CHENNAI: There was a time when our grandparents used to give us hot dry ginger coffee and add tulsi leaf into it from the yard to cure cold. Now we often forget these plants and their values. Aiming to reinforce these values in the present generation, G L Muralidhara, environmentalist, tried to spread maximum awareness among public by initiating discussions and debates. On Sunday, he delivered a talk on the importance of greens at Ragi Kana Cafe, Gottigere.
“I conduct workshops for various NGOs, organisations and residence groups. I reach out to people to sensitise them about health benefits of some easily available plants that grow near us,” he said.
Muralidhar has spent years researching the ways our ancestors used greens in cooking, and the benefits of eating fresh seasonal produce. He demonstrated around 50 types of edible greens and explained how best to derive maximum benefit from them.
“Most of the plants that I presented today were plucked from the venue itself. A few plants I collected were Brahmi or waterhyssop, which is used for brain development, Bhringraj or false daisy, that is good for hair growth and Bala or Sida cordifolia, which helps fight against rheumatic pains and gives strength to the body. These are natural remedies for many diseases. Many medicines available in the market are produced out of these plants. When we get these herbs in a capsule, we are ready to pay extra and buy it. I want people to protect these plants, at least whatever is available nearby,” he said.
Venkat Nathan, a business consultant, who was a part of the audience, shared that the session enlightened him about the health benefits of usual herbs found near houses.
“There is a herb called mangaravalli or pirandai or adamant creeper in English. My mother used to grind it and add it while making papad. It makes the papad soft and prevents acidity. We discussed about such things, which I was not much aware of. Our grandparents knew these values, though did not have higher educational degrees. The workshop reinforced my knowledge and understanding of these plants.”