Herbal tea, a nectar

Your farm plot is blessed, Madhuvrat, my friend of over two decades and the first person I befriended in Mumbai told me as he stepped in and chanced upon the bushes of tulsi (Basil) spread all over. The tulsi, called shyam tulsi due to its darkish green colour, in my plot has come up on its own, the seeds deposited by the wind, and prospered without hardly any care but for watering once in a while. It intrigues me because my neighbouring plots have not been so fortunate.  In addition I have four papaya trees that have been yielding fruits—their seeds too may have been deposited either by wind or bird droppings. I’m unlikely to unravel to mystery but my friends and acquaintances are happy: for having relished the papayas, both green and ripe ones. The ones who savoured the ripe ones were full of complements: “Never have we come across such a sweet papaya.” These are the local varieties, full of seeds and it’s unlikely you will get them in fruit shops or your neighbourhood malls. You have to settle for the hybrid variety, called Taiwan 786, not so sweet and minus the seeds. We all like to share good things of life with your loved ones and so shared bunch of tulsi and lemongrass leaves. Ever since I have sipped herbal tea and enjoyed it I have been gifting tulsi and lemon grass leaves to my visitors. “Boil it tulsi, lemongrass leaves and ginger for 10 minutes, strain the liquid it and add a spoon of honey,” I have been telling them giving my recipe of herbal tea. I don’t know what my herbal tea recipe is doing to me: I take a cup every evening on reaching home. But I feel that if there was something called nectar and within one’s reach it was this. It rejuvenates me and makes me ready for another day. Why and how it does so?

Do check out the properties of the herbs.

Lemongrass: Lemongrass is considered by herbalists to have several useful properties, including antibacterial, antifungal, and fever-reducing effects. In one test-tube investigation, published in the medical journal Microbios in 1996, researchers demonstrated that lemongrass was effective against 22 strains of bacteria and 12 types of fungi. Scientific research has also bolstered the herb’s reputation as an analgesic and sedative. A study involving people indicates that lemongrass may also affect the way the body processes cholesterol. More recently, lemongrass has been shown to have antimutagenic properties; that is, researchers have found that it is able to reverse chemically induced mutations in certain strains of bacteria.

Basil: Basil improves the efficiency of kidney. Basil is a good medicine for diabetes. The antioxidant in basil reduces the glucose level in blood and keeps the diabetes under control. Basil leaves improve memory power. The smell of these leaves is pleasant to us. Taking the mixture of equal parts of the powder of basil roots and ghee can make you romantic. Tea made with the tender leaves of basil prevents Malaria and Dengue. Take the decoction of these leaves with cardamom powder for reducing high body temperature. Basil can reduce heart diseases as it reduces the cholesterol content in the arteries. The Eugenol in these leaves is a good pain killer.

Ginger: Largely considered a homeopathic treatment, the mainstream medical community has begun to conduct research on why ginger root has been used medicinally for so many centuries. Aside from curbing nausea and reducing inflammation, thus lessening muscle pain, ginger has also been used to prevent ulcers, treat heartburn and aid digestion. Some research even suggests it might reduce cholesterol levels, though so far only in mice. But now a new study in The Journal of Pain finds that two types of chemical compounds found in ginger — gingerols and phenols — can be used as an analgesic as well.

Honey: It’s antimicrobial, antioxidant, and hygroscopic (when exposed to air, it naturally absorbs moisture in from the air) which all make honey a popular food as well as a medicine.

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