Monday 18 August 2014

Indian Borage or Karpooravalli (கற்பூரவள்ளி)

More than 150 recipes have been posted on Rathika’s Nest so far. Nonetheless, not many home-made remedies have been covered yet. Today let me talk about the most common herb ‘Indian Borage’. 

Indian Borage Leaves
Indian borage or karpooravalli (கற்பூரவள்ளி) is a common plant that is often grown in the home gardens. It has oregano like flavor. Indian borage is called ‘karpooravalli’ as it smells like‘karpooram’(கற்பூரம்) or camphor. Karpooravalli is also used in South Indian cuisine for making pachadi, chutney, bajji and kootu.

I have Indian borage growing wildly outside my balcony and it is quite handy when somebody is down with cold and cough.  

Medicinal uses: Indian borage along with other herbs is used for making traditional cough remedy. In native medicine, it is also used to treat common cold, sore throat, chronic cough as in asthma and bronchitis, rheumatic pain, digestive problems such as flatulence, hiccups, skin ailments and painful menstruation. According to one study, Indian borage is found to have hepato-protective (protects liver) property. Another study notes that karpooravalli has analgesic and anti-pyretic properties. 

Home-made remedy: Elders at home use Indian borage for making cough and cold remedies.

Cold remedy - If you have cold, just break and smell the Indian borage leaf for its soothing effect on congested nose. Alternatively boil water in a vessel, add a handful of Indian borage leaves (Fig.1) and steam your face to get relief from nasal congestion.

Fig.1: Cold remedy

Cough remedy - Crush 10 karpooravalli leaves using the mortar and pestle (Fig.2 & 3), and extract the juice by squeezing the crushed leaves (Fig.4). You get approximately 2 tablespoonful (30ml) of extract from this quantity of leaves.  Karpooravalli extract provides relief from cough.

Fig.4: Cough remedy
Note: Extracted juice has a strong flavor and slightly sour taste. If you find the taste too strong, dilute the extract with little water, before drinking. If the taste is not agreeable rock candy or honey may be added. My colleague, Dr Paranthaman, an Ayurveda doctor, informs me that the dose of karpooravalli extract is 3-5ml three times a day for children and 10ml three times a day for adults, to treat cough and cold/nasal congestion.

How to grow the plant: Indian borage is an outdoor plant that grows very fast. You can easily grow this plant in a pot. Just break a stem and plant it in a pot. Keep the pot in a place exposed to Sunlight for at least a few hours a day.  Indian borage requires less water and hence, water the plant sparingly. 

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