Monthly Archives: March 2012

Eye Care in Summer

We use sunscreen to protect our skin from the summer sun’s damaging rays, but do we take the time to make sure our eyes receive the same protection? Ultraviolet light, long known to cause skin cancer, can also be absorbed by the eyes, causing a number of chronic eye diseases.

Overexposure to the sun can contribute to these common eye ailments

Cataracts, a build-up of protein on eye’s lens which can cloud vision. Pteryguim a growth of tissue on the cornea which can interfere with vision. Skin cancer which can form on the eyelids and areas close to the eyes. Age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss.

During the summer, the strongest UV rays occur between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and particular care should be taken to protect the eyes during those hours.

Prevention during summer

  • Wear quality sunglasses to provide UV protection. Choose sunglasses with 100 percent protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Choose lenses that cover the largest area around your eyes.
  • Choose lighter-colored lenses, which cut glare without changing the color of what you see. Consider photo chromic lenses, which darken when exposed to UV light.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat or a visor to provide extra protection.
  • Do not look directly at the sun, even while wearing sunglasses. This can cause permanent eye damage.
  • Don’t forget the kids! Children and teens should also wear sunglasses with the same level of protection as adult sunglasses.

Jiwadaya Netraprabha is one Ayurvedic product, which can be used for prolonged periods without side effects. Jiwadaya Netraprabha acts as an antimicrobial through Amla and Madh. The ingredients present in Netraprabha give it the ability to keep the eyes in good condition even after exposure to everyday pollutants.

Jiwadaya Netraprabha when applied stimulates the lachrymal glands leading to natural flow of tears rapidly flowing out of the eyes. These natural tears provide essential cleansing to the eyes. Further, this action takes place within 15-20 seconds after application thereby providing immediate relief from any feeling of irritation, heaviness or dryness in the eyes.

Jiwadaya Netraprabha is an effective medicine for treating Redness, Swelling, Irritation, Itching or Foreign body sensation in the eyes. It is an Anodyne – Collirium. The medicine is particularly useful when applied after removal of contact lenses since it prevents any infection or diseases that may occure due to prolonged use of the lens. Jiwadaya Netraprabha reduced swelling of the eyes due to late sleeping after reading during exams. It prevents eye allergy, harmful effect of glares, Photophobia (Difficulty in tolerating light), development of weak eye sight (Poor vision) and Dark circle around the eyes. The medicine is particularly effective in preventing and treating Dry Eye Syndrome due to watching T.V. or cinema, after driving vehicles at long stretches or due to working on computers.

Recipe with Neem – Ugadi Pachadi

It is a nutritious low-calorie pachadi, where the jaggery, new tamarind, fresh raw mangoes and neem flowers are full of nutrients that purify the system and help in prevention of the disease or illness by acting as prophylactics. Each ingredient used in Ugadi Pachadi has its own scientific explanation for its usage in the recipe. Neem flowers are proven good for skin problems and diabetes, jaggery enhances hemoglobin levels and it is good for combating jaundice, and tamarind & raw mango also have therapeutic values. All in all, a mixture of all these ingredients is good for maintaining good wellbeing.

Ingredients:

Neem flowers – 1 tablespoon – For Bitterness – Represents sorrow

Finely chopped raw fresh Mango – 1 cup – For Tanginess – Represents excitement

Tamarind – 1 small lime size – For Sourness – Represents Mischiveiousness

Grated Jaggery – 1 cup – For Sweetness – Represents Happiness

Red chilli powder or Black pepper powder – 1/4 teaspoon – For Spiciness/Hotness – Represents Angriness

Salt – 1/2 teaspoon – For Saltiness – Represents scariness

  • Firstly, soak tamarind in water, put aside for 20 minutes, and then take out a dilute pulp.
  • Now, take a pan, heat oil in it, and add curry leaves, mustard seeds and hing.
  • After crackling of them, add the tamarind pulp and let it boil and lessen in volume.
  • Next, add mango pieces and boil for a while.
  • Add chilli powder and salt and mix well.
  • Now, it’s a time to add jaggery. Stir in for a while until it gets somewhat thick.
  • At last, add the neem flowers after dry roasting of them. And your Ugadi Pachadi is ready.

Herb of the week – Neem


Neem leaf or bark is considered an effective pitta pacifier due to its bitter taste. Hence, it is traditionally recommended during early summer in Ayurveda (that is, the month of Chaitra as per the Hindu Calendar which usually falls in the month of March – April).

Azadirachta indica Neem (Hindi) is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta, and is native to India growing in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Its fruits and seeds are the source of neem oil.

Leaves

The opposite, pinnate leaves are 20–40 cms long, with 20 to 31 medium to dark green leaflets about 3–8 cms long.These leaves are also used in many Indian festivals (by making them into garlands).Elders find it useful in controlling high blood sugar level and is said to clean up the blood.Neem leaves are dried and placed in cupboards to prevent insects eating the clothes. Neem leaves are dried and burnt in the tropical regions to keep away mosquitoes.

Flowers

The white and fragrant flowers are arranged axillary, normally in more-or-less drooping panicles which are up to 25 cms long. An individual flower is 5–6 mm long and 8–11 mm wide.

Fruit

The fruit is a smooth olive-like drupe which varies in shape from elongate oval to nearly roundishThe fruit skin (exocarp) is thin and the bitter-sweet pulp (mesocarp) is yellowish-white and very fibrous.The white, hard inner shell (endocarp) of the fruit encloses one, rarely two or three, elongated seeds (kernels) having a brown seed coat.

Uses

  • Neem oil is used for preparing cosmetics and many oral health products.
  • Practitioners of traditional Indian medicine recommend that patients with chicken pox sleep on neem leaves.
  • Neem blossoms are used in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to prepare Ugadi pachhadi. In Tamilnadu, a rasam made with neem blossoms is a culinary specialty. In West Bengal, young neem leaves are fried in oil with tiny pieces of eggplant (brinjal). The dish is called nim begun and is the first item during a Bengali meal that acts as an appetizer. It is eaten with rice.
  • Azadirachtin : One of the first active ingredients isolated from neem,It appears to cause some 90% of the effect on most pests.
  • Fungicides : Neem has proved effective against certain fungi that infect the human body.
  • Antibacterials :In trials neem oil has suppressed several species of pathogenic bacteria including Staphylococcus & Salmonella spp.
  • Antiviral agents : In India,small pox, chicken pox have traditionally been treated with a paste of neem leaves – usually rubbed directly on to the infected skin.
  • Dermatological Insects : In India, villagers apply neem oil to the hair to kill head lice, reportedly with great success. Neem seed oil and leaf extracts may be the wonder cure for psoriasis. It relieves the itching and pain while reducing the scale and redness of the patchy lesions.
  • Dental Treatments : In India, millions of people use twigs as “tooth brushes” every day. Dentists have endorsed this ancient practice, finding it effective in preventing periodontal disease.
  • Malaria : Practitioners of the Indian Ayurvedic Medicine system have been preparing neem in oral doses for malarial patients for centuries.
  • Cosmetics : Neem is perceived in India as a beauty aid. Powdered leaves are a major component of atleast one widely used facial cream. Purified neem oil is also used in nail polish & other Cosmetics.
  • Lubricants : 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.
  • Fertilizers : Neem has demonstrated considerable potential as a fertilizer. Neem cake is widely used to fertilize cash crops particularly sugarcane & vegetables.
  • Bark : Neem bark yields a strong, coarse fibre commonly woven into ropes in the villages of India.
  • Honey : In parts of Asia neem honey commands premium prices & people promote apiculture / apiary by planting neem trees.
  • Neem fruits : The fruits are recommended for urinary diseases, piles, intestinal worms, leprosy etc. The dry fruits are bruised in water & employed to treat cutaneous diseases.
  • Medicinal Use: Neem products are believed to be anthelmintic, antifungal, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, contraceptive and sedative. Neem products are also used in selectively controlling pests in plants. It is particularly prescribed for skin disease.

Recipe – Chana dal of Puri Jaganath Temple

Chana Dal of Puri Jagannath Temple – a wonder of a temple in Orissa India

  1. Boil chana dal with turmeric powder and add salt, turmeric and sugar. Cook until dal boils properly and dal is thick
  2. Blend all ingredients from coconut to coriander powder. Add it to the dal after it is almost cooked and simmer it for another 20 minutes
  3. Heat ghee in a pan, and fry the panchporan spices until it fluters and then add it to the dal

Ingredients

2 cups of Chana dal – wash and clean it

1/4 cup grated coconut

2 cinnamon sticks

4 black cardamom

4 cloves

1 tsp whole black pepper powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

freshly ground turmeric,

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp ghee plus panchporan spices

(cumin, mustard, fennel, fenugreek)

Salt to taste

Channa Dal can help control Cholestrol …???

The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) is a legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. Its seeds are high in protein and it is one of the earliest cultivated vegetables.

Description

The plant grows to between 20–50 cm (8–20 inches) high and has small feathery leaves on either side of the stem. Chickpeas are a type of pulse, with one seedpod containing two or three peas. It has white flowers with blue, violet or pink veins. Chickpeas need a subtropical or tropical climate with more than 400 millimetres (16 in) of annual rain

Types

There are two main kinds of chickpea:

  • Desi, which has small, darker seeds and a rough coat, cultivated mostly in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Kabuli, which has lighter coloured, larger seeds and a smoother coat, introduced during the 18th century to the Indian subcontinent.

The Desi (meaning ‘country’ or ‘local’ in Hindi) is also known as Bengal gram or kala chana. Kabuli (meaning ‘from Kabul’ in Hindi, since they were thought to have come from Afghanistan when first seen in India) Desi chickpeas have a markedly higher fiber content than Kabulis and hence a very low glycemic index which may make them suitable for people with blood sugar problems.The desi type is used to make Chana Dal, which is a split chickpea with the skin removed.

Cultivation and use

Chickpeas are grown in the Mediterranean, western Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Australia.

Nutrition

Chickpeas are a helpful source of zinc, folate and protein. They are also very high in dietary fiber and hence a healthy source of carbohydrates for persons with insulin sensitivity or diabetes.Chickpeas are low in fat and most of this is polyunsaturated. Nutrient profile of desi chana (the smaller variety) is different, especially the fibre content which is much higher than the light coloured variety. One hundred grams of mature boiled chickpeas contains 164 calories, 2.6 grams of fat (of which only 0.27 grams is saturated), 7.6 grams of dietary fiber and 8.9 grams of protein. Chickpeas also provide dietary phosphorus (49–53 mg/100 g),

It has almost no effect on your blood glucose level. This is something that is very important to anyone with diabetes and to many other people as well. Technically, it has one of the lowest indexes of any food on the glycemic index, 8 (where glucose = 100). Its index is 5 according to one study and 11 according to another.

USES

Mature chickpeas can be cooked and eaten cold in salads, cooked in stews, ground into a flour called gram flour (also known as chickpea flour and besan and used primarily in Indian cuisine), Some varieties of chickpeas can even be popped and eaten like popcorn. Chick peas and Bengal grams are used to make curries and are one of the most popular vegetarian foods in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh

Tropical cultures have many traditional uses of chickpea root. The seeds of the root are high in protein and can be eaten as a healthy snack, much like sunflower seeds and peanuts.

Textiles

Chickpea root has uses in creating textiles. The plant produces starch that can be used to finish cotton, silk and wool cloth. The ingredients inside the chickpea root and leaves also provide an indigo color dye for cloth.

Animal Feed

Various parts of the chickpea root, leaves and seeds are used for animal food. When the stem or roots are dried, the seeds can be harvested for domestic pet or livestock feed. The husks from the chickpea can be used in their fresh “green” state or dried and used as feed for farm animals.

Human Consumption

The high protein content of the chickpea root and seeds make the plant popular as a base to a multitude of human food items. Seeds harvested from the root are frequently ground into flour to make soup and bread. Ground seeds are mixed with lemon, salt and pepper and served as a side-dish. When the chickpea is split and the seed coat removed it is called Dhal. After the Dhal is dried it is ground into a fine mixture similar to flour and used to make soup, coffee, snack food or added as a sweetener to meat. Seeds from a chickpea root can be eaten in their natural state or roasted, fried, boiled or parched and eaten as a snack or blended as a sweetener into condiments.

Medicinal Uses

Organic acid found inside the leaves can be used in a medicinal manner to clean cuts and scrapes or as a vinegar substitute in the kitchen. The chickpea is a hypocholesteremic agent and has been found to be effective in controlling the cholesterol levels of lab rats. The sour-tasting oxalic and malic acids found inside the root, leaves and seed pods are used to combat snakebite, warts, constipation, diarrhea, sunstroke, bronchitis and cholera. In India farmers soak up the acids from the chickpea root by laying a muslin cover on top of the rows of crops at night and then collect and bottle the acid for sale.

Recipe – Til Papdi

Ingredients:

100 gm White sesame seeds

3 Pistachios- thinly sliced

75 gm Sugar

Method:

  1. In a pan, dry roast the sesame seeds lightly and keep aside.
  2. In a pan,add the sugar with 1 cup or water and heat until sugar melts.
  3. Add the roasted sesame seeds and mix well.
  4. Place the above pan in a large bowl of hot water.
  5. Take small portion of the mixture at a time, make small balls and flatten on a rolling pan.
  6. Sprinkle a few slices of the pista on top.
  7. Roll the mixture like papdi.
  8. Transfer the papadi to a clean plastic sheet and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Separate the papdis with squares of plastic.
  10. Cool the papadis completely and place in an airtight container.

Best to be consumed during the day.5-10 gms of til papdi can be consumed.

Til (sesame) is good for skin and hair. Til papdi provides nourishment, improves energy, regulates agni (digestion power) and is useful in ‘vata roga’.