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  • Writer's picture Geetanjali Chakraborty

Exploring Four Superhero Herbs for Your Garden

In celebration of Earth Day, let's delve into the realm of "superhero herbs" that you can cultivate in your own garden. This exploration was part of a class held at Vedika's Earth Day Sangha in Emeryville, California, on April 24, 2016.

1. Pomegranate (Dadimaha/दाडिम):

  • Description: Known as an energy booster, brain tonic (मेधाबलावहम), complexion enhancer, and heart-friendly fruit.

  • Reference: Bhavaprakash, Phalavarga (Fruit Chapter), 101-102

  • Varieties:

    • Sweet Pomegranates: Balance all three doshas (pitta, vata, and kapha). Particularly beneficial in the Fall for its pitta - reducing effect.

    • Sour Pomegranates: Increase pitta and reduce toxins (aama), vata, and kapha.

    • Sweet and Sour Pomegranates: Act as appetizers and taste enhancers. Slightly increase pitta.

2. Curry Leaves (Meetha Neem/मीठा नीम):

  • Description: A digestive spice suitable for year-round consumption, especially in Spring and Winter. 

  • Availability and Purchase options: In Indian stores, you can typically find curry leaf plants available for purchase, as well as pre-picked leaves sealed in pouches.

  • Cooking Technique: These leaves are commonly used as a tempering agent in cooking. The usual method involves heating ghee or sunflower oil and sautéing the curry leaves until their aroma permeates the medium. Subsequently, this tempered mixture is incorporated into the dish being prepared.

  • Dosha Influence: Increase pitta while reducing kapha and vata dosha.

3. Marigold (Jhandu/झण्दू):

  • Description: Offers benefits both externally and internally.

  • Reference: Raj Nighantu, Parpatadi Varga, 141

  • External Use: Great for facials.

  • Internal Use: Calming effect when consumed as tea. Also serves as a blood purifier.

  • Characteristics: Pungent, astringent, and antipyretic.

4. Aloe Vera (Kumari/कुमारी):

  • Description: Versatile herb with diverse applications.

  • Reference: Bhavaprakash, Guducyadivarga, 229-230

  • External Use: Effective for treating rosacea, dryness, and burns when applied topically.

  • Internal Use: Potent medicine beneficial for various conditions, but should be used under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner.

  • Therapeutic Benefits: Effective for intestinal conditions, liver issues, eruptive skin issues, general skin conditions, and eye health.

These four superhero herbs—pomegranate, curry leaves, marigold, and aloe vera—offer a myriad of health benefits, making them valuable additions to any garden. Whether consumed internally or applied externally, they contribute to overall well-being and serve as natural remedies for various ailments.

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