Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Natural beauty - Preventing hair-loss - a homemade garden product

Hibiscus hair oil is believed to help make ones hair grow nicely - thick and strong. It prevents dandruff and hair-loss.
How to make homemade hibiscus hair oil
Get five flowers. You can use fresh as well one day old flowers. Take 3 fresh leaves also. chop these ingredients into small pieces. Using a mixer/grinder just crush it. No need to make it a paste. You can get 1/2 cup of it, accordingly add more flowers if needed.Then put this mix into a heating bowl or pan. Add 1 cup of your favorite oil which you uses on hair. May be you can choose coconut oil. Mix well. Heat it in low flame. Now when the fumes starts coming add three leaves of tulsi if you have. And add few grains of corn or rice or fenugreek and see it pops up. At that time switch of the flame. Allow it to cool. Sieve the homemade hibiscus hair oil into a glass bottle.Before bathing warm the oil and apply on hair and scalp and do a massage. Wait for 10 min. and take a bath. If you use this homemade hibiscus hair oil at least once in a week consistently that will hep your hair to grow well.
  • Do not add water to crush the leaves and flowers. If you use mixer/grinder then add little oil to if you need to ,make a paste.
  • The more you boil, the longer the oil can be preserved. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

The 3000 years old Mango tree - The miraculous wonder of Kanchi

The Ekambranatha temple in Kanchipuram is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that Goddess Kamakshi performed penance to the Lord here under a Mango tree. One can see the Mango tree till date inside the temple complex. The age of the tree is estimated to be more than 3000 years old. Another amazing feature of this tree is that it bears fruits of four different tastes each season.
Right under the tree, there is a shrine of Lord Ekambranatha and Kamakshi. 

Curry Leaves - adding wonderful flavor

Its almost six months since I planted a curry tree in my garden and now, it has taken its place firmly and produces bright, young, cheerful leaves. Incidentally, it is so near the kitchen window. 
The fresh leaves are so young and tender as compared to the ones that we buy from the market. 
The curry tree, popularly called kariveppilai [கறிவேப்பிலை -  ( kari-curry, veppu- neem and ilai-leaf )] in Tamil is a wonderful addition to the garden. 
You can hardly find a south Indian dish that is not spiced up and seasoned with the curry leaves. They are also used to prepare exclusive dishes like Kariveppilai chutney. The medicinal properties of the curry leaves as anti-oxidant and anti-diabetic are well known.
One other popular benefit of the Kariveppilai is that consuming it is believed to add black color to hair and prevent hair from graying. 
India also exports curry leaves to other countries.
Names of the plant in other languages:
botanicalChalcas koenigii
EnglishCurry leaves
Gujaratiમીઠો લીમડો
Mitho limado
Hindiकरीपत्तामीथ णीममीथ नीम पत्ता
Karipatta, Mitha nim, Mitha neem patta
Kannadaಕರಿ ಬೇವು
Kariveppilai, Karuveppilai

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hummingbird Tree - rich leafy food

Agathi Keerai Leaves
Agathi Keerai in Tamil is known as the Hummingbird Tree. The botanical name is Sesbania grandiflora. The tender leaves, green fruit, and flowers are eaten alone as a vegetable or mixed into curries or salads.
Agathi keerai which is also known as “Aathu keerai” and it has cooling properties. 

Eating Agathi keerai has a lot of benefits -
It is a tonic
It is cooling
It helps in digestion
It will cure ulcers in the stomach
It is a laxative
It balances pitta and kapha
It is an antidote for poisons
It is good for fever
It cures insanity
It is a very satvic food
Crushed leaves are applied to sprains and bruises of all kinds.
A tea made from the leaves is believed to have antibiotic, anti-thelmintic(a medication capable of causing the evacuation of parasitic intestinal worms), antitumour.
The principal medicinal effects are due to the trees’ astringency, hence it is used against inflammation, venom and other poisons, bacterial infections and tumors.
The bark is considered as a tonic and an antipyretic, a remedy for gastric troubles, colic with diarrhoea and dysentery.
A bark decoction is taken orally to treat fever and diabetes.
Juice of flowers put in the eyes is said to relieve dimness of vision.
The leaves also have medicinal value and are reported to cure night blindness in cattle.

Although its bitter in taste, don’t you think we need to eat this occasionally considering the health benefits associated with it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A new entrant into the garden - Moringa oleifera

Sunday provided ample time for me to go around and find a new plant species to enter the garden - and I chose Moringa oleifera. Oh, thats the scientific name. Its more commonly called Drumstick. Surprisingly, the Tamil name for the tree is Murungai, so similar to the scientific name. The leaves are highly nutritious and the green pods make a very tasty dish. Its widely used in the preparation of Sambar, a South Indian Delicacy. 
An interesting fact that I came across on the web (and I am proud of this): India is the largest producer of Moringa.

There is a saying in Tamil Language in India "Murungaiyai odithu vala, pillaiyai adithu vala" (Meaning: the murungai tree must be cultivated by regular pruning, children must be groomed with proper guidance(by punishing too).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

English names of a few popular flowers of Tamilnadu

மகிழம்பூ = magizhampoo = Spanish Cherry;

தாழம்பூ = thaazhampoo = Screwpine ;

மனோரஞ்சிதம் = manoranjitham = Ylang Ylang / Tail grape

செண்பகப்பூ = shenbagappoo = Indian Magnolia;

நாகலிங்கபூ = naagalingapoo = Cannonball tree flowwer

This plant is 'banned'

One of the common plants which is found especially in South India is Oleander. I have white, pink and red oleanders. When I tried buying a yellow Oleander for my garden, the vendors told me that it was "banned". I was really surprised to hear that and when I probed further, they informed me that the seeds and other parts of the Oleander, especially the Yellow variety is extremely poisonous. Its so difficult to believe that nature packages even dangers in such beauty. One can only keep admiring the tricks and trades of Nature. 

So, beware of such plants which are poisonous. If you have them in your garden, keep your kids and pets away from eating any of the parts of such plants.

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