Rue

RUE (botanical name : RUTA GRAVEOLENS) is a small, evergreen shrub with woody stems and bluish-grey-green leaves.  It is used as a flavouring agent in Greece and other Mediterranean countries.  The leaves have an astringent or bitter taste, especially when dried.  RUE can be used with sour, acidic foods, which help to tone down its bitterness such as tomato sauces and dishes with olives or capers.  RUE leaves and berries are an important part of the cuisine of Ethiopia.  Sometimes, RUE seeds are used to flavour porridge.  In Italy, the young branches of the plant are dipped in a batter, deep-fried and consumed with salt or sugar.

rue-plantRUE is one of the herbs mentioned in the New Testament.  In some countries, holy water is sprinkled from brushes  made of RUE at the ceremony usually preceding the Sunday of High Mass, for which reason it is called the HERB OF REPENTENCE and the HERB OF GRACE.  RUE has a long history of use in both medicine and magic, and is considered a ‘protective herb’ in both disciplines.

The hardy evergreen shrub is mentioned by writers from Pliny to Shakespeare and beyond, as a ‘herb of remembrance’  of ‘warding’ and of ‘healing’.  RUE was once believed to improve eyesight and creativity, and no less personages than Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo regularly ate the small, trefoil leaves to increase their own levels of creativity.

Since olden days, RUE has been used to ward off contagion and prevent attacks of fleas and other noxious insects.  RUE juice is used to treat earache.  It is believed that RUE is helpful in the treatment of hypertension, diabetes and allergic reactions.  Tea made from RUE leaves is used to treat nervous headache, griping stomach ache, dizziness, cough, vertigo, palpitation, anxiety problems and high blood pressure.

————— (Sacred Space)

Get rid of mouth ulcers

An ‘ulcer’ or a ‘perforation’ in the mouth, can be quite a pain.  Wile severe cases do need medical attention and in-depth check-up of what is causing it, there are home remedies to cure ulcers caused by bad eating habits.

(1) Ulcers could hurt a lot, so gently rub a cube of ice on the portion, for temporary relief.

  (2) Apply honey or ghee on the area for quick relief.  Repeat this process a couple of times so it eventually subsides.

(3) Chew on a clove bud.  Clove juice is known to heal the affected area.

(4) Anything with coconut will help —— coconut water cools your body down.  Chew on some coconut so the pain reduces or you could also apply a little coconut on the area for some respite.

(5) A good way to reduce heat in the body is to consume poppy seeds.  You could mix some sugar with poppy seeds and then consume them.

(6) One of the most popular methods to get rid of ulcers is to apply aloe vera gel on the affected area.

(7) Tough it might burn a little, gargle at least twice a day with warm water and salt.

(8) For temporary relief, place black tea bags on the affected area.  It will soothe you for a while.

(9) Avoid using mouthwashes containing alcohol, because alcohol works as a dehydrant.  .

Also use soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritation.

——Mrinalini.Sundar@timesgroup.com.

5 fruits to have this summer

It is important to keep your body hydrated in order to stay healthy in summer.  Besides drinking coconut water, buttermilk and loads of water, you must have fruits.  Nutritionists suggest five fruits to have this summer to cope with the heat and stay cool.

Melon(1) MELONS :   This water-rich fruit comes as a relief during the scorching summer.  Water melons are 90% water.  If you are suffering from a heat burn, water melon will have a soothing effect on your stomach.  Muskmelon also has plenty of Vitamin C and it boosts immunity.

Ice apple(2) ICE APPLE :  This fruit has a fantastic cooling effect on the body.  During summer we tend to get  heat rashes and stomach burns.  Regular intake of ice apples will help overcome common health-related issues that arise  Give children this fruit often, as they spend a lot of time outdoors during the summer vacations.  It will help them cope with the heat.  Ice apples are also high on vital minerals and Vitamin B12.

pears(3) PEARS : This juicy fruit quenches thirst and has several digestion benefits as it is rich in fibre.  It also helps prevent constipation.  Pears are rich in vitamins and minerals.

guava(4) GUAVA :  This sodium-free fruit prevents common summer health problems like cough, cold, diarrhoea and dysentery.  The fruit is also an antioxidant and helps prevent cell damage.

sweet lime(5) SWEET LIME :  Choose sweet lime instead of carbonated drinks when you feel thirsty. The vitamin C content in sweet lime will keep you away from cold and flu and its potassium content relieves one from diarrhoea , which is common this season.

—————Janani.Karthik@timesgroup.com. 

Reading before bed

In today’s social media world where one usually spends time on their phone before going to bed, here are a few important points to keep in mind.  This will surely make you ditch the phone and go for a book.
reading-before-bedWe scan, we skim, we browse but rarely do we read.  Our eyes Ping-Pong back and forth from Facebook posts to open chat boxes, unclicked emails to GIFs of dancing cats, scanning for key words but barely digesting what we see.  Average time spent on an online article is 15 seconds.
In 2014, the Pew Research Centre revealed that one-quarter of American adults hadn’t read a single book in the previous year.  And that’s a shame, because those who read exhibit significantly greater memory and mental abilities at all stages in life.  They are also better public speakers, thinkers and, according to some studies, better people in general.
 Cracking open a book before you go to bed could help combat insomnia, too.  A 2009 study from researchers at University of Sussex showed that six minutes of reading reduces stress by 68%, thus clearing the mind and readying the body for sleep.
The reasoning by psychologist and author Doctor David Lewis is that a book is “an active engaging of the imagination”, one that “causes you to enter an altered state of consciousness”.  It doesn’t matter if your book of choice is by James Patterson or James Joyce, fiction or fact, so long as you find it fully absorbing.  Because when the mind is engaged in a world constructed by words, tension evaporates and the body relaxes, paving the way for sleep.
———– Source : www. businessinsider.com

Fat and fabulous

FAT. It’s a beautiful word made ugly in a “thin-inspired” world.  It is important to keep your fat consumption under control, but eliminating fats entirely results in eliminating an extremely key nutritional component your body needs.  It adversely affects your efforts at getting fit.  Your body needs a healthy combination of protein, carbs, vitamins and fats for you to burn fat., because “fat burning” is a high metabolic activity.  Simply put, YOU NEED FAT TO BURN FAT.
Some fats are bad for you, pile on the cholesterol and cause problems and some fats are good.  Fats like MUFA and PUFA and Omega-3 fatty acids aid your overall weight loss and weight management goals.  Include these fabulous fats in your diet. —-
(1) Fat : AVOCADO  Fabulous : Avocado is loaded with vitamins (vitamins K, C, B5, B6 and E), fibre and antioxidants.  It is not alien to health and well-being and can be eaten in the form of a dip (like guacamole), in a salad or even on its own.  Go green
Avodaco(2) Fat : ALMONDS  Fabulous : An Almond is  a nutritional boon, combating health issues like high cholesterol and osteoporosis.  It’s also good for your heart, brain and immunity  Get a daily handful of this nutritious ninja (5-6 almonds per day if you are not on a weight loss programme)  to derive the best to offer.  Unsweetened almond milk is also a good  substitute for cow or buffalo milk if you are lactose intolerant.
(3)  Fat : WALNUTS.  Fabulous : Walnuts brim with nutrients.  Having 2 to 3 a day is enough to help your heart, bone health, mood and weight loss.  It also helps fight insomnia, gallstones, diabetes.
(4) Fat : FLAXSEEDS.  Fabulous : Flaxseed is an understated  power-packed fat.  Not only does it act as a natural laxative, it decreases cholesterol and has been known to put up an impressive fight against diabetes.  A teaspoon a day of toasted flaxseeds is all you need.
(5) Fat : GROUNDNUT.  Fabulous : Groundnut oil has a  great balance of MUFA & PUFA.  This oil is especially good because it has the antioxidant “resveratrol”, and is a good source of Vitamin E.  Those with peanut allergies need to avoid this though.
spanish-olives(6) Fat : RICE BRAN.  Fabulous : Another oily option is rice bran oil.  This is packed to the hilt with vitamin E and antioxidants.  It melds well with whatever you cook, be it Indian or Continental.  Its relatively low price makes it an extremely economically-viable option.
(7) Fat : SALMON.  Fabulous : Salmon fights heart disease, protects joints, improves mood and boosts cognition Cured or grilled salmon can be  apart of your plate in many different avatars.
(8) Fat : EGGS.  Fabulous : With just 16 calories per egg white, it is a 100% reference protein.  All the protein you get from an egg gets fully absorbed by the body, with none going to waste.  It is also cheap.  Eat it daily to keep your energy battery on auto recharge mode.
Baked Salmon(9) Fat : OLIVES.  Fabulous : Olives are great fats, and have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.  Pop it in salads, slice it in pasta or just have it as it is.
(10) Fats : SESAME SEEDS  Fabulous : Sesame seeds not only work to give you the good fats you need but are also an excellent source of calcium.
Whatever you choose to eat, all fats should be kept to about 10% in total of your daily recommended calorie intake.  Remember —– Good fats are not always less calorific but they can nourish you like few other things can.
—— Pooja Makhija (Nutritionist)   

Benefits of essential oils

Want to de-stress yourself at home without going to the spa ?  Essential oils are here to give you a similar soothing experience.  Extracted from various flowers and plants, these body oils help to unwind both physically and mentally.  Some of these oils have anti-microbial, antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.  BT talks to aroma therapists to know more about the ” benefits of essential oils”.
Naushad, an aroma therapist at a spa in Bengaluru, says, ” Body oils help the skin glow.  Lavender, eucalyptus and cinnamon oils are used as stress-busters.  The aroma of these oils improves blood circulation and also improves the texture of the skin.  A combination of lemon and rosemary oils and anti-cellulite oils helps to reduce body fat”.
Ajay, another essential oils expert, says,” Extra virgin olive oil contains a good amount of minerals, which are good for hot oil massage.  It helps to reduce body pain.  Harmony oil, made from flower and leaf extracts, is also good for mental health”.
So, how often should one go for massage and what should be the ideal duration of the therapy ?  “People who have a


Aromatherapy


sedentary lifestyle should go for aroma therapy at least once in a week, while for others once in every 15  days or a month is good enough,” Ajay adds.

LAVENDER : Lavender oil as the quality of providing good sleep and helps to improve your nervous system.  This oil also helps to remove dandruff, and tackle eczema and hair loss.
CINNAMON : Cinnamon oil is rich I manganese, iron and calcium.  It improves brain function, purifies blood and helps to ward off diabetes.  Application of the oil on the body during winter nights keeps us warm and protects us from cold, cough and breathing problems.  As other oils, this oil is also used as room fresheners.
EUCALYPTUS : This oil helps to keep respiratory infections, body pain, wounds, burns and ulcers at bay.  It is also used in toothpastes, cough drops and lozenges.  It is beneficial for mental health and used in many medicines.
OLIVE : Olive oil is considered good for dry skin.  It brings out the skin’s natural texture and acts as a conditioner for the hair and nails.  The oil is rich in Vitamin E and A, which also helps to regenerate skin cells.  It can be used as body lotion, eye makeup remover, lip scrub as well used as used in homemade face packs.  Aroma therapists mix olive and lavender oils for a cooling effect in summers.
ANTI-CELLULITE : Regular massage with this oil helps to remove toxins from the body.  It burns fat and reduces cellulite.  The different varieties of this oils include hazelnut, juniper, citrus and jojoba.
——————Vikram.Kapoor@timesgroup.com. and Tessa Adeline Nelson.

Some salad basics

Not all salad greens are equally healthy.  Just because there are fresh fruits and vegetables on your plate doesn’t mean you’re eating healthy.
avocado-mango-salad-fgWe all know that Salad is health and well-being tossed in a bowl.  But how to get that right balance, proportion, colour and flavour out of your crunchy meal is a question that still daunts most of us.  Here are some “salad basics”. ——–
* THINK OUTSIDE THE BOWL : Give up on predictable staples like chickpeas and sprouts and spruce up your salad with new entrants every week.  Go for fresh herbs, beet slices, avocado, low-fat goat cheese or power-packed pumpkin seeds.  This will not only keep you interested in the salad regime, but also pack in different nutrients and flavours.
* DAKER THE BETTER :  Not all greens are equally healthy.  Iceberg lettuce is crunchy and attractive on a salad plate, but not very high on the nutrition metre.  Go for darker leaves instead, like baby spinach, rocket leaves, red and green leaf and Romaine lettuce or kale as they pack in more vitamins and minerals.  These plant-based wonders may help protect you from heart disease, diabetes.
*DON’T FALL FOR CRUNCH :  Adding those crispy noodles or croutons to your Thai or Asian salad might up the yummy spring pasta and chicken saladquotient, but it doesn’t favour your waistline.  Croutons are made from processed white bread, which equates to empty carbohydrates and high calories.  Walnuts or water chestnuts are a much healthier way to get the crunch you want.
* EAT SALAD FOR DESSERT :  There’s an on-going debate about when to have your salad ……….. before or after the meal ?  Well, in Italy and France, they have it after aperitifs and the main course.  Not bad, say health experts, since salad improves digestion after a long and heavy meal.  If your after-dinner snack is high in fat, it can lead to indigestion that makes it difficult to sleep soundly.  Salad, however, is lighter and is less likely to affect the quality of your sleep.
* DON’T PILE ON MINDLESSLY :  Keeping the ratio right, in a salad, is the key thing.  Try to take up about three-fourths of your plate with greens, so you’ll have less room for high-calorie stuff.
* MUNCH BEFORE A RUN :  Salad in the morning helps your body re-hydrate after a mad night-out and provides enough antioxidants and slow burning carbohydrates for a run.  ——— So, are you having your salad right ?
——— supriya.sharma2@timesgroup.com.