Green path to health: Have a different keerai every day

The old Tamil adage that says food in and of itself is medicine perhaps applies most fittingly to greens, which became a part of our daily diet for its medicinal properties

Several greens are available in our local markets, including spinach, manathakkali (black nightshade), pirandai (veldt grape), pudina (mint) and kothamalli (coriander)

We also cook with thoothuvalai, murungai keerai, mulai keerai, mullangi keerai, ponnanganni, paruppu keerai, mudakathan, arai keerai, sirukeerai, agathikeerai and vendhaya keerai

Pasalai Keerai (spinach) varieties — kodi pasalai, kuthu pasalai, tharai pasalai, vellai pasalai, Ceylon pasalai — boost the immune system and also reduce body heat

Spinach is good for arthritis, and its juice can be applied on the face to control pimples. Spinach also dissolves fatty substances, making it ideal for tackling obesity

It prevents heart disease, cures nervous ailments in children, maintains haemoglobin levels. Rich in flavonoids and phytonutrients, spinach helps in cancer treatment too

Among medicinal herbs, manathakkali keerai has pride of place. It can be grown in the kitchen garden and is ideal for sore throat, intestinal injuries and indigestion

Containing trace amounts of iron, phosphorus and calcium, manathakkali keerai is good for pregnant women and children

Oral and stomach ulcers can easily be cured by consuming manathakkali keerai twice or thrice a week

It’s beneficial to have murungai keerai (drumstick leaves) twice a week. It raises haemoglobin level as its iron content is 25 times more than that in other plants

Drumstick leaves are a good source of protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A and several other nutrients required for children’s growth

If you’re anaemic, you can fry murungai keerai in ghee and eat it to improve your haemoglobin levels. Murungai keerai is also well known to help overcome infertility.

For curing stomach ulcer, alleviating body pain, relieving asthma, relief from cold and for treating hair loss, drumstick leaves can be had as a soup

A good medicine for diabetes, kidney diseases and heart disease, radish greens or mullangi keerai improves vision too, and makes up for the deficiency of vitamins

Ponnanganni keerai cures eye diseases such as irritation, blurred vision and so on. If had at least once a week, it sanitises blood of all waste and could keep cancer away