Four Superhero Herbs

This was part of a class taught at Vedika's Earth Day Sangha, Emeryville, California, Apr 24, 2016

 

To celebrate Earth Day, we will examine four "superhero herbs" that you can plant in your garden.

 

Pomegranate (dadimaha/दाडिम:)

 

 

This fruit is an energy booster, a brain tonic, complexion enhancer and great for your heart. We find mention of this in Bhavaprakash, Phalavarga  (Fruit Chapter), 101, 102, where a distinction is made on three types of pomegranates based on their taste: sweet, sour, sweet & sour.

 

Sweet pomegranates pacify all three doshas (pitta, vata and kapha), thirst, burning sensations and fever. This is particularly beneficial in the Fall for its effect on pitta. It is light to digest and nourishing. It acts as a brain tonic (मेधाबलावहम). 

 

Sour pomegranates increase pitta and reduce toxins/undigested food (aama), vata and kapha.

 

Sweet and sour pomegranates are an appetizer and taste-enhancer. They are light to digest and slightly increase pitta. 

 

Curry Leaves (Meetha Neem/मीठा नीम)

 

 

This is a digestive spice and can be consumed year round, especially in Spring and Winter. Indian stores generally sell curry leaf plants as also picked leaves in sealed pouches. 

 

They are primarily used as tempering in your dish. You would typically heat ghee or sunflower oil and cook the curry leaves in that medium. Once the aroma of the curry leaves is evident, the tempering is then added to the food being cooked. 

 

Curry leaves increase pitta, while reducing kapha and vata dosha. 

 

 

 

Marigold (jhandu/झण्दू)

 

 

Used externally, marigold is great for facials. Internally, marigold tea has a calming effect. We find mention of this in Raj Nighantu, Parpatadi Varga, 141.

 

Marigold is pungent, astringent and antipyretic...

 

It can be consumed to reduce fever. It is also considered a blood purifier.

 

 

 

Aloe Vera (kumari/कुमारी)

 

 

Aloe vera juice can be applied on the face during summer for treating rosacea. It can also be applied to treat dryness and burns. For internal usage, it is a very potent medicine that is used for many conditions and should be only taken under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner. Among the many conditions it is good for, it is effective in intestinal conditions, liver issues, eruptive skin issues and general skin conditions. It is also good for the eyes. We find mention of these therapeutic benefits in Bhavaprakash, Guducyadivarga, 229-230.

 

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