Friday, December 25, 2009

Chikki greens

This is the famale flower of the Chikki green, which looks like it is made of paper. The Chikki leaves are a popular salad green. It has a slightly sour taste, which adds a tang to the salad.
The leaves can also be cooked and eaten with dal or ground into a tasty chutney. The leaves are very nutritious like the spinach.Unlike the spinach, chikki leaves are very delicate and cook within seconds. It retains its slight sour taste even after cooking, so that you don't have to add lemon juice .

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Flower of the Sun-Calotropis gigantea

The Crown flower Calotropis gigantea is a wild flower in this part of the world. Its Sanskrit name is Arka, which also means the sun. The crown shape of this flower hasgiven it the common name. Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii considered the flower a symbol of rayalty and wore leis made from the flowers.
There is a white variety of the Crown flower too, which is considered more useful for medicinal purposes. There are many medicinal uses for the whole plant in Ayurveda. One very effective folk remedy to take out splinters from your hand is to put one or two drops of the white milk of the plant on the attected place, and after half an hour, the thorn will come out by itself. Very useful for gardeners.
One or two leaves in the bath water will prevent skin infections during winter.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Toor dal

This is a type of beans called Toor dal , which Indians are very fond of. Because of the floods in the Toor dal growing region, its price has gone sky high now. My bush of Toor dal , which came by itself, gave me a good amount of the fresh beans which I used in 'sambhar'.
The flowers are an attractive yellow, and they attract bees and bumblebees. The vegetable tastes somewhat like the pea. The seeds of the beans are sun dried and are stored to be used as a dal.It is full of proteins and vitamins.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Honey is an important ingredient of a kashaya used for cold , cough and flu. This enormous beehive is one of the three which are built year after year in my school by the wild bees, Apis indica.
Mint is another ingredient which helps in flu.

Peppercorns help to bring out the phlegm.

The Indian Borage is another ingredient which is good for all bronchial ailments.

Lemon grass is good for colds.
To prepare the Kashaya, take five leaves each of mint, Indian borage and basil in a vessel. Add a 2 inch piece of the lemon grass to it. Add 2 cups of water and boil it for 2 minutes. Strain, add a teaspoon of honey to the tea and sip slowly.
There are many types of kashayas; teas to bring down fever, to relieve pain, even to help in childbirth! Every Indian family has a different recipe, some Kashayas are made from dried and powdered herbs. Being a herbal tea, kashaya gives one a sense of well being .

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Flowers on the Fences

The Coral vine is flowering profusely on the fences
of gardens now. The Chinese Hat, Holmskioldia sanguinea flowers all through the year. It is a native plant, and has many coloured flowers.

Some people call it Cup-and Saucer Plant.

The violet Petrea is another vine which can be grown as a shrub. It also flowers all through the year.