Siddha Home Remedies: Medicinal Uses of Flowers

Sapota Flower

Sapodilla or sapota (chikoo in Hindi) fruit grows in plenty in India. Both young and old love this exceptionally tasty fruit. It is rich in minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidant tannins. This fiber rich fruit is a good laxative and helps in relieving constipation. Ripe sapota is a storehouse of potassium, copper, iron, folate, niacin etc. Because of the carbohydrate content, people with diabetes should take this fruit in moderation.

The sapota flowers are rich in medicinal value. The flowers are small and have a bell-like appearance. You can find these flowers on the tree throughout the year. These flowers can be taken raw. A couple of these flowers when cleaned and taken raw can induce appetite.

Taking water steeped with well-dried sapota flowers helps in strengthening the gut and intestines. Similarly fresh flowers are soaked in honey for a few days and taken in the mornings and evenings. This is said to provide a nice glowing, sheen to the skin.

The sapota flower is ground to a fine paste using a few drops of water. This finely ground paste is then mixed in buttermilk. Taking this buttermilk is found to heal throat ulcers. This should be taken once everyday, till the symptoms disappear.

Guava Flower

Guava is yet another fruit that young and old love to eat. A very common fruit found in the Asian countries, this is available almost throughout the year. Guava is rich in folic acid, potassium, copper and manganese. It has a high concentration of Vitamin C. Due to its high fiber content, it relieves constipation and helps in easy bowel movement. The guava flower has numerous medicinal properties.

The flowers can be made to a thick chutney (thuvaiyal) with boiled split peas and taken with rice. This is said to have high nutritive value. Similarly fresh guava flowers are dried and then crushed and steeped in warm water. Drinking this water helps in relieving itchy skin, eczema, rashes etc.

Custard Apple Flower

Custard Apple is a tasty fruit rich in nutritional value. Custard apple is rich in Vitamin C. It also contains magnesium and potassium. The dietary fiber of the fruit helps in easy digestion. It also helps in curing vomiting, diarrhea, vertigo etc. The flowers of custard apple can be used in treating various health conditions.

Well dried custard apple flowers help in getting rid of lice and dandruff. For this the dried flowers are ground to a fine powder. While bathing the powder is applied onto the scalp and left for 5-10 minutes. The flower is also an excellent laxative. Taking custard apple flower steeped warm water in the mornings and evenings will help in easy bowel movement and prevent constipation.

Drinking custard apple flowers soaked milk is said to be helpful in treating diseases of the lungs. 5-10 flowers are to be soaked in a glass of milk for 2-3 hours.

Rectal prolapse in children is a very painful condition. To treat this, custard apple flowers are boiled in water and then allowed to cool to a bearable level. This water is used in cleaning the rectum after evacuation.

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Siddha Home Remedies: Medicinal Benefits of Bottle Gourd Flower

Bottle gourd, called suraikkai in Tamil, is used in the making of some tasty South Indian dishes. One of the oldest of cultivated plants, the bottle gourd plant is a climber which grows vigorously. The bottle gourd flower looks very tender and matures into bottle gourd. The flower is an excellent coolant. It can be taken raw.

The bottle gourd flower can be added to rice flour and made into an ‘adai’ (a thick dosai or sort of pancake). Taking this ‘adai’ for breakfast provides you with energy and freshness. Also you can soak a couple of these flowers in tender coconut water the previous night. The next day morning you can drink this flower soaked water. This is found to benefit your eyes and helps keep them cool.

A handful of soaked fenugreek seeds and four to five bottle gourd flowers can be ground to a fine paste and taken with milk before going to bed. This is said to cure ulcers in the stomach. Similarly you can make a paste of boiled split green gram and these flowers. This should be mixed in hot rice. A few helpings of this hot rice can help alleviate stomach ache due to “heat”, stomach irritation etc.

One way to cure toothache is to rinse your mouth with bottle gourd flower steeped water.

Thoroughly boil four or five bottle gourd flowers in two glasses of water and allow it to cool. Drinking this liquid is beneficial for those suffering from eye irritation or knee pain.

A couple of bottle gourd flowers along with garlic are sauté in sesame oil. One natural way to relieve abdominal gas is to take these sauté flowers and garlic. This also pacifies the stomach and other internal organs.

Bottle gourd flowers along with bottle gourd act as coolants. In India, you can find these flowers around February – April time. Regular intake of this flower during the hot summer season is found to be beneficial to the stomach.

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Siddha Home Remedies: Brinjal Flower

Most of the flowers found in nature have medicinal value. You can find flower buds, petals, full blown flowers used in preparing various traditional and folk remedies. There are many not so well known flowers that possess excellent medicinal properties. And one such is brinjal flower or eggplant flower.

The sight of a full blown brinjal flower is soothing to the eye. This flower has the potential to pacify the imbalance of pitta dosha. People suffering from anemia can benefit from taking milk that is mixed with paste of eggplant flower and mango flower. For this purpose equal quantity of these flowers are taken and made to a marble sized fine paste and mixed in a glass of cow’s milk. This is taken before going to bed.

For those suffering from ‘body heat’, one remedy is taking a paste made of brinjal flower and fenugreek seeds. This paste needs to be taken a couple of days to get the desired result. And once you experience a reduction in the ‘body heat’, you can stop taking the paste further.

In case of vitiated pitta, one way of pacifying it would be to take a paste made of brinjal flower and dry ladies finger seeds. This is found to relieve most of the pitta related diseases.

For poisonous bites, people in villages make a thick paste of brinjal flower, small onions and turmeric and place it on the affected area. This is very effective in neutralizing the poison.

One remedy for headache is to prepare a paste of ginger and brinjal flower and apply a thick layer of this paste on the temple, forehead etc.

In case of tuberculosis couple of brinjal flowers are steeped in boiled water and taken regularly. This is a complementary treatment found to be very effective. This is also found to help heart problems.

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Siddha Home Remedies: Medicinal Uses of Ladies Finger Flower

Ladies finger flower has more medicinal value than the plain ladies finger vegetable. Ladies finger is helpful in bringing sugar levels under control in a diabetic patient. For this purpose 10 numbers of ladies finger along with 20 numbers of cluster beans and 10 numbers of small onions (sambar onions) are cut to small pieces. Eight glasses of water is added to these and boiled. Reduce it to 2 glasses. Take one glass of this preparation in the mornings and evenings. Regular intake for two to three days will bring the sugar to manageable levels.
Now for the medicinal uses of ladies finger flowers.
Consumption of raw flower is said to strengthen the nerves.
In case of gas in stomach, the flower is taken with jaggery.
Saute the ladies finger flowers in sesame oil and apply the oil on grazes and cuts. This will cure them very rapidly.
The flower is ground with Turkey berry to a fine paste. It is added to rice along with a little ghee. This is an excellent natural deworming remedy. It helps in elimination of worms through feces.
Soak a couple of flowers in virgin coconut oil the previous night. Apply it on scalp and body the next day morning and let it soak for 30 minutes. Follow it up with a warm water bath. This helps in improving and maintaining good skin texture.
The flowers are ground to a fine paste and added to tomato juice. This is an excellent remedy to cool the body in hot summer.
Ladies finger flowers are ground along with palm jaggery and taken in small marble size. This is said to strengthen the body and muscles.

Siddha Home Remedies: Medicinal Use of Plantain flower

Plantain is the third of the ‘mukkanis’ of Tamil Nadu, the other two fruits being mango and jackfruit. Plantain fruit or banana flower is the main ingredient of some of the tastiest dishes of Tamil Nadu. The whole plantain tree has medicinal properties. The plantain pith is an excellent detoxifier. People with burns are made to lie on big plantain leaves. Food served in banana leaves has a distinct flavor. Bananas taste good as well help in preventing constipation. People in South India take couple of plantains after food to aid easy digestion as well as elimination.

Some of the medicinal preparations as well as benefits of plantain flower are given below.

Plantain flower is generally cool in nature. Cooked pulse and plantain flower are ground to a coarse paste and taken with rice. This helps to cure stomach ulcers.

Drinking plantain flower soup mixed with cumin seed powder can cure inflammation of eyes.

Regular intake of dishes made of plantain flowers help in treating eye afflictions.

Plantain flowers cut to small pieces and sauté in sesame oil can be taken for treating throat ulcers, phlegm in chest etc.

Plantain flowers dried and powdered and taken with honey can help in treating vata diseases. When taken with buttermilk it cures nervous debilities.

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Jackfruit Flowers: Home Remedy for Hydrocele & Boils

Photo courtesy flickr, peregrin@

Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh. It is the second of the top three tastiest and nutritious foods, according to the Tamil literature, the first being mango. Experts are of the opinion that the name jackfruit originated from the Malayalam word chakka. It is also the largest tree borne fruit. Jackfruit flower has a wonderful smell and has excellent medicinal qualities.

Jackfruit grows well in tropical lowlands. It has been cultivated in India some 5000 to 6000 years ago. It is grown in Brazil, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines too.

Jackfruit is rich in vitamin A and anti-oxidants. It also has B-complex group of vitamins. It has potassium, manganese, magnesium and iron. The flesh of ripe jackfruit bulb is very delicious and nutritious.

Now for the benefits of jackfruit flowers.

Women suffering from irregular menstrual cycles can prepare a kashayam of jackfruit flowers and take it regularly. To prepare the kashayam, a handful of the flowers are boiled in 8 glasses of water and reduced to four glasses. The water is then cooled down and taken early in the morning on empty stomach. This helps in regulating irregular menstrual cycles.

The flowers can be ground to a fine paste and then mixed with honey and taken orally. This is found to benefit digestive disorders.

Jackfruit flower is useful in treating hydrocele. Handful of the flowers is collected and ground to a paste and this paste is applied over the affected area. Regular application is found to have brought down the swelling.

Steam boiled jackfruit flowers are helpful in treating boils. For this the steam boiled flowers are kept on the affected areas and then dressed over. The boils subside after a few applications.

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Mango Flower for Mouth Ulcers and Throat Problems

Tamil culture regards mango, jackfruit and banana as ‘mukkani’ or ‘the three best fruits’ in terms of their taste and nutritional value. The flowers of mango, jackfruit and banana are also valuable medicinally and nutritionally. Siddha texts as well as local folklore recommend preparations made using these flowers to treat various ailments that afflict us. I will share with you tips on various flowers and their medicinal uses in my subsequent posts. To start with I will dwell upon the medicinal uses of mango flower.

Mango is indigenous to India and grows well in tropical and sub tropical areas. It is the national fruit of India. People in villages use the tender mango leaves to clean their teeth. Unripe mango has a sour taste and is used for making pickles. The kernel of mango seed has immense medicinal value.

In India, mango trees flower during the January – April period. Raw mangoes start arriving in the market in February, March followed by ripe mangoes from April to June, July etc.

Mango Flower for Throat Problems

Collect mango flowers and clean them thoroughly in pure water. Boil them in pure water for a few minutes. Collect the water after filtering out the flowers. Mix lemon juice to this water. This can be used as mouth gargle. This cures most of the throat ailments.

Remedy for Diarrhea

Collect handful of dried mango flowers. Add 1-2 teaspoons of cumin seeds to it and powder them. Mix a teaspoon of this powder in a glass of warm water. This is an ideal remedy for loose stools. Another alternative is to mix a teaspoon of dried mango flower powder in yogurt and taken as needed.

Mango Flower for Mouth Ulcers

Mix a spoonful of dried mango flower powder in buttermilk and take this thrice a day for a week. This is an effective remedy for treating mouth ulcers and stomach ulcers. Another method is to fry the flowers in sesame oil and taken as needed.

Strong Gums

Chew fresh mango flowers for strong teeth and gums.

My next post will elaborate on jackfruit flower remedies.

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Hemorrhoids Treatment in Siddha System

The veins in the rectal region enlarge due to many reasons and this result in hemorrhoids. Some experts are of the opinion that due to the excessive pressure and strain exerted during bowel movements this increases the pressure on the veins which eventually swell up. Mainstream medical system classifies this condition broadly into two categories namely internal and external hemorrhoids.
Statistics reveal an increase in the number of people who suffer from this condition. Changes in food habits and lifestyle especially of people living in large cities result in constipation. Constipation is considered to be the main culprit. When stool stays longer than usual in the large intestines, it loses most of its fluids and gets hardened. The hardened stool has to be evacuated with pressure which injures the anal region. When this turns into a regular feature, the veins enlarge and result in this condition.
One of the chief symptoms is the pain and bleeding when passing stools. In case of external hemorrhoids, the engorged veins might stick out after a bowel movement. Due to leaking of fluids, there will be itching in the anal region. This is confirmed with the help of a thorough medical examination including an anoscopy. This also helps to rule out other causes of rectal bleeding like polyps, colon cancer etc. Hemorrhoids are graded as first, second, third and fourth degrees. The first degree bleed but do not prolapse, second degree would prolapse but retract, third degree need to be pushed in after a prolapse, and the fourth degree remain external.
Constipation is considered to be the chief cause.
Heredity, this can run in families.
Less or no intake of fibers.
Eating spicy and hot foods too often.
Excessive intake of meat.
Eating too much resulting in straining the digestive system.
Spending too much in traveling, like salesmen, businessmen etc.
Sitting on a hard surface for hours together each day.
Cycling too much everyday.
Working in a hot environment, for example near boilers, etc.
Cure in Siddha
The Siddha medicinal system classifies this condition into 21 different categories based on various signs and symptoms.
Symptoms according to Siddha System
Frequent constipation.
No bowel movement even when you have the sensation.
Pain in the anal region with defecation.
Eliminating in bits and pieces.
Sensation of heaviness in lower abdomen.
Distended lower abdomen with pain.
Itching of anus.
Thirsty feeling.
Loss of taste and sour taste in mouth.
Loss of appetite.
Black tarry stool.
Blood in stool, dripping of blood after bowel movement.
Night sweats and shivering of hands and legs.
When the above-mentioned symptoms are found, it is time to see a Siddha specialist who will feel your pulse and prescribe a treatment regimen according to your nature.
Advanced cases cannot be reversed to normalcy. So it would be prudent to avoid constipation which causes this condition. Seek medical help in the early stages lest it may worsen the condition.
Fresh fruits and vegetables should be taken in plenty and should form part of your daily menu. Raisins soaked in water the previous day can be taken next day morning to aid easy bowel movement. Fibrous vegetables and fruits play a major role in preventing constipation. Also reduce the intake of processed foods and oily substances. Keep away from fast food and junk food. Meat should be avoided as far as possible. It may be taken once in a month in moderate quantity. Mutton is preferred to chicken or beef.
My subsequent posts will describe some ways to prevent this painful condition, and some treatments in the early stages.

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Constipation Treatments in Siddha

All of us would have experienced constipation at one time or other in our lives. When we are away from home for a couple of days, most of us would not have a comfortable bowel movement till we get used to the new environment. Though occasional constipation causes no harm except for the uneasy feeling associated with the condition, it would be a cause for concern if the frequency of constipation increases. Siddha and Ayurveda systems regard constipation as the root cause of most of the diseases.
When the stool remains for longer periods in the large intestines, all the fluids in it gets removed and the stool gets hardened. Violent and prolonged suppression of the urge for a bowel movement is not good and if this is repeated enough number of times, the urge then stops eventually. Similarly applying pressure to defecate when there is no urge for a bowel movement can lead to constipation. Leading a sedentary life with no physical activity leads to lesser muscular movement of the ribs and stomach. This reduces the movement of food through the intestines. This can result in constipation. Constipation can also be a side effect of certain drugs. Some experts are of the opinion that the posture adapted for defecating also plays a significant role in constipation. They suggest a squatting position is better than sitting position for easy elimination. People with hemorrhoids suffer from frequent constipation.
There are two types, one is the sudden onset constipation and the other the regular one. Regular or the usual constipation is the frequently recurring constipation almost on a daily basis with the usual symptoms. This condition can be set right by some changes in diet and exercise.
Our body processes the food we eat, takes in the necessary nutrients and expels the waste matter out in frequent intervals. When this cycle is disturbed it would lead to loss of appetite, loss of taste, hemorrhoids, lethargy, tiredness, disturbed sleep, a cloudy sensation, joint pains etc.
Green gram, coconut, tender coconut, whey, milk with skin, fresh buttermilk, bananas, fresh greens especially cilantro, fenugreek greens, solanum nigrum or black nightshade, fruits like grapes, green leafy vegetables etc should form the major part of your diet. Chicken or mutton soup with less pepper and chillies, raw egg etc can also be taken.
Alcohol, pungent and spicy substances, sour buttermilk, pickles, beef etc should be avoided.
Brisk walking both in the mornings and evenings would benefit. This provides the much needed exercise to all muscles in the body and helps in toning up the internal organs.
On getting up early in the morning, drink one or two glasses of water and walk for a few minutes.
Establish a routine of going to the rest room in the mornings at a set time. Even if you do not have the sensation to evacuate, sit on the toilets. While seated calm your mind and visualize easy bowel movement. Even if you have not had one at the moment, going to the toilets at the set time will train your minds and would eventually result in daily bowel movement over time.
Making these changes in your day to day activities can help you in getting rid of constipation fast. Only in case of stubborn constipation should you resort to medicines. Taking laxatives can lead to dependency and should be avoided as far as possible.
One of the time tested constipation remedies is triphala choornam available at all Siddha and Ayurveda stores. 5-10 gm of this preparation is mixed in a spoonful of ghee and honey and taken at bedtime. This helps in facilitating easy bowel movement. This preparation also benefits the eyes. You can continue to take this till you are out of constipation. I will share some more simple remedies for constipation relief in my subsequent posts.

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Siddha Home Remedies: Moringa Oleifora Drumstick

Moringa oleifera or Murungai is regarded as an aphrodisiac in Tamil Nadu. In order to seduce the hero, the heroine in the film ‘”Mundhanai Mudichu” would prepare dishes made of murungai leaves and drumstick. Some say that the very tender murungai kai should be eaten raw for this purpose. But there are no records to testify this.

The moringa leaf is rich in beta-carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, protein, iron, and potassium. The tree can cure malnutrition in children and lactating mothers of the third world. It grows well in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico, Central America and Africa.

There are a number of folk remedies that have the moringa as their main component. All parts of the moringa tree have medicinal value. Dishes made of moringa flower are nutritious as well as tasty. Fresh flowers are collected and allowed to soak in honey for a week or so. These honey soaked flowers are used in treating cough. The bark of the tree has immense medicinal value too and its decoction is used in treating worm infestation. It is also used to treat hemorrhoids. For this purpose, the patient uses a sitz bath with decoction of the moringa bark.

Dishes made with the leaves are useful in treating mouth ulcers. Frequent intake of the leaves in various forms should decrease the severity of the ulcers and gradually heal them. The leaves can bring down swelling and inflammation. For this, the leaves are ground to a fine paste and mixed with sesame oil and applied on swellings and inflamed areas.

The drumstick takes care of digestive disorders. The drumstick grows to a length of 30 to 40 cm and in some cases even 60 cm. The drumstick or murungai kai sambar is a very well known dish of South India.

The juice of murungai leaves and honey mixed together can be applied on acne, black spots etc for a quick cure. It brings back the skin’s radiance with regular use.

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