Siddha Medicinal Herbs: Medicinal Benefits of Karisalankanni

Herbs undoubtedly are gifts of nature.  People until a few hundred years ago were treated with herbs for all ailments that afflicted them.  They absorbed all the benefits of a herbal concoction and regained their lost health.  Through various flushes, their immune system was strengthened which in turn eradicated the disease symptoms and restored good health.  The present day scenario is a complete contrast.  We are treated with chemicals for our symptoms.  The root cause of a disease is not taken into account in most cases.  Mindless use of chemicals in all spheres of life, stress etc has forced people to live with diseases.  The sedentary lifestyle, junk food and the like worsen the disease scenario.

But all is not lost say the Siddhas of yesteryears.  There is still hope and herbs can still clean up the mess created by humankind.  Herbs are still capable of cleaning our bodies of the toxins.  One such herb that has very powerful medicinal and cleansing properties is karisalankanni.  It is regarded as a kayakalpa herb.  Siddha saints have praised the herb for its medicinal properties in the Siddha texts hundreds of years ago.

There are a few variants in the herb based on the color of the flower.  Yellow or manjal karisalankanni is deemed the best in terms of its medicinal value.  White karisalankanni is found almost everywhere.  There are also blue, and red flower varieties.

Recent studies have shown that the herb possesses excellent hepato-protective properties.  The herb can strengthen the liver, increase production of bile, reduce inflammation etc.  The herb taken along with kizhanelli, another powerful herb, can cure jaundice in a matter of days.  It is also an excellent remedy for fatty liver. It is an excellent liver cleanser.  It helps regain appetite and in some cases cure hemorrhoids.

This is an excellent herb for women.  Women suffering from menstrual problems make use of this helpful herb to normalize their irregular periods.  The herb takes care of excessive bleeding.

 Karisalankanni arrests hair loss and helps luscious hair growth.  Bhringraj is a famous Ayurvedic hair oil prepared using the karisalankanni herb. Regular application of this oil is found to help shiny, luscious and dark hair growth.  The leaves of the karisalankanni are dried in shade, powdered to a fine consistency, and added to boiling coconut oil.  The oil is then allowed to cool and stored in a bottle in a cool dry place.  Application of this oil on a regular basis helps arrest hair fall and aid hair growth.

The juice obtained from the fresh leaves of karisalankanni herb is useful in treating cough and phlegm in chest.  Sesame oil and karisalankanni juice are added in equal quantities, boiled and allowed to cool.  5-10ml of this remedy is taken once a day for a week or two as needed.   It also aids in losing weight.  It slows down ageing and promotes good health.


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Natural Hair Conditioner Chembaruthi


The shoeflower plant (chembaruthi/chemparuthi/chemparathai) is well known for its hair conditioning property.  Called chembaruthi in Malayalam, the flowers and leaves of this plant have immense medicinal value.  The single layered flower with five petals is used medicinally instead of the multilayered flower called adukku chembaruthi.

The chembaruthi flower is found to strengthen the heart.  Chembaruthi flowers can be boiled in a glass of water and reduced to half. Jaggery or palm candy is added to this decoction to make it more palatable.  This is taken in the mornings on a regular basis to benefit the heart.  This also increases sperm count and improves sperm motility.  Shoeflower is also found to have anti-diabetic properties.

The leaves of chembaruthi can be used as a hair conditioner.  A handful of fresh shoeflower leaves is collected and a fine paste is made out of it. This paste is applied on hair in place of a conditioner shampoo.  After five minutes it can be washed off.  It will provide a dark and soft look to the hair.  The hair will have a nice bounce and shine.  People with sinus problems should not use these leaves as a hair conditioner as it can worsen their sinus difficulties.

The paste of shoeflower leaves when consumed internally can heal stomach ulcers.  For this either fresh leaves or dried and powdered leaves can be taken.  In case of fresh leaves, they can be made into a paste and a small marble sized paste is taken internally for a week.  The flowers too can be used either fresh or dried and powdered.

Diabetics can take one flower or bud once a day, to keep their glucose levels in check.  It also removes toxins from blood and cleanses it. Chembaruthi tea strengthens the heart and heals inflammation of urinary tract.

The paste of shoeflower leaves has anti-fungal properties and can be applied externally over areas affected by fungal infection.  It also heals chronic ulcers.

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Medicinal Benefits of Neem Flower


Neem flower has numerous medicinal properties that benefit the young and the old.

  • It is useful in treating ailments of the stomach.

  • It neutralizes excessive pitha in the body.

  • It expels intestinal worms in kids.

  • It helps recovery after debilitating fevers.

The neem tree is called ‘village dispensary’ in India.  All parts of the neem tree have medicinal uses.  The neem tree blooms in the months of March and April.  The tiny looking neem flower is an excellent source of antioxidants.

Thoroughly cleaned, fresh neem flowers can be ground to a fine thick paste.  A small marble sized paste of neem flowers can be added to milk and given to children for 2-3 days in the mornings.  This is found to expel intestinal worms.

Decoction made of fresh neem flowers is found to help kids with craving for dirt.  Adults with potbelly can take neem flower decoction on a regular basis to control and bring down their waist size.  Siddha texts recommend eating in moderation, the rule of thumb being the stomach should have 50 percent food, 25 percent water and 25 percent remaining empty.  In short, overeating is frowned upon by the Siddha system.  Eating healthy and in moderation along with neem flower decoction everyday can take care of even stubborn potbellies.

Steam inhalation with neem flowers relieves headaches, ear aches etc.

The flowers collected are cleaned and dried in shade thoroughly.  Dried flowers are soaked in honey and stored in a bottle.  Half a spoonful of this honey soaked neem flowers can be taken in the mornings regularly.  This is found to strengthen the body with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

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Mediicinal Benefits of Banana Flower

All parts of the banana plant have medicinal value including the banana flower.  The banana flower or vaazhai poo in Tamil, is well known in the rural parts of South India for its healing action on stomach ulcers.  The banana flower or banana blossom is available throughout the year.  It is used in preparing some tasty and healthy dishes in South India.
Banana Flower for Stomach
The flower is found to help scanty and painful urination.  Soup made of banana flower is an excellent natural laxative. People suffering from pain and burning sensation in hands and soles of the feet can benefit from taking vaazhai poo on a regular basis.  Bad breath and sweat odor can become a thing of past with regular consumption of banana flower.

Stomach bloating and bilious vomiting can be arrested with consumption of vaazhai poo.  Male infertility can be overcome with regular consumption of vaazhai poo.  Kidney stones can be cleared with vaazhai poo.  Burning sensation in anal area can be cured with consumption of vaazhai poo thrice or four times a week.

Banana Flower for Women
Banana flower juice mixed with honey or palm candy benefits white discharge in women.  This should be taken on empty stomach first thing in the morning.  Similarly women with excessive menstrual flow can benefit from taking banana flower regularly.  This helps with painful menstruation too.

Juice of vaazhai poo 100 ml taken in the mornings thrice or four times a week reduces cholesterol levels in blood.  this also purifies it.

Banana Flower for Obesity
Obese people can take a soup made of banana flower.  Finely cut banana flower, ginger, garlic, coriander leaves are boiled together and reduced to half.  A pinch of salt can be added to taste.  This is taken four to five times a week.  This is found to be helpful in weight management.

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Siddha Home Remedies: Medicinal Benefits of Thulasi (Holy Basil)

Herbs have been used in religious ceremonies since time immemorial.  Arugampul (Bermuda grass), vilva, neem, thulasi are some examples.  Thulasi or Holy Basil is the prasada given to devotees in Indian temples.  Thulasi thirtha or holy water infused with thulasi leaves is beneficial to both body and mind.
Thulasi is a kayakalpa herb.  It grows to a height of 75 centimeter to a meter with small hairy leaves and hairy stem.  It has white flowers and small black seeds. Siddha and Ayurveda medicinal systems make use of thulasi to treat fevers, vomiting, dysentery, malaria, bronchitis etc.  Unani medicinal system uses thulasi to purify blood, treat heart conditions and cool the body.
Tulsi is used in treating
  •     Ailments of chest including cough, cold, bronchitis
  •     Fevers like malaria, pneumonia and influenza
  •     Heart conditions
  •     Cholera, dysentery
  •     Migraine
  •     Asthma
  •     Smokers cough
  •     Inflammation of lungs
  •     Blood pressure
  •     Abdominal distention
  •     Liver diseases
  •     Hemorrhoids
  •     Anal itch
  •     Skin diseases
  •     Leprosy
  •     Head lice
  •     Menstrual disorders
  •     Poisonous bites
  •     Nail infections
Thulasi for Children
Thulasi or holy basil is known to clear chest congestion in infants.  For this infants are fed milk mixed with juice of tulsi leaves.  This also helps cure indigestion and loose watery stools in kids.  One method to treat whooping cough in infants – collect mature dry tulsi leaves and flowers, long pepper and sweetflag in equal quantity by weight.  Grind and powder all the three to a fine consistency.  Half a teaspoon of this preparation is mixed with honey and given twice a day.
Thulasi for Asthma
Four tulsi leaves and four vilva leaves along with four peppercorns are taken first thing in the morning on empty stomach.  This is thoroughly chewed and then swallowed down.  This helps ease labored breathing of asthmatic patients.
Thulasi for Heart
Juice obtained from thulasi leaves is mixed with honey of equal quantity.  A spoonful of this is taken in the mornings on empty stomach on a regular basis.  This is found to benefit irregular palpitation and strengthen the heart muscles.
Tulsi for Lungs
Fresh tulsi leaves are crushed to obtain 25-50 ml of juice.  This is added to ginger juice of same quantity.  A spoonful of this mixture is taken with honey for a month or two depending on the intensity.  This is found to bring down inflammation of lungs.  This relieves asthma, cough etc.  In case of influenza, a pinch of powdered cloves and salt are added to tulsi steeped water and taken three times a day.
Tulsi for Teeth
Tooth cavity and diseases of gums can be taken care of with the help of thulasi.  Press powdered thulasi leaves, powdered cloves and a pinch of camphor on affected tooth.  The same preparation can also be used as a tooth powder.  This takes care of inflamed gums and removes bad breath.
Thulasi home remedy for Bloody Hemorrhoids
Juice obtained from crushed thulasi leaves 250 ml is added to kuppaimeni juice of equal quantity.  Castor bean oil 250 ml is added to this mixture and boiled thoroughly to remove the moisture content.  50 ml of the resulting oil is taken at night for a week.  This is found to relieve hemorrhoids.

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Siddha Home Remedies: Medicinal Uses of Karpooravalli

Karpooravalli (Mexican Mint) or Omavalli in Tamil is a herb often used to treat cough and cold.  The botanical name is Coleus aromaticus.

Stuffy nose, body pain, neck pain, headache, cough and cold are some ailments that predominately affect almost everyone during the winter season.  One of the herbs much sought after to treat these conditions is karpooravalli (coleus aromaticus).  It can be grown in the home garden just like the holy basil.

The karpooravalli herb has a hairy stem and thick hairy rugged looking but soft leaves with toothed edges.  The leaf has an astringent taste.  The mature leaves of the herb has good amount of menthol which helps in reducing the inflammation due to phlegm in chest.  It is a herb used in treating all types of cough, as well as an excellent expectorant.  it induces sweat and brings down the temperature in fevers.

Karpooravalli for Children

The medicinal property of the leaf can be utilized in a number of time tested ways.  Thoroughly cleaned karpooravalli leaves can be put in boiled and cooled drinking water and then filtered off after 1-2 hours.  By this time the water would have turned slightly greenish.  This water can be given to children for drinking purposes.  Doing this for a couple of days brings down the intensity of cough and cold in children.

One well known method of treating tough chest phlegm in kids is as follows.  Collect equal quantity of karpooravalli and holy basil leaves.  Saute the leaves slightly and then crush them to collect 5-10ml of juice from the leaves.  This is given twice a day, both morning and evening after food.  Regular intake for a week expels even the toughest of phlegm in a gentle painless way.

Karpooravalli for Adults

Karpooravalli, thoothuvalai, vallarai leaves of equal quantity are collected dried and powdered.  One spoonful of this powder is taken in 150 ml water and boiled and reduced to 75 ml.  A bit of palm jaggery is added to this decoction to taste.  This preparation is taken twice a day to strengthen the lungs.  Asthmatics can experience marked improvement in their  labored breathing with regular intake of this remedy.

Also juice of karpooravalli leaves taken with honey in the mornings can help cure runny nose, phlegm, cough, throat infection etc.

Karpooravalli Herbal Powder

This can be prepared as follows.  Take karpooravalli leaves, adathoda leaves and dry them in shade.  Thippili and sitharathai are taken in equal quantities and fried in small heat.  All these are powdered to a fine consistency.  This powder is taken with honey three to four times a day for a couple of days.  This takes care of cold, cough, and phlegm and clears the airway passage.

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Siddha Home Remedies: Medicinal benefits of Greens

Greens (keerai in Tamil) had been part and parcel of South Indian diet from time immemorial. It is considered an easily digestible food than flowers, vegetables, and tubers. Though taking greens everyday is a healthy habit, it should not be taken at night. Taking greens at night can lead to formation of gas in the stomach and other gastric inconveniences.

Care should be taken in selection of greens. Greens with dark black patches should be avoided as they may be contaminated with heavy metals. Also avoid worm infested greens.

Pasalai keerai (Spinach)

This is said to have blood cleansing properties. It strengthens the liver and pacifies pitta. It is a well known remedy for diseases related to the urinary system. People with painful or difficult urination can benefit from taking spinach on a regular basis.

Sirukeerai (Amaranthus Polygonoides)

This greens belong to the amaranthus family. Singers can benefit from taking cooked Amaranthus polygonoides regularly. This is found to preserve and improve their voice. It also works wonders in the case of mouth ulcers and stomach ulcers. Regular consumption of this greens also benefits those with hemorrhoids. Skin conditions like scabies and eczema respond well to consumption of this herb.

Mulai keerai (Amaranth)

This is a tasty green consumed extensively in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Recipes made of this green are very tasty as well as healthy. It cools and energizes the body. The more mature greens of this family is the ‘thandu keerai’. A very good blood cleanser, this green is also strengthens the heart. It loosens stools and helps treat painful and difficult urination due to increase in body ‘heat’.

Pulicha keerai

Known as gongura in Andhra Pradesh, there are numerous tasty recipes made using this green. Consuming this green helps constipation, stomach ulcers and digestive disorders.

Pannai keerai (Celosia argentea)

Pannai keerai has immense medicinal value. Regular consumption of this greens helps ward off ulcerative colitis, stomatitis, sore throat and similar conditions. This has a sweetish-sour taste and is found to be useful in treating eczema and venereal diseases. It loosens the stool and helps in easy bowel movement.

Ponnanganni keerai

Ponnanganni (Alternanthera Sessilis) is an excellent coolant. It neutralizes excessive acidity in the body. It helps keep away bad breath. It is useful in treating skin conditions like scabies, eczema etc and improves the skin tone and texture. It is an excellent herb for hair growth. Application of coconut oil boiled with ponnanganni leaves, shoeflower (hibiscus), arugampul helps in luscious hair growth.

Manathakkali keerai

This greens action on ulcers is well known. It has been very effective in treating all types of internal ulcers, stomach and mouth ulcers. Taking this greens twice or thrice a week keeps the body alkaline and takes care of acidosis, which is considered to be the root cause of all modern diseases.

Thoodhuvalai keerai

This green is an excellent remedy for people suffering from sinus related conditions. Thoothuvalai leaves can be ground to a fine paste adding a bit of tamarind and salt for taste. This paste is taken with hot rice twice or thrice a week. This green has a tendency to increase ‘heat’ in the body and hence should be taken in moderation.


Mint is well known for its action on gas. It adds strength to the body and improves digestion. Kashayam made of dried mint leaves is found to help with jaundice, stomach aches, headaches, hiccups, nausea and vomiting. Dried and powdered mint leaves can be used to treat mouth ulcers. It is also a well known breath freshener.

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Siddha Home Remedies: Medicinal Uses of Seenthil Kodi

Seenthil is an herbaceous climber that grows in plenty in the foot of hills in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand etc. This climber is known by the name of Guduchi in Sanskrit. It is also called amirthavalli, kundali, somavalli etc in various parts of India. There are three varieties of seenthil, known as seenthil, por seenthil, paey seenthil or agaaya garudan, also known as kollan kovai. The mature parts of the climber have immense medicinal value. It gives out yellow flowers during the month of May – July and matures into fruits in September – December periods.

The great Siddha sage Theraiyar makes mention of this wonderful herb in his songs. Patients suffering from diabetes can benefit immensely by using seethil climber to their advantage. The leaves of this climber can be used for this purpose. The seenthil climber leaves are collected, washed and then dried in shade for a couple of days. It is then powdered to a fine consistency and taken in the mornings and evenings. A teaspoonful of this powder in a glass of water would be the recommended dosage.

Seenthil climber 50 grams, coriander 5 grams, adhimadhuram 5 grams, fennel seeds 5 gm, paneer flower 5 gm are boiled in 500 ml water, allowed to cool for a couple of hours and then filtered. 50 ml of this seenthil steeped decoction is taken thrice a day for gas, indigestion and stomach problems.

Seenthil sakkarai is a kind of salt obtained from this climber. Seenthil sakkarai is well known for its medicinal value in Siddha world. It has the potential to heal kapha diseases and well as a good number of skin diseases, especially of the itching and oozing types.

Kashayam made of seenthil tubers (seenthil kizhangu) induces appetite. For this, seenthil tubers are dried in shade and powdered to a coarse consistency. A spoonful of this powder is boiled in four glasses of water and reduced to one glass. People who suffer from loss of appetite, abdominal colic, indigestion, fever etc can take this kashayam twice a day till the conditions improves.

Seenthil leaves are useful in treating non healing wounds and ulcers. The leaves are softened over heat and then crushed to obtain the juice. This is then applied on the wounds and ulcers. Regular application helps in healing of these wounds.

People suffering from the effects of a vitiated pitta can make use of seethil leaves to pacify pitta. Vitiated pitta leads to vomiting of bile, vertigo, loss of appetite, skin irritation, yellowish tinge to the skin, lethargy etc. One well known preparation to pacify pitta is a kashayam using seenthil kodi 15 gm, parpadaagam 15 gm, vettiver 15 gm, sandalwood 15 gm, korai kizhangu 15 gm, sitramutti 15 gm, dried ginger (chukka) 15 gm. These ingredients are ground together and then boiled in one litre of water and reduced to half. This is taken twice a day, morning and evening. This is prepared fresh every day. This preparation pacifies the aggravated pitta and restores the harmony of vata, pitta and kapha.

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Siddha Home Remedies: Medicinal Benefits of Cumin Seeds

Cumin seed is used extensively in Indian cuisine to add taste and aroma to the recipes.  The Tamil word for cumin seed is seeragam ‘the one that regulates and keeps the body healthy’.  It is an excellent coolant.  It adds vitality and freshness to those who take it regular.  Cumin seeds hold a special place in Siddha medicinal system.

A handful of cumin seeds can be taken either raw or in powered form in the mornings.  Regular consumption helps get rid of worms from the intestines.  Some may experience a sort of burning sensation in the stomach region.  This kind of persists even after drinking good amount of water.  Consumption of gassy foods (potato, cauliflower, cabbage, beans, broccoli, cheese, cream, beer etc) can lead to such conditions.  Or this can be due to indigestion.  To treat such conditions, a paste made by grinding cumin seeds to a fine consistency using a few drops of water, is applied on the stomach as a thin layer.

Pregnant women can tackle morning sicknessand other similar problems with the help of cumin seeds.  During the early stages of pregnancy women tend to suffer from nausea and vomiting.  This pregnancy sickness can be a very debilitating and distressing one.  This occurs at any time of the day.  A handful cumin seeds powdered and taken with lemon juice is found to be helpful in dealing this condition.  Women who suffer from excessive menstrual bleed can benefit from taking cumin seeds. 

100 gm of cumin seeds is added to 2 litres of sesame oil and allowed to boil.  As the seeds start to break, the oil is removed from and heat and then stored in bottles.  Regular application of this oil onto the scalp is found to be helpful in treating headache, vomiting, vertigo etc.
Cumin seed is used in treating scorpion stings.  For this purpose a paste of powdered cumin seeds, salt, honey and butter is used.  This mixture is placed on the sting spot.  This helps to neutralize the toxin present in the venom.
Cumin seeds is helpful in treating constipation.  Patients suffering from chronic constipation should chew a few cumin seeds thoroughly and swallow down the juice.  This helps in curing indigestion as well as constipation.  A pinch of powdered cardamom and cumin seeds taken in equal quantity is found to benefit people who suffer from gas.  This can be taken three times a day for better results.  Also cumin seeds taken with palm candy, is an excellent rejuvenator.
Cumin seed water is a common drink in South India, especially Kerala.  This is prepared by adding a teaspoon of cumin seeds to boiling water (around 5 litres).  The water is boiled for a minute or two and then allowed to cool.  This cumin seed water is an excellent natural immune enhancer.  It is recommended for colic, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion etc.  It has antibacterial and antifungal properties.  It induces sleep.  Cumin seed water can help singers improve their voice.  It also helps them keep cough, throat irritation etc at bay.

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Siddha Home Remedies for Jaundice (Manjal Kaamalai)

Jaundice is caused by the increased levels of bilirubin in the blood. This results in yellow pigmentation of the white of the eyes, skin etc. Jaundice is classified into three categories namely pre-hepatic, hepatic and post-hepatic, based on the pathological conditions of the patient.
An increased breakdown of red blood cells can lead to pre-hepatic jaundice. When the pathological process is in the liver, for example hepatitis, this results in hepatic jaundice. Post-hepatic jaundice is also known as obstructive jaundice. Here the bile drainage is interrupted leading to jaundice. Hence a combination of liver function tests is essential in arriving at the diagnosis of jaundice.
The characteristic symptom of jaundice is the yellow pigmentation of the conjunctiva. The urine is yellow colored. There may be pain in the upper right abdomen area where the liver is located. Aversion to food, loss of appetite, vomiting, constipation etc are the other symptoms. In some cases there may be a mild elevation in temperature.
Kizhanelli is a very potent Siddha home remedy for jaundice. Kizhanelli is a tiny herb with very small rounded leaves. This can be found in plenty in damp areas like river banks and near lakes and ponds. Known as stonebreaker, the botanical name for this herb is Phyllanthus niruri.
Kizhanelli kudineer is a Siddha remedy for jaundice that can be prepared using kizhanelli, cardamom and tailed pepper (piper cubeba). A decoction of this herb is prepared with the whole plant along with two cardamom pods and two piper cubeba seeds in 200 ml of water. The water is reduced to one-fourth. 40 ml of this decoction is taken twice a day, preferably in the morning and evening.
Other alternative is to take the whole kizhanelli plant, two cardamom pods and two piper cubeba seeds and grind them to a thick fine paste using water as needed. A (kalkam) bolus of 5 gm is taken with buttermilk or milk two times a day. This is called ‘kizhanelli kalkam’ in Siddha medicinal texts.
Another herb that has a very beneficial effect on liver is ‘karisilankanni’, the False Daisy plant known for its anti-hepatotoxic activity. The ‘karisalai kalkam’ is prepared using a handful of karisalankanni leaves and pepper 1-2 gm ground to a fine paste. A bolus of 5 gm is taken twice a day with buttermilk.
For the treatment to be effective, these Siddha home remedies should be prepared fresh each time. Some time tested Siddha remedies for jaundice that are available in the market include sangu parpam, silajit parpam, annabedhi chenduram, mandoora chenduram etc.
Application of keezhanelli thailam or karisaalai thailam on the scalp for 10-20 minutes before bathing is a well known complementary treatment to those mentioned above. Pancha kalpam made of neem seeds, kadukkai, gooseberries, turmeric, and pepper is an alternative to these oils. This kalpam is applied on the scalp for 10-15 minutes and then washed off with warm, tepid water.
Karisalankanni and kizhanelli are easily available all over South India. Frequent consumption of these herbs strengthens the liver and helps prevent recurrence of jaundice.

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