• 03 Sep 2018 11:06 AM | Aliya Umm Omar

    Cannabis plants are exceptionally versatile. Both the seeds and cannabis oil were used for food in China as early as 6,000 BC. Hemp was one of the first fibre plants to be used before the widespread use of cotton. In 4,000 BC, there is evidence of textiles made from hemp (cannabis) used in both China and Turkestan. In 850, the Vikings transported hemp rope and seeds to Iceland, and by the year 900, Arabs were learning techniques for making paper from hemp. By 1000 (1018 years ago), Italians were using ropes made of hemp on their sailing ships. The Mona Lisa is in fact painted on a hemp canvas. The first model T ford had a hemp fire interior and ran on hemp fuel. You could even pay tax with hemp at one point in time. Nowadays hemp fibres are more commonly found in clothing and jewellery.

    Stories about the healing properties of hemp (cannabis) mention Greek philosophers, Herodotus, Napoleon and other legendary figures. The physician for Nero’s army, for example, included cannabis in his medical inventory. In 1563, the medicinal benefits of cannabis were discussed in a report by Portuguese physician Garcia da Orta. A few years later, China's Li Shih-Chen documented the antibiotic and anti-nausea effects of cannabis.

    It has been documented for its use with pain relief during childbirth and toothache through medieval German and Viking times. In ancient India cannabis was regarded as a gift of the gods used excessively in folk medicine. It was believed to quicken the mind, prolong life, improve judgement, lower fevers, induce sleep and cure dysentery. Queen Victoria would use cannabis to alleviate menstrual cramp and relied on it frequently. 

    During the 1800s, cannabis and its extracts made up over 50% of medicine across the USA and Europe. Cannabis Indica was primarily used for medical purposes as it was known also for its relaxing and calming effect. It was a common ingredient in medicines, found in almost every pharmacy and medical clinic until 1937 when the plant was deemed illegal by the Marijuana Tax Act despite later objections from the American Medical Association. 

    Despite the damaging publicity for cannabis, many scientists continued to research this plant for its therapeutic purposes. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 100+ cannabinoids found in cannabis and has been the subject of much research due to its many and varied medical applications. The compound is also non-psychoactive (meaning it does not produce the ‘high’ associated with cannabis use), making it a safe and effective option for patients who may be concerned about the mind altering effects of other cannabinoids such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

    The first person who was successful in extracting CBD from the Cannabis Sativa plant was a chemist named Roger Adams in 1940. He wasn’t aware that he succeeded in extracting a chemical compound, but years later Adams and other scientists realised what he had done and started researching the possible benefits of CBD.

    In 1946, Dr. Walter S. Loewe conducted the first CBD test on lab animals. These tests gave proof that CBD doesn’t cause an altered mental state. That same year Dr. Raphael Mechoulam identified CBD’s three dimensional structure. Further research continued in the 1960s on primates and it didn’t take long to realise that THC, not CBD, was the one that was responsible for causing the sedated, intoxicating cerebral effects of the herb which was considered illegal. 

    In the early to mid-1970’s, the British Pharmacopoeia (which is a publication of quality standards for medicinal substances in the UK) released a licensed cannabis tincture that contained CBD in a full-spectrum oil for therapeutic use. It is important to note that while medical research was progressing for CBD, cannabis was also being selectively grown for the highest THC levels, as the high became sought after for recreational use in illegal trade. Strains of cannabis were also being bred to have higher levels of THC and lower CBD as the CBD reduces the effect of the high. 

    Nonetheless, Dr. Mechoulam made another breakthrough in CBD history in 1980, when he ran a study which showed CBD could be a key factor in treating epilepsy.

    In 1998, a medical company called GW Pharmaceuticals, based in the UK, began to cultivate cannabis for medical trials. Their aim was to develop a concise and consistent plan for extracting CBD. Geoffery Guy, one of the company’s founders, staunchly believed that cannabis plants rich in CBD would be used as medicine. Early animal studies showed that CBD lessened anxiety and reduced the frequency and severity of seizures. This turned heads in the medical community, and cannabis strains began to be cultivated with extremely low levels of THC and high levels of CBD.

    CBD Oil Benefits 

    Oils that are CBD dominant are referred to as CBD oils. However, the exact concentrations and ratio of CBD to THC can vary depending on the product and manufacturer. Nonetheless, CBD oils have been shown to offer a range of health benefits that could potentially improve the quality of life for patients around the world.

    Here are just five of the key health benefits documented for CBD oils:

    1. Pain relief

    ·       The human body contains a specialised system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in regulating a variety of functions including sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response.

    ·       The body produces endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system.

    ·       CBD is believed to help regulate that system by binding with various receptors located within cell and tissue systems. Those receptors are referred to as CB1 and CB2.

    ·       Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters.

    ·       For example, one study in rats found that CBD injections reduced pain response to surgical incision, while another rat study found that oral CBD treatment significantly reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation.

    ·       Several human studies have found that a combination of CBD and THC is effective in treating pain related to multiple sclerosis and arthritis.

    ·       An oral spray called Sativex, which is a combination of THC and CBD, is approved in several countries to treat pain related to multiple sclerosis.

    ·       In a study of 47 people with multiple sclerosis, those treated with Sativex for one month experienced a significant improvement in pain, walking and muscle spasms, compared to the placebo group.

    ·       Another study found that Sativex significantly improved pain during movement, pain at rest and sleep quality in 58 people with rheumatoid arthritis.

    2. Anti-Seizure Properties

    ·       A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine explored the effect of CBD medication on young adults with Dravet syndrome, a rare type of epilepsy with seizures that are often induced by fever. Those who received CBD saw their seizure frequency drop by a median of 38.9 percent.

    ·       Another study gave 214 people with severe epilepsy 2–5 grams of CBD oil per kg of body weight. Their seizures reduced by a median of 36.5%.

    ·       However, it’s important to note that some people in both these studies experienced adverse reactions associated with CBD treatment, such as convulsions, fever and diarrhoea.

    3. Combat Anxiety

    ·       In a study, 24 people with social anxiety disorder received either 600 mg of CBD or a placebo before a public speaking test. The group that received the CBD had significantly less anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, compared to the placebo group.

    ·       CBD oil has even been used to safely treat insomnia and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    ·       CBD has also shown antidepressant-like effects in several animal studies.

    ·       These qualities are linked to CBD’s ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behaviour.

    4. Alleviate Cancer-Related Symptoms

    ·       One study looked at the effects of CBD and THC in 177 people with cancer-related pain who did not experience relief from pain medication. Those treated with an extract containing both compounds experienced a significant reduction in pain compared to those who received only THC extract.

    ·       CBD may also help reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, which are among the most common chemotherapy-related side effects for those with cancer.

    ·       A study of 16 people undergoing chemotherapy found that a one-to-one combination of CBD and THC administered via mouth spray reduced chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting better than standard treatment alone.

    ·       Some test-tube and animal studies have even shown that CBD may have anticancer properties. For example, one test-tube study found that concentrated CBD induced cell death in human breast cancer cells.

    ·       Another study showed that CBD inhibited the spread of aggressive breast cancer cells in mice.

    ·       However, these are test-tube and animal studies, so they can only suggest what might work in people. More studies in humans are needed before conclusions can be made.

    5. Could Benefit Heart Health and Blood Pressure

    ·       One recent study treated 10 healthy men with one dose of 600 mg of CBD oil and found it reduced resting blood pressure, compared to a placebo.

    ·       The same study also gave the men stress tests that normally increase blood pressure. Interestingly, the single dose of CBD led the men to experience a smaller blood pressure increase than normal in response to these tests.

    ·       Researchers have suggested that the stress- and anxiety-reducing properties of CBD are responsible for its ability to help lower blood pressure.

    ·       Additionally, several animal studies have demonstrated that CBD may help reduce the inflammation and cell death associated with heart disease due to its powerful antioxidant and stress-reducing properties.

    ·       For example, one study found that treatment with CBD reduced oxidative stress and prevented heart damage in diabetic mice with heart disease.

    CBD Oil for Health

    CBD and THC are the power couple of cannabis therapeutics; they work best together. CBD and THC interact synergistically to potentiate each other’s curative qualities. CBD enhances THC’s painkilling and anticancer properties, while lessening THC’s psychoactivity. CBD can also mitigate adverse effects caused by too much THC, such as anxiety and rapid heartbeat. When both compounds are present in sufficient amounts in the same cannabis strain or product, CBD will lower the ceiling on the THC high while prolonging its duration.

    CBD is most commonly taken orally in a concentrated paste or drops/tincture format. To take CBD oil first hold it under the tongue to be absorbed in the mouth prior to swallowing. This step is important because some of the CBD taken will be broken down by the digestive system. Other oral methods include capsules, mouth strips, and edibles such as chocolate bars. Many people also enjoy using CBD vape oil or CBD eliquid via vaporisers or inhalers as this is a near instant delivery method that can be quite effective. Others use CBD oil by taking it through the skin via lotions, balms, creams or patches. There are many ways to take CBD oil, what matters most is trying a few different approaches and seeing what works.

    The right CBD dosage differs per person. This is caused by the fact that every person has a different endocannabinoid system. An effective dosage can range from as little as a few milligrams of CBD-enriched cannabis oil to a gram or more. Begin with a small dose of high CBD/low THC oil, especially if you have little or no experience with cannabis. Take a few small doses over the course of the day rather than one big dose. Use the same dose and ratio for several days. Observe the effects and if necessary adjust the ratio or amount. Don’t overdo it. Cannabis compounds have biphasic properties, which means that low and high doses of the same substance can produce opposite effects. Small doses of cannabis tend to stimulate; large doses sedate. Too much THC, while not lethal, can amplify anxiety and mood disorders. CBD has no known adverse side effects, but an excessive amount of CBD could be less effective therapeutically than a moderate dose. “Less is more” is often the case with respect to cannabis therapy. Keep the bottle of oil in a dark and cool place, for instance in the refrigerator.

    Standard dosing recommendations for CBD oil that can be used for every brand:

    ·        Start on the first day by taking 1 drop of CBD oil in the morning and 1 in the evening under the tongue for 30 seconds then swallow.

    ·        Increase this amount with 2 drops per day during the first 3-4 weeks.

    ·        Don’t take the drops all at once, but spread the usage evenly over the day, for instance in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening and before you go to bed.

    ·        If you think the dose is too low, you should increase the number of drops until the dose feels right for you.

    ·        You should experiment a little, just try to examine what you are feeling and whether you think it’s the right dose for you. After a certain amount of time, you will have found the right dosage.

    ·        To reach a certain mg dose look carefully at how many drops are needed for each CBD brand.

    Here are some suggestions for CBD dosages to treat specific conditions*:

    To treat chronic pain:2.5-20 mg CBD by mouth for an average of 25 days.

    To treat epilepsy:200-300 mg of CBD by mouth daily.

    To treat movement problems associated with Huntington's disease:10 mg per kilogram of CBD by mouth daily for six weeks.

    To treat sleep disorders:40-160 mg CBD by mouth.

    To treat multiple sclerosis symptoms:Cannabis plant extracts containing 2.5-120 milligrams of a THC-CBD combination by mouth daily for 2-15 weeks. A mouth spray might contain 2.7 milligrams of THC and 2.5 milligrams of CBD at doses of 2.5-120 milligram for up to eight weeks. Patients typically use eight sprays within any three hours, with a maximum of 48 sprays in any 24-hour period.

    To treat schizophrenia:40-1280 mg CBD by mouth daily.

    To treat glaucoma:a single CBD dose of 20-40 mg under the tongue. Doses greater than 40 mg may actually increase eye pressure.

    *These are merely guidelines. It is extremely important to read the dosage instructions on the CBD oil you are taking, especially as results from certain dosages may affect you differently than others. It is always best to contact the CBD oil company to ask them the right dosage for your medical condition and consult with your doctor before embarking on any new treatment.


    Though CBD is generally well tolerated and considered safe, it may cause adverse reactions in some people.

    Side effects of CBD include sleepiness, decreased appetite, diarrhoea, fatigue, malaise, weakness, sleeping problems, and others. It does not have intoxicating effects like those caused by THC, and may have an opposing effect on disordered thinking and anxiety produced by THC.

    CBD is also known to interact with several medications. Before you start using CBD oil, discuss it with your doctor to ensure your safety and avoid potentially harmful interactions.

    To Sum Up…

    Cannabis has had a widespread reach throughout history, used as a medicinal healer, domestic purposes, pain killer and for spirituality, so it seems strange how it managed to stay illegal for the majority of the 20th century. 

    When it comes to healing, people use products such as CBD oil, CBD water and various CBD lotions to try and treat pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, stress, neurological conditions and many other illnesses. 

    The endocannabinoid system is extremely complex. This is a physiological system in your body that´s important for the improvement and maintenance of different physical and mental processes. While the exact way CBD affects this system still remains a mystery to most researchers, what we do know is that every person has a different endocannabinoid system, and therefore while the instructions on a CBD oil bottles may be informative and clear, the standard dosing may affect two different people in completely different ways. 

    CBD oil is not a miracle cure. It can take time to work. The key is finding the right dosage. If you are just starting out with CBD oil, then remember to start small and to consult with your doctor. It’s important to know how your body reacts to CBD. Increase the dosage gradually and if you feel that the CBD oil isn’t affecting you in a positive way, then you should stop and consult with a medical professional.













  • 19 Jul 2018 11:17 AM | Aliya Umm Omar

    Milk is as ancient as mankind itself as it is produced by all species of mammal, from man to whales as the perfect source of nourishment for their young.

    The first reports of human consumption of other mammalian milks date back as early as 6000-8000 BC. At this time ancient man learned to domesticate species of animals initially for the provision of meat, and then later for the provision of milk for general consumption. Mammals used for milk production included cows, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels, all of which are still used in various parts of the world for the production of milk for human consumption today.

    In this modern era, industrialisation and urbanisation meant the supply of milk became a commercial industry, with specialised breeds of cattle being developed for dairy. Initially, more people were employed as milkers, but it soon turned to mechanisation with machines designed to do the milking. 

    Dairy plants receive and process raw milk they receive from farmers. They extend its marketable shelf life by heat treatment through pasteurisation, which removes enzymes and bacteria that would spoilt or sour the milk for human consumption. They would also produce other dairy products such as cheeses, yogurts, butters, creams and ice creams.

    Most babies can digest milk without getting an upset stomach thanks to an enzyme called lactase. Lactase is needed to break down lactose, the sugar in milk. Some say that up until several thousand years ago, that enzyme turned off once a person grew into adulthood and did not require as much milk to nutritionally sustain them. This meant that most adults were lactose intolerant.

    Studies have shown that people who consumed milk in its unprocessed form were usually nomads who did not settle down for long enough to make cheese out of the milk. Overall, these population-based and anthropological studies have shown that adult populations have adapted to milk consumption over many years.

    In northern Europe, particularly Britain and Germany, unprocessed milk was consumed. However, milk consumption in adults was not common in southern European countries such as Italy. Even today, lactose intolerance is less relatively prevalent in the British, German and Scandinavian populations.

    Genetic mutations seem to be at the root of this evolved lactose tolerance. Some studies have shown that a single genetic mutation occurred in around 4500 BC that spread worldwide. Another mutation could have come from the East African Tutsi population. The mutation has led to the populations of Northern Europe and India developing lactose tolerance so that they can safely consume milk and milk products. On the other hand, populations in sub-Saharan African, southern Europe and people native to America and the Pacific Islands do not continue to possess lactase into adulthood and are lactose intolerant. 

    It’s interesting to know the geographical differences in lactose sensitivity which explains why some regions have more people with lactose intolerance compared to others. This brings us onto the reasons why dairy-free diets are chosen and why it could benefit some more than others.

    Dairy-Free Benefits 

    Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt do contain essential nutrients, such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin, and niacin. However, for some, its harm outweighs its benefits. 

    People follow a dairy-free diet for different reasons, but for most people, they’re searching for relief from digestive issues, bloating, skin problems and respiratory conditions that come from eating dairy products. 

    Dairy-free constitutes to removing milk, cheese, butter, cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, custards and puddings, ice cream, gelato and sherbet, whey and casein, and other products that contain milk. People who are lactose intolerant may choose to reduce or eliminate foods that contain lactose. Some may be able to have smaller portions of foods containing milk proteins, and they may find that fermented dairy is easier on their digestive systems. 

    People with a cow’s milk food allergy, on the other hand, must completely eliminate milk proteins from their diets and find food allergy alternatives that provide calcium and other vital nutrients. 

    Prevents Digestive Problems

    ·       Lactose intolerance is a problem for many causing symptoms such as bloating, gas, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. 

    ·       There are some that have a good amount of lactose-breaking enzyme lactase but are still unable to tolerate milk and dairy. 

    ·       Research suggests that proteins found in dairy can also have a significant impact on digestion, and that lactose may not be the only cause of gastrointestinal issues in those with an intolerance. 

    ·       A study published in the Nutrition Journal revealed that the A1 protein, found in cow’s milk, was to blame for triggering symptoms of milk intolerance. 

    ·       Scientists discovered that by removing the A1 beta casein protein, leaving just the A2 beta casein, sufferers were able to drink milk without gastrointestinal symptoms.

    ·       Dairy has also been labelled as a key trigger of IBS symptoms and other digestive conditions.

    Protects Against Fractures

    ·       Milk and dairy products have been extensively promoted as strengthening bones, but research begs to differ. 

    ·       A 12-year prospective study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that drinking 2+ glasses of milk per day in fact increased women's risk of hip fracture by 45%. Those drinking 3+ glasses per day had a 60% greater hip fracture rate. 

    ·       For truly strong bones, eat more fruits and vegetables: women eating twice the fruit had 5% denser bones.

    May Reduce Risk of Cancer

    ·       A 2001 study conducted at Harvard School of Public Health found that a high calcium intake, mainly from dairy products, may increase prostate cancer risk by lowering concentrations of a hormone thought to protect against prostate cancer.

    ·       Another study in 2011 found that drinking milk each day during adolescence, increased their risk of advanced prostate cancer by at least threefold.

    ·       Another study, which analysed women from 40 countries across five continents, found that milk was closely connected to ovarian cancer. It revealed that consuming milk plus cheese showed the highest incidence of ovarian cancer. Women who drank just 1+ glass of whole milk per day were at three times greater risk for ovarian cancer.

    ·       Milk consumed today is produced from pregnant cows rather than pasture-fed. Oestrogen and progesterone levels are markedly elevated in these cows.

    ·       Milk products may also contain contaminants, such as pesticides, which have carcinogenic potential, and growth factors, such as insulin-like growth factor 1, which have been shown to promote breast cancer cell growth.

    ·       While dairy can increase risk, vegetables can reduce it. Eating 3+ servings of vegetables per day dropped the risk of ovarian cancer by 39%.

    Dairy-Free for Health

    Below are some of the most common substitutes:

    Milk Substitutes

    Yoghurt Replacement

    Butter/Cream Alternatives

    Soy milk

    Coconut milk yogurt

    Vegetable oil blends

    Rice milk

    Almond milk yogurt

    Coconut butter/cream

    Oat milk

    Soy milk yogurt

    Nut butters/cream

    Almond milk

    Hemp yogurt

    Cultured vegan butter/cream 

    made from coconut & cashews

    Coconut milk

    Cashew milk

    Flaxseed milk

    Hemp milk

    Cow’s milk-free alternatives also include goats milk which is high in fatty acids and more easily absorbed and assimilated in the body than cow’s milk. The actual fat particles in goats milk are smaller and contain lower concentrations of lactose. 

    Fermented dairy options include kefir and amasai, which are often more easily digested, even by people with lactose intolerance. 

    Ghee is another option that’s clarified and easily digested by people with a lactose and casein sensitivity.

    Cheese Substitutes

    Soft Cheese – 

    ·       You can find soy- and nut-based versions of cream cheese, as well as a dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free versions made from a blend of vegetable oils, tapioca starch and pea protein isolate.

    ·       You can also make homemade cream cheese or soft crumbly cheese using cashews, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts or almonds.

    ·       And if you're simply trying to mimic the texture of cottage and ricotta cheeses, then you could use crumbled soft tofu as a replacement.

    ·       Vegan cheeses are often highly processed and offer less protein than dairy cheese. However, you can also make homemade substitutions with whole foods like tofu, nuts and nutritional yeast.

    Hard Cheese – 

    ·       Most brands use soy protein or nuts as a base, although there are some soy- and nut-free varieties that are made from vegetable oils mixed with pea starch or pea protein.

    ·       Many people find nutritional yeast to be a good flavour substitute for grated Parmesan cheese.

    ·       You can also make your own version by processing nuts and nutritional yeast with desired spices.


    Although many non-dairy substitutes are available, there are a few things to look out for when choosing from the supermarket shelf:

    ·       Added sugars:Many non-dairy products contain added sugars to enhance flavour and texture. While the sugar content is sometimes similar to that of regular dairy products, other times it can be much higher.

    ·       Fillers:It is common for non-dairy cheeses and yoghurts to use a variety of additives in order to improve the texture of the product. While they aren't necessarily unhealthy, many people prefer more natural products.

    ·       Protein content:Dairy cheeses, milk and yogurt deliver complete protein. However, the only plant-based replacement that mimics that level and quality of protein is soy.

    ·       Nutrient content:Dairy products deliver potassium and calcium. Fortified non-dairy products may also offer these and other micronutrients, depending on the brand. Homemade products won't be fortified.

    ·       Intolerances:Some people have allergies or intolerances to certain ingredients used in non-dairy replacements, such as soy or nuts. Fillers, such as inulin, can also be difficult for people to digest, causing bloating and flatulance.

    ·       Price differences:Non-dairy alternatives often come with a higher price tag. On the other hand, this could be an incentive to make your own non-dairy substitutes.

    Always read labels to see what ingredients and nutrients are in the product you're buying.

    To Sum Up…

    From the white elixir which we were all dependent on as babies to the white flag which we now have to surrender to in adulthood, this seemingly pure looking liquid has now become subject to scrutiny in recent times.

    The evolution of the man-made milk production to industrialised machinery milk extraction may play a role into why lactose sensitivity is on the rise. It could also be due to the pasteurisation or homogenisation process which changes the composition of milk making it difficult for the body to digest. Other reasons for the rise in milk -related sensitivities could be the abnormally high hormones and contaminants that are making more and more people sick and search for alternative ways to treat diseases. From this, sufferers have now become more open to removing milk and dairy products from their diet and find tasty replacements for enjoying that creamy texture.

    Going dairy-free has its benefits. It has shown to alleviate digestive problems, reduces your risk of certain cancers and could even slow down brittle bones in women. It makes sense to limit conventional dairy products and choose from the numerous delicious alternatives on offer. Better yet, make your own!










    Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study. Am J Public Health. 1997 Jun;87(6): 992-7. 

    Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Apr;69(4):727-36.

    Fruit and vegetable consumption in relation to ovarian cancer incidence: the Swedish Mammography Cohort. Br J Cancer.2004 Jun 1;90(11):2167-70.

  • 19 Jun 2018 12:19 PM | Aliya Umm Omar

    From spelt in the Bronze Age to baked goods in modern grocery stores, wheat - and its protein component, gluten - has been an important part of our meals throughout the ages. Yet the gluten-free diet - a diet that excludes the gluten found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye -  has become increasingly popular due to fears of gluten sensitivity and digestive problems. However, it is overlooked that gluten is a natural component of most whole grains, and we’ve been consuming it since we first started cultivating these grains over 8000 years ago.

    Gluten is a Latin word that means “glue,” due to its ability to hold grains like wheat, barley, and rye together. It’s the protein that gives pasta, bread, and other wheat products their chewy, flexible texture. It’s also critical in making dough rise in the oven, resulting in leavened bread. 

    So what is causing the rise in gluten intolerance and the need for a gluten-free diet?

    -        In the last 50 years, the wheat grain has been altered to provide crops that are more resistant to drought, to resist fungal diseases and pest attacks, to improve ease of mechanical harvesting and meet the increased demands of baking goods. We are eating more wheat products now than ever before.

    -        The use of harmful chemical additives and dough “improvers” necessary to produce consistent products in industrialised food production. The cheapest ingredients are also used and time spent in actual production itself is cut to maximise profits. Therefore the wheat grain is not able to develop fully and ferment naturally which may aid in the reduction of the harmful gluten.

    -        Damaged gut flora or dysbiosis is also on the rise due to the high usage of antibiotics or consuming food that they can’t digest. The immune system may see the undigested gluten as a microbial invader and attack them.

    -        Genetics may also play a part, somewhat smaller than others. Diseases are a combination of genetics and environmental factors. So, people react differently in their reactions to these changes.

    -        Other factors are also mentioned such as a disturbed microflora in our gut, use of microwaves and plasticware, being born via caesarean section and contracting intestinal infections.

    Researchers have recently learned that the primary culprit in coeliac disease and gluten-intolerance is a particular peptide strand in the gluten molecule, not the gluten itself. This peptide strand was theoretically not present in ancient grains. Thus, coeliac disease is a disease of chronic inflammation of the small intestine due to this peptide strand, known as gliadin (found in modern wheat, rye and barley). Antibodies in the sufferer’s small intestine react to these ingested peptides by attacking them. This, in turn, irritates the gut and damages the finger-like structures along the intestinal wall known as microvilli. Without those microvilli, the absorption of nutrients from food is considerable less. This leads sufferers to experience symptoms of malabsorption, including chronic fatigue, neurological disorders, nutrient deficiencies, anaemia, nausea, skin rashes, depression, and more. 

    Gluten-Free Benefits 

    Going gluten-free means excluding wheat, rye and barley from your diet if you appear to have a gluten sensitivity or have been diagnosed with coeliac disease. 

    For some, cutting gluten out of the diet can come with big benefits when it comes to health. A gluten-free diet could increase fat burning, provide a burst of extra energy, reduce inflammation, and ease digestive symptoms like gas, bloating or diarrhoea. For others, going gluten-free could even be the key to reducing behavioural issues and improving symptoms of autism and irritable bowel syndrome.

    May Ease Digestive Symptoms

    ·       Going gluten-free could improve digestive issues such as bloating, gas and diarrhoea. 

    ·       A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology looked at the effects of gluten on adults with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. After eating gluten daily for six weeks, participants reported a worsening of symptoms like poor stool consistency, pain, bloating and fatigue.

    Could Benefit Several Brain-Related Disorders

    ·       Many cases of neurological illness may be caused and/or exacerbated by gluten consumption. This is called gluten-sensitive idiopathic neuropathy.

    ·       The main neurological disorder believed to be at least partly caused by gluten is cerebellar ataxia, a serious disease of the brain that involves an inability to coordinate balance, movements, problems talking, etc. It is now known that many cases of ataxia are directly linked to gluten consumption. This is called gluten ataxia and involves irreversible damage to the cerebellum, a part of the brain that is important in motor control.

    ·       Many studies show strong statistical associations between gluten consumption, gluten sensitivity and cerebellar ataxia. There is also a controlled trial showing that ataxia patients improve significantly on a gluten-free diet.

    ·       There are several other brain disorders that respond well to a gluten-free diet:

    • Schizophrenia: A subset of schizophrenia patients sees massive improvements by removing gluten.
    • Epilepsy: There are several reports of patients with epilepsy improving significantly when removing gluten.
    • Autism: Several studies suggest that people with autism see improvements in symptoms on a gluten-free diet.

    ·       A study in Nutritional Neuroscience found that strict adherence to a gluten-free, casein-free diet led to improvements in autism behaviours, physiological symptoms and social behaviours, according to parents.

    ·       Another study in Iran reported that a gluten-free diet decreased gastrointestinal symptoms and significantly decreased behavioural disorders in children with autism. 

    Anti-Inflammatory Properties

    ·       There are studies showing that gluten can cause inflammation in the intestine and a degenerated intestinal lining.

    ·       For those with coeliac disease, a gluten-free diet could help you avoid inflammation and prevent harmful health consequences that could occur as a result.

    ·       One animal study noted that gluten intake shifted the balance of inflammatory immune cells in mice, causing an increase in markers of inflammation. Conversely, another animal study found that following a gluten-free diet improved levels of inflammatory markers in mice. 

    ·       However, more studies on humans are needed to determine whether a gluten-free diet can help reduce inflammation in humans, including those with and without coeliac disease.

    Promotes Weight Loss

    ·       A 2013 animal study reported that mice given a gluten-free diet showed reductions in body weight and fat, even without any changes in food intake. They also had increases in specific receptors and enzymes that enhance the breakdown of fat. 

    ·       Another animal study in the International Journal of Obesity found that eating wheat gluten increased weight gain by decreasing the energy expenditure of fat tissue. 

    ·       More studies are needed focusing on the effects of gluten on body weight and body fat on humans specifically.

    Improves Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    ·       Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is an intestinal disorder that causes digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhoea.

    ·       A study in the journal Gastroenterology compared the effects of a gluten-free and gluten-containing diet on participants with diarrhoea-predominant IBS. Interestingly, researchers found that those eating gluten had increased bowel frequency and intestinal permeability (or leaky gut) compared to those on a gluten-free diet. 

    Gluten Free for Health

    Gluten Free Grains:

    Some grains are naturally gluten free. See list below for gluten free substitutes:

    ·        amaranth

    ·        arrowroot

    ·        buckwheat

    ·        corn and cornmeal

    ·        flax

    ·        gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)

    ·        hominy (corn)

    ·        millet

    ·        quinoa

    ·        rice

    ·        sorghum

    ·        soy

    ·        tapioca

    ·        teff

    Oats are naturally gluten free, but are often contaminated with wheat in the field or at the mill. So buying certified gluten-free oats is necessary for someone requiring a gluten free diet.

    Foods Naturally Gluten Free:

    ·        beans, seeds and nuts in their natural, 

    unprocessed form

    ·        fresh eggs

    ·        fresh meat, poultry and fish (not 

    marinated, breaded or batter-coated)

    ·        fruits and vegetables

    ·        most dairy products

    What Not To Eat:

    Avoid all food and drink that contains barley, rye, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye) and wheat. 

    Wheat flour goes by many names, so it is a challenge to avoid them as well, such as durum flour, einkorn, emmer, malt, farina, graham flour, kamut, semolina and spelt.

    The following foods should be avoided unless they are labelled as gluten-free or made with gluten-free grain, such as corn, rice or soy:

    ·        beer and malt beverages

    ·        breads

    ·        cakes and pies/ puddings

    ·        sweets

    ·        cereals

    ·        Liquorice

    ·        cookies and crackers

    ·        croutons

    ·        French fries

    ·        gravies

    ·        imitation meat or seafood

    ·        matzo

    ·        pastas

    ·        processed luncheon meats

    ·        salad dressings

    ·        sauces, including soy sauce

    ·        seasoned rice mixes

    ·        seasoned snack foods, such as 

    potato and tortilla chips

    ·        self-basting poultry

    ·        soups and soup bases

    ·        vegetables in sauce

    Watch for cross-contamination. Cross-contamination can happen during production, so labels should be read carefully for "may contain" statements.

    Be careful about eating out at restaurants. Ask the staff about gluten-free choices on the menu, and try to find out how it is prepared to avoid cross-contamination.

    Medications and supplements: Prescription and over-the-counter medications may use wheat gluten as a binding agent. Talk to your doctor or pharmacists about the drugs you're taking. Dietary supplements that contain wheat gluten must have "wheat" stated on the label.


    People assume that all supermarket free-from products that are gluten-free is healthy but that’s not always the case. Some products that are gluten-free contain high amounts of sugar in order to make it more palatable. Food includes bread and bread products like waffles, pancakes, crackers, snack chips and pretzels made with white rice flour, tapioca flour and/or potato starch, cakes and cookies. Gluten-free foods, especially refined foods processed to make them gluten-free also cheat the consumer out of the many health benefits of whole grains and can be lacking critical nutrients such as fibre, iron, zinc, folate, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, vitamin B12 and phosphorus.

    People who only eat foods that are inherently gluten-free, like fruits, vegetables, gluten-free whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, then gluten-free can be a healthy diet. However, if gluten-containing products are replaced with highly processed gluten free foods like pastries, energy bars, etc., weight loss will not be achieved and, in fact, weight may be gained as many gluten free foods are higher in calories than their gluten-containing replacements.

    If you do follow a gluten-free diet, make sure that the rest of your diet is well-rounded and nutritious. Gluten-containing grains pack in plenty of essential nutrients, so it’s important to make sure you’re meeting your nutritional needs and filling any gaps with other nutrient-rich foods.

    A gluten-free diet for kids is not advisable unless medically necessary or done under the supervision of a doctor or dietitian, as it can be lacking in important nutrients if not properly planned.

    To Sum Up…

    This blog only touches upon the world of gluten-free which is a vast subject. The rise in gluten intolerance and associated disease has been subject to much discussion. Modern food processing and modern living may have a part to play in causing a sensitivity to gluten. 

    Research into the benefits of a gluten-free diet is fast moving as well as the market for gluten-free products. Those with more serious conditions such as coeliac disease need to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet to prevent further damage to the small intestine and optimising digestive health. Moreover, being on a gluten-free diet has helped other conditions unrelated to the obvious gluten intolerance such as autism and epilepsy.

    If you are sensible in how you approach your gluten-free diet you will be able to reap the optimum benefit from it. Eating more raw, fresh, organic and naturally gluten-free foods and grains is the way to go rather than relying on the food industry to provide you with processed gluten-free alternatives. Always consult a health professional before you embark on a strict gluten free diet.











  • 18 May 2018 3:08 PM | Aliya Umm Omar

    Intermittent fasting is the practice of occasionally going for extended periods without eating. We all do some form of intermittent fasting every single day, except we don’t call it that. We call it sleeping. 

    Fasting is one of the most ancient and widespread healing traditions in the world. Humans have fasted for most of their history, whether it’s during the typical overnight period, during more extended periods of food scarcity, or for religious reasons. 

    Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC) prescribed the practice of fasting. He wrote, “To eat when you are sick, is to feed your illness”. The ancient Greek writer and historian Plutarch (46 – 120 AD) also echoed these sentiments. He wrote, “Instead of using medicine, better fast today . ” Ancient Greek thinkers Plato and his student Aristotle were also staunch supporters of fasting. Humans, like most animals, do not eat when they become sick. For this reason, fasting has been called the ‘physician within’. 

    Fasting for spiritual purposes is widely practiced, and remains part of virtually every major religion in the world. Jesus Christ, Buddha and Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم )all shared a common belief in the healing power of fasting. In spiritual terms, it is often called cleansing or purification, but practically, it amounts to the same thing. The practice of fasting developed independently among different religions and cultures, not as something that was harmful, but something that was deeply, intrinsically beneficial to the human body and spirit. 

    In Buddhism, food is often consumed only in the morning, and followers fast from noon until the next morning daily. In addition to this, there may be various water-only fasts for days or weeks on end. Greek Orthodox Christians may follow various fasts over 180-200 days of the year. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during the Islamic month of Ramadan. The Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) also encouraged fasting on Mondays and Thursdays of every week. Ramadan is the best studied of the fasting periods. It differs from many fasting protocols in that fluids are also forbidden. In addition to fasting, they also undergo a period of mild dehydration. 

    Physiological Changes to the Body during Fasting

    The transition from the fed state to the fasted state occurs in several stages:

    1.      Feeding– During meals, insulin levels are raised. This allows uptake of glucose into tissues such as the muscle or brain to be used directly for energy. Excess glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver.

    2.      The Post-Absorptive Phase– 6-24 hours after beginning fasting- Insulin levels start to fall. Breakdown of glycogen releases glucose for energy. Glycogen stores last for roughly 24 hours.

    3.      Gluconeogenesis– 24 hours to 2 days after fasting– The liver manufactures new glucose from amino acids in a process called “gluconeogenesis”. Literally, this is translated as “making new glucose”. In non-diabetic persons, glucose levels fall but stay within the normal range.

    4.      Ketosis– 2-3 days after beginning fasting– The low levels of insulin reached during fasting stimulate lipolysis, the breakdown of fat for energy. The storage form of fat, known as triglycerides, is broken into glycerol and fatty acids. Glycerol is used for gluconeogenesis. Fatty acids may be used directly for energy by many tissues in the body, but not the brain. Ketone bodies, capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, are produced from fatty acids for use by the brain. After four days of fasting, approximately 75% of the energy used by the brain is provided by ketones. 

    5.      Protein Conservation Phase– 5 days after fasting– High levels of growth hormone maintain muscle mass and lean tissues. The energy for maintenance of basal metabolism is almost entirely met by the use of free fatty acids and ketones. Increased adrenalin levels prevent the decrease in metabolic rate.

    The human body has well developed mechanisms for dealing with periods of low food availability. In essence, what we are describing here is the process of switching from burning glucose (short term) to burning fat (long term). Fat is simply the body’s stored food energy. In times of low food availability, stored food is naturally released to fill the void. The body does not ‘burn muscle’ in an effort to feed itself until all the fat stores are used.

    Intermittent Fasting Benefits 

    Below are only some of the amazing benefits of intermittent fasting:

    Helps You Lose Weight and Belly Fat

    ·       Improves appetite control - Intermittent fasting will generally make you eat fewer meals and eat less calories.

    ·       Intermittent fasting enhances hormone function to facilitate weight loss.

    ·       Lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of noradrenaline all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.

    ·       Increased growth hormone release - helps to preserve muscle mass and bone density as well as aid fast recovery after exercise.

    ·       Increases Metabolic Rate – after only 48 hours of fasting a 3.6% increase in metabolic rate was seen which was stimulated by the release of adrenalin. The increase in adrenalin boosts energy even while in resting state.

    ·       Fasting transitions the body from burning sugar to burning fat and increases in fat burning.

    Lowers Insulin Resistance - Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

    ·       Improves blood sugar control - by lowering blood glucose and increasing insulin sensitivity.

    ·       Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning. This effect is seen with fasting periods as short as 24-36 hours. 

    ·       Longer duration fasts reduce insulin even more dramatically. 

    ·       Regular fasting, in addition to lowering insulin levels, has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity significantly.

    Beneficial For Heart Health

    ·       Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve numerous different risk factors, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers and blood sugar levels.

    ·       Improves cardiovascular function by offering protection against ischemic injury to the heart.

    ·       It lowers blood lipids including decreasing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.

    ·       It lowers blood pressure through changes in sympathetic/parasympathetic activity

    Reduces Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in the Body

    ·       A study from Obesityshows that fasting produces an anti-inflammatory effect on the neuroimmune system that a high-fat diet would otherwise prevent.

    ·       Lowers markers of inflammation (including CRP<, IL-6, TNF, BDNF, and more)

    ·       Intermittent fasting may enhance the body's resistance to oxidative stress.

    Good for Your Brain

    ·       Several studies in rats have shown that intermittent fasting may increase the growth of new nerve cells, which should have benefits for brain function.

    ·       It also increases levels of a brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a deficiency of which has been implicated in depression and various other brain problems.

    ·       It can also improve neuronal plasticity by offering protection against neurotoxins.

    ·       Animal studies have also shown that intermittent fasting protects against brain damage due to strokes.

    ·       Intermittent fasting may delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease or reduce its severity.

    ·       Fasting may protect against other neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's and Huntington's disease but more studies are needed to confirm this.

    Repairs Damaged Cells

    ·       When we fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular "waste removal" process called autophagy.

    ·       This involves the cells breaking down and metabolising broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time.

    ·       Autophagy helps cells overcome stresses brought on from external causes like the deprivation of important nutrients, as well as internal issues like pathogens or invading infections organisms.

    ·       Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

    Helps You Live Longer

    ·       There are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease.

    ·       Studies in rats have shown that intermittent fasting extends lifespan in a similar way as continuous calorie restriction.

    ·       In some of these studies, the effects were quite dramatic. In one of them, rats that fasted every other day lived 83% longer than rats who didn’t fast.

    Fasting for Health

    Fasting is defined as the voluntary act of withholding food for a specific period of time. In some fasting schedules non-caloric drinks such as water and tea are permitted. An absolute fast refers to the withholding of both food and drink. This may be done for religious purposes, such as during Ramadan in Islam. 

    Here are some popular methods used today for improving health:

    ·       The 16/8 Method- It involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, for example from 1 pm to 9 pm. Then you "fast" for 16 hours in between.

    ·       Eat-Stop-Eat- This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.

    ·       The 5:2 Diet- On two non-consecutive days of the week, only eat 500-600 calories. Eat normally the other 5 days.

    ·       The ‘Warrior’ diet– The core of the diet consists of eating all meals in the evening during a 4 hour window. The fasting period of 20 hours consisted of most of the day. There was also an emphasis on natural unprocessed foods and high intensity training.

    ·       Alternate-day fasting- Fasting every other day, either by not eating anything or only eating a few hundred calories. 


    If you are an all-around healthy person, there is no risk in trying intermittent fasting. But anyone with an eating disorder, a history of eating disorders, or body dysmorphia should not try intermittent fasting. People with diabetes, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and those taking prescription medication that has to be taken at a specific time with food are also not candidates for intermittent fasting.

    Careful monitoring by a health professional should be done if you are planning to fast longer than 24 hours. If you feel unwell at any point during the fasting, you must stop. You may feel hungry, but you should not feel faint, or unwell or nauseated. This is not normal and you should not attempt to ‘push through’. Be wary of a condition known as hypoglycaemia which often manifests as shaking, sweating and sometimes seizures.

    The natural rhythm of life is Feast and Fast. There are times that you should feast (weddings, celebrations), and there are times that you should fast. Intermittent. To go on a ‘diet’ or restrict calories for years could be harmful and ultimately may prevent you from shifting the excess fat. Always consult your physician for advice.

    To Sum Up…

    Fasting is truly an idea that has withstood the test of time. It has been used for weight loss, to improve heart health, extend life, prevent Alzheimer’s, prevent insulin resistance and even slow down the entire aging process. Rather than something we’re forced to endure – a result of poor food availability or cultural expectations – intermittent fasting is becoming something that health and physique-oriented people are seeking out in order to keep their bodies in top shape. What’s new is that clinical research on intermittent fasting benefits for health and longevity is now beginning to catch up. 





  • 23 Apr 2018 10:56 AM | Aliya Umm Omar

    The Moringa plant is native to India, where it was first described around 2000 BC as a medicinal herb. This herb, also known as “The Miracle Tree” or the “Ben Oil Tree”, is mostly cultivated as the Moringa Oleifera species, a multipurpose tree grown on the foothills of the Himalayas in Northwest India, with roots in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Moringa Stenopetala, an African species, is also widely grown. This plant spread eastward from India to the lower parts of China, Southeast Asia and the Philippines. It also spread westward to Egypt, the Horn of Africa, around the Mediterranean, and finally to West Indies in America.

    Ancient civilisations quickly discovered that the tree provided many medicinal benefits, most notably an energy boost. Those who used Moringa found themselves experiencing high amounts of energy when compared to others, and it was believed to have many medicinal properties as well. The Romans, Greeks and Egyptians extracted edible oil from the seeds and used it as perfume and skin lotion. Ancient Egyptians treasured Moringa oil, using it as protection for their skin from the ravages of desert weather. 

    In 326 BC Alexander the Great was defeated by an unsuspecting group of men — the Maurian warriors. The Ancient Maurian warriors of India drank the leaf extract of Moringa as their daily staple and on the war-front. These men were known to be “men of stamina and valour”. Not only did Moringa give them the needed strength as warriors, it was a stress reliever and numbed pain.

    Roman historians recorded that these warriors needed less sleep and hardly got sick. They repeatedly pounced on Alexander’s armies in over 60 battles in a span of two years. At age 29, Alexander had conquered most of the known world, creating the greatest empire it had ever seen. His unstoppable conquests ended with the Moringa tea drinking warriors of India.

    In the 19th century, plantations of Moringa in the West Indies exported the oil to Europe for perfumes and lubricants for machinery. The seeds themselves have been found to be useful in water purification, thus today moringa is cultivated around the world, primarily in poorer regions with harsh climates to purify water and combat malnutrition. Countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Ghana, Honduras, Indonesia and Uganda take advantage of the nourishing properties of this amazing plant.

    Moringa Benefits 

    Moringa Oleifera is a tropical plant with an extremely high nutritional content.  Because of its near perfect combination of vitamins and protein, it has been labelled a super food, and a miracle tree. Each different part of the Moringa tree, be it the fruits, seeds, leaves, flowers, bark and roots, all contain beneficial nutrients. 

    In Ayurvedic Medicine, moringa has been mentioned as a cure for over 300 diseases ranging in severity from minor skin blemishes to more serious illnesses like asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, kidney stones, as well as respiratory illnesses like tuberculosis. Research from several different countries prove that Moringa powder has some of these health benefits that were well-known many years ago.

    Highly Nutritious

    ·       While all parts of the tree are edible, the highest nutritional value comes from consuming the leaves. 

    ·       Moringa leaves contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins A, B, C, E, protein, including all the basic amino acids, phytonutrients, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and omega 3, 6, 9:

    o    At least twice the protein than in milk

    o    Half the protein than in egg

    o    More iron than in beef

    o    Seven times more vitamin C than in oranges

    o    Four times more vitamin A than in carrots

    o    Four times more calcium than in milk

    o    Three times more potassium than in bananas

    o    Two times more protein than in yoghurt

    ·       When the leaves are boiled it has three times more bioavailable iron than the raw leaves.

    ·       The leaves are a great advantage for people who do not get protein from animal source such as milk and egg. It also contains arginine and histidine, the two amino acids especially important for infants. 

    ·       Used as a food supplement and successfully used to help treat malnutrition.  

    Water Purifier

    ·       Powdered moringa seeds are best known for its use in attracting contaminants to purify drinking water. 

    ·       Once the oil is extracted from the seeds by cold pressing, the leftover pressed cake contains a very high level of protein. 

    ·       Some of these proteins are active cationic proteins, which cause impurities in the water to clump together. This is achieved by grinding the seeds to a powder which is mixed with the dirty water, and then filtered through a piece of woven fabric to obtain pure water. 

    ·       Alternatively, a cloth containing the seed powder is suspended in water, generally overnight, to coagulate impurities. The cloth containing the seeds is then removed, and the purified water is decanted leaving behind the coagulated particles on the bottom. 

    ·       The cationic proteins neutralise the colloids in muddy or dirty water and up to 99% of colloids can be removed. 

    ·       Only one seed is required per litre for slightly contaminated water and two seeds for very dirty water.

    ·       This protein can also be used for cleaning vegetable oil, or for sedimenting fibres in juice. 

    ·       Both Egypt and Sudan have effectively used moringa seeds for cleaning water from the Nile specifically for human consumption.

    Improves Skin Health

    ·       Moringa contains natural antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral compounds that protect the skin from various forms of infections. 

    ·       Some of the common ways moringa is used on the skin include: reducing athlete’s foot, eliminating odours, reducing inflammation associated with acne breakouts, treating pockets of infection or abscesses, getting rid of dandruff, fighting gum disease (gingivitis), and helping heal bites, burns, viral warts and wounds.

    ·       Moringa oil is applied directly to the skin as a drying, astringent agent used to kill bacteria, but at the same time when used regularly it’s known to act like a lubricant and hydrate the skin by restoring its natural moisture barrier. 

    ·       It’s a common ingredient used in food manufacturing and perfumes because it prevents spoilage by killing bacteria, plus it has a pleasant smell and reduces odours.


    ·       Moringa leaves are high in several anti-aging compounds that lower the effects of oxidative stress and inflammation, including polyphenols, vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin, and chlorogenic acid. 

    ·       These are also associated with a reduced risk for chronic diseases, such as stomach, lung or colon cancer; diabetes; hypertension; and age-related eye disorders.

    Balances Blood Sugar Levels

    ·       Moringa contains a type of acid called chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to help control blood sugar levels and allow cells to take up or release glucose (sugar) as needed. This gives moringa natural anti-diabetic and hormone-balancing properties. 

    ·       Moringa contains compounds called isothiocyanates that have also been connected to natural protection against diabetes.

    Other Uses

    ·       Anti- Inflammatory- According to a report published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, moringa contains a mix of compounds that work in the same way as many anti-inflammatory drugs.

    ·       Cholesterol lowering- Moringa oleifera has been found to lower cholesterol levels in the blood, which would lead to reduced risk of heart disease. 

    ·       Protecting the liver- Moringa appears to protect the liver against damage caused by anti-tubercular drugs and can quicken its repair process.

    ·       Cancer- Moringa extracts contain properties that might help prevent cancer developing. It also contains niazimicin, which is a compound that suppresses the development of cancer cells. Moringa was found to have a group of unique compounds containing sugar and rhamnose, which are uncommon sugar-modified glucosinolates. These compounds were reported to demonstrate certain chemopreventive activity, by inducing apoptosis.

    ·       Digestive Aid- Moringa extracts might help treat some stomach disorders, such as constipation, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis. The antibiotic and antibacterial properties of moringa may help inhibit the growth of various pathogens, and its high vitamin B content helps with digestion.

    ·       Anti-bacterial- Due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties, moringa extracts might combat infections caused by Salmonella, Rhizopus, and E. coli.

    ·       Strengthens bones- Moringa also contains calcium and phosphorous, which help keep bones healthy and strong. Along with its anti-inflammatory properties moringa extract might help to treat conditions such as arthritis and may also heal damaged bones.

    ·       Mood Enhancer- As a high protein food and a rich source of the amino acid tryptophan, moringa benefits neurotransmitter functions, including those that produce the “feel good” hormone serotonin. Moringa is thought to be helpful in treating depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

    ·       Thyroid Health- Moringa is rich in antioxidants and compounds that improve thyroid health, which makes it beneficial for maintaining high energy levels plus fighting fatigue, depression, low libido, moods swings and insomnia. 

    Recipes for Health

    The most common forms of moringa are dried moringa leaves or powder, moringa tea, moringa seeds, and moringa oil.

    Moringa leavesare commonly used to brew tea by steeping the dried, preserved leaves in hot water, which releases their special chemical compounds — very similarly to how green tea is made. Young moringa leaves are edible and are commonly cooked and eaten like spinach or used to make soups and salads. The leaves can be consumed either in raw, cooked or dried over a screen for several days and ground into a fine powder that can be added to almost any food as a nutrient supplement such as cereals and drinks to improve their nutritive value. 

    Moringa seedsare rather unique in appearance; with grey-ish white ‘wings’ surrounding them. However, just like other seeds, they can be eaten like nuts and added to cereals and trail mixes. They can be roasted, powdered and used in curries. Seeds should be eaten green before they change colour to yellow. They must first be boiled for a few minutes to remove the fine transparent hull and the water drained before they are eaten. The hull is not desirable as food because it tastes bitter. It is generally recommended that you eat the seeds in small doses, as they have a “cleansing” effect on your digestive system. 

    The young green podsare very tasty and can be boiled and eaten like green beans. The pods are best for human consumption at the stage when they can be broken easily without leaving any visible strings of fibre. These are rich in free leucine. 

    Consuming moringa oilis generally considered safe in small to moderate amounts, but excessive use could cause inflammation of the gut or stomach upset, including nausea, flatulence, bloating, cramping, or diarrhoea. Only a small amount is needed as a salad dressing or in a stir fry to reap its health benefits.

    Moringa Tea:

    1.      1 teaspoon of dried leaves per cup of boiled water or 2 tablespoons of dried leaves in a teapot with 800ml of boiled water.

    2.      Steep the leaves in hot water for 10-15 minutes, or until water turns golden brown.

    3.      Drink hot or cold. Tastes great along with “double medicinal benefit” when organic sweeteners such as raw honey and coconut sap sugar are added.

    Moringa Guacamole

    ·       3 avocados, peeled, pitted, pits set aside

    ·       1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

    ·       2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

    ·       2 tbsp finely chopped massaged kale

    ·       Juice of 1 lime

    ·       3/4 tsp salt (recommend ground Himalayan rock salt)

    ·       1/2 tsp moringa leaf powder

    ·       Generous grinding of black pepper


    1.      Using a mortar and pestle or mixing dish, add in avocados. Mash with pestle or fork until desired consistency.

    2.      Add in salt and moringa powder. Mix well. 

    3.      Add the remaining ingredients and combine well. 

    4.      Garnish with a few cilantro leaves. Enjoy.

    Moringa Energy Smoothie

    ·       1 teaspoon moringa leaf powder

    ·       1 banana

    ·       1 cup fresh pineapple chunks

    ·       1 /2 cup blueberries

    ·       1 orange-peeled

    ·       1 cup filtered water or coconut water


    ·       2 tablespoons coconut oil

    ·       1/4 avocado – peeled


    1.      Add all of the ingredients to your blender.

    2.      Blend until smooth. Enjoy!


    Moringa taken by mouth or used on the skin seems to be very well-tolerated and unlikely to cause side effects. However, during pregnancy or breast-feeding, it’s best to avoid moringa extract, oil, root or high doses of supplements since not enough research has been done to show it’s definitely safe. It’s possible that chemicals within the plant’s root, bark and flowers can lead to contractions of the uterus, which can cause complications during pregnancy. It’s advisable to use moringa under the care of a health professional if pregnant or breast-feeding.

    Ayurvedic texts note that moringa shouldn’t be taken by women during the menstrual period. Also those with a sensitive stomach should use sparingly as moringa adds heat to the stomach.

    To Sum Up…

    Moringa Oleifera has drawn a lot of attention in the scientific world for its reported medical and nutritional benefits. Already the moringa tree is making its way internationally to help resolve issues with starvation around the world, standing up as one of the few true “superfoods” in the world. The fast-growing and drought-resistant tree thrives in the exact locations that have high malnutrition and poverty rates in parts of western Africa, southern Asia, and South America.

    Touted as the “plant of the year” in 2008 by the National Institute of Health, moringa has been acknowledged as the plant that “has the potential to help reverse multiple major environmental problems and provide for many unmet human needs.”

    At present many scientists and facilities are engaging in researching all parts of this phenomenal tree. This plant attracts more and more attention due to its diversity, properties and effects. While the benefits of moringa are still being studied, advocates say it has potential as an anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-ageing, anti-bacterial and many more “anti” properties. As well as aiding the developing countries, it could also have a part to play in many chronic diseases that are plaguing the developed world today. If you haven’t heard of this nutritious plant yet you soon will…













  • 22 Mar 2018 10:57 AM | Aliya Umm Omar

    Maca root or lepidium Meyenii is the root of a vegetable native to the Peruvian Andes and Bolivia. Known as "Peruvian ginseng" (even though it doesn't belong to the same botanical family as ginseng), maca is consumed as a food and is said to boost energy and libido. Typically added to smoothies, juice, and shakes, the ground root powder can also be used as an ingredient in such foods as coffee, chocolate, or oils. In Peru, whole maca root is often added to soup and oatmeal, roasted and consumed as a vegetable, or made into a fermented beverage known as "maca chica."

    It is a root vegetable with a leafy herbaceous top, similar to the radish or turnip family, except that it grows at high altitudes of 8,000 to 14,500 feet. The plant thrives only at higher levels with poor soils and needs to be rotated because it tends to exhaust the soil nutrients. Most maca is grown organically due to few pests thriving in the same conditions maca prefers. In fact, it is often used as a companion plant to repel pests from other plants as maca is rarely attacked. Maca is categorised based on the colour of its roots and is most commonly yellow, black or red. All colours of maca have similar benefits, although specific maca types and colours are thought to be more beneficial for certain medical conditions.

    Maca was used by the ancient Peruvians as currency for trade and played an important role in their traditional foods, with medicinal uses for 3,000 or more years.  During the Incan Empire, maca was considered such a potent and valuable herb, its use was restricted to the royal court and the imperial family. Peruvian herbal medicine have used maca for the treatment of menstrual problems, menopause, memory, anaemia, stomach cancers, tuberculosis and stress reduction as well as increasing energy. Inca warriors ate large quantities of the root before going into battle and their stamina, ferocity and strength in battle has been attributed to this herb. Legend has it that after a city was conquered, the women had to be protected due to the increased libido and 'ambitious virility' imparted by the maca.

    When the Spaniards arrived and learned about it, they exported maca roots to Spain. It was used by Spanish royalty for nutrition and energy until knowledge of it died out. It was the 1960s before maca started to become known by the rest of the world, as botanists that were researching botanicals in Peru came across it, analysed it for nutrition, and designated it as one of the 'lost crops of the Andes.'

    Peruvians use maca today as much as they always have - to increase strength and stamina, and to improve sexual function and fertility. Maca root is also used in the treatment of enlarged prostate glands, for mental clarity, an immune stimulant. It is used by professional athletes as an energy supplement, and the elderly, as well as those recovering from addictions, depression, disease, or traumas. It has been used to improve sperm production, motility and volume of semen for men and in women improvements have been seen in menstrual dysfunction and sexual functions. It has anti-aging properties and has been used as a tonic. It’s also considered an “adaptogen,” a name given to certain herbs, plants and natural substances that help the body naturally adapt to stressors like a busy schedule, demanding job or illness. As a cruciferous vegetable (like cabbage, broccoli, arugula, Brussels sprouts, and kale), maca contains glucosinolates, plant compounds that are being studied for their role in cancer prevention.

    Traditionally, maca is cooked; as the freshly harvested root is available only in close proximity to growers and raw maca can cause gastric upset, due to its thick fibers and goitrogen content. It can be cooked in a variety of ways, sometimes it is roasted as a delicacy, but usually it is boiled or mashed to produce a sweet, thick liquid. It is also dried and mixed with milk, porridge, other vegetables, or grains to produce a flour used for baking. It is even fermented and made into a weak beer. The leaves are cooked, or eaten raw in salads. Gelatinized maca is available for therapeutic and supplementation uses. A freeze dried maca juice is available also. Maca root is generally dried and consumed in powder form, but it's also available in capsules and as a liquid extract.

    Maca Benefits

    Highly Nutritious

    ·       Maca root powder is an excellent source of protein, fibre and several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, copper and iron.

    ·       It also contains over 20 amino acids, including all eight essential amino acids, and plenty of health-promoting phytonutrients and various plant compounds, including glucosinolates and polyphenols.

    ·       Maca root acts as a natural antioxidant, boosting levels of antioxidants like glutathione and superoxide dismutase in the body.

    ·       Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals, fighting off chronic disease and preventing damage to cells.

    Enhances Energy

    ·       Those who regularly use maca powder report that it makes them feel more awake, energised and driven, often relatively quickly after beginning to use it. Plus, maca can help increase energy without giving you the “jitters” or a sense of shakiness like high level of caffeine can.

    ·       Supplementing with maca may improve exercise performance, particularly during endurance events. However, its effects on muscle mass and strength have yet to be studied.

    ·       One small study in eight male cyclists found that they improved the time it took them to complete a nearly 25-mile (40-km) bike ride after 14 days of supplementing with maca extract.

    Improves Mood

    ·       Maca may improve your mental well-being and mood by reducing depression and anxiety, especially in menopausal women.

    ·       Maca contains plant compounds called flavonoids, which have been suggested to be at least partly responsible for these psychological benefits.

    Boosts Memory

    ·       Some evidence indicates that maca, in particular the black variety, can improve learning and memory.

    ·       Maca may improve brain function.

    ·       It has traditionally been used by natives in Peru to improve children's performance in school.

    ·       In animal studies, maca has improved learning and memory in rodents that have memory impairment.

    Improves Female Sexual Health

    ·       Maca is able to balance female sex hormones and has even been shown to alleviate symptoms of menopause. Balancing hormone levels is crucial to many aspects of reproductive health and can help reduce symptoms like infertility, weight gain and bloating.

    ·       Maca root may be able to improve sexual dysfunction and boost sex drive in women.

    ·       One study looked at the effects of maca root on post-menopausal women with sexual dysfunction caused by the use of antidepressants. Compared to a placebo, maca root was able to significantly improve sexual function.

    ·       A study in 2008 also found that maca root benefits both psychological symptoms and sexual function in post-menopausal women. Maca was able to reduce menopause-associated depression and anxiety after six weeks of treatment.

    Balances Oestrogen Levels

    ·       Maca root can help balance hormone levels and control the amount of oestrogen in the body. Regulating oestrogen levels may also help with improving reproductive health and fertility and decreasing symptoms related to conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), such as excess hair growth, weight gain and acne.

    ·       One study published in the International Journal of Biomedical Science gave 34 early post-menopausal women a tablet containing either maca or a placebo twice daily for four months. Not only did maca help balance hormone levels, but it also relieved symptoms of menopause, such as night sweats and hot flashes, and even increased bone density.

    ·       One review of four studies in menopausal women found that maca helped alleviate menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and interrupted sleep.

    Boosts Male Fertility

    ·       One study from Peru found that supplementing with maca for eight weeks increased sexual desire in men.

    ·       A study in 2001 found that maca helped improve sperm quality and motility, two important factors when it comes to male infertility.

    ·       A 2010 review summarised the results of four clinical trials evaluating the effects of maca on libido and reported that two of the studies showed an improvement in sexual dysfunction and sexual desire in both men and women. However, the other two trials did not find a positive result, so further research is still needed.

    ·       Maca can increase sperm production and improve sperm quality, thereby enhancing fertility in men.

    ·       A study conducted with nine healthy men found that after consuming maca for four months, researchers detected an increase in the volume, count and motility of sperm.

    UV Rays Protection for Skin

    ·       There is some evidence that applying maca extract, a concentrated form of the plant, to your skin may help protect it from UV radiation. Over time, UV radiation could cause sunburn, wrinkles and increase your risk to skin cancer.

    ·       One study found that maca extract applied to the skin of five rats over a three-week period prevented skin damage from UV exposure.

    ·       The protective effect was attributed to the polyphenol antioxidants and glucosinolates found in maca.

    ·       Keep in mind that maca extract cannot replace a conventional sunscreen. Also, it only protects the skin when applied to the skin, not when eaten.

    Recipes for Health

    Maca has an earthy, slightly nutty taste with a hint of butterscotch that works especially well when added to porridge or cereal. The flavour can also vary based on the type of maca, with black maca being a bit more bitter and the cream-coloured roots having a sweeter taste. Maca powder can be easily added to smoothies and drinks or mixed into recipes.

    Although there is no official recommended maca powder dosage, it’s best to start out with about one teaspoon (in powder form) daily and work your way up to two tablespoons spread throughout the day. Because maca is known for increasing energy and stamina, many people like to take it before exercising to get a burst of extra energy. Most people supplement with somewhere between one gram to 20 grams daily in powder form.

    Coconut and Maca Snack Balls


    ·       1 heaping cup of dried dates

    ·       1 cup of desiccated coconut

    ·       2 tbsp of coconut oil

    ·       1/4 cup of maca powder

    ·       pinch of salt


    1.     Process the dates and coconut in a food processor until they start to clump together

    2.     Add the maca powder and salt, then melt the coconut oil until it becomes liquid

    3.     Turn the food processor on and drizzle in the coconut oil until well combined

    4.     Remove the mixture from the food processor and roll into balls

    5.     Kept in the fridge, these should last at least a week if not longer. They could also be frozen.

    6.     Instead of balls, you could press the mixture into a pan and cut into bars or squares.

    Mocha Maca Matcha

    This mocha maca matcha is the perfect healthy pick me up drink to start your morning. It's full of healthy and energising ingredients and you can make it in minutes.



    ·       1/2 teaspoon matcha powder

    ·       1/2 teaspoon maca powder

    ·       1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

    ·       1 cup water or almond milk or a combination of the two

    ·       1 tablespoon coconut oil

    ·       1/2 teaspoon turmeric

    ·       sprinkle of cinnamon and cayenne to taste

    ·       sweetener to taste such as stevia or maple syrup


    1.     Boil your water.

    2.     In a blender add your boiling water and all the ingredients.

    3.     Blend on high until frothy.

    4.     Pour and enjoy!


    Maca is safe for most people and can be consumed with minimal risk of side effects. That being said, there are some people who may want to moderate their intake.

    If you have any thyroid problems, you should keep maca intake in moderation and avoid consuming it raw. This is because it contains goitrogens, which are substances that can impair thyroid function, especially in those with thyroid issues. It also contains glucosinolates that can increase chance of goiters, if a lot is eaten in combination with a diet low in iodine. The darker coloured roots (red, purple, black) contain iodine, making it a better choice for those planning on using a lot of maca. Check with your doctor before taking maca if you have hypothyroidism or a history of thyroid problems.

    Because of maca’s effects on hormone levels, physicians believe that maca should not be consumed by people who rely on hormone-altering medications for the treatment of illnesses like breast cancer or prostate cancer, for example, or for other serious conditions. People who have high blood pressure are also advised to not consume maca to avoid adverse side effects.

    Finally, there is limited research on the safety of maca for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Until it is confirmed to be safe, it’s best for these women to avoid maca.

    To Sum Up…

    This is the root from which warriors are made of. The Incan Empire in Peru was built by these warriors winning battles eating huge amounts of this root vegetable. It was so highly prized in that era that it had become a form of currency and was only available to the royal family.

    Maca only grows when its 14000 feet off the ground and will always be organic as even pests can’t thrive in these harsh conditions. This highly nutritious food was used often in Peruvian herbal medicine to treat many conditions such as infertility, sexual function, anaemia, memory and much more, and it is still used today for the same reasons. So if you’re looking to add more stamina, strength and endurance into your exercise routine this is the herb for you.

    Maca is more readily available in powder form and with its earthy nutty taste it goes well in smoothies, juices and yoghurts. If you have thyroid problems, are pregnant or breast-feeding, or taking hormone-altering medications, its best to avoid this herb. Nonetheless, more research is still needed to fully understand maca’s effects and risks. As with all medicinal herbs, it is best to consult a trained health professional for advice.










  • 19 Feb 2018 10:50 AM | Aliya Umm Omar

    Jackfruit is a fruit to be reckoned with. Did you know that the jackfruit is considered the largest tree fruit in the world! It can grow to enormous sizes, measuring between 10 and 60 cm in length, 25 to 75 cm in diameter, with an average weight of 3.5 to 10 kg and sometimes a fruit may reach up to 25 kg. But it’s not the fruit’s size that makes it so amazing, it’s the nutrition. Jackfruit is high in magnesium, vitamin B6 and antioxidants all while offering a low-carb snack or even the perfect vegan “pulled-pork” sandwich.

    Jackfruit is an ancient fruit that is widely consumed as a fresh fruit. The use of jackfruit bulbs and its parts has also been reported since ancient times for their therapeutic qualities. Jackfruit originated from the rainforests of India’s Western Ghats and spread to other parts of the country, the East Indies and Southeast Asia. The jackfruit has played a significant role in Indian agriculture for centuries. Archeological findings in India have revealed that jackfruit was cultivated in India 3000 to 6000 years ago. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh and the state fruit of the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The seeds and pulp of the jackfruit are considered as a cooling food as well as a nutritious tonic.

    Most jackfruit trees can bear as many as 250 large fruits every season. The tree is used as timber as well. There are two main varieties of jackfruits: one is small, fibrous, soft, and mushy, and the carpels are sweet, with a texture like that of a raw oyster; the other variety is crisp and crunchy, but not very sweet.

    The jackfruit is green when unripe, and then turns light brown and emits a strong aroma once it is ripe. It is round or oblong-shaped, and has an outer surface that is covered with blunt thorn-like projections that soften as the fruit ripens. Inside each fruit are hundreds of small, succulent yellow lobes which encompass a large seed. These seeds are also edible. The flesh of the jackfruit is starchy and fibrous and is a source of dietary fibre. The flavour is comparable to a combination of apple, pineapple, mango, and banana. After roasting, the seeds may be used as a commercial alternative to chocolate aroma.

    The cuisines of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam use cooked young jackfruit. However, both the ripe and unripe fruit is used in cooking, as are the seeds. In many cultures, jackfruit is boiled and used in curries as a staple food. For making the traditional breakfast dish in southern India, idlis, the fruit is used with rice as an ingredient and jackfruit leaves are used as a wrapping for steaming. In southern India, unripe jackfruit slices are deep fried to make chips.; it is also used to make achar (pickled vegetables). Jackfruit dosas can be prepared by grinding jackfruit flesh along with the batter. In Indonesia and the Philippines, young jackfruit is cooked with coconut milk. In northern Thailand, the boiled young jackfruit is used in the Thai salad called tam kanun. In West Bengal, where the Bengal word for the fruit translates as "tree mutton" or "the meat which grows on a tree" use the unripe green jackfruit as a vegetable or meat substitute to make various spicy curries and side dishes and as fillings for cutlets and chops. It is especially sought-after by vegans and vegetarians who substitute this for meat. After about one hour of cooking, the fresh unripened jackfruit starts to resemble the flavour and mouth-feel of pulled pork.

    Health Benefit

    Jackfruit is an excellent source of proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins. The health benefits of jackfruit have been attributed to its wide range of physicochemical applications. Jackfruit contains 38% carbohydrates, 6.6% proteins and 0.4g fat, plus vitamins A, C and B, calcium, zinc, and phosphorous. The jackfruit also contains sucrose, fatty acids, and amino acids like arginine, cystine, histidine, leucine, lysine, metheonine, theonine, tryptophan, and others.

    With its nutritious content, jackfruit offers health benefits for a whole array of conditions:

    Cardiovascular Health

    w  Jackfruit is abundant with potassium and it is said to be useful in decreasing blood pressure and reversing the effects of sodium that causes a rise in blood pressure that affects the heart and blood vessels. This helps in preventing heart disease and strokes.

    w  It also contains vitamin B6 which helps reduce homocysteine levels in the blood thus lowering the risk of heart disease.

    w  Jackfruit also contains iron (0.5 mg/100 g), which helps to prevent anaemia and also helps in proper blood circulation.

    Bone Health

    w  Potassium also helps in preventing bone loss and improves muscle and nerve function. It contains 303 mg potassium per 100 g of jackfruit.

    w  Jackfruit is rich in magnesium (27 mg/100 g in young fruit and 54 mg/100 g in seed). It is a nutrient important in the absorption of calcium and works with calcium to help strengthen the bone and prevents bone-related disorders such as osteoporosis plus it reduces the risk of magnesium deficiency which many women are facing nowadays.

    Hormone Health

    w  Jackfruit also contains niacin or vitamin B3 and necessary for energy metabolism, nerve function, and the synthesis of certain hormones. A portion of 100 g of jackfruit pulp provides 4 mg niacin. The recommended daily amount for niacin is 16 mg for males and 14 mg for females.

    w  Jackfruit contains copper (10.45 mg/kg) which plays an important role in thyroid gland metabolism, especially in hormone production and absorption.

    w  Roasted jackfruit seeds are regarded as an aphrodisiac.

    Immune Health

    w  Jackfruit turns out to be an excellent way to obtain vitamin C that is recognized for its substantial antioxidant properties. Vitamin C content (12 to 14 mg per 100 g) protects the body against free radicals, strengthens the immune system, and keeps our gums healthy.

    w  Their seeds contain two lectins, namely jacalin and artocarpin. Jacalin has been proved to be good antibacterial agent thus the seeds may therefore be developed into therapeutic agents capable of treating infectious diseases and preventing food contamination by food-borne pathogens such as E. Coli.

    Degenerative Diseases and Cancer

    w  The jackfruit contains many carotenoids which are important for the prevention of several chronic degenerative diseases, such as cancer, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cataract, age-related macular degeneration.

    w  Jackfruit has phyto-nutrients such as lignans, isoflavones and saponins which have anti-cancer, anti-hypertensive and anti-ulcer properties. These nutrients can prevent forming of cancer cells in the body, can lower blood pressure and can fight against stomach ulcers.

    Digestive Disorders

    w  Jackfruit is said to be good for individuals experiencing indigestion. It is a known laxative with a high fibre content (3.6 g/100 g), thus useful in preventing constipation and producing smooth bowel movements. It also offers protection to the colon mucous membrane by removing carcinogenic chemicals from the large intestine.

    w  The seeds starch is believed to be useful in relieving indigestion and excessive flatulence.

    w  The seeds stimulate the growth and activity of ‘good’ bacteria in the digestive system that improves its intestinal microbial balance.

    Skin Health

    w  Jackfruit is gluten-free and casein-free, thus offering systemic anti-inflammatory benefits to skin. It contains antioxidants such as vitamin C and flavonoids which are vital to the production of collagen, a protein that provides skin with structure and gives it its firmness and strength.

    w  With anti-aging benefits, the jackfruit may slow down the degeneration of cells that make the skin look young.

    Other parts of the jackfruit, including the root, leaves, fruit, and latex, have shown to exhibit a broad spectrum of health benefits:


    w  The jackfruit root has been discovered to be good for those being affected by asthma by boiling the root of the jackfruit and extracting and consuming it.

    w  The root of the jackfruit tree or jackfruit root extract forms the remedy for skin diseases, fever, and diarrhoea.


    w  The leaves of the jackfruit tree are useful for curing fever, boils, and skin diseases. When heated, they prove useful in wound healing.

    w  To heal ulcers, the ash of jackfruit leaves is used when burnt with corn and coconut shells and used either alone or mixed with coconut oil.

    w  Jackfruit leaves may improve glucose tolerance in normal and type 2 diabetes patients.


    w  The latex of the fruit is helpful in treating dysopia, ophthalmic problems, and pharyngitis.

    w  The latex can also be mixed with vinegar to heal abscesses, snakebites, and glandular swellings.

    NOTE: Caution is advised in patients taking antibiotics due to possible additive effects. Also, jackfruit seeds may increase the risk of bleeding when taking with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anti-coagulants or “blood thinners” such as warfarin or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

    Recipes for Health


    w  Ripe jackfruit is naturally sweet, thus, it can be used to make a variety of dishes, including custards, cakes.

    w  Ripe jackfruit bulb are sometimes seeded, fried, or freeze-dried and sold as jackfruit chips.

    w  Ripe fruits can be eaten raw, or cooked in creamy coconut milk as dessert, made into candied jackfruit or edible jackfruit leather. In India, the seeds are boiled in sugar and eaten as dessert.

    w  Pureed jackfruit is also manufactured into baby food, juice, jam, jelly, and base for cordials.

    w  Jackfruits are made into candies, fruit-rolls, marmalades, and ice cream.


    w  Because unripe jackfruit has a meat-like taste, it is used in curry dishes with spices in many eastern cuisines.

    w  The skin of unripe jackfruit must be peeled first; then the remaining whole jackfruit can be chopped into edible portions and cooked before serving.

    w  Young jackfruit has a mild flavour and distinctive meat-like texture and is compared to poultry.


    w  The seeds from ripe fruits are said to have a milky, sweet taste often compared to Brazil nuts. They may be boiled, baked, or roasted.

    w  When roasted, the flavour of the seeds is comparable to chestnuts.

    w  Seeds are used as snacks (either by boiling or fire roasting) or to make desserts.

    w  They are quite commonly used in curry in Indian traditional lentil and vegetable mix curry.

    w  Roasted, dried seeds are ground to make flour that is blended with wheat flour for baking.

    Jackfruit Curry


    w  500 grams fresh jackfruit

    w  2 medium tomatoes pureed

    w  1 tsp. virgin coconut oil

    w  ½ tsp. cumin seeds

    w  ½ tsp. mustard seeds

    w  ½ tsp. nigella seeds

    w  2 bay leaves

    w  2 dried red chili peppers

    w  1 small onion (chopped)

    w  1 inch ginger (chopped)

    w  1 tsp. coriander powder

    w  ½ tsp. turmeric

    w  ¼ tsp. black pepper

    w  ½ to ¾ tsp. Himalayan salt

    w  1 to 1.5 cups of water


    1.     Heat extra virgin coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin, nigella and mustard seeds and let them sizzle for about a minute. Add the bay leaves and red chilli peppers, and then cook for several seconds. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and just a pinch of Himalayan salt. Cook until translucent (5-6 minutes) and remember to mix occasionally.

    2.     Add the turmeric, coriander and black pepper, mixing well. Stir while adding the pureed tomato, jackfruit and the rest of the salt. Cover and cook for approximately 15 minutes.

    3.     Uncover and cook for another few minutes to make the tomato puree thicker. The jackfruit can also be shredded.

    4.     Add the water and then cover and cook for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the flavour accordingly, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for an extra 10 minutes or longer, until your desired consistency is achieved. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

    Follow this link for some amazing vegan jackfruit recipes: http://www.veganfoodandliving.com/16-mouth-watering-vegan-jackfruit-recipes/

    To Sum Up…

    Jackfruit has been steadily gaining international attention as a tree that is easily grown and is drought-resistant, with very nutritious fruit that happens to bear a striking resemblance to meat when cooked. The large yield of fruit that this tree produces could open the opportunity of providing a potential solution to countries facing problems with food security. Every part of this native Southeast Asian tree can be used, from its root to its leaves.

    In recent times, the consumption of jackfruit has also grown in the developed countries, mainly due to its reported health benefits. Jackfruit and its pulp and seeds are rich sources of several beneficial compounds which have proven to protect against and alleviate many conditions, such as stomach ulcers and cardiovascular disease. Recent studies in its role at preventing the development of certain cancers has been promising and there are many areas that are still untapped by this amazing fruit. This fruit has aroused the interest of the vegan and vegetarian community who are always looking for ways of incorporating more protein into their diet, plus the added benefit of passing for chicken or pulled pork when cooked.

    Vegan Jackfruit Pulled Pork Sandwiches - Vegan Heaven

    If you haven’t already tried this fruit be sure to try it. With its versatility in dishes, from sweet to savoury to meaty - it’s very hard not to. You’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. A very good way to incorporate more fibre into your diet, without compromising on the meat-like taste, which so many of us are now accustomed to. Many Asian stores sell either the tinned varieties or the fresh fruit itself. This unusually large fruit has earned itself a very unique position in the fruit family. The “meat that grows on trees” has only just begun to reveal its awesomeness.






  • 22 Jan 2018 10:12 AM | Aliya Umm Omar

    Castor oil has been used medicinally for about 4,000 years and until recently, it was given regularly to children to "keep their systems clear". Because of its unpleasant taste, castor oil is a remembered bane of many a childhood.

    Castor oil is obtained from castor seeds or beans either by pressing or by solvent extraction. The castor seed has a long history of use. Castor seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 4000 BC, being used mostly to fuel lamps because of the slow burning oil. Herodotus and other Greek travellers have noted the use of castor seed oil for lighting, body ointments, and improving hair growth and texture. Cleopatra is reputed to have used it to brighten the whites of her eyes.

    Today, castor oil is used both internally and externally for medicinal use and for such industrial purposes, as in the production of nylon and other synthetic fibres and resins. The oil has a very consistent viscosity and won't freeze, which makes it ideal for lubricating equipment in severely cold climates such as a component in motor oil, sealants, plastics, rubber, insecticidal oils, protective coatings, paint and varnish, insulation and so forth. In addition, castor oil and its derivatives are used in cosmetics such as lipstick, soap, shampoo, hair oils, embalming fluid, synthetic flower scents, food containers, food additives and flavouring agents, mould inhibitor, ink and dyeing aids.

    It consists almost entirely of the triglycerides ricinoleic acid. This unique fatty acid is found in lower concentrations in a few other seeds and oils (0.27 percent in cottonseed oil and 0.03 percent in soybean oil) and is thought to be responsible for castor oil's unique healing properties. It is well known for its strongly laxative action, taking effect within three to five hours after ingestion. In higher doses, it is a purgative. The oil is so effective that it is regularly used to clear the digestive tract in cases of poisoning. Although castor oil has been taken internally as a cathartic, its use can be harmful (see ‘Err on the Side of Caution’ for more info).

    All parts of the castor oil plant can be used for medicinal purposes. In India, the oil is massaged into the breasts after childbirth to stimulate milk flow. In Ayurvedic medicine, a poultice of castor oil seeds is applied for the relief of swollen and tender joints. In China, the crushed seeds are used to treat facial palsy. In Mexico, the leaves are used in poultices placed on the chest for congestion, cough, or fever, or on the abdomen to treat an acute intestinal distress known as "empacho". The leaves are used on anything that "hurts", that is, swollen joints, bruises, boils, neuralgia, abscesses, as well as for colds and fever.

    Err on the Side of Caution

    Castor seed is the source of castor oil and ricin. The seeds contain between 40 and 60 percent oil that is rich in triglycerides, mainly ricinolein. Ricin is a deadly poison, which is obtained after the oil is extracted, with the oil not containing any of this poison. It is produced from the "mash" that is left over after processing castor seeds into oil. In the past it has been used as a biochemical weapon because it is highly toxic to humans and other animals, including insects. This potent toxin comes from a protein in the castor seeds that, if ingested (orally, nasally, or injected), gets into the ribosomes of your cells where it prevents protein synthesis, which eventually kills the cells.

    Castor oil's main side effects fall into the categories of skin reactions and gastrointestinal upset. It is broken down by your small intestine into ricinoleic acid, which can act as an irritant to your intestinal lining. This effect is what gives castor oil the ability to reverse constipation but can also cause digestive discomfort, diarrhoea, and other gastrointestinal side effects. If you suffer from cramps, irritable bowel, ulcers, diverticulitis, haemorrhoids, colitis, prolapses, or have recently undergone surgery, you should probably avoid ingesting castor oil due to these possible adverse reactions.

    Although castor oil has been traditionally used to help stimulate labour in healthy pregnant women, there are widespread reports of nausea when consumed. It’s probably best to rub some of the oil on the belly instead, if it is tolerated.

    Health Benefits

    Immune System and Lymphatic Stimulant

    w  William McGarey, author of The Oil That Heals, reported that when used properly, castor oil packs improve the function of your thymus gland and other components of your immune system. He found that patients using abdominal castor oil packs had significant increases in lymphocyte* production compared to placebo packs.

    w  A 1999 study was carried out to determine whether or not topical castor oil would stimulate the lymphatic system. The findings were positive. After a two-hour treatment with castor oil packs, there was a significant increase in the number of T-11 cells, which increased over a seven-hour period following treatment.

    w  Castor oil could support your immune system by only apply it externally using a castor oil pack.

    *Lymphocytes are your immune system's disease-fighting cells and are produced and stored mainly in your lymphatic tissue (thymus gland, spleen, and lymph nodes). Hundreds of miles of lymphatic tubules allow waste to be collected from your tissues and transported to your blood for elimination, a process referred to as lymphatic drainage. When your lymphatic system is not working properly, waste and toxins can build up and make you sick. Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease. When castor oil is absorbed through your skin (according to McGarey), your lymphocyte count increases. Increased lymphocytes speed up the removal of toxins from your tissues, which promotes healing.

    Skin Treatment

    The oil's benefits can be derived by topical application:

    w  It is useful for a variety of skin conditions like keratosis, dermatosis, wound healing, acne, ringworm, warts and other skin infections, sebaceous cysts, itching, and even hair loss.

    w  Castor oil and ricinoleic acid also enhance the absorption of other agents across your skin.

    w  Patients with occupational dermatitis may have a positive reaction to castor oil or ricinoleic acid.

    Gastro-Intestinal Remedy

    w  A 2010 study found that castor oil packs were an effective means of decreasing constipation in the elderly.

    Antimicrobial (antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal)

    w  An Indian study in 2011 found that castor leaf extract showed better antibacterial activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria than Gentamycin (their standard for comparison).

    Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic

    w  A 2009 study found that castor oil effectively relieves arthritis symptoms.

    w  A 2000 study of the effects of ricinoleic acid on inflammation, researchers found it exerted "capsaicin-like" anti-inflammatory properties.


    w  Castor oil has been found to have a strong suppressive effect on some tumours.

    w  Early clinical trials suggest that ricin, when combined with an antibody to confine this poison to malignant cells, shrinks tumours in lymphoma patients.

    Castor oil has been reportedly used to treat many other conditions, however, its effectiveness is yet to be researched.

    Recipes for Health

    Advocates claim castor oil is most effective for strengthening your lymphatic system when it is applied topically in a ‘castor oil pack’. Castor oil "packs" can be an economical and efficient method of infusing the ricinoleic acid and other healing components of castor oil directly into your tissues. Some say it can even help to slowly break down unwanted mass on your organs such as cysts, bonespurs and tumours. Do a "patch test" prior to applying a castor oil pack to make sure you aren't allergic to the oil.


    w  High quality cold-pressed castor oil

    w  A hot water bottle or heating pad

    w  Clingfilm or a waterproof material

    w  Two or three pieces of half metre squares of wool or cotton flannel, or one piece large enough to cover the entire treatment area when folded in thirds

    w  One large old bath towel


    1.     Fold flannel three layers thick so it is still large enough to fit over your entire upper abdomen and liver, or stack the three squares.

    2.     Soak flannel with the oil so that it is completely saturated but not dripping. The oil should be at room temperature.

    3.     Lie on your back with your feet elevated (using a pillow under your knees and feet works well), placing flannel pack directly onto your abdomen; cover oiled flannel with the waterproof material/clingfilm, and place the hot water bottle on top of the plastic.

    4.     Cover everything with the old towel to insulate the heat. Take caution not to get the oil on whatever you are laying on, as it can stain. If necessary, cover that surface with something to protect it.

    5.     Leave pack on for 45 to 60 minutes.

    6.     When finished, remove the oil from your skin by washing with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda to one litre water, or just soap and water. (Be sure to wash the towel by itself, as the castor oil can make other clothes stink if washed together.)

    7.     You can reuse the pack several times, each time adding more oil as needed to keep the pack saturated. Store the pack in a large glass jar. Replace the pack after it begins to change colour.

    8.     For maximum effectiveness, apply at least four consecutive days per week for one month. Patients who use the pack daily report the most benefits.

    Apart from the castor oil pack, there are several other ways to use castor oil topically:

    w  Simply rub it onto an affected area of your skin.

    w  For only a very small area - affix a plaster / Band-Aid soaked in it.

    w  For larger or more systemic applications - use as massage oil, especially effective when massaged along your spinal column or lymphatic drainage pathways.

    To Sum Up…

    Castor oil has shown some very promising results when put to the test, however, much needs to be learned about this powerful oil which is still untapped. So far the best way to gain its benefits is in the form of a castor oil pack. The thick oil is powerful enough to penetrate deep into the body’s tissues which many oils are unable to do.

    If you come across some castor seeds avoid eating them. One bean can be lethal for a child, while two or more can be lethal for an adult. The good thing is that its toxins do not pass into the expressed oil.

    Where you buy your castor oil is equally important, as much of the oil currently sold in stores is derived from castor seeds that have been heavily sprayed with pesticides, solvent-extracted, deodorised, or otherwise chemically processed, which damages beneficial phytonutrients and may even contaminate the oil with toxic agents. Go for the cold pressed variety which is organically sourced to reap the full effects of this amazing oil.






  • 20 Dec 2017 10:29 PM | Aliya Umm Omar

    Avocado, also known as an alligator pear or butter fruit, is a large pear shaped fruit with a hard, leather-like skin. It has a large stone which is surrounded by a creamy pulp. In recent times, its popularity has grown exponentially and some health experts rank it as one of the top five healthiest foods on the planet.

    Though discovered by the Spanish only in the 15th century, avocados were used by the Mesoamericans since 5000 BC. This aphrodisiac fruit from South Central Mexico was used by the Incas in Peru and sold in Mexican markets.

    Three types of avocado were created separately in three different locations in Central America:

    1.     Mexican avocados - originated in Central Mexico and are small fruits that are covered by a thin, purple-black skin. The modern variety includes the Fuerte (Spanish for “strong”) which used to be the most popular variety before the Hass variety conquered the world.

    2.     Guatemalan avocados - are from Southern Mexico or Guatemala, are similar in shape and size to the Mexican but have a more ovoid and lighter-coloured seed and have a thick, tough skin. Their modern varieties include the Anaheim and Bacon. Hass and Zutano are hybrids of the Mexican and Guatemalan types. Hass being the most common cultivar of avocado in this century. Named after a Californian postman Rudolph Hass, who started growing it in his backyard back in 1926.

    3.     West Indian avocados - are not from the West Indies at all, but rather were developed in the Maya lowlands of Central America. They are the largest of the avocado varieties and have a smooth easy-to-peel light green skin and abundant flesh with a slightly sweet taste.

    Health Benefits

    Below are some of the benefits Avocados can have on your health if eaten regularly:

    Boosts Heart Health

    w  Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated oleic acid which helps to reduce artery blocking LDL cholesterol in the blood while increasing the more beneficial HDL cholesterol.

    w  Eating avocados can decrease blood triglyceride levels, a common predictor of cardiovascular problems.

    w  Avocados are high in vitamin E which aid in the prevention of cholesterol oxidation, while their potassium can regulate blood pressure.

    w  Avocados are an excellent source of folate, known to reduce dangerous homocysteine levels in the blood, another predictor of cardiovascular disease.

    w  Avocados contain phytosterols for reducing cholesterol absorption.

    w  Avocado oil is a much healthier than polyunsaturated vegetable oil, particularly for high-temperature frying.

    Promotes Brain Health

    w  Avocados are one of the top brain-healthy foods due to its high content of omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E:

    o   Omega 3 fatty acids -  keep your brain healthy by improving the blood supply to the pre-frontal cortex, the front part of the brain responsible for critical thinking, behaviour, decision making, and planning.

    o   Vitamin E - has been clinically proven to prevent Alzheimer’s from progressing and even reversing symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

    Nourishes the Skin

    w  The monounsaturated fats in avocados help to improve your skin tone and appearance. They are vital for maintaining good moisture levels in the epidermal layer of your skin which gives you that soft and healthy look.

    w  The omega 9 fats in avocado are known to assist in reducing skin redness, irritation and are involved in repairing damaged skin cells. These fats can also moderate sebum production which helps to control acne, blackheads and excessively oily skin.

    w  Avocados also protect your skin from wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. This is due to:

    o   antioxidant carotenoids;

    o   vitamin E - which helps guard against photo-aging from sun exposure;

    o   vitamin C - which is involved in the creation of elastin and collagen for maintaining your skin’s elasticity and firmness.

    w  Avocado oil works great as a natural skin moisturiser. It can help treat several skin conditions such as dry skin, psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, wounds, age spots, scars and sun damage.

    Prevents Birth Defects

    w  The high folate/folic acid content in avocados can protect your unborn baby.

    o    Just one cup of avocado provides almost one-third of the recommended dose of folic acid for pregnant women.

    o   Folic acid, a B vitamin, is a key prenatal nutrient that helps the brain and other vital organs develop in the fetus. It is also essential in preventing birth defects, such as neural tube defect and spina bifida.

    w  Vitamin K is another valuable nutrient found in high concentrations in avocados that benefit women during pregnancy and their future babies.

    Prevents Arthritis

    w  Avocados contain high levels of monounsaturated fats, phytosterols and antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin C and a variety of carotenoids that can help reduce the inflammation that leads to arthritis.

    w  The phytosterols are found in the fat content. The highest content of the carotenoids is found in the darker part of the fruit that sits closest to the skin, so be sure to eat that part too.

    w  In a more concentrated form, avocado oil is said to be particularly good as an arthritis treatment when consumed regularly. You can substitute olive oil for avocado oil in many recipes such as in pesto and vinaigrettes.

    Protects Against Cancer

    w  Avocados can help prevent the occurrence of cancers in the mouth, skin, and prostate gland. The anti-cancer properties in avocados are related to its unusual mix of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients.

    o   In cancer cells, these nutrients increase oxidative stress and shift the cancer cells into a programmed cell death cycle (apoptosis) lowering their numbers.

    w  The antioxidant carotenoids (like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin) which are found in avocados, protect your body’s cells against cancerous changes. This is done by reducing free radical damage. They are considered your front line of defence against numerous diseases.

    o   Alpha-carotene appears to be especially important for cancer prevention.

    w  The monounsaturated fats in avocado help with carotenoid absorption and studies suggest that it has a protective effect against breast cancer in particular.

    w  Avocados also contain high levels of vitamin C and vitamin E, which are potent anti-cancer antioxidants.

    Helps with Digestion

    w  Avocados are high in vitamin B complexes which help release digestive enzymes needed in the digestive process. It also improves the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

    w  As avocados are considered an alkaline food, it balances the pH levels of the body and helps with conditions such as acid reflux and ulcers.

    w  Avocados are a high fibre food, with 8 grams of both soluble and insoluble fibre per cup of the fresh fruit. This helps improve digestion, encourage regular bowel movements thus preventing constipation. In fact, avocados are often recommended as a mild laxative for people suffering from constipation.

    Helps with Weight Loss

    w  The monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados are more likely to be used as slow burning energy than stored as body fat. This steady energy and the feeling of satiety or satisfied fullness that you get from eating an avocado is one of the reasons they are so good at reducing hunger and appetite.

    w  The high soluble and insoluble fibre content is effective for weight loss. This is because it also provides the feeling of fullness quickly which prevents over eating.

    w  Avocados are high in L-carnitine, an amino acid used in metabolising fat.

    Recipes for Health

    Here are ways to increase your avocado consumption:

    w  Use it as a fat replacement in baking.

    w  Dice it as a nice topping for your soups or bone broth.

    w  Put it in the food processor to make dessert whips, puddings, smoothies and countless other recipes.

    w  Mash or whip it until completely smooth for a baby’s first food instead of processed food in a jar.

    w  Slice them onto a plate, drizzle some fresh lime juice on top and add a scattering of dried chilli flakes.

    w  Use it in making homemade guacamole.

    w  Put it on your skin as a natural moisturiser.

    Avocado Face Mask for Acne

    1.     Mix avocado, honey and water to form a paste.

    2.     Apply to your face and leave for 30 minutes.

    3.     After 30 minutes remove the mask and wash your face.

    To Sum Up…

    This versatile fruit bursting with nutritional benefits has taken the world by storm. Its creamy texture means that it can stand in for mayonnaise, replace butter in baked goods and even become the creamy base for ice creams or smoothies. You can grill them, stuff them, batter and fry them or turn them into cake frosting.

    Those wanting to lose weight will enjoy the fact that, not only do these fruits taste great as a chocolate pudding alternative, they also promote weight loss and protect against heart disease.

    To make sure an avocado is perfectly green and creamy on the inside, and free from ugly brown spots, the key is checking under the stem. This part of the avocado holds a sneak peak for what's going on under the skin. Peel back the small stem or cap at the top of the avocado. If it comes away easily and you find green underneath, you've got a good avocado that's ripe and ready to eat.

    The flesh of the avocado is just beginning of understanding the benefits of this delicious nutritious fruit. Studies of the benefits of its big seed is only just emerging, but that’s for another blog!








  • 16 Nov 2017 11:19 AM | Aliya Umm Omar

    Turmeric is a plant that has a very long history of medicinal use, dating back nearly 4000 years. In Southeast Asia, turmeric is used not only as a principal spice but also as a component in religious ceremonies. Because of its brilliant yellow colour, turmeric is also known as “Indian saffron.”

    Today, turmeric is widely cultivated in the tropics. It is a product of Curcuma longa, a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the ginger family Zingiberaceae, which is native to tropical South Asia. As many as 133 species of Curcuma have been identified worldwide. However, Indian turmeric is considered to be the best in the world. India produces nearly all of the world’s turmeric crop and consumes 80% of it.

    The rhizome, from which the turmeric is derived, is tuberous, with a rough and segmented skin. The rhizomes mature beneath the foliage in the ground. Before turmeric can be used, the turmeric rhizomes must be processed. Rhizomes are boiled or steamed to remove the raw odour, gelatinize the starch, and produce a more uniformly coloured product. The rhizomes are then boiled in alkaline water for between 40–45 minutes and then dried in the sun immediately to prevent overcooking. The dried rhizomes are polished to remove the rough surface and ground to a yellow powder with a bitter, slightly acrid, yet sweet, taste.

    Turmeric has been put to use as a foodstuff, cosmetic, and medicine. It is widely used as a spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. It lends curry its distinctive yellow colour and flavour. It is used as a colouring agent in cheese, butter, and other foods. Turmeric paste is also applied to the skin of the bride and groom before marriage in some parts of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, where it is believed to make the skin glow and keep harmful bacteria away from the body.

    In Ayurvedic Medicine, turmeric is thought to have many medicinal properties including strengthening the overall energy of the body, relieving gas, dispelling worms, improving digestion, regulating menstruation, dissolving gallstones, and relieving arthritis. Many South Asian countries use it as an antiseptic for cuts, burns, and bruises, and as an antibacterial agent. In Pakistan, it is used as a remedy for gastrointestinal discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders. It is also mixed with milk or water and taken to treat intestinal disorders as well as colds and sore throats.

    It is well-documented to treat various respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma, bronchial hyperactivity, and allergy), as well as for liver disorders, anorexia, rheumatism, diabetic wounds, runny nose, cough, and sinusitis. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to treat diseases associated with abdominal pain.

    Health Benefits

    Turmeric is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. More than 100 components have been isolated from turmeric. The main components of this root is a volatile oil containing turmerone, and colouring agents called curcuminoids. Curcuminoids consist of various forms of the important bioactive compound curcumin. It is the curcumin that produces so many healing properties that currently there are over 10,000 peer-reviewed articles published proving turmeric benefits. Of the 10,000+ studies, the most interesting finding is that when it’s compared to conventional medicine, turmeric benefits equal that of many pharmaceutical medications. In fact, a number of studies have even reported that using curcumin is more advantageous than certain prescription drugs.

    Turmeric has an enormous list of conditions that it helps. However, in this blog only a few of them will be mentioned below:

    Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

    The most powerful aspect of curcumin is its ability to control inflammation. It is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs. The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that aspirin and ibuprofen are least effective, while curcumin is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compound in the world. Several other studies have shown the same potency against pharmaceutical drugs, except without the side effects.

    Curcumin targets multiple steps in the inflammatory pathway, at a molecular level. It blocks a molecule that travels into the nuclei of cells and turns on genes related to inflammation. This molecule (known as NF-kB) is believed to play a major role in many chronic diseases.

    Arthritis is a common disorder characterized by joint inflammation. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and, again, is in some cases more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.

    An in-depth analysis of all the studies evaluating curcumin’s ability to manage inflammatory bowel disease (IBS, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis) found that many patients were able to stop taking their prescribed corticosteroids because their condition improved so dramatically by taking curcumin. For many patients with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) corticosteroids reduced their pain symptoms, but damaged their intestinal lining over time making the condition worse. However, supplementing with curcumin did not have these side effects and actually helped heal the gut and supported the growth of good bacteria (probiotics).

    Strong Antioxidant

    Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that can neutralise free radicals due to its chemical structure. It can also boost the activity of the body's own antioxidant enzymes. Curcumin may help delay aging and fight age-related chronic diseases which is why it has become very popular as an anti-aging supplement.

    Turmeric is effective at treating various skin conditions which include speeding up wound healing; calming the pores to decrease acne and acne scarring; and controlling psoriasis flares. It can benefit your skin as a home remedy for acne, eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, wrinkles and dark circles under the eyes. It also reduces skin inflammation and slows down cell damage. It can also help reduce pigmentation that evens out skin tone.

    Brain Booster

    Neurons are capable of forming new connections, but in certain areas of the brain, they can also multiply and increase in number. One of the main drivers of this process is Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain. Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone. Depression is also linked to reduced levels of BDNF and a shrinking hippocampus, a brain area with a role in learning and memory. Curcumin boosts BNDF levels, potentially reversing some of these changes.  It may be effective at delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related diseases in brain function. There is also some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine and the possibility that it could help improve memory and make you smarter.

    Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to lead to various improvements in the pathological process of Alzheimer’s disease. One key feature of Alzheimer's disease is a build-up of protein tangles called Amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin can help clear these plaques. Whether curcumin can really slow down or even reverse the progression of Alzheimer's disease needs to be studied properly.

    Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

    Endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves an inability of the endothelium to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors. Curcumin can improve the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. Several studies suggest that curcumin leads to improvements in endothelial function. One study shows that it is as effective as exercise, another shows that it works as well as the drug Atorvastatin. Curcumin also reduces inflammation and oxidation, which are also important in heart disease.

    Cancer Intervention

    Researchers have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment. A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells where a high dose of curcumin is prescribed. Curcumin in turmeric is not enough to provide a high dose and so a supplemental form of curcumin is used to bring about the desired effect.

    Whether high-dose curcumin can help treat cancer in humans has yet to be tested properly. However, there is some evidence that it may help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system (like colorectal cancer).

    Also, according to a study published in Planta Medica, taking turmeric in combination with black pepper, which contains piperine, improves turmeric absorbability throughout the entire body. They added 20mg of piperine to 2,000mg turmeric, and it increased the bioavailability of turmeric by 154 percent. You could try swallowing a few whole peppercorns along with your curcumin supplement. Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to take it with a fatty meal.


    A study discovered that curcumin is 400 times more potent than Metformin (a common diabetes drug which improves insulin sensitivity and can help reverse Type 2 Diabetes). In addition to correcting the causes of diabetes, curcumin has also been proven to help reverse many of the issues related to insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. These include diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy, which causes blindness.

    Natural Painkiller

    One of the more widely accepted properties of curcumin in scientific communities is its ability to manage pain. Recently research has discovered that curcumin naturally activates the opioid system in diabetic rats. Typically manipulated by drugs, this natural process serves as the body’s inherent pain-relieving response. However, not limited to diabetic pain conditions, curcumin can have similar pain-relieving effects on other conditions also, such as severe burns. Typically, burn victims are treated with dangerous opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory’s. However, curcumin has shown to treat burns in the same way that conventional medicine does.

    Alternative to Corticosteroids

    Research found that curcumin has the ability to cure chronic inflammation of the eye which would typically be treated with steroids. The researchers stated that although turmeric showed comparable effects, the lack of side effects with curcumin was its greatest advantage compared with corticosteroids. So, if you’re suffering from conditions where steroids are prescribed it might be a good idea to try curcumin as an alternative method of treatment.

    Recipes for Health

    Turmeric Face Mask

    A turmeric face mask is an excellent exfoliating agent and very easy to make right at home with just a few ingredients. However, it is important to note that some people have reported allergic reactions to turmeric after skin exposure. Do a patch test by applying a small amount to your forearm before applying to the face. Be careful not to get it on your clothing as well, since it may stain.


    w  ½ teaspoon turmeric powder

    w  ½ teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar

    w  1 tablespoon of organic raw honey

    w  ½ teaspoon milk or yogurt

    w  1 drop lemon essential oil or fresh lemon juice for additional skin brightening [optional]


    1.     Wash face and hands first to remove impurities and any make-up.

    2.     In a small bowl or jar, mix the turmeric powder with the honey, apple cider vinegar, milk or yogurt and optional lemon oil. Try to get a consistency that will stick to your face. Be careful not to make it too thin as it may drip. 

    3.     Apply the mask carefully avoiding your eyes.

    4.     Allow the mask to sit on your face for 15–20 minutes then rinse with warm water.

    5.     If you have any leftover, you can cover and leave in the fridge for your next application.

    6.     Apply twice a week for best results.

    Turmeric Tea

    Turmeric tea is a popular beverage throughout Asia and is known by some as “liquid gold.” This golden turmeric tea recipe will help heal your body from a number of inflammatory health conditions.


    w  1 cup coconut milk

    w  1 cup water

    w  1 tablespoon ghee

    w  1 tablespoon honey

    w  1 teaspoon turmeric (powder or grated root)


    1.     Pour coconut milk and water into the saucepan and warm for 2 minutes.

    2.     Add in butter, raw honey and turmeric powder for another 2 minutes.

    3.     Stir and pour into glasses.

    To Sum Up…

    It’s hard to deny the powerful effects turmeric has on our bodies. The strong therapeutic effects, which surpass those of conventional medication demonstrates the extent of its potency. From aiding in inflammatory diseases to numbing intense pain, it should be at the forefront of everyone’s medicine cabinet. More human studies is definitely warranted to confirm all these benefits which our ancestors knew and practiced many years ago.

    Turmeric as a spice and as a household remedy has been known to be safe for centuries. However, in high dose supplemental form, turmeric may cause nausea, diarrhoea, increased risk of bleeding, increased liver function tests, hyperactive gallbladder contractions, hypotension (lowered blood pressure), uterine contractions in pregnant women and increased menstrual flow. Always consult your doctor if you decide to take high doses of curcumin.







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