Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Farm fresh Recipes _ Herbal Tea

With Thanks and warm regards to Dr. Vijaya Venkat and Associates

I attended the course on nutrition Re-education programme at the HEALTH AWARENESS CENTER and the caption which read –
immediately connected with me. My experiences in Natueco City farming have made me realize the importance of sustainability in harmonious relationship with the environment.

At the center I learnt to use the farm fresh food in the most effective way so as to enable the body to make use of all the nutrition the food is capable ofproviding. I learnt – Quote “Nutrition is much more than food. In fact proper nutrition involves the whole sphere of living. It covers our basic needs like food, air, sunshine, rest and relaxation. It also involves our interaction with the environment, our relationships, and our capacity for creativity and activity. It is only through adequate nutrition that health and healthful living can be achieved.
Fitness can be achieved through exercise. But exercise is only one aspect of Health. Exercise is not restricted to muscular flexibility or supple tendons. Exercise can also be walking, dancing, gardening, singing, taking the stairs, yoga, meditation etc… exercising is the joy of activity – be it cooking or weight lifting or climbing a mountain. Activity is therefore one aspect of health.
Even eating the most perfect raw natural foods everyday will not magically conjure up health. Food is only the stepping stone aided by our choices, to attain good health. Health foods served in spas, gyms are manufactured in a factory that only serve to pollute the air, water, space land and her resources.” -- The handbook of Nutrition Re education Programme (The Health awareness Center)

These external factors are more important to health than anyone of us would believe. Even plants receive 98% of the nutrition from the atmosphere. Only 2% from the soil ! This 2% is what gives vital energy to our food. Damage to Earth and her resources directly inflicts damage on us.

“With growth of the science of ecology (including the various aspects of pollution) the connection between our own natural wealth (health) and health (wealth) of the planet has been established. Our body is the greatest ecological system ever designed. The human organisms symbiotic relationship within themselves and with all organisms within the environment is the biggest testimony to all this. The natural laws that all organisms in the world around us listen to are the same laws that we as humans are meant to abide by. These laws were crafted by nature for a healthy life. (There were no hospitals, no doctors, and no medicines in the wild) yet they are ruled by the same laws of creation that govern people.

Attuning ourselves and regaining our consciousness to this web of nature is what it also takes to be healthy. Here is an attempt to share some farm fresh recipes that we have learnt over the years from books, friends and teachers at the center.

Recipes with farm fresh produce.

This month we begin with the Herbal Tea. Herbal teas can be made with fresh or dried flowers, leaves, seeds or roots, generally by pouring boiling water over the plant parts and letting them steep for a few minutes. Check out

We make our herbal tea using ingredients shown below.

The photo above depicts how the ingredients can be planted on the terrace or a farm. Design courtesy my good friend Sabrina Modak.


Lemon Grass
Mint (Pudina)
Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Organic Jaggery (Optional)
Lime (Optional)

Also some red Hibuscus flowers if available

Mix the herbs and boil with water till you smell a fresh aroma of all the herbs. Strain and drink.

As I was making a catalog of the 150 varieties of plants on the MbPT terrace I realised that there is actually a whole pharmacy up there.

A few medinal benefits of the ingredients:

Lemon Grass
Botanical Name: Cymbopogon citratus
Common Name : Lemon grass
Family : Poaceae( Grass family)
Native to India
Propagated by division of clumps

Citronella is known for its calming effect that relieves insomnia or stress. It is also considered as a mild insect repellant. But more than scent, lemon grass provides a lot of health benefits. Studies have shown that the lemon grass has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Drank as tea, it is an effective diuretic.
A recent study by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the department of Science and technology ( DOST ) claims that every 100g of lemon grass when boiled can contain up to 24.205 micrograms of beta-carotene the anti-oxidant that scientists believe can help prevent cancer. Another DOST study shows that lemon grass oil has the potential as a tropical eye medication against keratomycosis, an inflammation of cornea often associated with burning or blurring of vision.

Botanical Name : Zingiber officinale
Common Name : Ginger
Family : Zingiberaceae
Native to Southeast Asia
Propagated by rhizome
Ginger has been revered in Indian and Chinese civilizations for over 5000 years for its powerful health imparting properties. In fact, Indian ginger is said to have the most potent medicinal properties. Danish researchers found that ginger can block the effects of prostaglandin - a substance that cause inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain and can lead to migraines.
nausea, digestive problems, circulation and arthritis. Nausea caused during pregnancy or by travelling is one of the benefits of ginger root. Ginger is also known to have the ability to calm an upset stomach and to promote the flow of bile. Stomach cramps can be eased and circulation can also be improved. Ginger supports a healthy cardiovascular system by making platelets less sticky which in turn reduces circulatory problems.Ginger oil used for massage can help relieve painful arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is often included in many herbal decongestants and can help to minimize the symptoms of respiratory conditions, colds and allergies.

Botanical Name : Ocimum tenuiflorum
Common Name : Holy Basil
Family : Lamiaceae
Native to India
Propagated by seeds

The tulsi plant has many medicinal properties. The leaves are a nerve tonic and also sharpen memory. They promote the removal of the catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tube. The leaves strengthen the stomach and induce copious perspiration. The seed of the plant are mucilaginous.The leaves of basil are specific for many fevers.
During the rainy season, when malaria and dengue fever are widely prevalent, tender leaves, boiled with tea, act as preventive against these diseases. In case of acute fevers, a decoction of the leaves boiled with powdered cardamom in half a liter of water and mixed with sugar and milk brings down the temperature. The juice of tulsi leaves can be used to bring down fever. Extract of tulsi leaves in fresh water should be given every 2 to 3 hours. In between one can keep giving sips of cold water. In children, it is very effective in bringing down the temperature.
Other benefits include: Help heal Cough, sore throat, respiratory disorders, Kidney stone, heart disorder, mouth infections, insect bites, Headaches, skin disorders, eye disorders……

Botanical Name : Mentha Arvensis.
Family: Lamiaceae
Native of America
Propagated by rhizomes

Mint is refreshing, stimulative, diaphoretic, stomachic, and antispasmodic. It helps in colds, flu, fever, poor digestion, motion sickness, food poisoning, rheumatism, hiccups, stings, ear aches, flatulence and for throat and sinus ailments.
References for medicinal Benefits:


  1. hi Preeti.. i was at the organic gardening workshop last saturday at MNP.. can u pls tell me in what proportion we need to mix the above ingredients?? I'd be really grateful..loved this herbal tea. Thanks

  2. Yes Priti,

    Please share the proportion in which one should mix the above ?