Here’s how Mumbai’s green thumbs are beating fever and diabetes!
Had Hanuman not found the magical herb Sanjeevani that Hindu mythology believes is the cure for all malady, and healed Laxman, wounded in battle by Ravan’s son Indrajeet, the Ramayana would have panned out differently.
Besides the power to turn the plot of an epic around, medicinal herbs can be effective weapons against common ailments, as Mumbaikars are discovering. With the kitchen terrace garden earning more fans thanks to green thumb blogs, everyday sickness — fever, cough and cold, joint pain, cuts and blood pressure — is being tackled with healing herbs that are flourishing in urban balconies.
Preeti Patil, 43, a catering officer at Mumbai Port Trust, has stocked her 10 ft x 3 ft terrace on Dockyard Road with medicinal plants. “I was growing Amba Haldi (mango ginger), a root that looks like ginger but smells like mango, to toss in salads that accompany my meals. When I sprained my ankle, my maid suggested I apply its paste for relief. It was miraculous!” says Patil.
Dr Raj Merchant, a Mumbai-based naturopath, says Amba Haldi is a natural pain killer due to its anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used to treat both, internal and external inflammations. It works better if grated together with onion to make a paste that can be consumed or applied.
Patil has since then planted Sadafuli leaves (anti-cancerous properties), Adulsa (cough), Tulsi (fever) and lemongrass (headache). Merchant says tea flavoured with lemongrass is as effective in curing a headache as any pill. “A dip in the level of serotonin, a chemical, can trigger headaches. Chemicals in lemongrass boost release of serotonin, relieving pain,” he says.
Airoli resident and furniture dealer Julius Rego uses Panphuti to heal cuts and wounds. “Given my profession, I’m prone to cuts. Panphuti paste fights microbes, allergy and bacteria. I believe it was used by soldiers in ancient times,” he shares.
Purvita Kapadia prefers to let her body heal naturally, allowing it the chance to manufacture its own antibodies against diseases. Instead of insulin tablets, she convinced her sister-in-law to chew on two leaves of the Insulin plant every day. “It has helped keep her keep sugar levels in check,” says a proud Kapadia.