29 November 2014

Thuthuvalai, the rejuvenating leaf

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Thuthuvalai, the rejuvenating leaf

In traditional societies, nutrition and health care are strongly interconnected and many plants have been consumed both as food and for medicinal purposes. Nearly one thousand species of plants with edible leaves are known. Solanum trilobatum Linn (Family: Solanaceae) is one of the important medicinal plant, more commonly available in Southern India [1].

Solanum trilobatum is extensively used as food as well as medicine in Indian traditional medicine to cure various human ailments. Solanum trilobatum is commonly called purple fruited pea egg plant. It is a climbing shrub with sharp recurved and short compressed spines. The leaves are rich in calcium, iron, phosphorous, carbohydrate, protein, fat and crudefibre [2].

Common names in Indian languages

  • English - Climbing brinjal,
  • Sanskrit - Alarka
  • Telugu - Alarkapatramu
  • Tamil - Tuduvalai
  • Marathi - Mothiringnee, Thoodalam
  • Oriya - Bryhoti
  • Kannada - Kakamunji
  • Malayalam - ‘Tutuvalam’ [3]

Solanum trilobatum is used in the Siddha system as an expectorant and in the treatment of respiratory diseases, asthma, chronic febrile infections, tuberculosis, cardiac and liver diseases. Sobatum, β-solamarine, solaine, solasodine, glycoalkaloid and diosogenin and tomatidine are the constituents isolated from this plants [4].

Atopic allergy implies a familial tendency to manifest conditions such as asthma, rhinitis, urticaria and eczematous dermatitis, alone or in combination. The use of synthetic antihistamines to control atopic allergy over a prolonged period of time could lead to potential side effects, and the relief offered by them is mainly symptomatic and short-lived. A safe and effective management of atopy through plant resources has received much attention in recent years [5].

The most common way of consuming solanum is by preparing a thuvayal(chutney). The leaves are washed, fried in gingelly oil with dried chilli, red dhal, little tamarind and ground to a fine paste. This can be mixed with white rice and consumed.

Unripe fruits are prepared as curry or roasted in gingerly oil and taken orally along with food to strengthen the body.

The leaf juice is taken orally to treat cough and itching.

Leaves can be washed, dried and powdered. About half a teaspoon mixed with water can be taken in empty stomach.

References

  1. Gnana Sundari et al, Int j.Res Ayurvedha pharm 4 (3) 2013
  2. Nadkarni KM. Indian materia medica, vol.1, 3rd ed. Popular Prakasan Pvt. Ltd.; Bombay: 1976 p. 1153-4
  3. Sahu et al, Solanum trilobatum – an overview, Journal of natural remedies, Vol 13 (2) 2013
  4. Subramani et al, Solasodine levels in Solanum sisymbriifolium Lam. Indian J Exp Biol 1989; 27: 189
  5. Ranjitsingh et al, Solanum trilobatum in the management of atopy, Res. Pharmacognosy: 2010 (1): 10–14

Image Credit: Wikipedia/ Drorchidaceae

15 November 2014

Nutritionally Superior Barnyard millet

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Adai recipe with banyard millet

Barnyard millet is a superior food grain with high nutritional profile. The grain being colourless, odourless and bland in taste can aptly fit in Indian cuisine. Barnyard millet (Echinochloa frumentacea) is important minor millet having fair amounts of protein that is highly digestible coupled with low carbohydrate content of slow digestibility [1]. The dietary fiber, an important phytochemical component of barnyard millet aids in the prevention of many degenerative diseases.

Barnyard millet is reported to contain flavonoids, anthocyanins and phenolic acids and has excellent antioxidant activity. Hence it can be potentially recommended for the patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, obesity and constipation.

Thus, for the health conscious generation of the present world, Barnyard millet is perhaps one more addition to the existing list of healthy foods, owing to its nutritional superiority. Apart from this, the grain has high utilization potential owing to its excellent capacity to blend with other food grains without imparting any off flavor or after taste. Thus the millet can be incorporated in traditional foods to novel food uses [2].

Common names in Indian languages

  • English - Barnyard millet
  • Bengali - Shyama
  • Hindi - Sanwa
  • Kannada - Oodalu
  • Oriya - Khira
  • Punjabi - Swank
  • Tamil - Kuthirai vali arisi
  • Telugu - Udalu

Why don't you try the following healthy and tasty recipe from Barnyard Millet?

ADAI

Ingredients

  • Barnyard millet rice - 400 g
  • Red gram dhal - 100 g
  • Green gram dhal - 100 g
  • Parboiled rice - 100 g
  • Dried chilli - 10
  • Fennel- 30 g
  • Asafoetida - 20 g
  • Curry leaves - 20 g
  • Corriander leaves for garnishing
  • Oil - 150 ml
  • Salt - as required

Method

  1. Soak barnyard millet, red gram dhal, green gram dhal and parboiled rice and red chilli for 2 hours.
  2. Grind the soaked materials into coarse batter with fennel and curry leaf.
  3. Add asafoetida, curry leaves, and salt to the batter and mix it thoroughly.
  4. Apply oil on the dosa plate and spread the adai batter and cook.
  5. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

References

  1. Veena et al. Development of Barnyard Millet Based Traditional Foods, 2004 , Karnataka J. Agri. Sci.,17 (3):(522-527)
  2. Surekha et al, Development of value added low glycemic index barnyard millet (Echinochloa frumentacea link) noodles, International journal of food and nutritional sciences, Vol.2, Iss.3, Jul-Sep 2013

4 November 2014

Eat Spirulina from Today!

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Spirulina

Spirulina is a microscopic filamentous alga that is rich in proteins, vitamins, essential amino acids, minerals and essential fatty acids like γ- linolenic acid. It is produced commercially and sold as a food supplement in health food stores around the world.

Until very recently, the interest in Spirulina was mainly in its nutritive value. Currently, however, numerous people are looking into the possible therapeutic effects of Spirulina. [1]

  1. Spirulina boosts immune system, stimulating the production of antibodies.
  2. Shown to perform regulatory role on lipid and carbohydrate metabolism by exhibiting glucose and lipid profile correcting activity.
  3. They are capable to inhibit carcinogenesis due to anti-oxidant properties that protect tissues and also reduce toxicity of liver, kidney and testes.
  4. Spirulina contributes to the preservation of resident bacteria in the gut. [2]
  5. It contains 70 % packed protein, which is easily digestible and hence can be given to malnourished and convalescent patients.
  6. Daily intake of Spirulina can eliminate iron deficiency anaemia, a common mineral deficiency.
An intake of heaping tablespoon (about 15g) daily would be likely to have important antioxidant activity in humans. [3]

References

(1) Amha Belay et al, Current knowledge on potential health benefits of Spirulina, Journal of Applied Phycology, 1993, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 235-241.

(2) Khan Z, Bhadouria P, Bisen P, Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 2005, Volume 6, Number 5 , pp. 373-379(7).

(3) Mark F. McCarty, Clinical Potential of Spirulina as a Source of Phycocyanobilin, Journal of Medicinal Food, 2007, 10(4): 566-570


Image Credit: Flickr/ William Ismael