Friday, August 29, 2014

Soothing Herbal Tea / Kashayam

I know I didn't blog for quite some time as I am still recovering from chikungunya. Whenever we got cold and cough when young, my mom used to brew herbal tea and give us. It is a great home remedy without any side effects. I have seen many adults as well as kids run away if you say the names of these herbal teas. I know sometimes they can be bitter. Some people a few decades back used to have a strict regime - a cleansing routine on every Saturday or Sundays when different herbal teas would be given after a soothing oil massage followed by hair wash. I have experienced those too. I am not the running away type. Always I like my mom's "Kashayams" or herbal teas of different kinds for various ailments. I respect her for her knowledge about these simple home remedies and they also help in getting better.

This time she made a different one. This herbal concoction gives some relief and boosts up your immunity.
In this herbal tea, there are lots of fresh leafy ingredients, each one unique and the effect of all these is very vital when your health is down. She says mudakathan or balloon vine leaves are a must in this brew (She has RA and OA - with these arthritis she regularly takes mudakathan for its benefits) as I have severe joint pains.

Here is a picture of the fresh leaves, their names, and some of their special properties.

Chitharathai (Galangal) leaves - helps in cold, cough.
Sacred basil - helps fight fever, cold, infection, and also to combat stress.
Omavalli (Pratharchur in Hindi ) called Plectranthus ambonicus - helps in cold and cough.
Mudakathan leaves (Balloon vine) or Cardiospermum helicababum - reduces joint pain.
Siriyanangai or Nilavembu (Andrographis paniculata) - anti-biotic, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and hepatoprotective).
Betel leaves - digestive aid (not pictured here).

Dry roast these dry ingredients for 3- 4 min. Cool and coarse grind.

Athimadhuram (Liquorice) stick - 1 in.
Sukku or dried ginger - 1 in.
Kanda thippili (Piper longum stem) - 4 pieces
Arisi Thipili (Piper longum fruit) - 4 pieces
Cumin - 1 tsp
Ajwain or omum (carom seeds) - 1 tsp
Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
Whole coriander seeds - 1/4 tsp


Wash all the leaves. Take a big bowl, add all coarse ground powder, fresh leaves, and 3 cups of water. Simmer for 10 - 15 min or till the mixture reduces to half. Filter, add palm sugar or honey, and drink warm. Cheers to good health and enjoy your warm cup of herbal tea.

You can add some more water to the mixture after filtering and make the tea again a couple of times before throwing it out.

  • If you do not have the fresh leaves, sometimes if you get these in powdered form, you can include it.
  • If you are pregnant, please do not include nilavembu or Andrographis paniculata.
  • Nilavembu or siriyanangai (Andrographis paniculata) is very very bitter. Please check on how much bitterness you can tolerate. For adding three leaves, I could taste the bitterness for an hour. So if you are adding in powdered form, go easy on it, especially if you are giving to kids.
  • Also, the color and taste depend on the leafy ingredients that you have at hand and also you can alter the quantities of these according to your preference.

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