Herbs for health

Story: Aunyawan Thongboonrod

 Are you a person who is interested in health care but has been limited by expensive modern medicine or supplementary vitamins? If you say yes, we present you some solution that is so easy, cheap but great!

“Herb” (or “Sa-Mun-Prai” in Thai) is a medical plant that human has learnt how to apply its benefits for centuries. Especially Thailand, it is among the few places in the world that has the best herbal resources. Not only we consume vegetables to get high vitamins, some herbal plants can remedy human disease effectively. In this issue, we show 5 popular Thai herbs with theirs various benefits to let you choose some as an ingredient in your next cooking!

1. Turmeric (“Kha-min” in Thai)

One of member of the ginger family, Turmeric has been widely known among Thai people since the old days because it is easily found in almost every part of the country. Apart from its functioning as yellow coloring for Thai food, Turmeric has also numerous benefits for health and beauty. For skin treatment, it helps a wound to heal faster and cure skin desease caused from dermatophyte such as ring worm and chloasma. Some Thai women crush it to reduce it to powder and mixed with water to use as treatment mask for light-complexioned of face and body. For health, it can reduce cholesterol, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation and high blood pressure. So, if you are having fat problem, just provide Turmeric as an ingredient for next cooking, it is definitely good!

2. Aloe Vera (“Wan-Hang-Jo-Ra-Khae” in Thai)

Maybe there are only few people who know that Aloe Vera is a popular ingredient in many brands of shampoo and cosmetics nowadays because its extract is effective for both hair and skin. For example, it is useful in treatment of wounds, burns and skin infections. It can nourish your skin to be fresh, flawless and also eliminate acnes. Also, it can moisturize your hair and reduce oiliness. Moreover, not only in lotion, shaving cream, soap, make-up or shampoo that you can find Aloe Vera extract, it is also a popular ingredient in yoghurt, beverages and some desserts because it has a high content of Collagen protein so it can be used for weght loss and relief of digestive issues such as heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome.

3. Ripe Tamarind (“Ma-Kham-Piak” in Thai)

            With the Tamarindus indica Linn as its scientific name, Tamarind tree is a long-lived tree that we can widely see in Thailand. Every part of Tamarind tree can be used for medicinal purposes: its leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds. First of all, its fruit which contains critic, tartaric, acetic and malic acids is very helpful for Alcoholic intoxication and digestive disorder such as loss of appetite, indigestion and constipation. Then, the leaf juice of tamarind is effective to treat heightened body temperature due to excess pitta. Tamarind flowers are also used in the treatment of various eye infections. Lastly, for beauty, it is very good to remove dirt, make skin smooth, fresh and balanced. Thai women ususally use Ripe Tamarind mixed with water and milk to cover rough skin such as ankle, elbow or knee to make it flawless and softer, or use it as hair treatment mask for 15-30 mins, it can kill louses and effectively strengthen roots of hair.

4. Garlic (“Kra-Thiam” in Thai)

In general, Garlic is used as a flavouring and condiment in Thai cuisine. Thai people know how to chop and fry it before cooking fish or meat to reduce fishy smell. Not only for better taste in cuisine, but garlic have also numerous benefits. First, it can assist in managing high cholesterol levels and have a powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, diaphoretic, diuretic and expectorant effect. Also, it helps you get a good night’s sleep by improving breathing and reducing snoring in some people, especially when you have a cold because garlic can dry up your nasal passages. Lastly, for skin benefits, raw garlic can treat the symptoms of acne and dermatophyte. Undoubtedly, garlic should be seen as part of a healthy lifestyle.

5. Kaffir lime (“Ma-Krut” in Thai)

There are evidences since the past that Thai people use kaffir lime as a spice for cuisine and medical herb. In “Klong Kam Suan” and “Kab Hor Klong Ni Rat Phra Baht”, two well-known long lyrical Thai poetry and litteratures, it mentions that we cut a half of raw kaffir lime and squeeze it to get its juice to clean our hair. Not only squeaky clean and sweet-smelling, but the essential oils that are extracted from the lime and leaves can helps in reviving your scalp, anti-dandruf and reducing hair fall. Moreover, the extracted essential oils are used to produce various products such as soap, deodorant, body spray and air freshener with kaffir lime aroma to give a fresh feeling. For health, the oil is also used in tonics which aid in digestion and purify the blood. Bergamot leaves contain calcium, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, B2 and C. All of these benefits explain why you can find easily this plant in the backyard of Thai house.

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