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Grass benefits
Mar 07, 2003 11:24 AM 21189 Views
(Updated Mar 08, 2003 11:37 AM)

This place is very addictive, ain’t it? I mean the MS site. These days I can’t wait to log in here and drown myself in all those masterpieces of reviews, ratings, comments etc. despite busy schedules and pressing times. Another growing tendency is that urge to write more. The HRs and the comments only add to the fuel, not to mention the Best debut kick-start…;-) So here I am fellow MSians, back with yet another review and taking a bow to thank you all for your relentless support, appreciation, admiration. whatever. whatever.

After some solid Bollywood bashing that I did in my previous two opinions, I badly needed a therapeutic respite!:-D So now am treading safe grounds and introducing you to some wonderful medicinal herbs. For once, I am trying to stifle my awful sense of humour and trying to be more informative than entertaining in content. Hope you’ll like it. So here goes.

Khas-khas Grass:

Commonly known as the Khas-khas or, Cus-cus grass, it belongs to family Poaceae(to which all the grass members belong) and its botanical name is Vetiveria zizanioides .

The vernacular names in various languages are:

Sanskrit- Usheera, Amranaala, Virana; Kannada- Madivalada gida/beru, Laavancha, mudi hullu; Hindi-Khas-khas Bena; *Telugu- *Vetti-veru, Metti-vellu; Tamil-Vettiver, Virkel, Viyal; Malayalam- Vettiver, Ramacham

They are usually found along the banks of streams, backwaters and rivulets and grow in discrete clumps. The leaves are green and about 25-80 cm long with narrow base. However, the most distinguishing characteristic is in the roots, which are pale yellow in colour and scented pleasantly. It is these roots that have therapeutic properties as well as other uses.

Some of the uses are listed as below:

Medicinal & Therapeutic:

  • The roots are washed, dried first in shade and then in sunlight, and finely powdered which can be preserved and used as and when required. The over-all effect of the root is as a coolant, hence is widely used to regulate excessive body heat caused due to “Pitta dosha” which is characterised by symptoms like burning sensation of the body, vomiting, excessive heat, thirst & dryness of mouth, parched throat, weakness etc. The pleasant smelling root powder when added to drinking water and taken regularly is believed to cure all the above problems and maintain good health(In some parts of Kerala I suppose it is a general practice).

  • The decoction, made by boiling water with 3-4 tea spoons of the root powder taken along with sugar/jaggery to taste, for about 3-4 times a day to cools away all the burning sensations of body caused by fever, indigestion, excessive heat etc.

  • The roots are ground into fine paste and externally applied over wounds, insect bites and stings to reduce pain and bring down swellings.

  • Its aromatic property helps in ousting the body odour. The root decoction taken with milk and sugar at least once a day for about a week gets rid of the unpleasant body odour caused due to extreme perspiration.

  • Also the paste mixed with equal amount of Sandal wood paste and applied over the face clears away pimples and improves complexion.

General uses:

  • Aromatic medicinal oil extracted from these roots is used in perfumery and Aromatherapy.

  • The pieces of the roots kept in wardrobes between clothes keeps away insects and also makes the clothes pleasant smelling.

  • It is also used to make hand fans and the well-known Khas-khas mats which are used as shades over doors and windows, which help in keeping the place cool and pleasant.

It is possible to grow it in almost all places, either by seeds or saplings, including as ornamentals in pots.

Aonla or the Indian Gooseberry

Commonly known as the Amla, this plant is known as Emblica officinalis in botanical terms and is spread wide and common in occurance.

Vernacular names in various languages:

Sanskrit - Amalaki; Hindi - Amla; English – Aonla/Indian Gooseberry; Bengali - Amlaki; Tamil - Nelli; Kannada -* Nelli Kayi* Marathi - Avala

I will spare you the plant description and other details as many of you would be well aware of this particular one. Also, the fruits are available in markets so there is really no need to go looking for that tree.

Uses(Medicinal and otherwise):

The fruit is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin C which is approximately 20 times the Vitamin C content of an orange. The fruits are effectively used to treat *Human Scurvy(a particular skin disease) and Amlapitta(Peptic Ulcer) & non-ulcerous stomach disorders like dyspepsia(a case of acute indegestion).

The cardioprotective actions help in treating patients with high cholesterol levels

The traditional uses have been in the treatment of burning sensation anywhere in the body, anorexia(lack of hunger), constipation, urinary discharges, inflammatory bowels, cough, fever, thirst, and toxicity of the blood.

The juice of the fresh bark mixed with honey and turmeric is given in Gonorrhea(sexually transmitted disease).

The leaf infusion with fenugreek seeds is given in chronic diarrhea.

Acute case of Dysentery may be treated  with a syrup of amla and lemon juice.

The seeds are powdered and used to treat asthma, bronchitis, and biliousness(disorder of liver/gallbladder causing excess secretion of bile juice).

It is also an ingredient in several important medicinal preparations including *Triphala('three fruits'), which is a laxative(substance to loosen the bowels) and carminative(agents for expelling gas from the intestine) and the famous Chyvanaprash, a general tonic for people of all ages which improves mental and physical well-being.

My favourite use of the fruits is as “Pickles”, they taste excellent when spiced up and seasoned.

This is also another plant that can be grown anywhere(even in pots) with least efforts. All one needs to invest is some interest and perhaps a little time! Just contact the nearest nursery or horticultural unit for further details on both the above useful herbs.

Hope it was useful reading. As always comments, suggestions, criticisms etc are most welcome. RJ

P.S.: In case you are wondering where all that information came from, I’ll let you on a secret… Dear friends, this is what I do for a living…:-D(sheepish grin!) Yeah, yeah… I know, I know(the reason for your quirky smile)… but kya karen, paapi pet ka sawal hein. Ghaas-Phoos bhi matter karthe hein;-)

(*Last line crudely translated means: What to do, its the question of stupid tummy. even Grass-Wass do matter! - Sorry Monica, thats the best I could do.hope you could make some sense out of it:))

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