Every Grandma’s Secret Herbs & Seeds




Plants, herbs & seeds have been used for medicinal purposes even before the prehistoric period. The ancient scholars were of a firm belief that herbs are the best solutions to cure a number of health-related problems. But today, as our lifestyle is getting techno-savvy, we are unknowingly moving away from nature; but we can never escape the nature though.


As herbs & seeds are natural products, they are free from side effects & are locally available. Herbs have been priced for their medicinal, flavouring and aromatic qualities for centuries now. Nutritionist Ankita Vaidya has penned down 6 out various traditional herbs & seeds with all their health benefits & also different ways to consume them.


1. Khus root



The Khus Root is also known as Vetiver and has conventionally been used to add flavour in water with a mild fragrance.


Benefits-

  • Its antibacterial & anti-fungal properties which help to reduce the dandruff that the hot summer might invite.

  • Helps in purifying blood & reduces inflammation.

  • It works as a natural diuretic & also prevents bloating.

  • It’s cell regenerative & exfoliating properties help to cleanse the pores & remove the dead skin cells. It also cures acne, leaving behind a smooth skin.

  • It reduces Pitta Dosha & also balances Pitta and Vatta Dosha.

  • UTI can be relieved with Khus root.

  • Khus roots also help in treating PCOD, Thyroid and Infertility.


Ways to incorporate Khus Root in your routine-

  • Soak the Khus roots in the water you drink. They can be soaked for 3 days, removed, dried & reused.

  • Use it as a sherbet in your hot afternoons.

  • While using it for skin, use the essential oil with a mix of your carrier oil like virgin coconut oil, mix it very well & apply it as a toner or even a moisturizer that will give a soothing effect to your skin.

To prepare a Yummilicious Khus Cocktail click here.


2. Saunf



The humblest ingredients of the kitchen are the secrets to the happy health of our ancestors. Saunf seeds is one such wonderful ingredient imbued with dense nutrients which demands an revelation. The aromatic spice needs no special introduction as it is one of the prominent spices used extensively for its indispensable medicinal and culinary values.

It is a common practice in India to chew a few Saunf seeds soon after a scrumptious meal, not only because it freshens the breath but the bursting amounts of nutrients in the fennel stimulate the digestion process, treat flatulence and indigestion issues. It is a coolant in the seed's form.


Benefits-

  • Dried fennel or Saunf is a storehouse of vital nutrients, low on calories & abundant in vitamin C.

  • Fennel seeds bolsters the immune system, stimulates the collagen production, and works as a potent antioxidant that scavenges the free radicals.

  • Rich in Manganese fennel seeds activates the enzymes, triggers metabolism, regulates blood sugar and strengthens the bones. Besides these, a notable amount of Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Selenium promotes skin health.

  • Saunf seeds hold powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory & antibacterial properties.

  • It pacifies all the 3 Doshas- Vatta, Pitta & Kapha.

  • Along with its cooling properties it is a potent detoxifier.

  • Helps in digestion and treat gastritis.

  • Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help treat menstrual problems, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disorders, and respiratory ailments.

  • Improves metabolism thus helping in weight loss.

Ways to eat fennel seeds-

  • Chew them directly after every meal.

  • Prepare fennel tea to curb the stomach inflammation or any digestive problem.

  • Add it in as many gravy preparations as you can.

To prepare a healthy and tasty Saunf Sherbet click here.


3. Sabja Seeds



Sabja seeds are also known as Falooda seeds, Basil seeds or Tukmaria seeds and are a powerhouse of nutrition and packed with immunity-boosting properties. They are saviours in summers. These seeds are a natural coolant that help in beating the scorching summer heat & known to lower your body heat, essentially soothing the stomach.

Did you know? 1 Tablespoon of Basil/Sabja seeds offers 15% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for calcium & 10% of the RDI for Magnesium & Iron!


Benefits-

  • Excellent source of Omega3, Calcium and Magnesium.

  • Sabja seeds work as a natural detox and coolant for the body and regulate smooth bowel movements.

  • They are loaded with fibre and laxative properties thus helping in treating problems like Constipation, Diarrhoea, or Dysentery.

  • The antioxidants in Basil seeds help in reducing inflammation rate and reduces oxidative stress.

  • Dietary fibre present in Sabja seeds helps in controlling blood sugar levels.

  • Sabja seeds are said to have a calming effect on the mind, best in summer heat.

  • Excellent for skin and hair health.

  • Excellent source of polyphenol and flavonoids.

  • Increases immunity power.

Ways to consume Basil/Sabja seeds-

  • Soak a tablespoon of Sabja seeds overnight & add it in a glass of milk to drink in the morning.

  • Faloodas are the best dessert recipes that work in summers. Add as much Sabja seeds you like in it.

  • Simply add some seeds in a glass of water & drink it after some time.

To try these Sabja seeds to make a delicious Mango Falooda, click here.


4. Ashwagandha



Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda. It is also known by several other names like Indian ginseng and winter cherry.


Benefits-

  • It helps to regulate blood sugar by increasing insulin secretion.

  • It has anti-cancer properties that promote the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) inside cancer cells, disrupting their function. Second, it may cause cancer cells to become less resistant to apoptosis.

  • Lowers cortisol hormone & helps treat anxiety, stress & insomnia, too.

  • For men, it also helps to increase testosterone levels and significantly boosts sperm quality & fertility.

  • It is helpful in increasing strength & stamina in your body.

  • Its anti-inflammatory properties increase the activity of natural killer cells, which are immune cells that fight infection.

  • It may help reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol & triglyceride levels.

  • It is known to improve brain function & concentration.

  • Ashwagandha flowers have potent diuretic and aphrodisiac properties which is used for improving fertility and treating kidney problems such as kidney stones.

Ways to consume Ashwagandha-

  • Ashwagandha is available in 3 forms:

  1. Powder (Churna)

  2. Capsules

  3. Tablet

  • Though you can add the powder in water to make tea, or milkshake or have it with honey, the dosage should be once consulted with an expert based on your body.


Do you know, you can prepare a soothing Ashwagandha and Cashew milk to relax yourself before bedtime? Click here.


5. Tulsi



Also known as holy basil, Tulsi is widely used for its immense medicinal properties. In Ayurveda, Tulsi is known as ‘The Incomparable One’, ‘Mother Medicine of Nature’ & ‘The Queen of Herbs’.


Benefits-

  • Tulsi acts as a mild diuretic & detoxifying agent which helps in lowering the uric acid levels in the body, thus aids in treating kidney stones.

  • It helps kill bacteria and infections. The primary active compound of holy basil oil is eugenol which helps fight skin related disorders. Ocimum Sanctum helps treat skin infections both internally and externally.

  • Rich source of Vitamin K which is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in bone and heart health.

  • Due to the presence of compounds like camphene, eugenol, and cineole, Tulsi cures viral, bacterial, and fungal infections of the respiratory system.

  • It pacifies Kapha and Vatta Dosha.

  • Paste of Tulsi helps in urticaria itching.

  • It helps to relieve sinusitis and headaches.

Ways to consume Tulsi-

  • Plucked fresh from the plant, Tulsi leaves are easy to eat raw.

  • Make Tulsi tea or Kadha.

  • Tulsi powders and supplements are also available in the market for daily consumption.

Did you know Tulsi Kadha has been used as ancient medicine for sore throat, cough and cold since years? To watch this recipe, click here.


6. Brahmi



Brahmi, a creeper, and a perennial herb has been used for generations and is widely known for its amazing health benefits as recommended by Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and other alternative medicines across the world.


Benefits-

  • It contains active compounds called bacosides, which have shown antioxidant effects, especially in the brain.

  • It has potent anti-inflammatory properties and suppresses proinflammatory enzymes and cytokines.

  • It is known to boost brain function & immunity.

  • It helps reduce ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

  • Brahmi is good for treating hair problems like dandruff, itchiness, and formation of split ends too.

  • Potent liver detoxifier is another characteristic of Brahmi.

  • It is a great remedy to get relief from arthritis, gout and other inflammatory conditions.

  • It also helps in soothing gastric ulcers and treating an irritable bowel syndrome.

  • It balances Kapha and Vatta Dosha

  • Brahmi helps to cure epilepsy.

  • It is used to maintain normal blood pressure by increasing the use of nitric oxide and vascular muscle function.

Ways to consume Brahmi -

  • Brahmi Fresh Juice

  • Brahmi Churna

  • Brahmi Capsule/tablet

  • Brahmi Cold Infusion

  • Brahmi Health drink

  • Brahmi oil can be used to control hair fall and promote hair growth when applied to the scalp.

  • Brahmi chutney to relish with Dosas and Idlis

To know lip smacking recipe for Brahmi powder with milk, which goes as a nutritious health drink for kids and adults. Click here.


Now that you know how you can naturally take care of our health, inculcate these herbs & seeds in your routine and celebrate its positive outcome. Also, if you need any further assistance on how to add these in your diet or know more of such health tips, feel free to make an appointment with our star nutritionist, Ankita Vaidya.


Stay tuned to Nth Sense for more such health information.


Ankita Vaidya

Nutritionist, Post-Graduation in FOOD SCIENCE and DIETETICS