Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Goji Berries

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Scientific name: Lycium barbarum

Common names: Goji, goji berry or wolfberry


Goji berries grow on an evergreen shrub found in China, Mongolia and in the Tibetan Himalayas. This berry is a member of the nightshade family (Solonaceae), which includes other common vegetables like potato, tomato, eggplant and pepper as well as some poisonous plants like belladonna and deadly nightshade.

They are bright orange-red, ellipsoid about 1–2 cm in diameter.  Goji berries have a mild tangy taste that is slightly sweet and sour that is usually sold dried and looks like bright red raisins.

Goji berries are eaten raw, brewed into tea, or used in smoothies or made into juice. 

Health benefits:

Goji berries have vitamins, antioxidants and all essential amino acids.  It has the highest concentration of protein of any fruit and loaded with vitamin C. Gogi berries have the highest
carotenoids than any other food; have 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium, sodium, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin, polysaccharides, betaine, peptidoglycans and has twenty-one trace minerals.  It is also high in fiber.

It also has natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds.

Goji berries are typically sold in dried berry form when used in traditional Chinese medicine also one should consult a doctor before taking it.

Medicinal Benefits:


Being rich in zeaxanthin which is an antioxidant, Goji berry protect the eyes and decreased the likelihood of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.


Goji berries prevent cancer. Studies show that those treated with immunotherapy in combination with goji polysaccharides saw their cancers regress.

Diabetes Control:

Studies suggest that the fruit extracts of goji berries possess considerable hypoglycaemic properties.

Some studies using goji berry juice found possible benefits that included:

*a feeling of well being and calmness
*better athletic performance
*better quality of sleep
*cardiovascular protection
*lowering of cholesterol
*protection of brain cells 

*protection of the liver and skin
*Weight loss

Precaution: Little is known about the safety of using goji supplements or consuming goji juice in the long-term. It may increase the risk of bleeding and may interact with diabetes medications and/or anticoagulant drugs. Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements.

Monday, July 20, 2015


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Scientific name: Lagerstroemia speciosa.

Common names: Queen's flower, pride of India and queen's crape myrtle and Banaba.

Banaba is a deciduous tropical flowering tree that grow up to 10 meters high. It has large green oblong to elliptic-ovate leaves, smooth and spatulate. The flowers or Banaba are racemes, 6-parted and colored mauve-pink to lavender, purplish lilac. Petals are obovate, shortly clawed with margins that are undulate and hardly fimbriate. Banaba or Queen's flower, crape myrtle bears nut-like fruits that are obovoid and arranged in large clumps.

Parts used: Leaves, fruits

Medicinal properties and uses:

Banaba contains corosolic acid/triterpenoid glycoside acid that act like insulin by lowering the blood sugar in the body. Banaba also contains a lot of dietary fiber and minerals such as magnesium and zinc.

The leaves has Valoneic Acid Dilactone (VAD) which acts as an inhibitor of xanthine oxidase to lower uric acid levels and is effective against gout.

It is also rich in tannin, phenolic compounds, flavonoids and saponins.

Banaba is used in folkloric herbal medicine for the treatment of the following:

Blood pressure control
Cholesterol level control
Kidney stones and other kidney disorders
Weight loss

Preparation of Banaba herbal tea:

Dry Banaba leaves and fruits for about two weeks; cut Banaba leaves/fruits into pieces. One cup of water for every cup of Banaba leaves and fruits.

Boil, strain and let it steep for 30 minutes. Take the Banaba herbal tea for 4 to 6 times daily.

It is recommended to consult your doctor before taking any herbal medicine.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


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Scientific name: Citrus decumana, Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis

Common names: shaddock, pomelo, suha, pamplemousse

Description: Pomelo is a large citrus fruit 15–25 centimetres in diameter and weighing about 2.2 to more than 4 lbs.  It has the consistency of grapefruits without the tart flavor. It is pale green or yellowish in color while its edible flesh inside is pulpy & white, pink or red and has very thick albedo (rind pith).

The peel is used to make marmalade or candied.

Parts used: Fruit, peel, leaves

Nutritional value:

Fresh fruit is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds like vitamin B & C, potassium, iron, magnesium, lycopene and dietary fiber. The rind has flavonoids, limonoids,
and terpenes.

Medicinal properties:

Studies show that pomelo is antimicrobial, antioxidant, free radical scavenging, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.

Anti-Aging - Pomelo has high levels of vitamin C, antioxidants and pomelo also contains spermadine (a rare chemical found in human sperm) and linked to anti-aging properties.

Anti-depressant - The extract of leaves showed psychostimulant effect and increased in norepinephrine level in the synapses thus helpful in lifting up the mood.

Blood Pressure - Pomelos are a very good source of potassium about 37% of your daily requirement. Potassium is a vasodilator which helps release tension of blood vessels and promotes increased blood circulation and oxygenation of organ systems. It is also good for the heart.

Body Cramping - Potassium is important in the fluid balance in the body and prevents muscle cramping and stiffness.

Diabetes - Pomelo Juice yields insulin like substance and is rich in lycopene and vitamin C.

Digestion - Pomelo contains about 25% of your daily requirement of fiber. This promotes healthy digestion and eliminates problems like constipation and diarrhea.

Dyspepsia - Peel or rind, dried or in decoction, used for dyspepsia.

Immune System - Being rich in Vitamin C this fruit helps to fight off infections, colds, coughs, fevers, and other microbial, viral, and bacterial infections.

Weight Loss - Pomelo contains Carnitine pamitoyl-transferase a “fat-burning enzyme” that can help you reduce your weight.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Scientific name: Asparagus officinalis


Asparagus is a herbaceous, spring vegetable and flowering perennial plant with stout stems and much-branched feathery foliage. The "leaves"or modified stems are  needle-like cladodes(branchlets) in the axils of scale leaves. The root system is adventitious and the root type is fasciculated.

The flowers are bell-shaped, greenish-white to yellowish, axillary, fascicled, solitary or in pairs.

Parts used:

Roots and seeds of ripe fruit

Medicinal properties:

Asparagus has been used as a vegetable and medicine because of its diuretic properties, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, mild aperient, sedative, laxative, demulcent and the green resin it contains is believed to be calming to the heart.

Asparagus is high in vitamin B1, B6, B12, Vit A, C, E, K, calcium, magnesium and zinc.  It is also a good source of dietary fiber, protein, beta-carotene, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, selenium and chromium. Asparagus is low in calorie and sodium.

This vegetable is also a natural free radical scavenger and antioxidant.

Medicinal Uses:

Asparagus is considered a useful supplement for hangovers.

Anti-Cancer: Asparagus has sarsasapogenin O, and seven known steroids which demonstrated significant cytotoxicities against human A2780, HO-8910 and other tumor cells.

Asparagus also alleviates pain caused by rheumatism, chronic gout and the green resin is used for flatulence, calculous affections and cardiac dropsy.

Water in which asparagus was boiled is good for rheumatism and the roots are considered a powerful diuretic and used also for bronchial catarrh and pulmonary tuberculosis.