided as much as possible.

According to maney nutritionist we don’t require sugar. “Our body processes glucose from sugar but the same glucose can be extracted from starch, protein and fats that we consume, when required by the body. One should focus on including high fiber diet, which has complex carbohydrates.”

The theory of not consuming sugar has been given in many diets such as GM diet to reduce weight. But this negatively affects our body since our body needs glucose to generate energy.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Urad dal

Botanical Name : Vigna mungo
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily:Faboideae
Tribe: Phaseoleae
Genus: Vigna
Species: Vigna mungo
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Common Names: Urad dal, Vigna mungo, Black gram, Black lentil, Ulunthu in Tamil, Minumulu in Telugu,”‘uddinab??e”‘ in Kannada, Urad Dal in Hindi, or white lentils.

Local Indian Names:
Gujarati: alad, adad
Hindi: urad dal, urad dal
Kannada: uddu, uddina bele
Marathi: udid
Malayalam: uzunu
Sinhala : undu
Tamil: uluntu
Tulu: urdu bele
Bengali: mashkalai  dal
Nepali: mas
Punjabi: mash
Other names include:

Oriya: biri dali
Telugu: minumulu
Vietnamese: dauu muong an

Habitat: Vigna mungo is native to India, where it has been in cultivation from ancient times and is one of the most highly prized pulses of India and Pakistan. The coastal Andhra region in Andhra Pradesh is famous for black gram after paddy. The Guntur District ranks first in Andhra Pradesh for the production of black gram. Black gram has also been introduced to other tropical areas mainly by Indian immigrants.

Description:
Vigna mungo or urad dal is an erect, suberect or trailing, densely hairy, annual herb. The tap root produces a branched root system with smooth, rounded nodules. The pods are narrow, cylindrical and up to six cm long. The plant grows 30–100 cm with large hairy leaves and 4–6 cm seed pods. While the urad bean was, along with the mung bean, originally placed in Phaseolus, it has since been transferred to Vigna.

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Edible Use:
Vigna mungo is popular in India, largely used to make dal from the whole or split, dehusked seeds. The bean is boiled and eaten whole or, after splitting, made into dal; prepared like this it has an unusual mucilaginous texture. It is also extensively used in South Indian culinary preparations. Urad Dal is one of the key ingredient in making the Idli-Dosa batter, where one part of Urad Dal is mixed with Three or Four parts of Idli Rice to make the batter. Also the dough for Vada or Udid Vada is made from soaked batter and deep fried in cooking oil. The dough is also used in making Papad, notably the South Indian version known as Appalam and Papadum, in which white lentils are usually used.
It is very popular in the Punjabi cuisine, as an ingredient of dal makhani. In Bengal it is made as a preparation called Biulir Dal. In Rajasthan, It is used to prepare dal which is especially consumed with “Bati”.

Neutritional Value:  Urad dal  is very nutritious as it contains high levels of protein (25g/100g), potassium (983 mg/100g), calcium (138 mg/100g), iron (7.57 mg/100g), niacin (1.447 mg/100g), Thiamine (0.273 mg/100g), and riboflavin (0.254 mg/100g).[3] Black gram complements the essential amino acids provided in most cereals and plays an important role in the diets of the people of Nepal and India.[2] Black gram has been shown to be useful in mitigating elevated cholesterol levels.

Medicinal Uses:
It is nutritious and is recommended for diabetics, as are other pulses.

Ayurveda Medicinal properties of Black gram or urad dal:

According to texts of ayurveda this bean is heavy to digest and increases the moistness of body tissues. It is sweet to taste and hot in potency. All these properties help to normalize or calm vitiated vata. Consumption of this bean increases kapha and pitta.

Imbalanced vata dosha causes many diseases and also leads to men health problems like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low sperm count and motility etc. Hence Ayurveda acharyas recommend use of “masha” in many health conditions.

Anti inflammatory properties: According to principles of ayurveda vitiation of vata causes inflammation of tissues and initiates the sensation of pain.“Masha” or urad dal normalizes vata and hence has anti inflammatory properties. Usually a hot poultice of black gram is used in inflammation of joints and muscle pain. Massaging with herbal oil processed with this wonderful herb helps to reduce pain and inflammation
Nervous system disorders: This herb strengthens nervous system. Ayurveda acharyas recommend preparations of this herb in nervous debility, partial paralysis, facial paralysis and other disorders which involve nervous system.

Disorders of digestive system: “Vigna Mungo” or masha helps to increase bulk of stools. The moistness increasing property coupled with bulk increasing quality helps in easy movement of bowel. Therefore usage of this bean is recommended in conditions like constipation, piles and colic. This herb is a very good liver stimulant.

Action on male reproductive system: Texts of ayurveda eulogize the aphrodisiac properties of black gram. It increases sperm count and sperm motility.(Increases quality and quantity of semen). It is very effective in erectile dysfunction (impotence) and premature ejaculation

Action on female reproductive system: This herb is effective in dysmenorrhea and primary amenorrhea .It increases milk secretion in lactating mothers.

Apart from above mentioned medicinal properties, black gram also helps in increasing body bulk and body energy level. It strengthens the body and increases lifespan.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigna_mungo
http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/ayurveda-medicinal-properties-of-black-gram-vigna-mungo-urad-dal

Allium schoenoprasum sibiricum

Botanical Name : Allium schoenoprasum sibiricum
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Tribe: Allieae
Genus: Allium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Allium sibiricum.

Common Name : Giant Chives

Nome italiano: Erba cipollina
English name: Wild Chives
U.S. name: Wild Chives
French name: Civette
Spanish name: cebollino común
Portuguese name: cebolinha-francesa
German name: Schnittlauch
Swedish name: gräslök

Habitat : Allium schoenoprasum sibiricum is native to N. America to E. Asia – Siberia, Japan. It grows on calcareous or basic rock, gravels and shores, Alaska and southwards.

Description:
Allium schoenoprasum sibiricum is a bulb growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August.
Leaf arrangement:- basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
Leaf blade shape: the leaf blade is filiform (extremely narrow, thread-like). the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
Leaf blade length: 200–600 mm.

Flower petal color: blue to purple, pink to red
Flower petal length: 7–15 mm
Petal fusion: the perianth parts are separate

Inflorescence type: the inflorescence is an umbel (with an axis so short it appears the flowers all originate from the same point)

Ovary position: the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment

Fruit type (specific): the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
Fruit length : Up to 4 mm

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it prefers a sunny position in a rich moist but well-drained soil. Succeeds in most soils and in light shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.2 to 8.3. This is a more robust form of A. schoenoprasum, the chive. It is often grown in the garden for its edible leaves which are available from late winter to the beginning of the next winter. The bulbs divide rapidly and large clumps are quickly formed. There are some named varieties. Regular cutting of the leaves ensures a continuous supply of young leaves and prevents flowering. Plants can be moved into a frame or other protected environment in the autumn and will then produce leaves throughout the winter. Do not do this every year or it weakens the plants. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. A good bee plant. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. Helps to reduce the incidence of scab when it is grown under apple trees. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy, pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle easily and plant out in the following spring. Division can be carried out at almost any time of the year but is probably best done in spring. The clumps should be divided at least every 3 or 4 years in order to maintain vigour, the divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Leaves – raw, cooked or dried for later use. The leaves have a mild onion flavour and are an excellent addition to mixed salads, they can also be used as a flavouring in soups etc. This form has a stronger garlic flavour than common chives The leaves are often available from late winter and can continue to produce leaves until early the following winter, especially if the plant is in a warm, sheltered position. A good source of sulphur and iron. The bulbs are rather small but can be used as spring onions. They can be harvested with the leaves still attached and be used as spring onions. They have a pleasant mild onion flavour. The flowers can be used as a garnish in salads etc. The flowers of this species are rather dry and less desirable than the flowers of many other species.

Medicinal Uses:

Appetizer; Digestive; Hypotensive; Tonic.

The whole plant has a beneficial effect on the digestive system and the blood circulation. It improves the appetite, is digestive, hypotensive and tonic. It has similar properties to garlic (A. sativum), but in a much milder form, and it is rarely used medicinally.

Other Uses:
Fungicide; Repellent.

The juice of the plant is used as an insect repellent, it also has fungicidal properties and is effective against scab, mildew etc. The growing plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Known Hazards : Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in very large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chives
http://www.pfaf.org/USER/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+schoenoprasum+sibiricum

http://luirig.altervista.org/flora/taxa/index1.php?scientific-name=allium+schoenoprasum

https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/allium/schoenoprasum/

Parsley

Botanical Name: Carum petroselinum (BENTH.)
Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Apiaceae/Umbelliferae
Genus:     Petroselinum
Species: P. crispum
Order:     Apiales
Synonyms: Apium petroselinum (Linn.). Petroselinum lativum (Hoffm.). Petersylinge. Persely. Persele.
Parts Used: Root, seeds.
Habitat: The Garden Parsley is not indigenous to Britain: Linnaeus stated its wild habitat to be Sardinia, whence it was brought to England and apparently first cultivated here in 1548. Bentham considered it a native of the Eastern Mediterranean regions; De Candolle of Turkey, Algeria and the Lebanon. Since its introduction into these islands in the sixteenth century it has been completely naturalized in various parts of England and Scotland, on old walls and rocks.

Description:

Garden parsley is a bright green, biennial, plant in temperate climates, or an annual herb in subtropical and tropical areas.

Where it grows as a biennial, in the first year, it forms a rosette of tripinnate leaves 10–25 cm long with numerous 1–3 cm leaflets, and a taproot used as a food store over the winter. In the second year, it grows a flowering stem to 75 cm tall with sparser leaves and flat-topped 3–10 cm diameter umbels with numerous 2 mm diameter yellow to yellowish-green flowers. The seeds are ovoid, 2–3 mm long, with prominent style remnants at the apex. One of the compounds of the essential oil is apiol. The plant normally dies after seed maturation.

Parsley is used for its leaf in much the same way as coriander (which is also known as Chinese parsley or cilantro), although it has a milder flavor. Two forms of parsley are used as herbs: curly leaf and Italian, or flat leaf (P. neapolitanum). Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. Many people think flat leaf parsley has a stronger flavor, and this opinion is backed by chemical analysis which finds much higher levels of essential oil in the flat-leaved cultivars.

Another type of parsley is grown as a root vegetable. This type of parsley produces much thicker roots than types cultivated for their leaves. Although little known in Britain and the United States, root parsley is very common in Central and Eastern European cuisine, where it is used in most soups or stews. Though it looks similar to parsnip it tastes quite different.

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The use of curly leaf parsley is often favored, because it cannot be confused with poison hemlock, like flat leaf parsley or chervil.

Cultivation:
Parsley requires an ordinary, good well-worked soil, but a moist one and a partially-shaded position is best. A little soot may be added to the soil.

The seed may be sown in drills, or broadcast, or, if only to be used for culinary purposes, as edging, or between dwarf or shortlived crops.

For a continuous supply, three sowings should be made: as early in February as the weather permits, in April or early in May, and in July and early August – the last being for the winter supply, in a sheltered position, with a southern exposure. Sow in February for the summer crop and for drying purposes. Seed sown then, however, takes several weeks to germinate, often as much as a full month. The principal sowing is generally done in April; it then germinates more quickly and provides useful material for cutting throughout the summer. A mid-August sowing will furnish good plants for placing in the cold frames for winter use

Parsley’s germination is notoriously difficult. Tales have been told concerning its lengthy germination, with some suggesting that “germination was slow because the seeds had to travel to hell and back two, three, seven, or nine times (depending on sources) before they could grow.”Germination is inconsistent and may require 3-6 weeks.

Furanocoumarins in parlsey’s seed coat may be responsible for parsley’s problematic germination. These compounds may inhibit the germination of other seeds, allowing parsley to compete with nearby plants. However, parsley itself may be affected by the furanocoumarins. Soaking parsley seeds overnight before sowing will shorten the germination period.

Parsley grows well in a deep pot, which helps accommodate the long taproot. Parsley grown indoors requires at least five hours of sunlight a day.

In parts of Europe, and particularly in West Asia, many foods are served with chopped parsley sprinkled on top. The fresh flavor of parsley goes extremely well with fish. Parsley is a key ingredient in several West Asian salads, e.g., tabbouleh which is the national dish of Lebanon. In Southern and Central Europe, parsley is part of bouquet garni, a bundle of fresh herbs used to flavor stocks, soups, and sauces. Additionally, parsley is often used as a garnish. Persillade is mixture of chopped garlic and chopped parsley. Gremolata is a mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest.

Medicinal uses:
Tea may be used as an enema. Chinese and German herbologists recommend parsley tea to help control high blood pressure, and the Cherokee Indians used it as a tonic to strengthen the bladder. It is also often used as an emmenagogue.
Parsley also appears to increase diuresis by inhibiting the Na+/K+-ATPase pump in the kidney, thereby enhancing sodium and water excretion while increasing potassium reabsorption.  It is also valued as an aquaretic.
When crushed and rubbed on the skin, parsley can reduce itching in mosquito bites.

Constituents: Parsley Root is faintly aromatic and has a sweetish taste. It contains starch, mucilage, sugar, volatile oil and Apiin. The latter is white, inodorous, tasteless and soluble in boiling water.

Parsley fruit or ‘seeds’ contain the volatile oil in larger proportion than the root (2.6 per cent); it consists of terpenes and Apiol, to which the activity of the fruit is due. There are also present fixed oil, resin, Apiin, mucilage and ash. Apiol is an oily, nonnitrogenous allyl compound, insoluble in water, soluble in alcohol and crystallizable when pure into white needles. The British Pharmacopceia directs that Apiol be prepared by extracting the bruised fresh fruits with ether and distilling the solvent. The residue is the commercial liquid Apiol. It exercises all the virtues of the entire plant. Crystallized Apiol, or Parsley Camphor, is obtained by distilling the volatile oil to a low temperature. The value of the volatile oil depends on the amount of Apiol it contains. Oil obtained from German fruit contains this body in considerable quantity and becomes semi-solid at ordinary temperature, that from French fruit is much poorer in Apiol. In France, only the crystalline Apiol is official, but three different varieties, distinguished as green, yellow and white, are in use.

Apiol was first obtained in 1849 by Drs. Joret and Homolle, of Brittany, and proved an excellent remedy there for a prevailing ague. It is greatly used now in malarial disorders. The name Apiol has also been applied to an oleoresin prepared from the plant, which contains three closely-allied principles: apiol, apiolin and myristicin, the latter identical with the active principle of oil of Nutmeg. The term ‘liquid Apiol’ is frequently applied to the complete oleoresin. This occurs as a yellowish liquid with a characteristic odour and an acrid pungent taste. The physiological action of the oleoresin of Parsley has not been sufficiently investigated, it exercises a singular influence on the great nerve centres of the head and spine, and in large doses produces giddiness and deafness, fall of blood-pressure and some slowing of the pulse and paralysis. It is stated that the paralysis is followed by fatty degeneration of the liver and kidney, similar to that caused by myristicin.

Parsley has carminative, tonic and aperient action, but is chiefly used for its diuretic properties, a strong decoction of the root being of great service in gravel, stone, congestion of the kidneys, dropsy and jaundice. The dried leaves are also used for the same purpose. Parsley Tea proved useful in the trenches, where our men often got kidney complications, when suffering from dysentery.

A fluid extract is prepared from both root and seeds. The extract made from the root acts more readily on the kidneys than that from other parts of the herb. The oil extracted from the seeds, the Apiol, is considered a safe and efficient emmenagogue, the dose being 5 to 15 drops in capsules. A decoction of bruised Parsley seeds was at one time employed against plague and intermittent fever.

In France, a popular remedy for scrofulous swellings is green Parsley and snails, pounded in a mortar to an ointment, spread on linen and applied daily. The bruised leaves, applied externally, have been used in the same manner as Violet leaves (also Celandine, Clover and Comfrey), to dispel tumours suspected to be of a cancerous nature. A poultice of the leaves is said to be an efficacious remedy for the bites and stings of poisonous insects.

Culpepper tells us:
‘It is very comfortable to the stomach . . . good for wind and to remove obstructions both of the liver and spleen . . . Galen commendeth it for the falling sickness . . . the seed is effectual to break the stone and ease the pains and torments thereof…. The leaves of parsley laid to the eyes that are inflamed with heat or swollen, relieves them if it be used with bread or meat…. The juice dropped into the ears with a little wine easeth the pains.’
Formerly the distilled water of Parsley was often given to children troubled with wind, as Dill water still is.

Medicinal Action and Uses—The uses of Parsley are many and are by no means restricted to the culinary sphere. The most familiar employment of the leaves in their fresh state is, of course, finely-chopped, as a flavouring to sauces, soups, stuffings, rissoles, minces, etc., and also sprinkled over vegetables or salads. The leaves are extensively cultivated, not only for sending to market fresh, but also for the purpose of being dried and powdered as a culinary flavouring in winter, when only a limited supply of fresh Parsley is obtainable.

In addition to the leaves, the stems are also dried and powdered, both as a culinary colouring and for dyeLg purposes. There is a market for the seeds to supply nurserymen, etc., and the roots of the turnip-rooted variety are used as a vegetable and flavouring.

Medicinally, the two-year-old roots are employed, also the leaves, dried, for making Parsley Tea, and the seeds, for the extraction of an oil called Apiol, which is of considerable curative value. The best kind of seed for medicinal purposes is that obtained from the Triple Moss curled variety. The wholesale drug trade generally obtains its seeds from farmers on the East coast, each sample being tested separately before purchases are made. It has been the practice to buy secondyear seeds which are practically useless for growing purposes: it would probably hardly pay farmers to grow for Apiol producing purposes only, as the demand is not sufficiently great.

Indigestion: Parsley aids digestion and helps prevent the stomach and intestines. It is one of the most popular remedies for indigestion.A couple of springs of fresh herb or a 1/4th. teaspoon of dried herbs can be taken with a glass of water in this condition.

Eye Problems: Raw parsley juice ,mixed with carrot juice, is effective in all ailments connected with the eyes and the optic nerves. It is good for weak eyes, ulceration of the cornea,cataracts,conjunctivitis and opthalmia.

Manstrual disorders: The herb is an effective remedy for scanty menstruation. It also assists in the regularization of monthly period.Cramps as a result of menstrual irregularities are relieved and frequently corrected by the regular use of parsley juice, specially when combined with beet, carrot and cucumber juices.

Insect bites: Bruised parsley is very good medicine for for bites and stings of insects.

Wounds: Likewis, it is very effective when applied on bruised and inflamated joints.It is most cleansing suppuration when applied to open wounds.

Bad breath:It is very effective remedy for bad breath.Coarsely chopped parsley springs should be boiled in water with a quarter teaspoon of ground cloves.It is then strained and can be used as a mouthwash or gargle several times a day.

Boils: The herb is proved beneficial in the treatment of boils. It should be steeped in boiled water till it is soft and juicy . It can be applied on the boils when comfortably hot and rapped with a clean muslin.

Parsley is known as best cleaning treatment for kidneys :-
Procedures:Take a bunch of parsley (MALLI Leaves) KOTHIMBIR(DHANIYA)and wash it clean
Then cut it in small pieces and put it in a pot and pour clean water and boilit for ten minutes and let it cool down and then filter it and pour in a cleanbottle and keep it inside refrigerator to cool.

Drink one glass daily and you will notice all salt and other accumulated poisoncoming out of your kidney by urination also you will be able to notice the difference which you never felt before.

Other uses:

It canbe added freely to salads and hot soups. Uncooked parsley is palatable and easy to digest when used by itself or cooked with other green vegetables like cabbage or roots. It can be taken as a beverage.

Health risks:
Parsley should not be used in pregnant women. Parsley as an oil, root, leaf, or seed could lead to uterine stimulation and preterm labor.
Parsley is high (1.70 g per 100 g, in oxalic acid, a compound involved in the formation of kidney stones and nutrient deficiencies.
Parsley oil contains furanocoumarins and psoralens which leads to extreme photosensitivity if used orally.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsley

http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/parsle09.html

Mirackes of Herbs

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