Sunday, 24 July 2016

Healing with Herbs - Book Review


Much has been written on Ayurveda and the herbs. But what makes healing with Herbs by Uma Swaminathan unique is that it draws much from the Siddha method of healing. Siddha method of healing is unique to South India. Though many Ayurvedic texts have been opened up in simple words for the lay people, Siddha medicines remained a close guarded secret. They were always an enigma for the esoteric secrets which they carried.

Healing with herbs introduces us to many medicinal plants which are around us. Fortunately every medicinal herb is accompanied by its photograph. So it is easy to identify them. Though I had known that false daisy was used for healing wounds, the book told me that it can heal earaches and is a good medicine for diabetics too. The book is full of many such herbs and their medicinal usages which are not known to the rest of the world.

The book also speaks about aroma therapy by devoting a special section called the power of Scent. The section recipes that rejuvenate and make you radiant include the herbs that are integral for any beauty therapy. The book doesn’t simply discuss herbs. It also tells us about oils, honey, sugar, salt and grains.

It doesn’t stop by merely telling the medicinal usages of herbs. A part of it is a recipe book too. The author lists a large variety of drinks, sweets, rasam, salads, sambar, main dishes, side dishes which are made from the herbs and good for the health.

I liked the book for the new usages which it brings to light. But I wish the Hindi names of the herbs would have been mentioned. The writer has mentioned the Hindi names at some places, but I had difficulty in understanding many herbs because I couldn’t identify them with their Tamil and English scientific names.

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