Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The medicinal power of keekar or babul: Acacia, the herb of health


By Syed Akbar
Acacia or babul is one of the oldest known medicinal herbs known to man.Its medical history goes back to at least 4000 years and practically all systems of medicine recognise its importance in pharmacological formulations.Ayurveda recognises it as an aphrodisiac that checks premature ejaculation, while Unani recommends Acacia for good dental health and urino-genital problems.
Allopathy too utilises this wonder herb for various health issues including as an astringent and pain killer. It is recognised by pharmacopoeias of various developed nations including the US and the UK. It is used even in health drinks.
Babul sticks have long been considered good for dental and oral hygiene and health. Regular brushing of teeth with a babul twig prevents bleeding from gums, gingivitis, and strengthens loose teeth. Practitioners of herbal medicine consider babul twigs on par with those of the neem and the miswak, as far as oral health is concerned.
The bark and gum obtained from Acacia species particularly those of Acacia arabica (gum Arabic) are used for control of diarrhoea, microbial infections particularly of the skin and control of high body temperatures (fever). It is also often recommended for eye problems including cataract.
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Home remedies
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Acacia gum is considered good for controlling loose motions. Take a little quantity of gum Arabic, wash it and soak it in potable water. The softened gum may be consumed to control diarrhoea and even dysentery.
Soak the bark of Acacia in a glass of clean water after properly washing it. The infusion thus collected after overnight soaking may be also be used for treating loose motions.
Take a little of Acacia bark and make it a habit to chew it daily. It will strengthen teeth and kills oral germs. Alternatively, you may use Acacia twig for brushing.
Formulations prepared from Acacia readily available in the market can be used for good reproductive health in men. The Acacia formulations help premature ejaculation.
A paste made from fresh and clean Acacia leaves may be applied near the eyes for treatment of problems like itching and redness in eyes.
For those suffering from high blood cholesterol and diabetes, Acacia bark is considered one of the best natural remedies.

Monday, 20 September 2010

India Millennium Development Goals: Every second hungry person on earth is an Indian

Sept 2010


By Syed Akbar


Hyderabad: India is progressing on every field, but unfortunately every second hungry person on earth is an Indian and one out of two children in India are
undernourished.

A United Nations Development Programme report on Friday revealed the disappointing 
failures in India on fighting hunger and malnourishment. With just five years left for India to achieve the eight globally-agreed millennium development goals, the task on the hunger front seems to be quite daunting. The deadline is 2015 and India will have
to drastically reduce the number of persons who go to bed daily empty stomach.

The figures on hunger are quite startling given the fact that one billion tonnes of food 
grains rot in the country thanks to poor planning and execution of public distribution system.

According to the report, India accounts for 50 per cent of the world’s hungry. Over 46 
per cent of Indian children are undernourished. Health too is a major challenge -- the very survival of India’s women and children is threatened... On average 254 women died giving birth to a child for every 100,000 live births down from 327 in 1990.

The states of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, 
Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal had the highest numbers ranging from 480 to 312. Kerala at 95, Tamil Nadu at 111 and West Bengal at 141 have the best figures. Andhra Pradesh has a maternal mortality ratio of 154.

"Two-thirds of the way to the 2015 finishing line for achieving the eight globally agreed 
Millennium Development Goals, India is at a crucial turning point with a few successes and some failures. Persistent inequalities, ineffective delivery of public services, weak accountability systems and gaps in the implementation of pro-poor policies are the
major bottlenecks to progress,"  said experts meeting in Delhi to suggest solutions to 
accelerate progress on the MDGs.

India has been successful in getting children into primary school, in providing access to 
water and in conserving environmental resources. It is possible that poverty will be halved by 2015 but by no means certain. Major states like Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal, also the most
populous states, are unlikely to achieve this target if it remains business as usual.

The proportion of poor in these states is currently at 64 per cent of the country’s poor 
and this is likely to increase to 71 per cent by 2015. The number of poor in 2015 is likely to be 279 million at all-India 
level.

A report on Millennium Development Goals points out that over 1.5 million children 
continue to die every year before their first birthday. Across India 74 children died before they reached the age of five for every 1,000 live births in 2005-06 as compared to 125 in 1990.

At this rate India is likely to miss the target of reducing these figures to 42 for 1,000 
live births by 2015. On this indicator, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are the laggards while Goa, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh Sikkim and Tamil Nadu are on the fast track and likely to be early achievers. The present infant mortality rate in Andhra Pradesh is 52 per 1000 live births.

Prof TCA Anant, secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, said "the 
stakes are high. With five years to the 2015 deadline we have a narrow window of opportunity to generate renewed momentum".

According to UNDP resident representative Patrice Coeur-Bizot, hopes that India can 
achieve the goals as successes in even the poorest countries have demonstrated.

A UN study has found that two-thirds of the world's hungry live in just seven countries: 
Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.

The prevalence of underweight children in India is among the highest in the world. Over 
50 million children under five years are malnourished.

Mirabilis jalapa or clavillia: Broad spectrum properties of four o’ clock plant


By Syed Akbar

Mirabilis jalapa or clavillia is a broad spectrum herbal plant, whose medicinal properties range from fighting fungi to bacteria. Since the flowers of Mirabilis jalapa 
open at around 4 pm, it is popularly called Four O’ Clock plant. Mirabilis jalapa has always been the favourite of geneticists as the sudden change in colour and pattern of its flowers throw light on genes and mutations.
The Four O Clock plant, originally a native of the Andes mountains in South America, was introduced to India about 400 years ago. Since then it has become a part of the 
traditional Indian systems of medicine, particularly Unani and Ayurveda. The leaves and the root of the plant are used in herbal medicines. The seeds of Mirabilis jalapa are avoided as they are considered to be poisonous. Herbal preparations obtained from the Four O Clock plant are contraindicated for pregnant women, as certain alkaloids present in the plant may lead to miscarriage.
Several scientific studies carried out on the efficacy of Mirabilis jalapa show that the 
plant extracts fight fungal and bacterial infections on the skin, besides treating 
problems like dysentery, diarrhoea and stomach pain. It has anti cancer properties too.
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Home remedies
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Herbal extracts obtained from the leaves of Mirabilis jalapa can be applied externally to 
treat skin problems caused by fungi or bacteria. Ayurveda and Unani doctors recommend it 
for viral infections too. It is especially good for Candida and yeast infections. Take a 
few fresh leaves of the plant, wash them and grind them in a mixer. The paste thus 
obtained can be used for skin infections, externally.
The root of Mirabilis jalapa can be consumed as a general body toner and to keep the 
stomach and the bowel system in good condition. Dry the root under sun. Powder it and 
keep it aside in a clean and dry bottle. Take a tablespoon of this powder and mix it with 
the atta (wheat flour) while preparing rotis or parathas.
Clavillia powder is available in the market and it may be used as indicated by the 
manufacturer to fight problems like stomach ache or bower discomfiture. It aids digestion.
Infusion obtained from the leaves and root of Mirabilis jalapa may be used to fight 
parasites.
Externally, the leaves can be applied on the wounds for natural healing.


Monday, 13 September 2010

The healing powers of black cumin or Nigella: Kalonji can fight asthma, lung problems

2010
By Syed Akbar
 Nigella sativa or black cumin, popularly known as Kalonji, is regarded as a wonder plant in Unani system of medicine. Tibbe-Nabavi or the Prophet’s medicine holds Kalonji in high regard and describes it as the “plant of blessings”. In Ayurveda too, black cumin finds its uses in a number of medicinal preparations.
The seeds are bitter but the medicinal properties they contain outweigh their unpalatable taste. Several regions in India use Kalonji seeds in food preparations too. Practitioners of traditional systems of medicine prescribe Kalonji seeds or Kalonji oil for a number of health problems ranging from simple cough to asthma, cystic fibrosis to diabetes, and from facial paralysis to kidney stones.
It is also prescribed for eye problems including low vision. Kalonji seeds and oil are readily available in the market, but one has to make it sure that they are buying the genuine one. Onion seeds resemble Kalonji and many a time unscrupulous traders pass them off as Kalonji.
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Home remedies
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Herbal doctors recommend Kalonji oil for relief from cough, and other lung problems like asthma. Take a few drops of Kalonji oil and gently rub it against the chest and back for quick relief from the problem.
Those with facial paralysis may try Kalonji oil. Take a few drops of Kalonji oil and mix it in hot water. Inhale the vapours. Repeat it daily.
Unani doctors believe that daily consumption of half a tea cup of decoction prepared from a few drops of kalonji oil mixed with honey and hot water will provide relief from kidney stones.
If you want to prevent premature greying of hair, you may try a few drops of Kalonji oil daily. Take a few drops of oil and rub gently against the scalp. Your hair will continue to be black till ageing turns them grey.
A few drops of Kalonji oil mixed with coffee or tea will keep the blood pressure under check and the heart in healthy condition.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Health benefits of Kumkum or Kesar: Saffron is natural remedy for hyperpigmentation

2010


By Syed Akbar
Kumkum or saffron has been hailed as a natural remedy for
hyperpigmentation. But more than its beauty enhancing properties, saffron
also called kesar is a harmless painkiller and analgesic. It gives quick relief
from headache, abdominal discomfort and pain caused due to injuries.

Kesar finds its use in Ayurveda, Unani and homeopathy, besides in
traditional Indian cuisine. Though Kesar has a number of health benefits, it
should be consumed in limited quantities. The daily intake in no case should
exceed 5 grams, caution practitioners of natural medicine.

Ayurveda and Unani doctors prescribe kesar tea as a general health tonic and
for gynaecological problems. It is also used for increasing the power of
vision, for treatment of fevers and hypertension. While buying kesar one
should check its purity.

Kesar is used both internally and externally. Its external uses include
dermatological applications for problems like blemishes, wounds, cuts and
abrasions. Internally kesar is used for colouring food items, and as kesar milk
and saffron tea.

Ancient Indian texts regard saffron as a natural rejuvenator and appetiser.

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Home remedies
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Just a "tilak" of saffron paste, prepared by mixing kesar with milk, on the
forehead provides relief from headache.

For problems like hyperpigmentation, take four or five kesar pistils and soak
them in a little quantity of milk. Apply it gently on the face and massage the
affected portion.

Saffron tea is recommended for common cold, sore throat and upper
respiratory tract infections. It is also good for heart.

Kesar is said to be a good natural remedy for insomnia. Drink kesar milk
before going to bed for sound and peaceful sleep.

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Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity