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Ashwagandha Is a sexual aphrodisiac. It acts by increasing blood flow to the genital area and increases sexual desire. Consume around 2 grams of Ashwagandha powder every evening. It is also available . . . in the form of tablets or capsules. If you suffer from high blood pressure, speak to your doctor about whether it is safe for you. Shatavari This is an aphrodisiac for women. Besides increasing energy levels, it also helps keep the levels of the female hormones normal and thus, has a beneficial effect on the functioning of the reproductive system.  Although primarily prescribed for women, Shatavari is also considered useful to increase the sex drive in men. You can get fresh roots of Shatavari from any herbal medicine shop. Crush them, prepare a decoction.  Add this to water and simmer on a medium flame for a few minutes. Alternatively, use Shatavari powder in a dose ranging from 3 to 6 grams, starting with a lower dose and moving on to a higher one if necessary. Gokshura Also called Gokhru, it has the property of increasing the secretion of the hormone testosterone and therefore, exhibits aphrodisiac properties, causing sexual arousal in both women and men. In men, Gokhru is believed to also increase the levels of nitric oxide, leading to easier erections that are sustained for longer. In women, it also helps to keep levels of prolactin low and this contributes to its aphrodisiac properties because prolactin tends to reduce sexual desire. The Gokhru powder should be taken at a dosage level ranging between 1 to 3 grams per day and you may begin to experience the effects after three days. If you plan to use a marketed preparation, follow the instructions regarding dosage as indicated on the label. Shilajit One of the most valuable of herbo-mineral drugs obtained from the Himalayan mountain, it is said to contain the fossilized forms of valuable medicinal plants. Studies have shown that Shilajit helps to increase spermatogenesis, testosterone levels, sperm counts and sperm motility in men and ovogenesis in women. Besides, it has shown stress-relieving properties and this may also contribute to its aphrodisiac effects. Of the four varieties of Shilajit – yellow, red, blue and black – the black one is considered to be the most beneficial. The recommended dosage of Shilajit ranges between 300 to 500 mg per day. It is best to begin with the minimum dose, and take it with water; if you do not experience any undesirable reaction such as a skin rash or headache, you can increase the dose by 100 mg and observe its effectiveness. Ginseng For centuries, people in China have used Ginseng to cure problems with sexual function because it acts on both the reproductive as well as the nervous system to increase libido. Its acts on the blood vessels of the penis there by improving erections. It also helps to improve energy levels by acting on neurotransmitters which enhance moods. Ginseng is available as an extract, a paste, a powder as well as capsules. If you are taking a concentrated extract, between 100 and 200 mg will suffice; if you want to use the powder form, the recommended dose is between 5 to 10 grams. You will probably need quite a few days to begin experiencing results from taking Ginseng. People with heart and kidney problems or high blood pressure or those on anti-coagulant drugs or aspirin should speak to their doctor about taking Ginseng.  While the dosage levels presented here are the generally recommended dose, it is best to schedule a personal consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor who is best placed to guide you in the use of these aphrodisiac herbs. Most important of all, remember that the best aphrodisiac of all is deep-seated love.

Piles or hemorrhoids refer to a commonly occurring condition in which the veins around the anal canal/rectum become swollen and inflamed. Rectal bleeding, irritation and pain are indications of piles. . . . Constipation is the primary cause of piles, which are aggravated by prolonged toilet trips and excessive straining. Piles are also more common in pregnant women and middle-aged people. The best way to ward off this problem is to take a diet rich in fiber and low in processed foods. Also, obesity can trigger this condition while exercise and physical activity can help alleviate it. In most cases, piles are easy to manage naturally with certain lifestyle changes. Following home remedies can be helpful in relieving symptoms of piles. #1 Banana is a natural laxative that can do wonders for your system. A ripe, mashed banana boiled in a cup of milk had 3-4 times a day relieves pain due to piles. #2 Dried figs also help alleviate this problem. Soak 3-4 dried figs in a glass of water overnight and have them along with the water the next morning. You can again saturate 3-4 figs in the morning and have them at night. This remedy will show effect in a month. #3 Consuming half a glass of radish juice twice a day is helpful for this problem. Start with ¼ cup of radish juice and gradually increase the intake to ½ a cup. Turnip leaves juice and beetroot juice is also beneficial for the same. #4 Daily consumption of a teaspoon of freshly ground turmeric provides relief from pain and soreness due to piles on account of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory action. #5 Mix a tablespoon of honey with ½ a teaspoon each, of mint leaves juice, ginger juice and lime juice and have this daily, to reduce the problem. #6 Apply ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder mixed with a tablespoon of mustard oil and aloe vera gel to the affected area. #7 Prepare a mixture of 3 teaspoons of bitter gourd leaves juice with a glass of buttermilk. Have it on empty stomach every morning for a month. #8 You can also have a glass of buttermilk along with ¼ teaspoon of carom seeds and a pinch of black salt daily to get rid of piles. Alternatively, you can add a rock salt, some ginger powder and peppercorns to buttermilk. #9 Application of coconut oil on the affected area is an effective home remedy for anal itching and soreness. #10 External application to the anus of half a teaspoon of mustard powder mixed with a tablespoon of honey at bedtime is a wonderful home remedy for piles. #11 Application of sesame seed oil helps relieve pain and soreness in case of external piles. You can sit in a tub of warm water after that. #12 Consumption of fresh juice of amla (Indian gooseberry) every morning on empty stomach is of great benefit. #13 Oral consumption of 1 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds and the same quantity of unroasted cumin seeds, both in the powdered form, with a glass of cold water daily is a remedial measure for piles. #14 Raw onions should be consumed every day to reduce anal pain and bleeding due to piles. #15 An ointment can be prepared by adding some turmeric, leaves of Indian hemp and onion juice to some sesame oil. Regular application of this ointment can be helpful. #16 Boil some pomegranate peels in a glass of water, strain and cool. Drink it twice a day. #17 Grind dry mango seeds, mix 2 teaspoons of this powder with some honey and consume this concoction twice a day for relief from piles. #18 A teaspoon of mustard powder taken with curd daily is a useful remedial measure for piles. In addition to these home remedies, drinking plenty of water is the best way to overcome this problem. Water reduces the risk of getting constipated andclears the system of toxins. Natural stool softeners like isabgol (psyllium husk) can also ward off constipation. For young children, one can add a few drops of desi ghee to the milk given at bedtime. You can also resort to natural pain relief measures like hot water tub or ice packs.

Sore throat is a very common ailment often aggravated by a change in weather, consumption of cold and sour foods, allergies or a viral infection. It is characterized by pain/irritation in the throat, . . . redness at the back of the tongue accompanied by inflammation of throat, a blocked nose, cough and in more acute conditions, an increase in body temperature. Sore throat can cause considerable discomfort in terms of difficulty in swallowing food and breathing. Though one might be tempted to go for medical treatment for a quick relief, there are a wide variety of herbs and spices easily available in our own kitchens which can help us  get rid of this problem quickly and effectively. These can also be used in addition to the medicines prescribed by your physician. Listed below are some common home remedies which can effectively relieve sore throat and associated symptoms without side effects. #1. GINGER: Ginger tea is the most trusted home remedy for sore throat. A few leaves of basil (tulsi) and a  clove or two of cardamom added while preparing tea multiply the effect. #2. MILK: Generally milk and milk products are to be avoided during this condition but having half a teaspoon of turmeric added to a cupful of warm milk before going to bed is often seen as an effective home remedy. #3. HONEY: Honey works wonders for an inflamed throat. Mix one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of lemon juice with half a cup of warm water and have it several times a day. Alternatively, half a teaspoon of ginger powder mixed with a teaspoon of honey and some black pepper also works really well. #4. SALT WATER: The oldest and simplest remedial measure for a sore throat is gargling with a warm salt water solution few times. Done at night as soon as you have feel the soreness generally relieves the problem by morning. #5. FENUGREEK: Boil some water with fenugreek (methi) seeds or leaves. Let it cool and use for gargling 4-5 times a day. #6. HENNA: Gargles with water boiled along with a few henna leaves is also recommended. #7. HERBAL KAARHA: A kaarha (beverage with medicinal value) can be prepared by boiling a piece of ginger, a few cloves of garlic and some cumin seeds in water.Cool and store this preperation. Consuming this concoction a few times a day is a powerful remedy for throat pain. #8. BETEL: A paste can be prepared by crushing some betel leaves and can be applied externally on the throat as a remedial measure. #9. MASSAGE: Similarly, external massage of the throat area with ghee (clarified butter) is another home remedy for this problem. #10. LEMON: Heat a mixture of one tablespoon of lemon juice, half a teaspoon of black pepper and half a teaspoon of salt and consume it once every day for curing a sore throat. #11. CINNAMON: Another useful herb for curing sore throat is cinnamon. It can be used as a gargle or for preparing tea. #12. APPLE CIDER: A mixture of apple cider vinegar and water is helpful in easing discomfort. #13. ONION: Another home-made concoction for sore throat is a syrup made with honey and onion juice in the ratio of 1:2. One spoon of this syrup taken twice daily is beneficial. #14. GINGER & SALT: Chewing a piece of ginger with some salt is helpful. #15. CLOVES: Another gargle which can be prepared is that of cloves boiled in water. Besides these remedial measures, a proper diet is needed to treat sore throat. Cold and sour food items may be avoided.Carbonated drinks, ice-cream, milk products, fried food, heavy food, pastries and nuts are an absolute no-no.Eat light meals and drink lots of warm water. Tea,herbal and green, is also very beneficial. Additionally, protect yourself from cold conditions. Keeping warm and avoiding exposure to unfavorable weather as far as possible is very important.

Hangover is the after effect of drinking alcohol, a combination of painful and unpleasant physiological and psychological signs that affect the whole body. Heavy consumption of alcohol a night before . . . can result in hangover the next morning. Following are some of the most common symptoms of hangover and natural remedies that help relieve these symptoms. Dehydration Alcohol is diuretic in nature, which means it removes fluids from our body and can make it dehydrated. Dehydration in turn can trigger other symptoms such as excessive thirst and headache. To prevent dehydration, it helps to prehydrate yourself before you begin alcohol consumption. Taking water alternatively while consuming alcohol also helps in minimizing its dehydrating effects. To regain the lost fluids, drink plenty of water the next morning. Adding honey will help replace the lost sugar. Drinking fluids will induce urination, giving your body an opportunity to flush out toxins. Raw fruits or fruit shakes are also very effective for regaining lost energy and reducing muscle weakness. Guava juice is particularly recommended to relieve hangover symptoms. Coconut water is a refreshing natural alternative to soft drinks and packaged beverages. Headache Alcohol causes blood vessels to expand which may lead to headaches within hours of alcohol consumption or the very next morning. Alcohol breakdown in the liver produces a chemical acetaldehyde which may also cause hangover headaches. Alcohol can trigger a migraine attack, therefore people with a history of migraine headaches need to control alcohol consumption and take only small doses. In case of hangover headaches, over the counter pain relievers may provide some relief. However, natural remedies such as the following are preferable. Drink a glass of water to which lemon juice has been added. Alternatively, add lemon juice to black tea and sip slowly. Boil a few thyme leaves in water. Drink this concoction two-three times a day. Milk thistle, fennel seeds (saunf) and Chamomile tea are also effective in hangover. A gentle massage with sesame, peppermint or eucalyptus oil will help ease the headache. Nausea Alcohol upsets the stomach lining and promotes production of stomach acid. It delays emptying of stomach which may lead to nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting. Also, nausea is your body's natural protective response to the toxin attack. Nausea from alcohol can be prevented by not drinking on an empty stomach. Having light snacks before drinking or along side drinks can help in slowing down the body’s absorption of alcohol and thus keep nausea away. Chewing a piece of ginger is effective in relieve nausea. You can also drink ginger tea prepared by boiling a few pieces of ginger in water. Add honey for taste. Chew on peppermint leaves (pudina) or take peppermint tea for instant relief from nausea and vomiting. Honey and lemon juice in warm water is the best known remedy for hangover symptoms, including nausea. Consuming eggs is helpful as eggs contain cysteine, an amino acid which helps in cleaning  up the system by breaking down toxins. Low blood sugar Alcohol consumption makes the liver work harder as it must break down alcohol into a form that can be easily eliminated from the body. The liver starts working overtime to detoxify the blood and cannot maintain blood glucose levels, which may result in low blood sugar. Lower blood sugar levels can cause weakness, lethargy and fatigue. A carbohydrate rich diet before or along with drinking may help in optimizing blood sugar levels and may protect from feelings of weakness and fatigue at the time of hangover. Additionally, Fresh tomato juice  is an effective treatment for hangover induced sugar plunge. Instead of synthetic drinks and foods, opt for natural foods such as honey and fresh fruits to replenish sugar levels. Eat carbohydrate rich foods such as whole wheat breads, egg whites, potatoes, dry fruits, lentils and pasta. Other effects Alcohol consumption can also cause dizziness, vertigo, anxiety and irritability. It can affect one's cognitive and decision making ability. During a hangover, a person may experience problems with his memory, concentration and performing routine tasks. Usually such symptoms disappear within 24 hours, provided one takes complete rest, allowing the hangover to subside. Hangover symptoms vary from person to person. The best way to avoid a bad hangover is to avoid heavy doses of alcohol, particularly on an empty stomach.  

The dental health of children is on a decline due to an increase in the consumption of sweets, candies, chocolates, artificially-flavored drinks and junk food starting at a very early age. The . . . incidence of tooth-decay among children has been rising over the years. The foundation of dental health as adults lies in good care of the teeth at a young age. As parents, it is our responsibility to take  care of the child's teeth right from the time the first tooth breaks out. Teaching the child how to brush properly and looking after the gums is the first step towards healthy and decay-free teeth. Various Dental Problems among Children Dental problems among children chiefly revolve around dental caries or tooth-decay, which may occur due to consumption of sweet foods- solid or liquid, and overuse of feeding bottles and soothers in infants. It can lead to severe pain, infection and discomfort. Thumb sucking in infants can cause misalignment of the teeth, which may later require the fitting of braces to correct the position and alignment of the teeth. Caring for Your Child's Teeth The problem of tooth-decay though common, is still a preventable condition, with just a little extra caution on the behalf of the parents. Some simple steps can be taken to ensure a good dental health for your child. Brushing and flossing: Start cleaning the teeth of the baby with a clean cloth even before he/she gets the first tooth and graduate to a soft toothbrush with a flouride-based toothpaste as soon as the first milk tooth breaks out. A pea-sized blob of toothpaste is adequate for the child. Be careful that the child does not ingest the toothpaste. It helps to make a rule regarding brushing twice daily and then leading by example. Guide the child to floss and rinse their mouth properly. You can also introduce a tongue-cleaner. Give them the right food: Ensure limited access to sweets and sugary foods. The sugar in the food and drinks causes the formation of a mild acid in the mouth, which attacks the enamel and causes cavities. Juices and cold drinks are equally harmful. Be firm with the child and let him/her realize that your “no” is for their own good. Regular visits to the dentist: According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child should be taken for their first dental check up as early as at the age of one. This can help you find out whether your child is susceptible to dental caries and the dentist can give the child fluoride treatment or fissure sealants, whichever is required. Taking the child for dental check-ups at least twice a year ensures timely detection and rectification of dental problems. Moreover, early introduction of the child to this environment makes him/her comfortable with it. Avoid bottle feeding: Putting a child to bed with a bottle of milk can cause havoc to their oral health. The sugary milk sticks to the teeth overnight and makes an acid attack on the teeth. Similarly, excessive use of pacifiers affects the growth of the teeth and the shape of the mouth. Avoid mouth unfriendly medications: Some medications or syrups are high in sugar content, which by themselves cause as much damage to the teeth as any other sugary food. Such medicines may be some cough syrups, antibiotics or medicines for some chronic conditions like asthma. They can cause the overgrowth of candida (yeast) which leads to a fungal infection called oral thrush. Use of some medicines over a long period of time can also cause discoloration of teeth. A thorough rinsing and brushing every time the child takes the medicine can help minimize damage. Home Remedies to Prevent Tooth Decay Besides all the aforementioned precautions, certain simple remedies can help you ensure the teeth and gum health of your child. Give the child plenty of teeth-cleaning foods like apples, celery, raw carrots and unsweetened popcorn. These will serve the dual purpose of nutrition as well as dental health. Encourage the child to drink plenty of water which will lower the risk of cavities by flushing out bacteria. It will also reduce acid formation inside the mouth. Avoid giving the child food which is too hard to chew as they can cause tiny fractures in the enamel which can aggravate into major cracks over the years. Using dried and powdered basil (tulsi) leaves for brushing can protect the child from bleeding gums. Avoid sticky foods like candies, jelly, chips and cookies, instead insist that the child has fibrous and vitamin C rich foods like apples and oranges. Cheese is also good for dental health as it is a rich source of calcium and phosphorus. Broccoli and sweet potato are the vegetables good for teeth while onions have a capacity to kill oral bacteria. As parents, we surely can give our children a bright and healthy future by setting examples for them. Following a healthy dental regime yourself, giving due importance to dental hygiene, regular dental check-ups and nutritious diet can be the best ways to convince your child to follow suit.

Mint, popularly known as pudina in India, is an aromatic herb widely used in variety of cuisines worldwide. Known for their warm and fresh aroma, mint leaves are used to add an extra zing to tea and . . . beverages, as a flavoring and garnishing agent for curries and for preparing tempting condiments like mint-flavored yogurt (raita) or mint chutney. Mint oil is an important ingredient in aromatherapy, cosmetics, perfumes and toothpastes. In addition to the amazing aroma and flavor, mint is popular for its medicinal qualities, considered since ancient times, to be diuretic, carminative (gas relieving), anti-bacterial, anti-pruritic (anti-itch) and decongestant in action. Mint finds an important place in a number of home remedies for treating various ailments the natural way. Some of them are as follows: Mint for digestion The carminative action of mint helps relieve gas, bloating, indigestion and acidity. Regular use of mint in your daily diet helps eliminate toxins from your system. Consuming mint tea or chewing 4-5 mint leaves after meals facilitates sound digestion. Condiments like mint raita or chutney can be great add-ons for your meals. Mint juice is an appetizer and also helps alleviate stomach pain. You can try 2 teaspoons of mint tea as a home remedy for infant colic. Mint for asthma and cold Pudina/mint is known for its strong aroma (which can help clear nasal blockage) and expectorant action (for reducing phlegm). Inhalation of steam prepared by adding a few drops of mint oil to water can relieve nasal congestion and asthma. Tea prepared by adding a few leaves of mint and basil (tulsi), along with a piece of ginger is an effective home remedy for sore throat. Mint for tooth decay and bad breath Chewing 4-5 mint leaves daily is a remedial measure for tooth decay. It also acts as a mouth freshener and alleviates the problem of bad breath. Mint oil is an important element of dental care products like tooth pastes and mouth fresheners. Mint chewing gums are a popularly used aid for bad breath. Mint for skin problems Mint is useful for various skin problems like acne, blackheads, under-eye circles and dry skin. Dabbing a drop of mint-based toothpaste on your pimples overnight can reduce them in size. A skin toner can be made by boiling a few leaves of mint in a cup of water and it can be used to wipe your face daily, for reducing open pores and blackheads. Cream infused with mint oil can help counter dry skin problem. Mint leaves paste can be applied to under-eye circles to get rid of them. This paste has skin-lightening properties. Mint for insect bites The anti-inflammatory and anti-pruritic properties of mint make it effective for healing insect bites and stings. You can just crush a few leaves of mint and dab them over the affected region to soothe the stinging pain and itching. Alternatively, you can apply some mint oil over the spot. Mint for obesity Mint tea and chutney can help you get rid of obesity in a natural way, as they stimulate the digestive enzymes and facilitate fat-burning process. Mint for stress and headache Application of mint oil to your temples can help you get rid of stress, fatigue and headache, as it has a soothing effect. Even the inhalation of mint vapor can do the trick, as it acts as a natural stimulant. Mint oil is also an important ingredient of pain balms, on account of its cooling effect, which helps provide immediate pain relief due to numbing action. Mint for blood pressure A teaspoon of dried mint leaves, consumed daily in the powdered form can help lower your blood pressure. Mint tea is also beneficial as a home remedy for hypertension. Mint for morning sickness Mint juice with lemon juice, 1 teaspoon each, taken with a tablespoon of sugar thrice a day, makes a simple and effective home remedy for morning sickness. Mint for menstrual pain A cup of hot mint tea can do wonders for menstrual cramps and pain, because it has an anti-spasmodic action and soothes the muscles of the uterus for effective pain relief. Additionally, mint oil has the ability to ward off insects like ants, wasps, mosquitoes and cockroaches and can be used as a non-toxic, eco-friendly insecticide. Planting mint in your home can be an effective way to get rid of insects and mosquitoes. You can place a few teabags of mint tea in the ant-infested areas.

Hair greying occurs due to loss of hair pigment called melanin, which is a part of the natural aging process. Premature greying of hair can result from stress, nutrient deficiency, lack of sleep, . . . smoking, frequent use of chemicals and hair styling techniques. It is not possible to reverse this process, however we need to look for natural and safe methods to prevent further damage. Using chemical hair dyes might seem like the easy way out, but it can lead to a multitude of problems like hair loss and allergic reactions. Here are some home remedies which we can trust to help prevent further hair greying as well as to cover grey hair to some extent, without causing chemical-induced hair damage. Amla (Indian Gooseberry) A home-made massage oil can be prepared by boiling some amlas in coconut oil, till they turn black in color. Regular massage with this oil is a great remedy for premature hair graying. A mixture of a teaspoon of amla juice and lemon juice with some almond oil can be used for scalp massage to help rejuvenate hair pigmentation. You can simply crush a few amlas and apply this paste to the scalp for 15-20 minutes, every time before washing your hair. Oral consumption of amla juice is also an effective home remedy for greying hair. Neem (margosa) oil Another effective natural remedy for hair graying is application of neem oil. Regular massage with neem oil not only reduces hair graying, but also helps relieve scalp infections. Curry leaves Crush some curry leaves and heat them along with 3 tablespoons of coconut oil for 5-7 minutes. Strain this mixture and use it for scalp massage twice a week to prevent hair graying and promote hair growth. Alternatively, you can grind a cup of curry leaves along with a cup of buttermilk and apply it on your hair for an hour before washing it. Oral consumption of a concoction prepared by boiling some curry leaves in some water is another useful home remedy for hair graying. Fenugreek (methi) powder A mixture of fenugreek powder and yogurt can be applied to your scalp for 2-3 hours and then washed off using a mild, herbal shampoo in order to alleviate this problem. Henna leaves or powder Henna powder has been used as a hair dye since ancient times. Mix 2 tablespoons of henna powder (or paste obtained by crushing some fresh henna leaves), with a spoonful of yogurt, 1 teaspoon fenugreek paste, 2 teaspoons basil leaves paste, 1 teaspoon coffee powder and 3 teaspoons mint paste. Apply this paste to your hair for 2-3 hours and use a mild shampoo to wash it off. You can also add an egg to this mixture. Alternatively, you can mix some henna powder with coconut or mustard oil and use it for hair massage. Ribbed gourd (Jhinga tori) Ribbed gourd is another effective home remedy for hair graying. Sun-dry a ribbed gourd and dip it in some coconut oil for a few hours, then boil it till it turns black in color. Strain and store the residue after it cools down and use it for scalp massage every night. Cow milk butter Another wonderful remedy for hair graying is massaging your scalp with butter prepared with cow milk, at least twice a week. Onion juice Onion juice has an amazing remedial value for prevention of hair graying. You can simply rub a piece of onion on your scalp or massage it with some onion juice, leave it for an hour and then wash your hair with a mild shampoo to drive away the odor. Black tea Black tea has a natural hair-dyeing action. Boil 2 teaspoons of black tea in some water, add a teaspoon of salt to it, cool it and use it to rinse your hair, leaving it for 15-20 minutes before washing hair with cold water. Do not use a shampoo. Sesame seeds Black sesame seeds have been hailed as a natural remedy for hair graying in the traditional Chinese medicine. Daily consumption of a teaspoon of sesame seeds for 3 months can effectively reduce hair graying. You can also use sesame oil for hair massage. Regular massage of scalp with a teaspoon of lemon juice with 2 teaspoons of almond/coconut oil can also prevent further greying. In addition to these remedies, a balanced diet, rich in iron, zinc, copper, vitamins A, B and C, is a pre-requisite for healthy hair. making exercise and meditation a way of life also helps to a great extent. Increase water intake and get plenty of sleep. Avoid spicy and processed foods, refined sugar and carbonated drinks. Do not go for harsh hair care products or hot water for washing your hair. Some herbs like ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng), aloe vera gel and bhringraj (Eclipta alba) can also help overcome the problem of premature hair greying.

High blood pressure is a potentially dangerous condition and if overlooked, it can result in life-threatening implications like heart disease, stroke and chronic kidney disease. It has been rightly . . . termed as “the silent killer” by the American Heart Association, on account of its subtle symptoms. Regular monitoring is essential to keep blood pressure under check and in case of high blood pressure, one needs to take prescribed medication regularly, in order to keep it within normal limit. Natural management of high blood pressure incorporates certain lifestyle modifications, namely healthy diet coupled with regular physical activity and stress management. Healthy diet with respect to hypertension refers to excluding foods high in sodium and fats, alcohol and caffeine and having more of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products. There are certain herbs and spices which can help lower blood pressure, though including them in daily diet cannot substitute medication, but it can help reduce blood pressure to a considerable extent. Garlic This pungent herb is used in Indian and Chinese medicine as a natural medication for hypertension since ancient times. Allicin, the active compound found in garlic gives it anti-oxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-coagulant properties and has also been linked with reduction of blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Garlic has been known to relax and dilate blood vessels, preventing stiffening and facilitating free flow of blood, resulting in lowering of blood pressure. According to a study published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming garlic extract daily for 8 weeks resulted in significant reduction in blood pressure. One can addfresh garlic to curries, stews and soups. 2-3 cloves of raw garlic can be consumed on empty stomach, every morning with a glass of water, as a home remedy for high blood pressure. Basil Popularly known as tulsi in India, this herb is helpful as a home remedy for a multitude of ailments like cough, cold, congestion and skin problems. Basil has also been shown to be beneficial for lowering blood pressure as it helps cleanse the blood vessels and also decrease adrenaline levels in the body. It also provides cardiac benefits like decreasing cholesterol and blood thinning. Basil leaves can be added to pastas, salads and soups. One can chew fresh basil leaves daily or use them to prepare herbal basil tea. Cinnamon Cinnamon has been found useful for lowering blood pressure, particularly in diabetics. Daily intake of half a teaspoon of cinnamon has been found effective for lowering blood pressure levels. A recent publication by the Centre of Biotechnology, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam suggested that cinnamon has blood thinning properties and also improves blood circulation, both of which play a vital role in decreasing blood pressure. Cinnamon can be added in cereals, curries and soups and can also be used to make herbal tea. Cardamom This aromatic herb is potassium rich and diuretic in nature and has been found to be beneficial for lowering blood pressure, besides having anti-oxidant properties. According to a study published by Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics, consumption of 1.5 grams of cardamom twice a day for 12 weeks reduced blood pressure of patients of stage one hypertension. It can be used in curries, rice dishes and herbal teas. Turmeric  Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent compound which makes it anti-inflammatory in nature and also provides cardio-vascular benefits, including reduction of blood pressure. Curcumin has blood thinning properties and also helps keeping blood vessels in a healthy condition, consequently lowering blood pressure. Turmeric can be taken in supplement form, besides including it lavishly in everyday cooking. Cayenne pepper This strong spice helps in blood detoxification and opening up of blood vessels naturally, which enables them to lower the blood pressure rapidly. Studies have shown that it can prevent hardening of arteries by dilating blood vessels. It can also help lower LDL cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels. It can be included in daily cooking or had in supplement form. Celery seeds This flavorful herb is used in soups, stews and various other dishes and has been used as a traditional medicine in Ayurveda since ancient times. Celery seeds as well as juice are helpful in lowering blood pressure as they are diuretic in nature. According to University of Maryland Medical Center, flavonoids (natural compounds) found in celery seeds have a positive effect on reduction of blood pressure. Onions Onions are high in Quercetin, an anti-oxidant effective for treating heart disease and stroke. Quercetin has also been associated with decrease in systolic as well as diastolic readings of blood pressure. Studies have shown consumption of onions to be associated with increased blood circulation in the body. Consuming raw onion salad helps lower blood pressure by flushing out toxins from the body. Olives Olives are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, considered to be favorable for reducing blood pressure as well as supporting cardiovascular health. Olive oil is becoming increasingly popular as a cooking medium as polyphenols found in it cause a considerable reduction in blood pressure. Olive leaf extract taken as a supplement has also been shown to be beneficial for lowering blood pressure as well as cholesterol. These herbs and spices can be include in our daily diet as natural ways of treating hypertension, while supplement forms of these herbs can be taken in consultation with a physician. Judicious use is advisable as over use can have certain side effects or may interfere with medications.

Bad breath, scientifically known as Halitoses, can cause embarassment and make a person socially inactive. People use a variety of toothpastes and mouthwashes to combat this problem but the solution . . . actually lies in finding the root cause of the problem. In majority of cases, the cause of bad breath is lack of oral hygiene. Plaque (the bacterial film in the mouth), decaying food particles between teeth, cavities and gum problems are some of the factors that lead to bad breath. However, if a person does not have any of these oro-dental troubles, bad breath can stem from other medical conditions such as respiratory or gastrointestinal disease, kidney or liver dysfunction, diabetes,  pneumonia and sinus infection. Other possible factors can be dry mouth syndrome, salivary gland problems and breathing through the mouth. Pungent foods like onions and garlic, smoking and alcoholism also aggravate this problem. Many spices and herbs found in our kitchens can be used as remedies for bad breath. 1. ORAL HYGIENE: The first and most important remedy for bad breath is oral hygiene. Proper brushing and flossing twice a day itself can resolve the problem for many people. The tongue needs to be cleaned tongue cleaner, followed by a mouthrinse with an alcohol free mouthwash. This is very important because the alcohol content in your mouthwash may cause the problem of dry mouth. 2. WATER: Drinking water through the day is another remedy of bad breath. If you find drinking plain water difficult, squeeze a lemon into your water bottle, or drop a few leaves of mint. The water will taste better and the drink will serve as a mild mouth freshener. Additionally, dehydration being the main cause of bad breath, intake of lots of water helps kill the odor causing bacteria. 3. VEGETABLES: Consume plenty of veggies like carrots and celery. They help combat bad breath causing bacteria and also fight plaque. Vegetables juices are also very beneficial. 4. FRUITS: Eating fruits like apples and bananas is another home remedy for bad breath. Crunchy fruits help to clean the mouth and remove the food particles trapped between the teeth. Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges contain citric acid which stimulates the salivary glands and prevent the problem of dry mouth. Eating raw guavas also helps. 5. FENUGREEK: Fenugreek (methi) seeds are an effective remedial measure for bad breath. Tea prepared using fenugreek seeds fight bad breath. It can be made by adding one teaspoon of seeds to half a liter of water, boiling it for 15 minutes and then straining it and having it as a tea. Alternatively, fenugreek leaves may also be used for the same. 6. LEMON: Rinsing your mouth with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice mixed with a glass of water works wonders for bad breath. 7. SALT: Rinse your mouth with a salt solution daily to get rid of this problem. 8. BAKING SODA: Another wonderful antidote for bad breath is baking soda. It can be used for brushing your teeth or as a gargle with warm water. It is an agent that kills bacteria and reduces acidity in the mouth. 9. FENNEL: Fennel (saunf), one of the most common herbs found in the kitchen, is probably the most widely used mouth freshener. Fennel seeds chewed after meals combat bad breath and can be mixed with spices like clove and cardamom to enhance the effect. 10. TEA: Tea, green or black, curbs the growth of disease causing bacteria. Alternatively, herbal tea can be prepared using herbs like alfalfa, cardamm, 11. MINT: Mint based chewing gums help to relieve the problem of bad breath. Chewing mint leaves also refreshes the mouth. 12. CLOVES: Cloves (laung) is another aromatic spice useful for this purpose. Chewing a few pieces of clove shows its effect within minutes. Adding cloves to tea enhances its ability to kill bacteria. 13. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: Apple cider vinegar is another bacteria destroying agent. Taking one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water before meals will not only cure bad breath but will also help digestion. 14. TEA TREE OIL: The antiseptic properties of tea tree oil help to get rid of bad breath. It can be added to your toothpaste while brushing your teeth. You can also prepare a mouthwash by mixing tea tree oil, peppermint oil and lemon oil in equal quantities. 15. PARSLEY: Parsley is another herb, whose chlorophyll content helps to rectify the problem of bad breath. It can either be chewed in its natural form or crushed to extract the juice. Certain changes in lifestyle help to put an end to the bad breath menace. We should have a proper oral and dental care routine which includes regular visits to the dentist for timely detection and treatment of dental problems. On the other hand, if there are no dental problems, we can look for other possible medical problems that might be responsible for bad breath. Stress has also been shown to cause bad breath. Foods like onions and garlic in raw form should be avoided. Also say no to carbonated drinks, tobacco, alcohol, coffee and spicy foods.

Aloe vera is a miraculous healing plant with thick, fleshy green leaves. Aloe vera gel and aloe vera juice are widely used as remedies for various diseases and conditions since ancient times. Having . . . this plant at home is a health bonus for the family on account of a long list of health benefits for digestion, diabetes, high cholesterol, rheumatism, skin and hair health. Growing an Aloe vera plant Belonging to the succulent plant family, aloe vera plants are sturdy in nature, not requiring much watering and are seldom attacked by pests. You can use seeds, stem or leaf cutting from another plant to grow a new one in a terra-cotta pot. The plant needs to be watered in moderation, once every 4-5 days and must get proper sunlight but too much sunlight can be harmful. Aloe vera plant needs to be brought indoors in winters as it cannot withstand frost.  Also, it does not require much watering in the winter season. Medicinal value of Aloe vera plant Aloe vera plant has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, soothing, moisturizing and healing properties, which make it a useful ingredient in skin creams, moisturizers, herbal medicines and cosmetics. Aloe vera gel is an immunity booster and is considered beneficial for digestive health. Aloe vera is a rich source of several minerals and vitamins like sodium, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, manganese, vitamin A, B, C, E, niacin and folic acid. It also provides essential amino acids as well as numerous digestive enzymes. The aloe leaf has a mucilaginous (sticky) fluid inside, called aloe vera gel, which is mainly used as a topical ointment. Aloe vera juice is derived from the outer part of the leaf and is consumed as a health tonic. You can simply extract juice and gel from the leaves by breaking them open. Uses of Aloe vera Aloe vera is known as the “miracle healer” and finds place in a number of home remedies: #1 Wounds and burns: Topical application of aloe vera gel is used as a home remedy for wounds, minor burns and skin irritation. For major burns, aloe gel mixed with vitamin E oil is an excellent remedy. A mixture of 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of aloe gel can also be used for burns and wounds. #2 Skin rejuvenation: Aloe vera gel is considered to be a home remedy for skin troubles like itching, eczema and psoriasis. Mixed with lemon juice, it can be used to treat acne, open pores and skin ageing. The inner side of aloe leaf is a natural scrub, which helps in exfoliation of dead skin. Aloe gel can also help in lightening stretch marks and acts as a general skin moisturizer. #3 Laxative: Aloe juice is a natural remedy for constipation. 2 tablespoons of aloe gel mixed with a glass of apple juice can provide relief from chronic constipation. #4 Asthma: A home remedy for asthma is inhalation of vapors of aloe leaves boiled in water. Taking aloe juice internally also helps. It can also provide relief from chest congestion and sinus problems. #5 Digestive health: Aloe vera juice is known to provide relief from various digestive problems like bloating, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn and peptic ulcers. Aloe vera gel or juice taken first thing in the morning or at bedtime is helpful for this purpose. 3-4 teaspoons of aloe vera gel mixed with a pinch of black pepper powder, black salt and some lemon juice consumed daily strengthens the digestive system. #6 Blood sugar: Aloe vera juice has been known to lower blood sugar level in type2 diabetics. It is to be consumed regularly for at least 3 months to attain maximum benefit. A consultation with your physician is recommended before trying any home remedy for the first time. #7 Cholesterol: Oral consumption of aloe vera juice has been shown to cause a noticeable reduction in total cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels. It is also associated with reduction of blood clots and fat deposits in the arteries of the heart. #8 Rheumatism / Arthritis: Aloe vera juice consumed daily is helpful for patients of rheumatim and arthritis on account of anti-inflammatory properties. Massage with aloe vera gel provides relief from joint pains. #9 Regulates weight and energy levels: Aloe vera juice facilitates natural cleansing and detoxification of the digestive system, resulting in increase of enegy levels as well as maintenance of healthy weight. #10 Oral health: Sprinkle some aloe vera powder on your toothbrush and use it for brushing your teeth to get rid of teeth and gum diseases. It can also be used as a gargle to treat mouth ulcers and bleeding gums. #11  Hair problems: Aloe vera juice mixed with coconut milk and wheat germ oil massaged on the scalp is an effective remedy for dandruff. Application of aloe vera gel on the scalp promotes hair growth and acts as a hair conditioner. Precautions In some cases, aloe vera juice can cause adverse reactions like diarrhea accompanied by pain, stomach cramps and dehydration. It might cause interactions with certain medications. It is advisable to consult a doctor before consumption of aloe vera juice. Children, pregnant women and lactating mothers need to avoid consuming aloe vera juice.