Home-grown herbs may help keep common lifestyle diseases at bay

Having realized the value of medicinal herbs, several households are now growing medicinal plants in their gardens to prevent or cure several diseases. Latest media reports have confirmed that chewing on a few leaves plucked from certain medicinal plants in your garden can even cure lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension. According to experts, there are hundreds of such herbal plants that could be grown at home. They are of the opinion that creating herbal gardens for medicinal purposes is a healthy trend. The trend of growing herbal plants on terraces and backyards is catching on in many cities now. Here are some medicinal herbs that are worth growing in your garden.

Insulin PlantInsulin Plant’, ‘Siriyanangai’, and ‘Medar’ for diabetes

Did you know that frequent chewing of two leaves of the ‘Insulin Plant’ could keep diabetes away? The ‘Insulin Plant’, particularly is in high demand as it helps cure diabetes. The healing property of insulin plants for diabetes is proven. If you take two insulin leaves a day, it can cure diabetes, say experts.

Siriyanangai (kariyat) plant has been found to treat diabetic conditions, and the hypoglycaemic and anti-hyperglycaemic activity of this plant has generated considerable interest. Apart from this, it is already proven to be an effective antibiotic, anti-parasitic, anti-viral and immune system stimulant. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour properties. It helps treat liver disorders, reduces diarrhea, treatment of jaundice, sinusitis, torbid liver, viral hepatitis, children’s bowel complaints and flatulence and kills intestinal worms and supports intestine.

Few other such herbal cures are ‘Calotropis gigantea’, a shrub which has clusters of flowers white or lavender, and are grown widely in Singapore, Thailand, China, Malay Islands and in India. They are also known as ‘Medar’. This is a popular herb used to cure bronchitis. It also cures intestinal worms, stomach ulcers, rheumatic disorders, nerve and skin disorders, and latest in line is that it is now known to help manage diabetes too.

‘Karunochi (Black Vitex Nigundo)’ for urea stones

‘Karunochi (Black Vitex Nigundo) – This plant has many medicinal uses, but mainly cures urea stones. It can also help cure cholera, colic, catarrh, diarrhea, dyspepsia, ear disorders, common fever, fibrocystic breast, and colic. A decoction of the leaves with pepper is sometimes used as a specific in Malaria.

‘Hibiscus’ – for heart ailments

‘Hibiscus’ – Helps cure heart ailments. An extract from the flower of hibiscus plant prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol that leads to hardening of blood vessels and heart diseases, according to research from Taiwan. Hibiscus has also been found to effectively lower high blood pressure.

‘Kandankathiri (Solanum Xanthocarpum)’ – for Asthma and headche

Solanum Xanthocarpum is a plant that bears globular drooping berries as fruits, with green veins. The plant is cultivated throughout India and is known by the name ‘Kandankathiri’. It is useful in treating worms, cold, fever, dysuria, liver enlargement, spleen and stone in urinary bladder, and is particularly beneficial in treating asthma and headache.

Mexican mint (‘Oma valli’ or ‘karpoora valli’) – for indigestion

mexican mintAlthough Omavalli’ or ‘karpooravalli’ is considered particularly beneficial for indigestion and gastric problems. It also has numerous other medicinal values. For instance, the leaf is an excellent cure for cold and cough, wheezing, bronchitis, urticaria and other allergies, toxin elimination through perspirations, regulates female menstruation and promotes longevity.

‘Pirandai (Hadjot)’ for knee and joint pain

Pirandai, also known as ‘Hadjot’ in Hindi and having the botanical name ‘Cissus quadrangularis’, is a plant that grows wild on fences. It is a strange-looking creeper, native to India, and has been used in Siddha and Ayurvedic stream of medicine. One method of having this herb is to make a chutney choosing tender stems after removing the angular edges and nodes, cut the stem into small pieces and sauté it in the ghee. For about two tablespoons of cut pieces, add two tablespoons or urad dhal and about three tablespoons of grated coconut, few peppercorns, red or green chilly and salt. Grind the mixture coarsely. Have this chutney regularly for 10 days, and joint pains would reduce considerably. This is also used as painkiller in Ayurveda and Siddha medicine.

Thulasi (The Holy Basil) – for cold, cough, fever, kidney stone and cardiac ailments!

Last, but not the least, the medicinal value of the Holy Indian Basil is inevitable. The leaves of tulsi plant promote removal of the catarrhal matter and phlegm from bronchial tube, is good for common cold and fever, sore throat, respiratory disorders, kidney stone. Lately, basil has been found to have a beneficial effect in treating cardiac ailments, and the associated weakness. It helps reduce high blood cholesterol levels. Children have responded favourably to juice of basil leaves in cases of common paediatric problems (cold, cough, fever, diarrhoea). The leaves also help treat mouth ulcer and infections, insect bites, teeth and skin disorders.

Every house should have at least one herbal plant. Just as our forefathers realized the benefits of these plants, and used them as natural home remedies for common ailments, the trend has to catch-up with present generation too. These plants can be easily obtained for cultivation from nearby nurseries or botanical stores.