Mucuna – A Rich Plant-based Protein

“Indians are protein deficient, and it needs immediate attention” screamed headlines of a popular National Indian newspaper recently. A 2017 report of Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) states that protein deficiency among Indians stands at more than 80 percent, as measured against the recommended portion of 60g per day. 

This is despite the growing craze of protein in take among people lately for a balanced diet, building muscle and supporting an active lifestyle.

With this there has been a growing interest and demand in plant-based proteins seemingly due to food safety concerns, ethical reasons, the negative consequences of genetically modified foods and sustainability of other protein sources.

Whichever diet you follow, proteins are essential. Proteins are avital component of every cell in the human body. Your body uses proteins to build muscles, repair tissues, and produce enzymes, hormones, and other important biochemicals. The fact that the body does not store the synthesized proteins unlike it stores carbohydrates and fat makes it even more significant that you need a regular and steady protein source for bodily requirements.

Power of Plant-based Protein

A common myth about plant-based diets is that they lack in protein. Not only is this baseless, but also that plant-based proteins provide some amazing health benefits in addition to providing easily digestible protein.

By swapping plant proteins for animal proteins, you can also minimize your calorie intake and boost daily nutrient profile. 

Mucuna – A Powerhouse of Plant-based Protein

Mucuna seeds have been reported to contain high level of protein (26-30%) and starch (34-40%), desirable amino acids, fatty acids and mineral composition with good nutritional properties (Pugalenthi and Vadivel 2006).

Due to its high protein concentration, Mucuna is a rich source of dietary and highly digestible plant protein.

Mucuna, popularly known as velvet beans, is used as herbal drug to treat neurological problems for its neuroprotective effects. The biological name of the plant is Mucuna pruriens and called Kapikachu in sanskrit.

Different parts of mucuna plant are beneficial and widely utilized in Ayurveda and traditional medicine for their anti-diabetic and anti-microbial properties. Mucuna contains the highest natural source of amino acid L-Dopa, a neurotransmitter that helps increase dopamine levels. Dopamine has many functions in the brain and in the nervous system as a whole promoting vitality, cognition, learning, fertility, sexual desire, assertiveness and many more.

It is a natural anti-depressant, facilitates decrease in stress and anxiety levels.

In the ancient Indian system of Ayurvedic medicine, Mucuna is widely respected as a powerful anti-inflammatory and purifying herb, and frequently used in treatment of arthritis, pain relief and also a potent anti-venom due to presence of anti-neurotoxic and anti-cardiotoxic chemicals that nullify the toxins released into bloodstream from snake bite.

HerboProtein

HerboProtein, from 18 Herbs Organics, is a plant-based powder made from 100% organically certified Mucuna. HerboProtein is one of the best sources of plant-based dietary protein – natural, vegan, soya and dairy-free and non-GMO.

Regular intake of this powder builds muscle and aids in weight gain in addition to the host of other benefits.

Ponnanganni Thailam – Overall Skin Therapy

Every woman’s cherished desire is to have a young and fresh, blemish-less and acne-free healthy skin naturally or with minimum maintenance. Well, that’s surely a far-fetching dream amid the growing sophistication of technology influence in every aspect of life and deteriorating quality of food and air. Growing pollution, stress, adulterated food and lifestyle choices add to the distress of the skin’s normal process of replenishment.

Common Skin Problems

The most common skin complaint among men and women – both the youth and middle aged is of acne, affecting more than 20% of them. Acne or pimples is aggravated outburst due to excessive oil secretion on skin that clog the pores, inviting dirt and bacteria. Often the side effect of healing is left over scars and blemishes.

Due to the process of ageing, exposure to sun and other conditions some parts of the skin produce extra melanin that form blotches or spots causing uneven skin pigmentation. It’s a bit annoying and ruins the look on your face.

Those tiny shiny blacks formed as pockets due to oxidized melanin commonly known as blackheads, are an outcome of mix of oily substance sebum and dead skin cells.

Another common problem is itchiness due to dry skin that can leave you with red and sore skin. Again, there are skin ulcers.

Our feet face all day ruggedness and brunt of dust, heat, weight and dryness that lead to cracked, painful and unpleasant skin. You are left with the option to hide those deep lines if you fail to regularly clean and heal those.

Irrespective of your skin type, having a daily skin care routine helps you maintain an overall skin health and improve common concerns like acne, scarring, sun tan, uneven skin tone, dark spots and itchiness due to dry skin.

Commercial Skin Care Products

The world of skin care is often confusing. Cosmetic industry is brim with skin care products with news ones being introduced daily that promise incredible affects. It’s easy to get carried away when you are spoilt for choices.

The million-dollar question is which one to buy. There are wonderful range of creams and lotions that do address your common skin woes and impart health and radiance to your façade.

Still, here’s something to answer before you grab on one.

Do these products have long term affect? Are they safe, natural, nourishing and chemical-free? Are they value for money?

Most often than ever the answer is a “No” to one of the above questions and sometimes to all.

Ponnanganni Thailam

Made from the ancient traditional authentic siddha formulation, the process ensures high efficacy of retaining the goodness of all the natural ingredients the oil is composed of. The key ingredient of ponnanganni thailam is the herb Alternathera sessilis, known as Ponnanngani in Tamil and Matsyakshi in Sanskrit.

Matsyakshi has immense health benefits and is known to cure many chronic ailments and treat various internal disorder. The herb is also known to have significant coolant properties on eyes, skin and hair.

The oil has amazing benefits on skin, a wonderful skincare product. If applied regularly on skin the numbness is relieved and the skin cells restore their sensation and the skin color also improves.

With regular use of this oil that has many other beneficial ingredients such as cow’s milk and Gingelly oil, the skin achieves an even skin tone with enhanced texture. You will also notice a natural radiance in your skin after using this oil.

Due to its composition Ponnanganni oil has an innate anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-ulcerative qualities and thus combats any kind of skin breakage and clears clogged pores. Skin ulcers, blemishes and blackheads can also be reduced naturally by daily application of the oil. Other common skin problems such as itchiness, scabies and eczema can also be successfully cleared using the oil.

Ponnangani thailam is an answer to all your common skin challenges and an effective beauty oil too that delivers what it promises. Another major advantage of using this oil is it has no additives nor is chemically treated which makes it a perfect option for skin, with lasting results.

How to Apply

Apply gently over the skin, face and wash it after an hour. It can be applied on exposed skin including the face, neck and arms before going outdoors during the day. Overnight application is recommended for dry skin.

There are simple steps to a healthy and at ease skin. Follow a beauty regime and balanced diet without compromising on your routine beauty sleep. Whichever way and products you use, natural products are always fetching without damaging your skin further nor drilling a hole in your pocket.

Benefits of some important Hasta Mudras

In science of yoga the body is a medium that can be used in different ways for the final intend of drawing yourself from inward. Mudras are one of the powerful tools to achieve this. Mudras are hand gestures used in meditation for a specific aim of channelizing your body’s energy flow.

The historic gurus intuited the five basic elements that the human body is composed of – space, air, fire, water and earth. Hands have some energy points that stimulate these elements. Mudra is based on the principle of not only invoking these vibrant elements but also result in free action.

Here are some of the powerful and familiar 12 mudras:

Varuna Mudra –Also called as the buddhi mudra, it is a science of healthy communication and associated with mental clarity. Based on a basic principle that communication is the crux to a healthy lifestyle, staying swift and clear. This action helps balance the water elements in the body, the most important ingredient of the body. Regular practice revives the tissue ligament and cells dehydration.

For Varuna mudra, join the tip of thumb and little finger. It should be practiced 3-5 times a day anytime.

Apana Mudra – Considered very good for the digestive system, Apana mudra is helpful in facilitating healthy bowel and gastric problems. This gesture also signifies emotional stability to balance the evil outside the body.

For this posture, bring the second and third fingers of the hand to merge them behind the tip of your thumb.

Prana Mudra – Prana is the vibrance of life that is basis of existence for all the living beings. One of the most important mudras, this hand gesture activates the otherwise dormant body energy. This mudra helps awaken your inner prana and re-instill vitality in you for better tuning with other lives around you.

Bring the tips of your ring finger and little finger to touch the tip of the thumb and keep the remaining two fingers upright.

 

Apan Vayu Mudra – Known to be the mudra of heart, apan vayu balances the body elements. Also called as mrita-sanjeevani mudra since regular practice of this posture minimizes the risk of heart attack and chest pain, doing the mild task of sorbitrate medicine which is injected when a person suffers from an attack which facilitates the distention of the blood vessels and clears the obstruction of flow due to which the heart attack has occurred.

Bend your index finger in such a way that it touches the base of the thumb. Then, merge the tips of your thumb, middle finger and ring finger. This mudra is very effective when performed using both hands sitting straight in a comfortable posture.

Chin Mudra–Also popularly known as the jnana mudra, gesture of knowledge and wisdom, chin mudra connects to higher self, elevates the dullness and creates a receptive state of mind and calms the cells, thereby brightening the overall mood. When practiced along with pranayama and asana, chin mudra uplifts the mood and enlivens your better self.

Keep your hands with open palm on the thigh right above the knee portion, relaxed and straight. Fold the index finger under the tip of the thumb with rest of the fingers kept straight.

Pankaja Mudra – The lotus formation gesture, a symbol of purity, Pankaja mudra opens the chakras of the heart. Regular practice ensures to make you feel rooted and keep you grounded, draining out the misunderstanding or confusion to release the tension and impart grace on mind.

While sitting cross legged, join the base of the palm bringing together both the hands and bring it closer to the chest at the center of the heart. Then position the posture of hands such that the thumbs and little finger are placed against each other along with the outer portion of the palms with rest of fingers spread open facing the sun, completing the shape of a Pankaj (lotus in Sanskrit).

Vayu Mudra –This mudra is quite helpful in appeasing the air imbalances of the body from within such as chest and abdomen pain due to gas deposition, flatulence, bloating and joint pain. Vata associated problems of the health are relieved by balancing all the air elements.

Performed same as the Gyan mudra with slight variation, in Vayu mudra you should middle of the thumb to the knuckle of the index finger. Press the index finger against the thumb at your ease, keeping the three fingers straight.

Ganesha Mudra– Named after most famous Hindu God, Ganesha mudra helps in offering relief from various obstacles in life. Regular practice of this mudra helps attain positivity and grit to deal with hardships. The gesture facilitates centralizing your attention and energy to the center of your heart, causing the lungs and heart open through meditation. Besides enlivening you spiritually and mentally, the pulling motion benefits your heart muscles by strengthening them.

Keep the left hand in front of your chest with your palm facing outwards and left thumb down. Then place your right hand in front of your left hand with your right palm facing toward you and your left palm. Lock your fingers together, holding them in a half-bent position like a claw.

During meditation, take a deep breath, holding in Ganesha mudra, then pull outwardly on your hands as you breathe out without unlocking your fingers. Repeat the process 5-6 times, then reverse the gesture with right hand in front of your chest. Ensure to repeat the same times this mudra the same number of times in both directions to maintain the balance.

Rudra Mudra–Representing the Lord Shiva, the mudra is about the internal transformative abilities. This gesture improves clarity and concentration of thought. It is recommended for people experiencing dizziness, exhaustion, and chronic tension in their body. Rudra mudra energizes the physical body and empowers you to reach your maximum potential.

To do this mudra, bring together the tip of your thumb, index and ring fingers while keeping your other two fingers as straight as possible.

Shuni Mudra – Adopted from the empowerment of elements of space and fire, this mudra is used to expand insight, attentiveness and sensory powers. It also purifies the emotions and thoughts.

Touch the tip of the middle finger to the thumb tip, while keeping the other three fingers straight and relaxed.

Dhyana Mudra – Popular among the eastern yoga discipline, Buddha idol is usually seen with this gesture. The importance of this mudra is to develop deeper and more profound concentration. This gesture can also help bring you calmness and inner solitude.

To do the Dhyana mudra, rest your right hand on the top of your left palm. The right hand, representing enlightenment and higher spiritual abilities, rests over the left hand, representing the world of maya, or illusion.

Surya Mudra – With an intention to maximize the fire element of the body, represented by the ultimate source of power, the sun, Surya mudra reduces the heaviness and improvises metabolism and digestion. Regular practice helps keep cold at bay by increasing the body temperature at the core.

For Surya mudra bend your ring finger to the base of your thumb so that your thumb touches the ring finger’s knuckle. Stretch your other three fingers straight without stressing the hand.

The gestures can be performed in variations depending on the practicing guru you learn from. However, at the core of each of these mudras there is health, balance and bliss.

 

Green Tea with Amla

Green tea has several health benefits because of its antioxidant properties. The naturally occurring antioxidants in green tea can be boosted with the addition of Amla, which is full of vital nutrients like Vitamin C.

The Indian gooseberry, also known as Amla locally, is a common and famous fruit for its unique taste and source of rich nutrients. Biologically known as Phyllanthus emblica, the name Amla was derived from its Sanskrit equal amalaki.

Benefits of Amla

Amla has been quite a common ingredient in the Ayurvedic practices due to its affluence in vitamin C, iron and calcium. For centuries, Indian medicinal practitioners have been using both fresh and dried fruit. Various parts of the plant are put into use in different herbal preparations. As per Ayurveda, Amla has all sour, astringent, sweet, bitter and pungent taste. Naturally, it is an unusual mix of five tastes out of six recognized tastes in Ayurveda.

Ayurveda claims that Amla balances all the three doshas or body types – pitta, vata and kapha, the fundamental bio-elements.

Amla is favorite among health-conscious people because of its versatility. Internally, it is a natural coolant.

Amla is high in fiber that facilitates digestion. Its strong anti-inflammatory action promotes a healthy stomach and keep ulcers at bay. It has potent immune-booster and heart disease fighting abilities, enhances metabolism and reduces blood sugar.

Due to its diuretic qualities, Amla prevents constipation. Amla is quite effective in keeping the gall bladder and liver healthy by preventing formation of gall bladder stones and jaundice.

In addition to the above numerous benefits, Amla also cures sore throat, strengthens bones, purifies blood and improves eyesight.

Amla has shown to have fantastic results on skin, by reducing wrinkle formation and pigmentation and promoting skin brightening.

Shampoos and hair oils containing Amla are traditionally believed to nourish the hair and scalp by making the roots stronger,prevent premature greyingand proliferation of lice.

Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is a rich source of antioxidants that protect body cells from damage from environmental toxins and free radicals. Free radicals are created on a regular basis due to impact of pollution in our system and can interfere with the normal cell functions. Green tea fights bacteria and virus that attack the teeth, thus reducing the chances of plaque, cavities and tooth decay.

Moderate amount of L-theanine and caffeine in green tea act in synergy that potentially enhance brain functioning without inflicting dependency like other high caffeine beverages tend to do. It boosts the metabolism thereby leading to oxidation of fat and subsequently dissolve fat selectively. Green tea lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes that results because of high sugar levels and insulin resistance. Antioxidants in the green tea protect the good cholesterol in blood from oxidation which can result in cardiovascular diseases.

Benefits of Green tea with Amla

Green tea with Amla reduces acidity, aids digestion and metabolism and detoxifies. The tea helps burn fat and supports weight loss. It manages LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in blood. Green tea with Amla drinkers can likely notice increased energy levels, immunity, better digestive ability, enhanced sleep quality and augmented mental acuity.

Green tea with finely­ chopped Amla berries is like the marriage of bests, making the combination one of the most powerful antioxidant-rich superfoods in the world.

 

 

Karippan Thailam: All Round Haircare

Having healthy hair is every woman’s dream. But the critical aspect to tame those long tresses is to follow a regime of timely nourishment and care, both from within and topically. A balanced diet and ample fluid intake are the very important components of your daily routine to stimulate the hair follicles and promote healthy hair growth. In addition, proper and periodic oil massage, gentle wash and minimal use of styling products and dry heat are the cardinal rule to ensure not to invite any health woes.

Hair Problems

Lack of overall care gives rise to split ends, dull and frizzy hair due to weak hair follicles and unhealthy scalp. Besides other problems, baldness and premature greying has become a rising and common concern among the youth and the middle-aged men and women equally.When people start losing hair, their confidence also takes a big hit. Going by social norms, thick hair is a sign of masculinity and femininebeauty and youth, while hair loss and greying is seen as a starting sign of aging.

Problem with Hair Care Products

The secret to healthy and strong hair has been discussed and advised plenty of times on various social platforms and beauty magazines.

What most information on haircare fail to emphasize is the use of the right hair oil that is devoid of chemicals and rich in natural ingredients that truly benefit the hair. The market is brimming with hair care products, mainly hair oils but the truth is very few deliver the results that they claim to. The prime reason can be asserted to the flawedindustrial methods implemented towards extraction and purification of those oils. In addition, manufacturersuse of harsh chemicals to enhance the aroma, colour and appeal of these commercial hair oils that impair their authentic qualities. As a result, instead of reducing the hair problems, the problem exists or gets worse with time.

Karippan Thailam

Karippan thailam isa classical Siddha formulation,one of the most ancient system of traditional medicines of South India. Siddha means perfection and achievement wherein mind body and soul are considered equally important.

The oil is helpful in controlling hairfall, repair split ends,prevent early greying as well as relieve exhaustion of eyes and other eye ailments such as irritation. The process of preparing the Karippan thailam has been traditionally mastered over the years to retain the utmost purity and benefits of its key ingredient, Bringha(or Bringharaj) and ensure high efficacy of usage.

The main ingredient of the formulation of Karippan thailam is Bringha, also known as kehraj in Hindi that has a proven ability to cure hair problems and work wonders on scalp and hair.Scientifically known as Eclipta alba it is native to India though it is also found in China, Thailand, Brazil and North America. It is also popular in Chinese medicine (as Han Lian Cao) as a treatment for hair loss. Bhringa promotes growth of hair follicles and strengthens the roots.

The herb is scientifically proven to awaken hair follicles from their dormant state (telogen phase) and prolong the amount of time they stay in the active, growing stage (anagen phase). As the scalp health improves it shows related results – control or reduce hair fall, strengthens and thickens the hair at its roots, calms / relaxes the mind and promotes sound sleep.

How to Apply

Apply Karippan thailam on the scalp either early morning or evening. Massage gently. Leave it for 20­-25 minutes. Wash hair thoroughly with shikakai or shampoo in lukewarm water. Repeat the routine 3­-4 times a week for best effects. Use a wooden comb (preferably neem) as plastic combs produce static electricity that weaken hair follicles and results in hair loss.

Green Tea with Lemon

Green tea has several health benefits because of its antioxidant properties. The naturally occurring antioxidants in green tea can be boosted with the addition of lemon, which is full of important nutrients like vitamin C.

A lot of people pass on green tea due to its potential bland taste while they oddly prefer to buy expensive health supplements! Green tea with lemon is not only an elixir rich in nutrition with multitude of health benefits, but also gives a unique tangy taste.

Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea has antioxidants in abundance that protect your body’s cells from damage from environmental toxins and free radicals. Free radicals are created on a regular basis due to impact of pollution in our system and can cause a range of ailments. Green tea fights against bacteria and virus that attack the teeth, thus reducing the chances of plaque, cavities and tooth decay.

Moderate amount of L-theanine and caffeine in green tea act in synergy that potentially enhance brain functioning, unlike the buzz from coffee. It boosts the metabolism thereby leading to oxidation of fat and subsequently dissolve the fat selectively. Green tea lowers the risk of having type 2 diabetes that results because of high sugar levels and insulin resistance. Antioxidants in the green tea protect the good cholesterol in blood from oxidation which can result in cardiovascular diseases; thus, reducing the risks of heart diseases.

Benefits of Lemon

Lemon is a rich source of Vitamin C, one of the key antioxidants, protecting the cells from harsh effects of free radicals. Vitamin C again inhibits the occurrence of heart diseases and stroke by lowering the blood pressure. Due to its natural acidic ability, lemon is used as an antiseptic and anti-viral agent.

Lemon cleanses the blood and removes the toxins from the system, thereby warding off diseases and infection. Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods for the body, thereby balancing pH levels of body-making it an active disease fighter. Symptoms of cold and flu can be appeased through regular intake of lemon tea.

Due to its detoxifying property, citric acid tends to energize the body and freshen the brain, resulting in better attention and clarity of mind. Lemons are recommended for weight loss and to reduce formation of wrinkles on face and skin. Lemon is a natural laxative and diuretic that aids in digestion and keeps the system clear. Citric acid present in lemon prevents accumulation of calcium. Excessive calcium can result in formation of kidney stones.

Benefits of Lemon in Green tea

Green tea has several benefits to health, but when infused with lemon the effects are splendid. Lemon boosts the health benefits of green tea, as citrus juice makes green tea’s antioxidants more readily available for your body.Lemon and green tea both help in weight loss but when consumed together they fight fat more effectively.

A study in Japan showed that nearly 42,000 people who had lemon juice and also had green tea daily significantly reduced the risk of developing cancer.

In twin studies conducted by Purdue University researchers concluded that citrus juice accentuates the capabilities of cells to absorb the catechins (the main source of green tea’s antioxidants) by 13 times.

Green tea itself has a wide range of health benefits; lemon becomes a taste factor and an additional superfood that boosts the unique features of green tea practically elucidating the phrase ‘two birds with one shot’!

 

Benefits of Brahmi Herb : Herb of Grace

Brahmi, a unique herb, often considered to be the brain booster, is known to treat numerous health conditions. Brahmi, biologically known as Bacopa monnieri (BM), is a creeping perennial herb, native to India and therapeutic in nature.

In Ayurveda, Bacopa has been termed as Brahmi (as known popularly), after Lord Brahma, who is considered the supreme mythological creator of the universe and the father of the science of Ayurveda.

The best way to consume Brahmi (for children especially) is to infuse the herb with Pure Desi Ghee made from cow’s milk.  This preparation is traditionally called Brahmi Ghritam. Pure Ghee is an excellent ‘carrier’ of herbs and medicine to various parts of the body due to its penetrating abilities.

Here are some health benefits of Brahmi herb:

Benefits to Children

Brahmi maintains brain health, especially recommended for children to develop cognitive skills such as memory, alertness and focus. 

It is recommended to introduce Brahmi in children’s diet as a powerful supplement to boost memory and concentration, a traditional and natural brain tonic to be chosen over pharmaceutical concoctions.

Although the extracts from Brahmi and the herb itself has been minutely studied and used in treating various ailments since ancient times, yet recently researchers have started specifically to focus on mechanism and efficacy of Brahmi extracts on different illnesses. Besides organic compounds and volatile components, Brahmi has some treasured alkaloids and triterpene saponins that have noteworthy beneficial effects on human body.

Cognitive Abilities

In a study conducted in 2001 that examined the effects of Brahmi on healthy humans concluded that chronic herbal administration of the extracts of the herb showed significant improvement in cognitive capabilities like learning and memory.

One of the most potent benefits of Brahmi is the ability to boost brain capabilities, mainly memory and concentration. It is widely used as an Ayurvedic medicine to enhance attention span and retention abilities. Few of the organic compounds that Brahmi has is the cohesive effect in stimulating the cognitive pathways and thereby augment and build the cognition power. 

According to a journal article published in Aug 2013, Brahmi plays a neuro-protective role that reduces the oxidative stress and protect the brain cells, evidently attenuating the age triggered dementia, activating various neurological pathways.

Controls Anxiety & Stress

An Elsevier article of Feb 2006 issue on phytomedicine states that random clinical trials and systemic reviews clearly indicate that herbal dosage of Brahmi alleviates anxiety in humans due to its anxiolytic action.

Anti-inflammatory Capabilities

Topical application of Brahmi leaves extract on skin with rashes and inflammation soothes the swelling and irritation, an effective treatment for people suffering from arthritis and such inflammatory problems. Besides its healing feature, Brahmi also induces the skin cells capacity to produce essential oils that balance the smoothness and suppleness of the upper layer.

Anti-oxidant Qualities

Antioxidants have unique capacity in removing free radicals that are reactive byproducts of cell metabolism which can cause untimely unprogrammed cell death (apoptosis) or  mutation. These free radicals can affect any part of our system, right from the skin to the heart.

Respiratory Health

Brahmi leaves when chewed or used as infusion in tea helps to maintain a very good respiratory system. In Ayurveda, the herb is used to treat respiratory ailments like bronchitis, congestion, cold and sinusitis.

Immunity Booster

The ingredients in Brahmi leaf extracts are rich in compounds that boost immunity levels to fight against bacterial and viral infestation by triggering the response time against pathogens, preparing the body to fight back infections.

Epilepsy Treatment

Since the contents of Brahmi have direct positive impact in the neural pathway functioning, it has been used since eons to treat epilepsy. Epileptic fits can be controlled through the herbal dosage; in addition to treating other mental disorders such as bipolar disorder and neuralgia.

Skin Care

The juice made from Brahmi extracts or Brahmi oil is useful in healing wounds and prevents infection. Regular application of crushed leaves of the herb gives relief from rash and itching. In addition to that the skin becomes smooth without scarring of the affected area.

Controls Blood Sugar Levels

Brahmi has been proven to have an effect on blood sugar levels. It is a promising medicine for patients suffering from hypoglycemia if regularly consumed in some form to stabilize their sugar levels and lead a healthier life.

Treat Digestive Problems

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties and soothing nature, Brahmi can be used as a sedative and in treating gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers.

Unlike other herbs, Bacopa has a wide spectrum health benefits and therefore been desirable in many cultures. Considered a sattvic herb, Brahmi has been instrumental in directly enhancing intellectual abilities and subtlety of mind (improvising on the qualities of sadhaka pitta), thus also commonly considered as heart and brain tonic.

10 Reasons Why Coconut Oil is a Superfood

In many Eastern religions, we have a concept of a ‘world tree’. It is also a very prominent concept in Hinduism where it is called kalpavriksha or ‘wish fulfilling tree’.

The coconut tree has often been identified as a kalpavriksha because of its many uses. In fact, most families on the Southern coast of India unfailingly add coconut to their food. They cannot imagine food without coconut.

But there is also an irrational fear of cooking with coconut oil. The blame has been laid on the high concentration of saturated fats in the oil. Thankfully, the situation is changing. Today, we are seeing a resurgence of interest in coconut oil because of various scientific studies on it around the world.

Coconut oil is quite unique because unlike other types of cooking oil (palm oil, sunflower oil), its benefits extend to more than cooking. Let us see what these benefits are.

It is rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs)

Coconut oil has been receiving a bad press because it is rich in saturated fats but that is not entirely true. The major saturated fats in coconut are caprylic acid, palmitic acid, myristic acid and lauric acid. These saturated fatty acids actually belong to a category called medium chain triglycerides or MCTs. These not only metabolize faster than long chain triglycerides, they are also healthier.

It has a high smoking point

Coconut oil has a high smoking point (177 degrees). Most seed, nut and vegetable oils have a low smoking point. Smoking point is the heating point beyond which the oil will begin to burn. Foods that are cooked in oils with a low smoking oil usually have a burnt flavour. Another advantage of a high smoking point is that beyond that point, the fatty acids in the oil oxidize and produce free radicals which are dangerous to health.

It has antimicrobial properties

Coconut oil has two important ingredients that give it antimicrobial properties- caprylic acid and lauric acid. Once ingested, the lauric acid gets converted into monolaurin which is effective against many viruses, bacteria and protozoa. Coconut oil also keeps a check on the yeast (candida) population in your intestine, restoring balance to the digestive tract. If the yeast population increases, it can lead to persistent bloating, burping, flatulence, diarrhea and constipation.

It is an excellent hair oil

Suffering from split ends, itchy scalp, dandruff or lackluster hair? Try applying coconut oil to your hair and scalp. It is rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. A study published in 2005 in the Journal of Cosmetic Science also said that coconut oil penetrates hair follicles better than mineral oil, the major constituent in hair conditioners. Most people aren’t aware that dandruff is caused by bacteria and fungi. The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil kills these microorganisms, keeping dandruff under control.

It aids digestion

The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil, especially lauric acid transform into antimicrobial agents in the digestive system. They kill bad bacteria like helicobacter pylori while leaving the beneficial bacteria intact. So coconut oil reestablishes balance in the digestive system and promotes colon health. It is also effective against digestive problems like colitis, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and gastritis. Many people even recommend coconut oil for colon cleanses.

Decreases inflammation in the intestine

If you are suffering from intestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease, you can benefit from eating coconut oil. The medium saturated triglycerides in coconut oil are absorbed faster in the intestine than long chained triglycerides found in other cooking oils. In fact, long chained fatty acids act as substrates for certain hormones called eicosanoids that trigger inflammation in the intestine. To some extent, the antimicrobial property of coconut oil is also responsible for reducing inflammation in the intestine.

It is great for the skin

Coconut oil is not only a hair tonic and an edible oil, it can also be used in massages and as a skin conditioner. Coconut oil is rich in Vitamin E (0.1 mg in 100 gm of coconut oil) which is vital for skin health. You can use it remove makeup also. Coconut oil penetrates the skin deeper than the average skin care cosmetic because of its small molecular weight.

It helps you burn fat

Coconut oil has fewer calories than other cooking oils. It is because medium sized triglycerides are smaller in size than long chained triglycerides which are a major constituent of other cooking oils. Thanks to their small size, the MCTs are absorbed faster and used immediately as an energy source rather than being stored away as body fat. MCTs also assists in burning fat reserves. One study found that taking 15-30 gm of MCTs increases energy expenditure over 24 hours by up to 5%.

Reduces food cravings

In a study, a group of women were given an MCT drink and another group was given an LCT drink. Half an hour later, they were allowed to drink and eat as much as they wanted. The group that took the MCT drink ate less food than the other group. Dietary fats like coconut oil trigger the production of hormones that suppress the appetite. That is why you get a ‘full’ feeling when you’ve added fat to your diet. Another reason why you don’t feel hungry is because coconut oil stalls the emptying of the stomach.

Fights degenerative brain diseases

Alzheimer’s disease is a major trigger for dementia. It is primarily a disease of elderly people. It has been noticed that in patients who are suffering from Alzheimer’s, certain parts of the brain don’t receive enough carbs. The good news is, coconut oil may offer a solution. After the MCTs are absorbed in the intestine, they are transported to the liver where they are converted into ketones (that is why coconut oil is recommended for epileptics) It has been speculated that these ketones may be used as an alternate energy source by such parts of the brain.

It is not for nothing that coconut oil is called a ‘superfood’. You can use it in cooking and for other uses. For instance, it is an antimicrobial, a weight loss agent, anti-inflammatory and a skin and hair conditioner cum moisturizer. So it is a real kalpavriksha- an all giving plant.

The Many Health Benefits of Tulsi

The Tulsi plant or Holy Basil (as it is known in the west) is a fairly common plant in India. The plant is highly revered in Hinduism where it considered a manifestation of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and is consequently used in many rituals. So it is not unusual to find a Tulsi plant outside many Indian (Hindu) homes.

The herb is also highly valued in Ayurveda for its medicinal properties of which there are many. However, not many people are aware that Tulsi can be taken as an herbal infusion. Let us see the benefits of Tulsi in our daily lives.

Reduces stress

Tulsi has many benefits but its highest potential is in decreasing stress. Stress is a normal part of life and usually goes away on its own. But in some people, stress becomes chronic. When it does, the body slowly loses its ability to cope with it. Tulsi is an adaptogen which means it helps your body adapt to stress, both of the physical and emotional kind. Studies have also found that Tulsi also decreases the levels of corticosterone, a stress hormone in your blood.

Soothes and relaxes

If you want to unwind and relax, have a cup of green tea with Tulsi. It is loaded with active pharmacological agents like Eugenol, Ocimarin, Rosmarinic acid, Ursolic acid, Lutein and Apigenin. These chemicals soothe your nerves, regulate blood circulation and depress the production of free radicals. Free radicals are one of the major factors that cause stress, tension and exhaustion.

Fights anxiety and depression

In one study, a group of people suffering from generalized anxiety were given 500 mg of Tulsi leaves twice daily. It was found that Tulsi reduced their anxiety and even cured their depression. So how does it work? When stress elevates, the body releases a hormone called Cortisol to fight it. But this hormone shouldn’t stay in the body for a long time because it will lead to anxiety and more stress. Tulsi controls the level of this hormone and brings balance to your body.

Builds immunity

In one study, it was found that subjects who were given Tulsi extract showed an increase in the production of immunity building cells. So if you suffer from frequent colds, coughs or fever or if you are recovering from another serious disease, try tulsi because it might help. The herb bolsters the body’s immunity, giving you the ability to resist pathogens better. You might be surprised to learn that scientists have identified and isolated as many as 54 chemical compounds from this miracle herb.

A rich source of antioxidants

Tulsi is loaded with antioxidants like eugenol. Eugenol, which is also a mild anesthetic prevents the formation of free radicals in your body, reducing aging and protecting you from cardiovascular disease. Tulsi also reduces cholesterol in your body, preventing the deposition of plaque in your arteries. Plaque deposition in arteries is also a major factor for high blood pressure which if left untreated can cause heart disease and stroke.

Helps in weight loss

If you want to lose weight, you will have to reduce your calorie intake and at the same time, increase your fat burn rate. You can burn fat quicker only if you increase your metabolic rate. If you want to improve your metabolic rate, you should try tulsi. The herb increases metabolism, accelerating the fat burn process. Best of all, Tulsi is a totally natural and healthy way to shed flab.

Is a detoxifier and purifying agent

Tulsi is a mild diuretic. Diuretics increase urine production in the body, helping the kidneys flush out toxins. That is why Tulsi is also recommended for people suffering from kidney stones. Tulsi decreases the amount of uric acid in the blood which is one of the main causes for the formation of kidney stones. In a study at Rajasthan University it was also found that Tulsi removes excess flouride from water. The herb’s antimicrobial property also makes it an excellent purifier.

Treats respiratory problems

If you are suffering from cough, cold or other respiratory problems (chronic and acute bronchitis), take Tulsi. It will improve your condition. The herb has expectorant (expels phlegm from your chest), antitussive (reduces coughing by suppressing the cough center) and immunomodulatory (maintains the immune system) properties. Tulsi also contains chemicals like cineole, eugenol and camphor which aids in relieving congestion.

Improves digestion

Tulsi aids digestion in many ways. A healthy liver is a must if you want to improve your digestive power. Tulsi removes toxins from the liver, helping it perform better. Tulsi also increases the production of digestive enzymes which helps you digest your food better. The herb also helps you metabolize, absorp and assimilate carbohydrates, proteins and lipids faster. Digestive problems like flatulence, constipation and acidity can also be treated with Tulsi. One study even found that Tulsi is effective against stomach ulcers.

Reduces diabetes

According to the International Diabetes Federation Atlas 2015, more than 69 million people in India are suffering from diabetes. Tulsi contains essential oils like caryophyllene, methyl eugenol and eugenol which stimulate the beta cells of pancreas to produce more insulin. Lab tests on animals have shown that Tulsi also regulates lipids in the blood and protects the kidneys/liver from metabolic damage resulting from high glucose levels.

Tulsi is good for your skin

Tulsi is a blood purifier. Taking green tea with Tulsi regularly, purifies your blood, giving your skin a nice, healthy glow. The antibacterial properties of Tulsi can also prevent blemishes and acne. In fact, Tulsi is a natural treatment for acne. Moreover, Tulsi is often used in Ayurveda to treat skin diseases like ring worm. You can also benefit from Tulsi if you are suffering from an itchy scalp and/or excessive hair fall.

Tulsi is called the ‘queen of herbs’. If you look at the health benefits delivered by Tulsi, you would say that this title was justified. Tulsi is a potent stress buster. It also soothes and relaxes your mind. The herb also possesses antimicrobial, antipyretic, analgesic properties. Drinking green tea infused with tulsi is a good way to bring these benefits into your body.

Take Ashwagandha for Increased Vitality and Wellbeing

Has the daily grind left you chronically tired and drained? Do you want to restore your vigor and energy? Try Ashwagandha. It is a small, perennial shrub that grows in the dry, arid regions of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Sindh.

The roots of this plant have been prescribed for everything from impotence, fatigue, low sperm count, nervous exhaustion to general debility. No wonder Ashwagandha is called a Rasayana or life extender in Ayurveda.

Ashwagandha will give you the vitality of a horse

The word Ashwagandha literally means ‘scent of a horse’. Apparently, the roots extrude a strong smell when powdered. It may also imply that taking Ashwagandha can give you the vitality and strength of a horse. For this reason, Ashwagandha is also called Indian ginseng. Here are some more benefits you can derive from Ashwagandha.

Lowers blood pressure

Hypertension is a dangerous disease because if left untreated, it can damage and weaken your blood vessels. Over time, these blood vessels become narrow leading to blockage. In extreme cases, it may even lead to stroke. This herb enhances nitric oxide production in your body causing the blood vessels to dilate, reducing blood pressure. Anxiety and stress can also cause blood pressure to shoot up. Ashwagandha, a known stress buster can bring them under control.

Helps the body combat stress

Ashwagandha is a well known ‘adaptogen’. An adaptogen is a herb that helps the body adapt to stress, caused by changes in environment or lifestyle. Ashwagandha is packed with antioxidants that fight free radicals in your body. In fact, the anti-anxiety and anti-depression properties of Ashwagandha are found to be equal to that delivered by prescription medicines. The herb can help you cope with both external stress (environmental toxins) and internal stresses (physical pain, tension).

Treats anxiety and tension

If you are suffering from chronic physical/mental fatigue, depression, anxiety or mood swings and if physiological or psychological factors have been ruled out, try Ashwagandha. A major benefit of Ashwagandha is, it treats these conditions without causing drowsiness. The herb is an extremely potent treatment for anxiety. It can also be used to treat phobias like agoraphobia. In a 2012 study, 64 random subjects were asked to take either Ashwagandha or a placebo. After 60 days, it was found that the group on Ashwagandha had less stress than the other group.

Increases mental alertness

If you are suffering from mental fog or if you want to improve your mental alertness and become more productive at work, Ashwagandha is just the thing for you. Studies on lab rats have found that Ashwagandha leaves a positive effect on neurotransmitters so essential to memory formation. Ashwagandha also protects the brain, improving symptoms in people who are suffering from brain degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

It is anti-inflammatory

Ashwagandha is very effective against inflammation. One study says the anti-inflammatory activity of Ashwagandha could be compared to hydrocortisone (the medical name for cortisol), a powerful topical corticosteroid. Cortisol is used to treat conditions like asthma, dermatitis and rheumatoid arthritis. In another study, five plants were tested for their anti-inflammatory activity. Of these five plants, Ashwagandha had the highest efficacy. In addition to this, ashwagandha also decreases triglyceride and cholesterol levels, improving heart health.

It is an aphrodisiac

Ashwagandha has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac. It can increase the supply of blood to your genitals. In a study on a group of 100 men given Ashwagandha, more than 71 of the men said their sexual performance had increased after taking the herb. It works on both men and women. Low motility of sperm and low sperm count are two main reasons for male infertility. The good news is, Ashwagandha can improve sperm motility and sperm count.

It has antioxidant properties

Researchers at the Kolkata’s Drug Research and Development Center and Varanasi’s BHU have found that Ashwagandha contains chemicals with antioxidant properties. These chemicals reduce oxidative stress in your body which is one of the major reasons for free radical formation. In a study on mice, it was found the herb significantly reduced oxidation in the liver while enhancing antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, catalase and superoxide dismutase. These antioxidant properties are in a way responsible for the herb’s anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and cognitive enhancing effects.

It improves immunity

Ashwagandha improves your immunity by increasing the levels of white blood corpuscles, platelets, antibodies and key proteins like IFNγ and IL2. It also enhances marrow cellularity, helping your marrow produce more disease-fighting agents. Cancer patients should also take Ashwagandha because it can reverse the immunity-reducing effect of anti-cancer drugs. Chronic stress depresses the immune system. Since Ashwagandha reduces stress, taking Ashwagandha can bring back your immunity hampered by stress.

Reduces menstrual pain

Dysmenorrhea also known as menstrual cramps or painful periods is a common condition affecting between 20%-90% of women. Many women dread their periods for this reason. Ashwagandha not only relieves pain during menstruation, it also induces menstruation in women suffering from irregular periods. The herb also strengthens your reproductive organs so it is a valuable aid to women trying to conceive but are unable to.

Improves your memory

Ashwagandha has been used as a nootropic for more than 3000 years. A nootropic is a substance that enhances cognitive functions like creativity, motivation and memory in individuals. A study that analyzed the impact of Ashwagandha on psychomotor and cognitive performance found that taking Ashwagandha for 14 days increased reaction time without any sedative effects. So to improve your memory, decrease brain stress from oxidation and prevent degeneration of nerve cells, try taking Ashwagandha.

Improves sleep

The scientific name of Ashwagandha is Withania somnifera. A somniferous substance is something that is capable of inducing sleep. But Ashwagandha is not a sedative. It acts by reducing stress, improving vitality and making the body more active and robust, thus restoring the natural sleep mechanism of the body. So if you are suffering from insomnia, especially the kind brought on by stress, drinking Ashwagandha herbal infusions might help you.

Ashwagandha is a complete herb. It fights stress, tension, anxiety, depression and even cognitive degenerative diseases. Taking Ashwagandha regularly can improve sexual function in both men and women. It also enhances your cognitive ability, making you more mentally alert and focused. You can take Ashwagandha either in powder form (by mixing with milk), as a capsule or as an herbal infusion.

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