Heal the world…

What do you grow in the garden? Flowers? Nice to look at, troublesome to take care? Now, certain quarters are asking people to grow their own vegetables but if you don’t have green fingers or are so lazy like me, forget it! Instead of all that trouble, just buy the cheaper veg in the market!

So what do I have in my garden? Well, I have lemon grass (serai) which I use regularly in my cooking. They say the smell will keep away mosquitoes…and even if you live in high-rise apartments or condominiums, you can grow them in pots. Nice spicy fragrance…

Lemon grass (serai)

I have adapted this regarding its health benefits from http://www.buzzle.com.
Lemon grass is known for its calming effect that relieves insomnia or stress. It is also considered as a mild insect repellent. Lemon grass has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Mixed with pepper, it is a home therapy for menstrual troubles and nausea. Drunk as tea, it is an effective diuretic. Lemon grass is a good cleanser that helps to detoxify the liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder and the digestive tract. It cuts down uric acid, cholesterol, excess fats and other toxins in the body while stimulating digestion, blood circulation, and lactation; it also alleviates indigestion and gastroenteritis. Lemongrass also helps reduce acne and pimples and acts as a muscle and tissue toner. Also, it can reduce blood pressure. Lemon grass can be used as a remedy for fevers and colds.

I also have some pandan or screwpine leaves. Instead of buying expensive fragrant rice (which loses its fragrance during storage once you have opened the bag), you can put one or two leaves in your rice cooker…and as the rice cooks, the nice pandan fragrance will fill the whole house… 

screwpine (pandan) leaves

And pandan has its health benefits too, according to http://www.essortment.com
The medicinal uses for this tree are as follows: The entire plant is used as a diuretic, the roots have anti-diabetic properties, and the leaves are used for treating diseases of the skin.

Then I have the indispensible curry leaves. Just drop a few into whatever spicy dish you’re cooking and without fail, it will enhance the flavour. Why, you may have noticed that they even put that in butter prawns in the restaurants…

Curry leaves

As for the health benefits, this is taken from http://www.nzhealth.net.nz
Curry leaves improve the functioning of the stomach and small intestines and promote their action. They improve the quality of digestive juices secreted during digestion. Their smell, taste and visual impression initiates salivary secretion and initiates the peristaltic wave, which is the first step in good digestion. They are mildly laxative and thus can tackle multiple digestive problems caused by food intake.

A paste of these leaves with limejuice and honey/sugar/crystal sugar powder is a time-tested medicine in the treatment of hyperemesis graviderum. Nausea, dry vomiting, vomiting and food intolerance are a few other conditions where this paste is used as a remedy. Curry leaves have some role in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery and idiopathic loose motions. Certain ayurvedic research says that curry leaves have some role in controlling non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Many people have also reported weight loss. One ayurvedic school recommends powdered root/bark for relief from kidney/biliary pain. Traditional healers have observed some effects on premature greying of hair. Few have tried curry leaves for treatment of minor burns, bruises, abrasions, etc.

Another useful plant that I have is lengkuas or galangal, a must-have in curries or when you are frying sambal udang kering (dried prawns sambal)…

Galangal (lengkuas)

…and it is good for health too! According to http://www.zhion.com,
lengkuas or galangal is also a source of sodium, iron, vitamins A and C. Like ginger, galangal has been used for medicinal purposes to treat nausea, flatulence, and dyspepsia. Galangal has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activities. It may benefit people at risk of cancer. Galangal has shown to have anti-oxidative and free radical scavenging activities. It modulates enzyme activities and suppresses the genotoxicity of chemicals. Galangal may have benefits of lipid-lowering. Researchers from China found that the galangal extract could potently inhibit fatty-acid synthase. Korean researchers showed a pancreatic lipase inhibitor.

And I am sure everybody knows how useful aloe vera is for insect bites, skin irritation and what not. Actually, you can remove the green skin, take the jelly and rinse thoroughly to remove the slime (which actually is good for you) and cut into small bits and serve with syrup for a delicious healthy dessert!

aloe vera

This extract about the aloe vera is from http://health.learninginfo.org:
Aloe Vera gel is often thought as having one specific function: cooling and helping to heal sunburns. In fact, Aloe is an amazing plant with a wide ability to aid in the healing process, to protect, moisturize, and even extend life. It is a cellular regenerator and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects. Magnesium lactate in the minerals contained in the plant, bringing relief to insect bites, acne, sunburns, rashes, and other topical conditions, Aloe makes sense. Taken internally, it can be used as a laxative and to destroy certain bacteria or parasites in the intestines. Unsubstantiated claims include that it can help heal ulcers and settle a queasy stomach. The gel from the plant can heal, control the accumulation of fluids, and reduce pain. Aloe can reduce inflammation and discomfort caused by fungi and bacteria. In a study performed on lab rats, they showed lowered occurrences of various diseases including arterial thrombosis and leukaemia.

So think green! Have these in your garden and you are in fact contributing towards saving the environment…and at the same time, you have your own spice bazaar as well as natural pharmacy right outside your door!!! And haven’t I read somewhere that we should look at things green in colour regularly as this is good for our eyesight? Gee! Is that why at my age I still don’t need spectacles and I can read messages on my cellphone without bringing it right up to my nose…unlike some people? ROTFLMAO!!!