Greens are not only rich in nutrients but they have great medicinal properties to cure many diseases. Yes, it is true not an exaggeration. Let us know the properties of some of the common greens.
Agathi (Sesbania grandiflora)
There are different varieties of Agathi such as Sazhai agathi, Sitragathi, Seemai agathi and Paei agathi. But there are two unique ones, one with white flower and the other with red flowers. It is called Sevvagathi. Agathi is drought resistant and grows well in alluvial or black soil. According to Siddha medicine, it contains about 63 kinds of nutrients.
Its name, Agathi, means ‘fire within’ because of its medicinal property to reduce body heat, Tamil experts say so. If the leaves, containing high medicinal properties, are consumed for a week will bring down body heat considerably and also cools the eyes. It is a diuretic, facilitating copious urination and also loosens stools, avoiding constipation. Further, they are good against mouth, throat and intestinal ulcers and sores.
Araikeerai (Amaranthus tristis)
Araikeerai remains as one of the greens that are always present in the food basket of Tamils, without fail. It is a medicine for fever and cold. It is also named as Arukeerai or Killukeerai. It provides heat to the body and contains beneficial properties. If it is given to women after delivery will provide adequate strength to them physically.
Pepper soaked in Araikeerai extract, dried and powdered if consumed half a spoon daily along with honey will strengthen nerves. Kasa Kasa (Poppy seeds), coconut milk and capsicum mixed with Araikeerai, cooked and consumed will increase masculinity. Similarly, if it is consumed along with grams for a month will cure anemia.
Aaraikeerai (Amaranthus dubius)
It grows along water bodies like canals, lakes, ponds and water logged fields. It is also termed as Neer aavarai or Sadhupanni. It serves basically as a coolant to the body. It is very delicious and cools down body heat and maintains it. It brings down stress to mind and brain and also cures bile related illness. It controls micturition and reduces the problem of white discharge in females.
It has the ability to satiate thirstiness and cures bleeding in the urine. Diabetes will be cured if one consumes Aaraikeerai continuously for 48 days during mid afternoon.
It provides strength physically and it can be dried and stored as it is not available all through the year. Mix that powder with water, boil the same and add sugar to it. If it is consumed daily it will keep us away from any kind of disease.
Karisalangkanni (Eclipta prostrata)
It has many other names including Karisalai, Arippan porkodi, Kaikaysi, Kaiyandhakarai and Theykarasam. However, there are two varieties of it and they are Yellow Karisalangkanni and White Karisalangkanni. It has been used in traditional medicines even before thousand years and it is rich in gold, iron and vitamin A.
It has the properties to cure jaundice and hair related problems like dandruff, hair loss and other diseases. To cure burning sensation during micturition can consume 30 ml of its leaf extract, everyday morning. This treatment is better during summer. To cure cold and phlegm, especially among children, two drops of leaf extract mixed with 8 drops of honey will be highly beneficial.
Sirukeerai (Amaranthus tricolor)
Like other greens such as Mulaikeerai and Thandukeerai, it is also a very small plant. It is grown all over India in the backyards of households and also in gardens. Generally, it is 20 cm tall and grown in the hilly regions of northern India. However, it should be harvested when it reaches 10 cm, otherwise, it will not have its medicinal properties while becoming a fully matured adult plant.
Its leaves can be pressed with rice and be consumed. It can be consumed like soup after adding cumin, pepper, sombu (fennel seeds), onion, ginger, tomato and salt to it. It keeps the body attractive and beautiful. It is beneficial to the liver and also able to cure paralysis. Diabetics can include it in their food daily so as to enable insulin secretion naturally. Leaves fried with tur dhal and onion will provide physical strength to the body.
Pasalakeerai (Basalla alba)
It has other names such as Pachapasalai, Sivapputhandu pasalai and Kathipasalai. It is rich in essential nutrients like iron, beta carotene, folic acid and calcium. No other vegetables could have such a nutritional value like Pasalaikeerai. Particularly the folocin present in the leaves protects us from disease affliction. Especially it protects us from cardiovascular diseases. In contrast, those who already suffer from cardiovascular diseases should not consume it more.
It is highly helpful for those who suffer from anemia. It increases hemoglobin in the red blood cells due to its high iron content. It has plenty of vitamin A, B and C and also potassium salts. Vitamin A facilitates eye sight and also increases blood cells. The iron available in the leaves has the ability to be absorbed easily by the body. The leaves can be heated on the fire and applied to the forehead to relieve from a headache.
Pulichakeerai (Hibiscus cannabinus)
It is popular in Andhra Pradesh, by its name ‘Gongura’. By virtue of its rich content of minerals such as calcium and iron it purifies blood and also cures constipation completely. It acts as a coolant to the body and also facilitates spermatogenesis. It is made as paste, thuvayal, mixed along with dry chilies and salt.
Those who suffer from a paralytic stroke can consume it continuously once in three days. It will gradually cure paralysis. The similar practice can be followed for those who suffer from constipation.
Mudakkathan (Cardiospermum halicacabum)
Its name is suggestive of its medicinal properties in curing paralysis. It averts paralysis as the name suggests. Many wonder about its inconspicuous nature as a green because of its potential as a medicinal herb. Generally, they are found aplenty during rainy seasons, growing along the fences and they are able to thrive in all conditions, available in the fields.
It relieves joint pains and arthritis, curing paralytic strokes. It can be consumed as soup or rasam. Its leaves can be ground and mixed with rice batter to prepare dosa and consumed.
Manathakkali (Solanum nigru)
It is also termed as Manithakkali and it belongs to Solanaceae family. It has other names to it as Black manithakkali, Milagu thakkali and Manal thakkali. It’s one the important medicinal plants that cures a variety of diseases related to heart, lung, liver, spleen, stomach and intestines.
There are many who suffer from mouth ulcers, stomach and intestinal ulcers and sores. There are simpler methods to cure ulcers. The leaves of Manathakkali can be merely chewed to heal ulcers. It can be included in the food as well. Its fruits can also be consumed. They are as sweet as grapes. The fruits can be consumed as juice. It can be juiced along with white pumpkin fruit, and added with jaggery and cardamom. It can be consumed in empty stomach in the morning.
Murungai (Moringa oleifera)
All parts of this plant, its flower, pods as drumsticks and leaves are rich in nutrients with medicinal properties. It is said that its botanical name Moringa is derived from its Tamil name, Murungai. The plant contains mineral salts, calcium, iron and vitamin A and, C.
It cures skin related diseases like scabies and dermatitis as the plant is rich in vitamin C. It also improves eye sight because of its richness in vitamin A. If the leaves are ground with lime and applied on the throat to relieve from throat concretion. The leaves can be fried with ghee and consumed to cure of anemia.
(This article originally written in Tamil by Maria Belsin has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)