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Ayurvedic Herbs & Plants

Power Of Triphala

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The most popular herbal remedies in the health food industry are those which promote bowel movement.Because we all know that if the bowel movement is regular and perfect, we get rid of many illness. The reason is quite simple since the most common problem of so many individuals is constipation and bowel irregularity. Consider how tremendously valuable a formula is that not only regulates bowel movement but at the same time does the following:.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURE

Amla , Bihara and Harada, the dust of three in middle

  • improves digestion,
  • reduces serum cholesterol,
  • improves circulation (potentiates adrenergic function),
  • contains 31% linoleic acid,
  • exerts a marked cardio-protective effect,
  • reduces high blood pressure,
  • improves liver function,
  • has proven anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties,
  • expectorant, hypotensive.

Sound like a panacea? Well, it is practically just that.

Triphala, as it is called, is the most popular Ayurvedic herbal formula of India, since it is an effective laxative which also supports the body’s strength. The constitution of vegetarian Hindus cannot tolerate harsh laxatives anymore than vegetarians in other countries. Because of its high nutritional value, Triphala uniquely cleanses and detoxifies at the deepest organic levels without depleting the body’s reserves. This makes it one of the most valuable herbal preparations in the world.

A popular folk saying in India is, “No mother? do not worry so long as you have Triphala.” The reason is that Indian people believe that triphala is able to care for the internal organs of the body as a mother cares for her children. Each of the three herbal fruits of tTriphala takes care of the body by gently promoting internal cleansing of all conditions of stagnation and excess while at the same time it improves digestion and assimilation.

Triphala combines both nutritional as well as blood and liver cleansing actions. It has little function as a demulcent or lubricating laxative, however. It possesses some anthroquinones which help stimulate bile flow and peristalsis. The nutritional aspect is more in the form of its high vitamin C content, the presence of linoleic oil and other important nutrients which it makes more of a tonic.

People who are in need of purgatives are those whose bowel irregularity is caused by liver and gall bladder congestion usually accompanied by some degree of blood toxins. Those in need of demulcent laxatives are those with intestinal dryness caused by a variety of metabolic factors including a nutritional deficiency as well as a condition of excess hypermetabolic energy. Triphala will prove useful for all kinds of constipation except that caused by a lack of vital energy or chi. Even for the latter type, it will not further deplete such an individual and can be made to work well if it is combined with other chi, blood or yang-warming tonic herbs such as ginseng for chi tonification, tang kuei for blood tonification and prepared aconite for yang tonification.

Herbal healing is largely a matter of strategy. One approach may emphasize tonification while another emphasizes elimination. The problem with overemphasizing tonification is that it can lead to further stagnation and congestion in an excess condition. Emphasizing elimination through the overuse of purgatives in an already deficient individual can further deplete the body’s store of minerals and essential B vitamins as well as imbalance beneficial intestinal micro-organisms. The result is weakness with a likely tendency towards chronic fatigue and anemia. Since the body is always simultaneously involved with maintaining and gaining strength through good nutrition as well as eliminating waste, Triphala is unique in that it is naturally able to support both vital processes simultaneously.

Because of its high nutritional content, Ayurvedic doctors generally do not regard Triphala as a mere laxative. Some of the scientific research and practical experience of people using it down through the ages has demonstrated that Triphala is an effective blood purifier that stimulates bile secretion as it detoxifies the liver, helps digestion and assimilation, and significantly reduces serum cholesterol and lipid levels throughout body. As a result, it is regarded as a kind of universal panacea and is the most commonly prescribed herbal formula.

The three fruits of Triphala (Harada, Amla and Bihara) each correspond to the “three humours” or “tridosha” of Indian Ayurvedic medicine. According to Ayurvedic theory, the body is composed of three doshas or humours. Vata is sometimes translated as “wind” which corresponds to the mind and nervous system. Its nature is dry, cold, light and activating. The second is pitta which is also translated as “fire” or “bile.” It is responsible for all metabolic transformations including the digestion and assimilation of food as well as assimilation and clarity of thought and understanding. The nature of pitta is primarily hot, moist and light. Kapha is sometimes translated as the “water” or “mucus” humour and is responsible for all anabolic or building functions such as the development of muscle and bone tissue. Its nature is cool, moist and heavy.

Harada, having a bitter flavor, is associated with the vata humour as well as the air and space elements. It treats imbalances and diseases of the vata humour. Harada possesses laxative, astringent, lubricant, antiparasitical, alterative, antispasmodic and nervine properties. It is therefore used to treat acute and chronic constipation, nervousness, anxiety and feelings of physical heaviness.

Among Tibetans, Harada is so highly revered for its purifying attributes that it is the small fruit that is depicted in the hands of the “medicine Buddha” in their sacred paintings or tankas. Of the three fruits, Harada is the most laxative and contains anthroquinones similar to those found in rhubarb and cascara.

Amla has a sour flavor and corresponds to the pitta humour and the fire element in Ayurvedic medicine. It is a cooling tonic, astringent, mildly laxative, alterative, antipyretic. It is used to treat fire imbalances that include ulcers, inflammation of the stomach, intestines, constipation, diarrhea, liver congestion, eruptions, infections and burning feelings throughout the body. In various studies, Amla has been shown to have mild anti-bacterial properties, pronounced expectorant , anti-viral and cardiotonic activity.

Amla is the highest natural known source of vitamin C. Having 20 times the vitamin C content of an orange, Amla is also uniquely heat stable. Even when subjected to prolonged high heat, as in the making of the Ayurvedic tonic formula called Chyavanprash, Amla, as the primary herb comprising 50% of the formula, hardly loses any of the vitamin C that is present when it is freshly harvested off the tree. The same is true of Amla that has been dried and kept for up to a year. This age and heat stable form of vitamin C in Amla is due to the presence of certain tannins that bind and inhibit its dissipation.

Bihara is astringent, tonic, digestive and anti-spasmodic. Its primary flavor is astringent and the secondary is sweet, bitter and pungent. It targets imbalances associated with the kapha or mucus humour, corresponding to the earth and water elements in Ayurvedic medicine. Specifically Bihara purifies and balances excess mucus, treats asthma, bronchiole conditions, allergies and hiccoughs.

Ama is a term denoting a substance associated in Ayurveda with chronic disease patterns and symptoms of aging. It is described as a kind of sticky buildup of material that clogs the circulatory channels. In many ways it is nearly identical to the accumulation of excess cholesterol and blood lipids described in the West. Both conditions seem to contribute to a wide variety of circulatory disorders ranging from senility, rheumatic conditions, cancer and heart disease. It is interesting that in Traditional Chinese Medicine there is also a pathological condition associated with the heart called “invisible mucus” that is similar to the descriptions of both excess cholesterol and ama in Ayurveda.

One of the body’s reactions to coping with stress is to increase the production of corticosteroids. The accumulation of these stress hormones can also contribute to the formation of cholesterol. Internal stress and the resultant buildup of cholesterol can be caused by the abuse of stimulants, spicy, hot foods such as garlic and cayenne, excessive aerobic exercise and repression of the emotions. It is interesting that an excess of some of those very substances and activities that lower cholesterol in some, when not utilized in a holistic, balanced manner, can act as a stimulant and add further stress that would precipitate the further accumulation of cholesterol. Triphala is one of two Ayurvedic formulations that are specific for eliminating Ama and cholesterol from the body.

Triphala is a completely balanced energetic formula, being neither too cold, nor too hot. When taken regularly over a long period, it gently effects the elimination and purification of Ama from the tissues of the entire body. The three fruits have been scientifically studied and confirm some of its known traditional benefits. These include the lowering of cholesterol, reducing high blood pressure, benefiting circulation, improving digestion and regulating elimination without causing any laxative dependency.

One Indian study reported by C.P. Thakur, demonstrated the enormous value and effectiveness of Amla, reducing serum, aortic and hepatic cholesterol in rabbits. In another study, extracts of Amla fruit were found to decrease serum free fatty acids and increase cardiac glycogen. This helps to prevent heart attacks by providing significantly greater protection and nourishment to the heart muscle.

Studies of the fruit of Bihara found that it contains up to 35% oil and 40% protein. The oil is used in soap making and by the poorer classes as a substitute cooking oil for ghee. The sweet smelling oil is 35% palmitic, 24% oleic and 31% linoleic. Linoleic oil is an essential fatty acid important for increasing HDL cholesterol, associated with a healthy state and reducing LDL cholesterol, considered to indicate a higher-than-average risk for developing coronary-heart disease.

One of numerous studies of Harada demonstrated its anti-vata or anti-spasmodic properties by the reduction of abnormal blood pressure as well as intestinal spasms. This confirms its traditional usefulness for heart conditions, spastic colon and other intestinal disorders.

With all the virtues of the three individual herbs, Triphala has many wide and varied uses as a therapeutic herbal food. Before considering pathological indications for which Triphala would be appropriate, we should never ignore the value of taking it on some regular basis whether once daily or once or twice a week simply for health maintenance. Triphala, having great nutritional properties, will help to prevent sickness.(extracted from www.planetherbs.com)

Triphala combined with guggul is an Ayurvedic herbal formula most used to reduce fat from the body.It is not then an appetite suppressant in fact it is an Ayurvedic supplement that can mobilize and eleminate fat from the body and encourage permanent metabolic changes.Triphala purifies the body of old ama trapped in the fat and guggul (Commiphora mukul) actually scrapes fat away from the other tissues.

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Wood apple or Bael Fruit

Botanical Name :Aegle marmelos .
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: Aurantioideae
Tribe: Clauseneae
Genus: Aegle
Species: A. marmelos
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Name :Bael, Belgiri, Bel, Bilva, Bilpatri, sriphal

Local Common Names in    South-East Asia:

* Burmese: Oushi
Indonesian: Maja
Khmer: Pniv
Lao: Maktum
Malay: pokok maja batu (tree)
Thai: Matuum

Indian Subcontinent
Assamese: Bael
Hindi: Sriphal

Urdu: Bael or sriphal
Oriya:Baela
Bengali: Bael

Kannada: bilva (sacred variety)
Konkani: gorakamli
Malayalam: koo-valam
Marathi: Kaveeth
Punjabi: Beel
Sanskrit : Billa

Sinhalese: Beli
Tamil: Vilvam
Telugu: Maredu
Sir Phal (old Hindi)

Habitat :Native to India and Pakistan. It has since spread to throughout South-east Asia. It is a gum-bearing tree.

It is is indigenous to dry forests on hills and plains of northern, central and southern India, southern Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. It is cultivated throughout India, as well as in Sri Lanka, northern Malay Peninsula, Java in the Philippines and Fiji Islands

Very useful fruit for all kinds of stomach disorder

Flesh is eaten raw or processed into drinks.Fruit pulp is sometimes used as detergent and adhesive.Ripe pulp is used as a digestive aid and a very good laxative.Unripe pulp is used to treat diarrhea and dysentery.Fibre content of the pulp, whether ripen or green is very high. All other parts of the plant are used for a wide variety of medicinal purpose.Beal leafs are used by Hindus in their worship.Several Ayurvedic medicines are made from most of the parts of the plant.

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Plant Cultivation:

Medium sized tree to 40ft. The bael fruit is slow growing but very tough for a subtropical tree, surviving a wide temperature range from 20-120F. It easily withstands long periods of drought, which are needed for better fruit yields. It grows in most soil and climate types, and requires little care when established. Fruits take 10-12 months to ripen from flowering.
Propagation: Usually by seed. Seedling trees bear within 6+ years

Origin and Distribution:

Native to central and southern and northern India,Pakistan,Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma.But only in very few places perhaps it is commercially grown.

Several variety of wood apples grow in India, but two types are very popular, one is Yellow beal(Feronia limonia), sweet when ripen and the other is Kod beal(Banglapedia) sweet and sower when ripen. But both of them have tremendous medicinal value

Many pharmaceutical companies are now a days doing extensive research on this fruit and its plant.

USES :

Medicinal Uses: The fruit is much used in India as a liver and cardiac tonic, and, when unripe, as an astringent means of halting diarrhea and dysentery and effective treatment for hiccough, sore throat and diseases of the gums. The pulp is poulticed onto bites and stings of venomous insects, as is the powdered rind.

Juice of young leaves is mixed with milk and sugar candy and given as a remedy for biliousness and intestinal troubles of children. The powdered gum, mixed with honey, is given to overcome dysentery and diarrhea in children.

Oil derived from the crushed leaves is applied on itch and the leaf decoction is given to children as an aid to digestion. Leaves, bark, roots and fruit pulp are all used against snakebite. The spines are crushed with those of other trees and an infusion taken as a remedy for menorrhagia. The bark is chewed with that of Barringtonia and applied on venomous wounds.

The unripe fruits contain 0.015% stigmasterol. Leaves contain stigmasterol (0.012%) and bergapten (0.01%). The bark contains 0.016% marmesin. Root bark contains aurapten, bergapten, isopimpinellin and other coumarins.

Dirrhoea & Dysentery:– The half-ripe beal fruit is perhaps the most effective remedy for these diseases .

Respiratory Disorders:– A medicated oil prepared from beal leaves gives relief from recurrent cold and respiratory affections.A tea spoonful of this oil should be massaged into the scalp before a head bath.It’s regular use builds the resistance of cold and coughs.

Peptic Ulcer:- An infusion of beal leaves is an effective remedy for this disease.Beal leaves are reach in tannin which reduces inflammation and help in the healing of ulcers.

Earache:- The root of the beal tree is used as a domestic remedy to check several kinds of ear problem.A stiff piece of beal fruit is dipped in neam oil and lighted.The oil and the drips of the burning end is a highly effective medicine for problems related to ears.

PRECAUTIONS:The ripped beal fruit should not be taken regularly. It’s regular use produces atomy of the intensives and consequent flautence in the abdomen. The excessive use of beal fruit may produce sensation of heaviness in the stomach. The sherbet (Juice with water) made of beal fruit can produce heavyness in the stomach if it is taken hurriedly.

Food Uses:

The rind must be cracked with a hammer. The scooped-out pulp, though sticky, is eaten raw with or without sugar, or is blended with coconut milk and palm-sugar sirup and drunk as a beverage, or frozen as an ice cream. It is also used in chutneys and for making jelly and jam. The jelly is purple and much like that made from black currants.

A bottled nectar is made by diluting the pulp with water, passing through a pulper to remove seeds and fiber, further diluting, straining, and pasteurizing. A clear juice for blending with other fruit juices, has been obtained by clarifying the nectar with Pectinol R-10. Pulp sweetened with sirup of cane or palm sugar, has been canned and sterilized. The pulp can be freeze-dried for future use but it has not been satisfactorily dried by other methods.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Pulp*

Pulp………………… (ripe)…….. …Seeds
Moisture…………… 74.0%…….. 4.0%
Protein……………….. 8.00%…… 26.18%
Fat…………………….. 1.45%…… 27%
Carbohydrates…… 7.45%…… 35.49%
Ash…………………….. 5.0%…….. 5.03%
Calcium…………….. 0.17%……. 1.58%
Phosphorus………….. 0.08%……. 1.43%
Iron…………………….. 0.07%……. 0.03%
Tannins………………. 1.03%……. 0.08%
*According to analyses made in India.

The pulp represents 36% of the whole fruit. The pectin content of the pulp is 3 to 5% (16% yield on dry-weight basis). The seeds contain a bland, non-bitter, oil high in unsaturated fatty acids.

Other Uses:

Pectin: The pectin has potential for multiple uses in pectin-short India, but it is reddish and requires purification.

Rind:
The fruit shell is fashioned into snuffboxes and other small containers.

Gum: The trunk and branches exude a white, transparent gum especially following the rainy season. It is utilized as a substitute for, or adulterant of, gum arabic, and is also used in making artists’ watercolors, ink, dyes and varnish. It consists of 35.5% arabinose and xylose, 42.7% d-galactose, and traces of rhamnose and glucuronic acid.

Wood: The wood is yellow-gray or whitish, hard, heavy, durable, and valued for construction, pattern-making, agricultural implements, rollers for mills, carving, rulers, and other products. It also serves as fuel.

The heartwood contains ursolic acid and a flavanone glycoside, 7-methylporiol-b-D-xylopyranosyl-D-glucopyranoside.

Click to learn more about-> Wood apple tree[Aegle marmelos Corr. (Rutaceae)]

You may click tolearn more about the plant
Research:
Research has found the essential oil of the Bael tree to be effective against 21 types of bacteria. It is prescribed for smooth bowel movement to patients suffering from constipation and other gastrointestinal problems.

Research also indicates that unripe Bael fruit is effective in combating giardia and rotavirus. While unripe Bael fruit did not show antimicrobial properties, it did inhibit bacteria adherence to and invasion of the gut (i.e. the ability to infect the gut).

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://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/wood-apple.html

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

http://www.payer.de/manu/manu02036.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Tulsi or Basil (Ocimum sanctum)

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Botanical Name :Ocimum sanctum
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Ocimum
Species: O. tenuiflorum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms: Ocimum tenuiflorum

Common Names: Holy basil, or Tulasi

Habitat : Ocimum sanctum is native to the Indian subcontinent and widespread as a cultivated plant throughout the Southeast Asian tropics.

Description:
It is an erect, many branched subshrub, 30–60 cm (12–24 in) tall with hairy stems and simple phyllotaxic green or purple leaves that are strongly scented.

Ocimum tenuiflorum (habit). Location: Maui, Wa...
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Ocimum tenuifolium (known as Holy basil in English, and Tulasi in Sanskrit), is a well known aromatic plant in the family Lamiaceae. Apart from its culinary uses, for which it is known across the world, it is also used as a medicinal plant, and has an important role within many traditions of Hinduism, wherein devotees perform worship involving Tulasi plants or leaves. Native to India, it is a short lived perennial herb or small shrub, often grown as an annual. The foliage is green or purple, strongly scented. Leaves have petioles, and are ovate, up to 5cm long, usually somewhat toothed. Flowers are white, tinged purple, borne in racemes.

Its aroma is distinctively different from its close cousin, the Thai Basil which is sometimes wrongly called Holy Basil, in shops and on the internet, but they can be distinguished by their aroma and flavour. Holy Basil is slightly hairy, whereas Thai Basil is smooth and hairless; Holy Basil does not have the strong aniseed or licorice smell of Thai Basil[1]; and Holy Basil has a spicy flavor sometimes compared to cloves
It is a very useful herb in the manufacture of several Ayurvedic medicines.It is found growing naturally in moist soil in nearly all over the globe.In India, Hindus grow Tulsi as a religious plant in their homes,temples,and their firms.They use Tulsi leaves in their daily routine worship.

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Medicinal Uses:

An infusion of the leaves is a quick remedy for bronchitis and colds and an infusion of the seeds is an excellent diuretic. A decoction of the roots is thought to relieve malarial fever. Leaves are diaphoretic, antiperiodic, bronchitis, gastric & hepatic disorders etc. A tea prepared with the leaves of O. sanctum is commonly used in cough, cold, mild, indigestion, diminished appetite and malaise. Anthelmintic, deodorant, stimulant, anti-inflammatory, cardiotonic, blood purifier, useful in skin diseases, antipyretic particularly in malarial fevers. Externally applied on chronic non healing ulcers, inflammation, skin disorders, useful in nausea, pain in abdomen, worms, allergic rhinitis, all types of cough, respiratory disorders. It acts as a powerful mosquito repellent.

In a 1997 study at M.S. University of Baroda, India, 17 NIDDM patients were supplemented with 1 g basil leaf per day for 30 days. Ten NIDDM patients served as controls, receiving no supplementation. All subjects were taking antidiabetic medications and did not change their diets. Holy basil lowered fasting blood glucose 20.8 percent, total cholesterol 11.3 percent and triacylglycerols 16.4 percent.18 I recommend 1-4 g of dried leaf daily. . It is said that eating Holy basil along with other foods will relieve stomach problems including cramps and digestive disorders.

The ethanolic extract of the leaves exhibited a hypoglycemic effect in rats and an antispasmodic effect in isolated guinea pig ileum. Tulsi extract was administered to 20 patients with shortness of breath secondary to tropical eosinophia in an oral dosage of 500 mg TID and an improvement in breathing was noted. The aqueous extract showed a hypotensive effect on anesthetised dogs and cats and negative inotropic and chronotropic activity (reduces the force and rate, respectively) on rabbit’s heart. Antibacterial activity has been shown against Staphlococcus aureus and Mycoplasma tuberculosis in vitro as well as against several other species of pathogens including fungi. The plant has had general adaptogenic effects in mice and rats and has been shown to protect against stress-induced ulcers. The leaf extract was found to protect guinea pigs against histamine and pollen induced asthma. Adaptogenic activity of Ocimum sanctum is reported in rats & mice.

Recent research studied the effect of Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi)on experimental cataract in rats and rabbits by P. SHARMA, S. KULSHRESHTHA AND A.L. SHARMA
Department of Pharmacology, S.N. Medical College, Agra – 282 001.

SUMMARY Objective: Methods: Two models of experimental cataract were induced: (1) Galactosaemic cataract in rats by 30% galactose, (2) Naphthalene cataract in rabbits by 1 gm/kg naphthalene. Ocimum sanctum (O.S.) was administered orally in both models at two dose levels 1 and 2 gm/kg of body weight for curative and prophylactic effects. The study was conducted for 40 days.

Results: O.S. delayed the onset of cataract as well as the subsequent maturation of cataract significantly in both models. In addition to delay in reaching various stages of development of cataract, IV stage did not develop with high doses till completion of 40 days of experimental period.

Conclusion: O.S. delayed the process of cataractogenesis in both models. The higher doses are more effective and have got promising prophylactic role rather than curative one. This effect is more clear in galactosaemiccataract. (Indian J Pharmacol 1998; 30: 16-20) More research: Surender Singh and D.K. Majumdar University of Delhi, New Delhi, India: The fixed oil of O. sanctum seeds was screened for antiarthritic activity using Freund’s adjuvant arthritis, formaldehyde-induced arthritis and also turpentine oil-induced joint edema in rats. The oil was administered intraperitoneally for 14 days in the case of adjuvant-induced arthritis and 10 days in formaldehyde-induced arthritis. The mean changes in diameter of paw were noted at regular intervals. X-rays of paws were taken at the end of study and SGOT & SGPT levels were also estimated. The fixed oil showed significant anti-arthritic activity in both models and anti-edema activity against turpentine oil-induced joint edema.

Traditional Uses: The leaf infusion or fresh leaf juice is commonly used in cough, mild upper respiratory infections, bronchospasm, stress-related skin disorders and indigestion. It is combined with ginger and maricha (black pepper) in bronchial asthma. It is given with honey in bronchitis and cough. The leaf juice is taken internally and also applied directly on cutaneous lesions in ringworm. The essential oil has been used in ear infections. The seeds are considered a general nutritious tonic.
Tulasi, as used in Ayurveda.
Tulsi has also been recognized by the rishis for thousands of years as a prime herb in Ayurvedic treatment.In the manufacture of todays cough syrup, Tulsi leaf extract is vastly used. It has been traditionally used by Hindus, and now others, for its diverse healing properties. Tulsi is mentioned by Acharya Charak, in the Charak Samhita, the central teaching of Ayurvedic medicine written at least two thousand years ago, and in the Rigveda. Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress. Marked by its strong aroma and astringent taste, Tulsi is regarded as a kind of “elixir of life” and believed to promote longevity.

Its aroma is distinctively different to its close cousin, the Thai Basil which is sometimes wrongly called Holy basil, in shops and on the internet, but they can be distinguished by appearance, aroma and flavor. Holy basil has purple stems, whereas Thai Basil has green stems; holy basil is slightly hairy, whereas Thai Basil is smooth and hairless; holy basil does not have the strong aniseed or licorice smell of Thai Basil; and Holy Basil has a hot, spicy flavor sometimes compared to cloves

Tulsi leaves contain a bright yellow volatile oil which is useful against insects and bacteria. The principal constituents of this oil are Eugenol, eugenol methyl ether and carvacrol. The oil is reported to possess anti-bacterial properties and acts as an insecticide. It inhibits the in vitro growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Micrococcus pyogenes var. aureus. It has marked insecticidal activity against mosquitoes. The juice of leaves, and or a concoction, called jushanda, a kind of tea, gives relief in common cold, fever, bronchitis, cough, digestive complaints, etc. When applied locally, it helps in eradicating ringworms and other skin diseases. Tulsi oil is also used as ear drops in case of pain. The seeds are used in curing urinary problems. Aphrodisiac virtue has been attributed to it, where powdered Tulsi root with clarified butter (ghee) is prescribed.

Tulasi as an Ayurvedic medicine
Tulas’s extracts are used in ayurvedic remedies for common colds, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, and malaria. Traditionally, tulasi is taken in many forms: as an herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf, or mixed with ghee. Essential oil extracted from Karpoora Tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes and in herbal toiletry. For centuries, the dried leaves of Tulasi have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects.

Recent studies suggest that Tulasi may be a COX-2 inhibitor, like many modern painkillers, due to its significant amount of Eugenol (1-hydroxy-2-methoxy-4-allylbenzene). Studies have also shown Tulsi to be effective for diabetes, by reducing blood glucose levels. The same study showed significant reduction in total cholesterol levels with Tulsi. Another study showed that Tulsi’s beneficial effect on blood glucose levels is due to its antioxidant properties.

Tulasi also shows some promise for protection from radiation poisoning   and cataracts. Some Vaishnavites do not use Tulasi for medicine, though, out of reverence. However, the use of Tulsi for purification and as a medicine is widespread throughout India. Many Hindus  along with the ancient tradition of Ayurveda   believe that the healing properties of sacred herbs such as Tulsi were given by the Lord himself, and can be used as a medicine out of reverence.

Tulasi in scripture
A number of passages in the Puranas and other scriptures (Vedas), point to the importance of tulsi within religious worship. Tulasi is regarded as a goddess (Lakshmi) and a consort of Vishnu. A garland of tulasi leaves is the first offering to the Lord as part of the daily ritual. Tulsi is accorded the sixth place among the eight objects of worship in the ritual of the consecration of the kalasha, the container of holy water.

According to one story, Tulasi was a gopi who fell in love with Krishna and so had a curse laid on her by His consort Radha. She is very dear to Vishnu. Tulsi is also mentioned in the stories of Mira and Radha immortalised in Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda. One story has it that when Krishna was weighed in gold, not even all the ornaments of His consort Satyabhama could outweigh Him. But a single tulsi leaf placed on one side by his consort Rukmini tilted the scale.

Tulsi is ceremonially married to Vishnu annually on the eleventh bright day of the month of Kaartika in the lunisolar calendar. This festival continues for five days and concludes on the full moon day, which falls in mid-October. This ritual, called the “Tulsi Vivaha”, inaugurates the annual marriage season in India.

In the Christian tradition it is said that Tulsi grew around the place of Crucifixion. Tulasi is also mentioned in Shiite writings.
One who wants to learn little more may visit this page.

One  may click to learn more about recent Research

The Morning Drink that Can Slow Down Your Aging Process

I very strongly believe that extensive research should be done on this herbs  to explore  its multivarious medicinal value.

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/Ocimum_tenuiflorum
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail464.php

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Herbs & Plants

Indian Neem Plant (Azadirachta indica)

Botanical Name: Azadirachta indica
Family:
Meliaceae (mahogany)
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Sapindales
Genus:
Azadirachta
Species:
A. indica

Other common names: Pride of India, Azadirachta, Nim, Margosa, Holy Tree, Indian Lilac Tree, Bead Tree
Vernacular names:
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Names for this plant in various languages include;
Arabic – Neeb, Azad-darakhul-hind, Shajarat Alnnim
Assamese – Neem
Bengali – Nim
English – Margosa, Neem Tree
French – Azadirac de l’Inde, margosier, margousier
German – Indischer zedrach, Grossblaettiger zedrach
Gujarati – Dhanujhada, Limbda
Hausa – Darbejiya, Dogonyaro, Bedi
Hindi – Neem
Kannada – Bevu
Kiswahili – Muarubaini
Khmer – Sdau
Malay – Mambu
Malayalam – Aryaveppu
Manipuri – Neem
Marathi – Kadunimba
Myanmar – Burma- Tamar
Nepal – Neem
Nigerian – Dongoyaro
Persian – Azad Darakth e hind, neeb, nib
Portuguese – Nimbo, Margosa, Amargoseira
Punjabi – Nimmh
Sanskrit – Arishta, Pakvakrita, Nimbaka
Sinhala – Kohomba
Sindhi – Nimm
Somali – Geed Hindi
Tamil – Veppai , Sengumaru
Telugu – Vepa
Thai – Sadao
tulu-besappu
Urdu – Neem

Habitat: Azadirachta indica  is native to India and the Indian subcontinent including Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It is typically grown in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Neem trees now also grow in islands located in the southern part of Iran. Its fruits and seeds are the source of neem oil.

Description:
Neem is a fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 15–20 metres (49–66 ft), and rarely 35–40 metres (115–131 ft). It is evergreen, but in severe drought it may shed most or nearly all of its leaves. The branches are wide and spreading. The fairly dense crown is roundish and may reach a diameter of 15–20 metres (49–66 ft) in old, free-standing specimens. The neem tree is very similar in appearance to its relative, the Chinaberry (Melia azedarach).

The opposite, pinnate leaves are 20–40 centimetres (7.9–15.7 in) long, with 20 to 31 medium to dark green leaflets about 3–8 centimetres (1.2–3.1 in) long. The terminal leaflet is often missing. The petioles are short.

The (white and fragrant) flowers are arranged in more-or-less drooping axillary panicles which are up to 25 centimetres (9.8 in) long. The inflorescences, which branch up to the third degree, bear from 150 to 250 flowers. An individual flower is 5–6 millimetres (0.20–0.24 in) long and 8–11 millimetres (0.31–0.43 in) wide. Protandrous, bisexual flowers and male flowers exist on the same individual tree.

The fruit is a smooth (glabrous), olive-like drupe which varies in shape from elongate oval to nearly roundish, and when ripe is 1.4–2.8 centimetres (0.55–1.10 in) by 1.0–1.5 centimetres (0.39–0.59 in). The fruit skin (exocarp) is thin and the bitter-sweet pulp (mesocarp) is yellowish-white and very fibrous. The mesocarp is 0.3–0.5 centimetres (0.12–0.20 in) thick. The white, hard inner shell (endocarp) of the fruit encloses one, rarely two or three, elongated seeds (kernels) having a brown seed coat.

 

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Commercial plantations of the trees are not considered profitable. Around 50,000 neem trees have been planted near Mecca to provide shelter for the pilgrims.

Warning: The neem tree is very much lookalike to the Chinaberry, whose fruits (and everything else) are extremely poisonous.

Medicinal and other uses:

Neem Leaf is said to be India’s best-kept secret, and for thousands of years this “Pride of India”

has treated more than one hundred health problems! It is said to be one of the most important detoxicants in Ayurvedic medicine and is also believed to be a potent antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and parasiticide that combats infections of all kinds. In addition, Neem is used to facilitate digestion, support heart health, improve the urinary tract and treat fevers and pain. Important, new research claims that Neem will help diabetics and combat invasive disease.

Neem Leaf is a bitter tonic herb that nourishes and strengthens the digestive tract and is excellent for digestive disorders. Because it is believed to work wonders for the gastrointestinal tract (the passage along which food passes for digestion, including esophagus, stomach, duodenum, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, small and large intestines), Neem is often taken to correct problems of the stomach and bowels and is effective in easing nausea, indigestion, gastritis, intestinal distress, hyperacidity, and peptic and duodenal ulcers. It also appears to reduce gastric secretions and aids in eliminating toxins and harmful bacteria from the system, thereby reducing stomach discomfort.

In the treatment of constipation, Neem Leaf is thought to be an effective purgative, especially in larger doses, but because it is also a soothing demulcent, it is not a harsh laxative, and its use is thought to regulate bowel function. It has also been used as an anthelmintic, which destroys and expels intestinal worms, perhaps because of its effective laxative and parasiticidal properties.

Neem Leaf is thought to support heart health in several ways. Recent studies have shown that the leaf extract, nimbidin, significantly lowers serum cholesterol levels, which helps to reduce blood clots. Nimbidin also causes blood vessels to dilate and may be responsible for lowering blood pressure and improving blood circulation. These actions are thought to reduce the risk for arteriosclerosis, stroke and heart attack. Moreover, it is also thought to slow rapid heartbeat and inhibit irregularities of the rhythms of the heart (arrhythmia).

Neem Leaf is said to improve many urinary tract disorders, especially burning urination. The leaf extract, sodium nimbidinate, acts as a diuretic, promoting the flow of urine, and this action helps to relieve phosphaturia (excess phosphates in the urine) and albuminuria (escess albumin in the urine), which can be caused by chronic congestion of the kidneys. The increased urine helps to flush the kidneys and further cleanse toxins from the system.

The tannin in Neem Leaf acts as an astringent, and as such, it has been used to remedy diarrhea and dysentery.

Neem Leaf is said to be one of the finest detoxicants available that clears pollutants from the body. The herb’s antiseptic qualities are said to cleanse the blood of harmful bacteria that cause infections. Moreover, cleaner blood is invaluable for improving skin conditions, and Neem Leaf has been famous for its beneficial effects in cases of skin diseases and problems, including eczema, psoriasis, septic sores, infected burns, boils, acne and scrofula.

Supporting Neem’s traditional role as an antibacterial (twig) toothbrush, modern studies confirm its important role in total oral hygiene. Neem’s antimicrobial and antiseptic properties are effective in reducing plaque, caries, gingival scores and pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria in the mouth. A mouthwash prepared from Neem extract was found to inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans,

an oral pathogen (bacteria) responsible for dental caries and was effective in reversing mouth ulcers (incipient carious lesions).

Recent research is being conducted into the use of Neem Leaf for diabetes. A number of insulin-dependent diabetics were able to reduce their insulin considerably when treated with Neem Leaf extract and Neem oil. The general impression is that Neem may enhance insulin receptor sensitivity and may work well on Type II diabetics.

Neem Leaf is a virtual living pharmacy and is a powerful antibacterial and antifungal. Its quercetin content (a polyphenolic flavonoid) helps to combat infections and certain fungi. Neem is believed to destroy the fourteen most common fungi that infect the human body, such as athlete’s foot, nail fungus, intestinal tract fungi and a fungus that is part of the normal mucous flora that may get out of control and lead to lesions in the mouth, vagina, skin, hands and lungs.

As an antiviral, Neem Leaf has been used to combat smallpox, chicken pox, and recent tests have shown that it may be effective against herpes virus and the viral DNA polymerase of hepatitis B virus.

Neem has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat malarial fevers, and recent experiments have shown that one of the Neem’s components, gedunin, is as effective as quinine against malaria. It is also used to control trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness or Chagas’ disease), caused by a parasite that lives inside nerve and muscle cells. Neem is also considered effective in reducing fever, relieving pain and reducing inflammation.

Neem Leaf is said to be an expectorant that loosens and expels phlegm and congestion from the respiratory system and has been used to relieve dry cough, nasal congestion, bronchitis, laryngitis, pharyngitis, tuberculosis, pleurisy and other respiratory disorders.

Neem has been used effectively as a contraceptive since the first century B.C., when an eminent Ayurvedic physician wrote of its use for this purpose. It is a highly potent antibacterial, spermicidal, parasiticide, antifungal and antiviral, and in cases of sexual contact, current studies claim that it may help to prevent AIDS, gonorrhea, trichomonas, chlamydia and other sexually transmitted conditions. Whether ingested or used topically in the vagina, the leaves and oil have been effective in killing human spermatozoa. Many women in Madagascar chew Neem leaves every day, which is believed to prevent pregnancies, and in cases of unwanted pregnancies, it is thought to be capable of inducing a miscarriage (it is a uterine stimulant that has also been used to stimulate suppressed menstruation). Neem Leaves have been used as a vaginal douche to heal wounds caused during delivery and disinfect the vaginal passage.

When used externally, Neem Leaf is used as an eyewash for the treatment of night blindness, in shampoos for hair loss and premature graying. Used topically, its antiseptic, insecticidal and antiviral properties are believed efficacious against septic sores, warts, infected burns, ringworm, lice, boils, ulcers, indolent ulcers, glandular swellings, wounds, smallpox, syphilitic sores and eczema. Its anti-inflammatory qualities will also relieve painful joints and muscles.
Neem Leaf is said to be India’s best-kept secret, and for thousands of years this “Pride of India” has treated more than one hundred health problems! It is said to be one of the most important detoxicants in Ayurvedic medicine and is also believed to be a potent antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and parasiticide that combats infections of all kinds. In addition, Neem is used to facilitate digestion, support heart health, improve the urinary tract and treat fevers and pain. Important, new research claims that Neem will help diabetics and combat invasive disease.
Neem is perhaps the most useful traditional medical plant, mostly available in India.Each part of the neem tree has tremendus medical properity and is thus commercially exploitable.It is considered as a most valuable sourse of unique biological product for the development of different kinds of medicines against various diseases and also for the industrial products.Its phermacological value is vast.

Various parts of neem tree have been used as a tradtional Ayurbedic medicine in India from time immemorial. It’s leaf,root,flower and fruit togather cure blood morbidity,bilary afflictions,itching,skin ulsers,burning sensations. We can have various use of neem in our day to day life:-
* Mix pure, dried neem leaf powder with vaseline in the ratio of 1:5. This combination can be used to repel insects including mosquitoes. It can also be used to treat skin disorders, minor cuts, burns, wounds, etc.

* Boil neem leaves with water and add to bath water along with rose water to cure itching, excessive perspiration, etc.

* Boil 10 freshly cleaned neem leaves along with cotton in a litre of water for approximately 10 minutes. Keep it aside to cool. Use this to rinse your eyes in case of conjunctivitis, itching, etc.

* Use pure neem oil mixed with coconut and sandalwood oil for treating hairfall, premature greying, lice, dandruff and scalp infections.

* To treat a sore throat without antibiotics, gargle with neem leaf water to which honey is added.

* For acne, pimples and skin infections, apply pure neem leaf powder mixed with water to the affected area.

* In case of sinusitis, use pure neem oil as nasal drops. Use 1-2 drops in the morning and evening.

* Boil 40-50 neem leaves in 250 ml for 20 minutes. Cool, strain, bottle, refrigerate and store to use as an astringent.

* Chewing four to five neem leaves regularly helps in cases of hyperacidity and diabetes. It also purifies blood.

* Neem oil has anti-fungal properties. Putting two drops of neem oil in the ear once daily, at bedtime, helps to cure fungal infection of the ear.

* For jaundice, juice of neem leaves (15-30 ml) and half the quantity of honey taken on an empty stomach for seven days is recommended.

* Prevent breeding of mosquitoes by adding crushed neem seeds and neem oil to all breeding areas. Neem products ensure complete inhibition of egg laying for seven days.

* Add 30 ml of neem oil to one litre of water. Mix well. Add one ml of Teepol and spray immediately for plant protection.

* To ward off mosquitoes, add five to 10 per cent neem oil to any oil and light as a candle.

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Other uses:
Construction: The juice of this plant is a potent ingredent for a mixture of wall plaster, according to the Samar??ga?a S?tradh?ra, which is a Sanskrit treatise dealing with ?ilpa??stra (Hindu science of art and construction).

Neem oil is used for preparing cosmetics such as soap, shampoo, balms and creams as well as toothpaste.

Toothbrush: Traditionally, slender neem twigs (called datun) are first chewed as a toothbrush and then split as a tongue cleaner. This practice has been in use in India, Africa, and the Middle East for centuries. Many of India’s 80% rural population still start their day with the chewing stick, while in urban areas neem toothpaste is preferred. Neem twigs are still collected and sold in markets for this use, and in rural India one often sees youngsters in the streets chewing on neem twigs. It has been found to be as effective as a toothbrush in reducing plaque and gingival inflammation.

Tree: Besides its use in traditional Indian medicine, the neem tree is of great importance for its anti-desertification properties and possibly as a good carbon dioxide sink.

Neem gum is used as a bulking agent and for the preparation of special purpose foods.

Neem blossoms are used in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to prepare Ugadi pachhadi. A mixture of neem flowers and jaggery (or unrefined brown sugar) is prepared and offered to friends and relatives, symbolic of sweet and bitter events in the upcoming new year, Ugadi. “Bevina hoovina gojju” (a type of curry prepared with neem blossoms) is common in Karnataka throughout the year. Dried blossoms are used when fresh blossoms are not available. In Tamil Nadu, a rasam (veppam poo rasam) made with neem blossoms is a culinary specialty.

Cosmetics : Neem is perceived in India as a beauty aid. Powdered leaves are a major component of at least one widely used facial cream. Purified neem oil is also used in nail polish and other cosmetics.

Bird repellent: Neem leaf boiled in water can be used as a very cost-effective bird repellent, especially for sparrows.

Lubricant : Neem oil is non-drying and it resists degradation better than most vegetable oils. In rural India, it is commonly used to grease cart wheels.

Fertilizer : Neem has demonstrated considerable potential as a fertilizer. Neem cake is widely used to fertilize cash crops, particularly sugarcane and vegetables.

Plant protectant : Ploughed into the soil, it protects plant roots from nematodes and white ants, probably as it contains the residual limonoids.
In Karnataka, people grow the tree mainly for its green leaves and twigs, which they puddle into flooded rice fields before the rice seedlings are transplanted.

Resin : An exudate can be tapped from the trunk by wounding the bark. This high protein material is not a substitute for polysaccharide gum, such as gum arabic. It may, however, have a potential as a food additive, and it is widely used in South Asia as “Neem glue”.

Bark : Neem bark contains 14% tannin, an amount similar to that in conventional tannin-yielding trees (such as Acacia decurrens). Moreover, it yields a strong, coarse fibre commonly woven into ropes in the villages of India.

Honey : In parts of Asia neem honey commands premium prices, and people promote apiculture by planting neem trees.

Soap : 80% of India’s supply of neem oil is now used by neem oil soap manufacturers. Although much of it goes to small-scale speciality soaps, often using cold-pressed oil, large-scale producers also use it, mainly because it is cheap. Additionally it is antibacterial and antifungal, soothing and moisturising. It can be made with up to 40% neem oil. Generally, the crude oil is used to produce coarse laundry soaps.

Against pox viruses : In India, people who are affected with pox viruses are generally made to lie in bed made of neem leaves and branches. This prevents the spreading of pox virus to others and has been in practice since early centuries.
Known Hazards: Neem oil can cause some forms of toxic encephalopathy and ophthalmopathy if consumed in large quantities

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/Neem

http://www.herbalextractsplus.com/neem-leaf.cfm?gclid=CJ_HpOPxg40CFQI5PwodGRGcoQ

http://www.mansha-enterprises.com/organic-products.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azadirachta_indica