Centella asiatica, known as Vallarai Keerai in Tamil, has several medicinal properties. It is rich in Iron, Calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and minerals. It contains all the ingredients required for a healthy blood quality in the right proportions.
Vallarai has been used as a brain tonic for ages and also has many other medicinal uses which makes it a wonder herb. Vallarai has been used as a medicine in the Ayurvedic tradition of India for thousands of years.
Vallarai is a small succulent herb with numerous branches, rooting at the nodes, found at elevations from sea level to altitudes of 4400 feet. It grows naturally in wet soil, shallow water and marshes. It has small flowers that are light purple or white in color with not more than four or five petals. The whole plant including the flowers can be used for medicinal purposes. It has a bitter and sweet taste and is known to impart a cooling energy.
Chutney made of Vallarai Keerai can cure constipation. According to Ayurveda, Vallarai has cooling effect on body because of which it pacifies Pitta and relieves hyperacidity, ulcers, diarrhoea and dysentery.
It reduces stress and anxiety as it decreases the levels of cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone. Brahmi counteracts the effects of stress by regulating hormones involved with the stress response.
It is known to rejuvenate the mind, enhance memory, improve concentration, and to directly influence the quality of consciousness. In fact, it is used to support meditation as they increase the clarity and subtlety of mind. It has a positive effect on the hippocampus part of the brain that is responsible for intelligence, concentration and memory.
Vallarai is full of antioxidants that are essential for living a healthy life. A lot nutrients along with antioxidant compounds help increase the response time of our immune system against various diseases and ailments.
Vallarai Keerai also cures the ulcerous condition of the liver and the stomach. Dry a bunch of Vallarai Keerai leaves under the sunshade and powder. Mix a spoonful in a cup of milk and drink before going to bed in the night. This will kill the worms in th digestion system.
It is very soothing to the skin and scalp. It is considered very useful in clearing aggravations of the skin. It has significant affinity for the skin and it has wondrous effects on bhrajaka pitta (located in the skin). It promotes proper healing of wounds and minimal scarring, while helping to cleanse, soften, and protect the skin.
Vallarai can be a great remedy that provides relief from arthritis, gout and other inflammatory conditions. It also helps in soothing gastric ulcers and treating an irritable bowel syndrome.
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Vallarai oil is great for treating a dry scalp and preventing hair fall. The antioxidant components not only help in rejuvenating your scalp but also promote regeneration of healthy hair. These antioxidants also help in removing all the toxins from the body and enhance your skin complexion by stimulating cell regeneration. Brahmi is good for treating hair problems like dandruff, itchiness and formation of split ends. Moreover, massaging the scalp with Brahmi oil is known to be very soothing.
Vallarai is known to help ease the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease due to the presence of the amyloid compound in the neuron that is responsible for damaging the brain. The bio-chemical known as bacosides in Brahmi helps in re-building brain tissues by influencing the brain cells.
Vallarai is used extensively in cooking and hence is easily available in vegetable markets. It is also available in powdered form and tablets. It can also be cooked along with other vegetables and made a part of daily diet.
In Tamil Nadu Vallarai Keerai – Kootu, dosai, Thuvaiyal (Chutney, which can be served with snacks) are quite popular.Just fry some quantity of black gram and add toasted Vallarai Keerai, coconut, and salt. It can also be taken with soup.
It can be prepared as a ‘sambar’ by using the additional ingredients of onion, pepper, and cumin. Or else combine Vallarai Keerai with greengram and make a gravy.
Though all these options does not affect medicinal properties of this herb, having it fresh still gives the best results. If it is difficult to get, the powdered form of dry leaves can safely be used. So next time you feel stressed, just try this wonder herb and relax your nerves naturally.