CHENNAI:Ancient Tamils are known for producing and consuming several varieties of paddy and millets, which kept them hale and healthy. Their daily food even doubled up as medicine and kept them free of diseases. As part of the Sangam Four literary Festival which began on February 13, stalls showcasing ancient varieties of rice and millets have been opened. Apart from these, cookies made of millets and other savouries are also available at these stalls.
Some of the rare varieties of rice are on display at a stall put up by Aral Organics. Among the rice varieties, Kala Namak, known for its aroma and distinct taste, and rich in 40 minerals, is the cynosure of all eyes as this rice variety is believed to have been consumed by Lord Buddha several thousands of years ago.
Kala Namak rice had derived its name from black husk (kala) and a mild salty taste (namak). It is considered one of the finest rice varieties in the international market.
Kala Namak rice is said to be good for the brain cells and prevents cancer. People suffering from kidney problems and those with skin and blood-related ailments are advised to consume this variety of rice. The next important rice variety is Moongil Arisi (Bamboo rice), which interestingly, is not grown in paddy fields. Bamboo blossoms once in 40 years and the flowers of bamboo produce this rice variety. It looks like the miniature version of wheat and is the staple food for tribals. This rice adds immunity to one’s system and helps those having infertility problems.
The other important varieties of rice on display are: Maappillai Samba, Sivappu Kavuni, Kothamalli Samba, Poongar rice, Seeraga Samba, Sona Masoori, Koliyan Samba, etc. Each variety of rice has distinctive medicinal purposes.
Many varieties of millets are also on display. Millets are more nutritious than any other cereals and can be a worthy addition to one’s diet. Cookies made of millets, ragi, kambu, samai, varagu, kuthiraivali and palm candy cookies, using only country made sugar, are available here.
The kodo millet reduces cholesterol levels, enhances kidney function, reduces joint pain and diseases that damage optic nerves, and regulates lymp glands and menstrual disorders. Little millet contains more micro nutrients and regulates the blood flow in the body, reduces cholesterol levels, helps bone development and overcome problems related to the intestine, besides reducing the effects caused by fever and easing constipation.