Thursday, 26 May 2016

Bentong Ginger and Turmeric Drink: My two months review

I simply love this drink and today, I fall in love with it more for these reasons, two months ago:

  1. my blood pressure was around 145/80 and today it is 125/71
  2. I couldn't get up from a full squat position without holding on to something and today I can rise easily, no aid required,
  3. I do not feel bloated or "full of gas" any more.
I monitor my blood pressure because I am terrified of the effects.  I have seen many people get stroke from high blood pressure hence I try to maintain a good blood pressure.  Like everyone else, sometimes I get a bit lazy if I have to watch everything that I eat.  I also enjoy being active so I need a method that is easy to maintain good muscle and joint aches and pains as well as flexibility.  Hence, my joy at these two areas.

I love experimenting healthy drinks on myself first and preferably, farm-made because source of materials is important to me.  There are a few qualities that I look for:

  1. Taste: This is important as if it doesn't taste to my liking, chances of me continuing to drink it is small
  2. Ease of consumption: It has to be easily consumed.  If I need to go through a hassle to drink it, chances are I won't be bothered to go through the effort.
  3. Methods of consumption:  This combination is versatile.  I can make a drink by adding water to the concentrate, leave it unsweetened or sweetened with honey or brown sugar or molasses; add it to regular tea; drink it warm or cold; add it olive oil, lime, salt and pepper to make a salad dressing; or use it in cooking.
  4. Ease of preparation:  It is easy to prepare although it is time-consuming.  The upside is, I can prepare a concentrate that can be stored in the fridge for at least 1 month and no preservatives.
  5. Minimal adverse effect:  No known adverse effects to drinking this normally.
  6. Ease of source materials: These plants are easy to grow so I plant a lot of them at the farm.  This provides me with easy access to source materials.
I am looking forward to my blood tests results next week which I hope will show other good results.  In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy to drink this.  I also encourage everyone to plant these two plants and reap the benefits :)

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Bunga Tasbih - striking flower with benefits

Bunga Tasbih (scientific name: canna indica linn) grows easily in our tropical climate and has a low maintenance.  It can be planted either in containers or in the ground and will flower in either method. However, when planting in a container, it needs to be planted in a big container of at least 30cm in diameter to ensure good growth.  There are many varieties of this plant and the one that we have at the farm has red flowers.  The leaves have a red rim along the outer edges.

This plant is a perennial and a healthy plant will flourish and produce baby plants.  These plants can be separated and re-planted.  You can also propagate them from the tuber.  It is a hardy plant that loves lover but soil with good drainage.  It can grow to about 2m tall and a healthy plant will produce big leaves.  It can be grown in full sun or semi-shade.  It requires little fertilisation.  On plants that I grow in the ground, my chickens provide the fertiliser.  On plants that I grown in containers, I start with a rich organic soil and top wth a mixture of mulch and chicken manure once every3-4 months.

For home landscape, I suggest that it is planted in containers or in a bordered planting bed to control the spread of growth.

In traditional medicine, the tuber is used for treatment of hypertension, high blood pressure, haemorrhoid,  inflamed liver as well as for high fever.  The root tuber is sliced and boiled and consumed as a drink.  The tuber is also turned into a paste and used in skin care for reducing or treating acne and general skin care.

As the flower matures and die off, it produces seeds which when fully matured, can be dried out and used to create a rosary or tasbih, a reflection of the Malay name: Bunga Tasbih which translated to English is Rosary Flower.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Bentong ginger and Turmeric: My miracle-like drink

I am into eating or drinking food without thinking of it as a supplement or medicine but merely as part of a natural diet.  For me, pre-emptive measures are always better than trying to treat a condition.  This is where the Bentong Ginger and Turmeric drink has become a regular on my diet.  I find the taste to my liking and it has been easy to maintain drinking it, more so by the benefits that I am reaping.

The drink comprises of Bentong ginger and turmeric, organically grown of course.  I sometimes drink it unsweetened or add organic brown sugar or honey or gala nipah.  I tend to make concentrates that I can store in the fridge and have it ready to drink at any time.  In the evenings, I like to have it warm.  Sometimes I have it as a cool drink, especially on hot afternoons.  It has a refreshing taste.  When I travel, I like to bring a bottle ready-to-drink, just in case I get motion sickness.  If I know that I will be travelling through winding roads, I like to drink it before I start the journey.

The Bentong ginger is different from the regular ginger in that it has a stronger taste.  It can be grown is the ground as well as in containers.With the right soil composition and fertilisation, can be harvested in 8 months.  In research, gingerol is found to be the main pharmacological agent.  Ginger's main properties include:

  1. anti-inflammatory
  2. antioxidant
  3. antiemetic
Amongst the benefits are:

  1. improves digestion 
  2. reduces inflammation
  3. improves circulation
  4. strengthens the immunity system
  5. improves muscle and joint health
  6. reduces pain from osteoarthritis 
  7. improved carbohydrate and lipid metabolism
  8. reduce nausea
  9. Lowers cholesterol (LDL)

Due to its nausea reducing properties, it is also taken by people who undergo chemotherapy to reduce the nauseous side effect of the treatment.

Turmeric is easy to grow in our climate and can be grown in the ground and in containers.  With the right still composition and fertilisation, it can be harvested in 6 months.  In research, curcumin is thought to be the main pharmacological agent.  Turmeric's main properties include:

  1. anti-inflammatory
  2. antiseptic
  3. antioxidant

Amongst the benefits are:

  1. improves healing of wounds
  2. improves brain function and lowers risks of brain diseases
  3. improves rheumatoid arthritis ( In Ayurvedic treatments, turmeric is one of the elements used)
  4. improves digestive problems (In Germany, the German Commission E which approves what herbs can be used safely has approved the use of turmeric for digestive problems.)
I lead a physical life, doing lots of manual work on the farm.  At times, I get carried away and only realise the effect once I stop.  I will feel the sore muscles as well as joint pains.  In the last 2 months, this is no longer an issue.  I find that I am more flexible and my muscle recover faster.  I use to not be able to rise from a full squat position without holding on to something and now, I can do it without aid.

I also find that my digestion has improved which also leads to easy bowel movements.  I also tend to eat less and do not get any bloated feeling after any meal and I eat all kinds of things.  My skin condition has also improved.  I prepare the drink by cooking it in a claypot and I avoid using any metal pots to prevent any reaction with the metal.  I place the crushed turmeric and ginger (which I pound using a mortar and pestle) with water and bring it to a boil before allowing it to simmer for at least a couple of hours.  When it is cool, I will strain it and place in bottles and store in the fridge.  I find that it can last at least one month in the fridge.  I do not add any sweeteners to it as this will allow me to use it in many ways for consumption.  Using only organically grown Bentong ginger and turmeric, I can be assured that I am not introducing chemical toxins which would otherwise defeat the purpose for a healthy drink.

This combination also have been purported to have preventive and therapeutic benefits for diabetes.  From a holistic therapy view, it has many benefits and many preventive benefits.  Since I enjoy the drink, I find that it is not a chore to include it in my diet.  Apart from using the concentrate as I drink, I also have it on hand to add to my cooking of any protein (fish, beef and chicken) as well as to spice up my olive oil salad dressing.  Through my reading, I find that it has no known negative side effects when taken in moderation.

I look forward to seeing if I will also get all the other benefits from this drink and since there is no known side effect, I am using myself as my test subject. To date, I have already reap some benefits :)

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Balancing Act: Cool trio for health

Part of the joy of gardening is being able to harvest produce for my table.  I always like to looks for easy-to-grow and low-cost but with high health benefits plants.  Amongst my mission is to go local, find combinations that we Malaysians can have without spending a fistful of ringgit.  On top of that, it must also taste good otherwise how will I enjoy eating it?  I suggest that you avoid those that grow in chemical loaded environments like the roadside and drains but stick to those grown organically or in clean environments.

This trio: Peperomia pellucid (Ketumpang Air or Sireh Cina), Wild Purslane (couldn't find the Malay name for it) and Centella Asiatica (Pegaga) are all local and easy to grow.  They can be grown in containers and all love water and grow well in moist soil conditions.  By taking a look at their stems, you can get the idea that they require lots of water as the stems are all succulent-like.  They grow well in full sun or semi-shade.

Ketumpang Air  has a slight peppery taste with a crunchy texture.   You can eat the leaves, stems and roots.  Amongst its properties are analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer.  The one thing I love about this plant is the uric acid cleansing properties so when I eat beef or prawns (both items that I love), I like to make sure that I also eat this that day.  It is is more for my preventive action from getting gout and joint pains - all related to high uric acid in the body.  This is what I eat for my kidneys, joints, muscles and vitamins.

Wild Purslane taste like lettuce with a crunchy texture.  I tend to only eat the leaves and stems.  Amongst its properties are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and diuretic.  The interesting thing about these leaves is it is high in omega-3-fatty acids so it is a good choice for vegetarians as well.  This plant can serve as a much cheaper option for source of these good fatty acids, at a fraction of the cost of fish with its sky-rocketing price.  This is what I eat for my heart as well as preventing high blood pressure and vitamins.

Pegaga has a mild spicy taste with crunchy leaves.  I eat the leaves, stems and roots.  Amongst its properties are  antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant and cognitive-enhancing.  An interesting aspect of the leave is it contains elements that help increase the rate of collagen production as well as slow down the breakdown of collagen.  What this means to me is it will help in keeping my skin "tight".  What a blessing - something natural and low-cost for my skin care something that almost all my female friends would appreciate and also men who care about their skin and looking "younger".  This is my skin care as well as all the vitamins.

Eaten it its raw form is what I like best and it gives me the added benefit of fiber.  So at the end, is there any reason why not to eat these leaves?  Eat in moderation and may we all enjoy the plentiful benefits without having to spend big "bucks" in supplements and can avoid drugs to treat a condition. I have not covered all the benefits but just the ones that are of interest to me :)