Fenugreek Is Too Good

 Growing Sprouts

 Ever since I became hooked on gardening, I have cultivated fenugreek sprouts. Here is how I sow the seeds:

Combine good grade potting soil (you can find this at plant sale nurseries or contact me for supplies) with some fine sand. Mix the potting soil and sieve the mixture to produce a uniform medium. I call this a seedling soil medium. Spread a layer on to a seedling tray. Wet through with a fine spray of water, mindful to not overload with water to cause waterlogging. Now sprinkle a uniform layer of fenugreek seeds on the surface of the soil. Next, cover the seeds lightly with a fine layer of the seedling mix. Water the seeds with a fine spray and leave in a shaded area that allows for indirect sunlight.

Here it is important to note that all plants need sunlight, including the germination of seeds. Even if they are snug under the surface of soil, they will need the energy of the sun to germinate. Think of a mother hen sitting on her eggs!

Check in everyday to monitor the condition of the soil, to see if it is dry or wet. Act accordingly to the situation, to remember always that balance between wet and dry is best. I find that, if the soil medium is still wet from the last watering the day before, it is because there was insufficient sunlight filtering through, or the medium was not sandier. As gardeners, we will have to always ‘play by ear’.

In a few days, you will notice the germination of a seedling peeking at you. In about a week or so, the tiny plants will start to grow. This is the time to put the tray out in sunlight to allow a strong growth. You can now harvest the shoots or leaves and eat it in a salad.

Sprouts are nature's source of goodness, as in sun's energy, enzymes and minerals.

History

Fenugreek has been used in many cultures throughout time. An ancient herb from Asia and Southern Europe, fenugreek is also known as ‘methi’ in India, where it is traditionally used in Ayurveda medicine.

The Plant

 A white-flowered herbaceous plant of the pea family, Fenugreek is a small annual plant that produces aromatic seeds that are tinny and russet coloured. It belongs to the legume family, and is considered a vegetable.

Sense And Taste

  I use the leaves raw in combination with a salad to offset the bitter bite in its taste. The taste resembles hot mustard and can be a refreshing uplift for bland salads. I am always transported to an Indian spice shop when I am near fenugreek, inhaling its pungent aroma. It seems to hold the potential of all spices within itself. Such is the magic and mystery of the spice.

Healing Properties

One of fenugreek’s basic herbal uses is to stimulate milk production in breastfeeding women, as well as inducing childbirth, containing phytoestrogens or plant chemicals similar to the female sex hormone estrogen. A tonic made from the seeds is recommended for a mother after childbirth, to clean and tone the uterus. It is also a help with menopause issues, which is credited to it being a phytoestrogen.

Fenugreek seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron and calcium. Ayurveda medicine, especially use the seeds in medicinal herbal tonics to restore health after respiratory infections of the lungs and throat. It is also used to manage colds, flu and fevers.

 Diabetes and Lowering Blood Cholesterol

 There are ample peer related scientific studies that point to the evidence that fenugreek can lower blood sugar, reduce fatty deposits in the blood and keep high cholesterol levels of the blood in check. Read more about it through your own investigations.

Roasting and grinding of fenugreek seeds are advised before food use. Try grinding a few tablespoons into your next stir fry or soup. You might discover a new secret ingredient. 

I would like to share with you some of the ways I have used fenugreek. These are simple yet effective ways to include this wonderful spice into your daily life. Not just for an ailment, why not include it in your diet right now as a health insurance plan.

Colds, Flu or a Sore Throat:

Powder the seeds and sprinkle a teaspoon on food such rice porridge, soups and juices. Mix half a teaspoon of ground seeds with warm water and honey to drink when required.

Manage Cholesterol

Use the sprouts in salads, ground seeds in salad dressings and juices.

Cleanse And Detoxify the Body

Fenugreek stimulates the lymphatic systems, thus promoting drainage of toxins through the excretory channels. A daily regiment of the seeds as powder in green juices in combination with eating raw vegetables with fiber, plenty of water and rest has been an effective way for me to get cleaned up whenever I am stressed with a bout of ‘overloaded gut’.

Beauty Aid

At least once a fortnight, I use a fine paste of fenugreek powder blended in coconut oil to make a face masque. This beauty regiment has help keep my skin clean and shiny. It is a good way to remove underlying grime deeper in the pores. The face masque is left on for 15 minutes after which I use it as a gentle exfoliating scrub.

Recipe:

1 tbsp. raw fenugreek seeds soaked in water for ½ a day

2 tbsp. coconut oil

Crush and ground the softened seeds and blend together with the oil. Leave to stand for 30 minutes to allow the coconut oil to be infused into the paste.

Use a small amount to spread over the face, neck and chest. Avoid the eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fenugreek - Trigonella incarnatum

   

 

 

SAVING FACE

SAVING FACE

A coconut cream moisturiser for my daily skin-care regiment. Good enough to eat!

A coconut cream moisturiser for my daily skin-care regiment. Good enough to eat!

“What moisturiser? The group of women before me ask, their tone of voice mocking incredulity. Their exclamation like a projectile misses my face and lands nicely into my hands. Everytime. I have their attention.

I use grease on my skin and nothing else. Yes, a salubrious concoction of coconut and avocado oils that I lovingly massage into my face and anywhere else that needs feeding. I blatantly recommend this to every aging woman. “ Get rid of your brands, get back into the kitchen and save your face”.  

I can now offer my advice with a lot more authority, not just from the knowledge that comes with years of experience, but with first hand experience of seeing how switching to an all natural way of taking care of my skin has changed me. I think that I feel more confident about myself than I did 10 years ago.

Much more than acquiring a wrinkle- proof face through cosmetic means, I wanted a healthy attitude about ageing, to be able to deal with it the best way I know, and that is naturally. I had just turned fifty when life offered me just this very opportunity: practice what I preach.

What began as incredibly dry skin escalated into a skin condition called rosacea: an angry red mask that I wore with pain in public. The years of repeated use of chemical infused skin products made me ill. These were skin-care products that promised  smoother, younger and whiter skin. They turned out to be my nemesis.

Enough was enough. I was tired of seeing how people would avoid eye contact  or not give voice  to the alarm I saw in their eyes. I was going to redeem myself.

I needed a new attitude, one that invited nature wholly into my life, not only as ornamentation and food, but also as a skin product. 

 

Skin scrubs made with grated turmeric and lemongrass. I also make frangipani water for a face wash.

Skin scrubs made with grated turmeric and lemongrass. I also make frangipani water for a face wash.

Saving my face became my goal.

I think that most women would do a lot to save their skin from the ravages of time. However successful technology is in the art of anti-ageing, I take pride in knowing that I work in the long term with nature.

Yes, ladies, get into your kitchen and bring out the glass jars and bottles, because today, you are going to begin an exciting and passionate lifestyle. A lifestyle that nourishes, protects and rejuvenates.

The creams and lotions you will create come from many parts of plants: roots, bark, seeds, nuts, leaves and flowers. Exotic lotions that perfume you with natural fragrances and nut oils that not only moisturise, they feed the skin too. No toxic chemicals to do long term damage to skin.

Loving how Mother Nature looks after me.

Loving how Mother Nature looks after me.

I know that saving one’s face this way , nourishes the soul naturally and builds self-esteem. I know because at sixty-four, I’ve never felt better about myself.

Indeed I saved my face in more ways than one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GOOD MOOD HERB

Asian Basil  (Ocimum basilicum)

 I nursed a nagging cold one wet winter day in Australia. My nose was congested and I felt ill. Finding refuge over a hot bowl of Pho in a Vietnamese restaurant I drank the delicious broth. The heady vapours of the basil infused soup made me sweat. By the end of the last spoonful, my head began to clear.

The Vietnamese proprietor shared with me his family’s natural remedy for colds: Hot soup with loads of fresh basil leaves!

Asian Basil

Asian Basil

I have used fresh Asian Basil leaves for more reasons than a nagging cold. Eating raw basil leaves works as a good digestive, reducing the acidity of cooked foods and facilitates effective digestion.

I would also call Basil the ‘ good mood herb’. The herb is capable of addressing body and mind stress because it has plant chemicals that are termed nervine and adaptogenic. 

Nervine, meaning there are components that work on the nervous system that allows the muscles of the body to unravel and relax. In this way, it works to release tension in the body and ease pain and cramps.

 An adaptogen generally helps the body to adapt to stress, simply put.

Just inhaling the aroma of a crushed leaf immediately calms me down in the midst of a stressful day.

There are many varieties of basil, at least 60 varieties. Each type offers a subtle difference in taste: lemon, anise or cinnamon.

The Asian Basil or Thai Sweet Basil has an anise seed taste, while the lemon scented basil has a citrus scent and flavour. Holy Basil or Tulsi has a spicy taste. European Sweet Basil is the variety that is favoured in Italian cuisine, has an aroma that is a combination of mint, anise and cinnamon. 

Lemon Scented Basil also known as Kemangi

Lemon Scented Basil also known as Kemangi

In Malay cuisine, Asian basil is refered to as Daun Selasih and lemon scented basil as Kemangi. Both herbs are popular plants in side salad dishes called ‘ ulam’. These salads are eaten raw dipped in a spicy chilli and shrimp paste. They are usually appetizers to a main rice meal.

Here are my observations and experience with the Asian Basil:

Growing:

 The plant is a tender herb with soft lilac coloured flowers.  Easy to grow from a cutting, providing the propogating soil is not too heavy with compost and loam. Cuttings prefer a lighter sandier soil. Most plant sales centres and nurseries can supply you with your horticultural needs.

Sense and Taste:

Tear a leaf and breathe in the warm sweet scent that is anise and mint. The raw taste is camphor and spice. Refreshing to the palette and nose.

Uses:

I use the herb liberally in raw dishes like vegetable and fruit salads, juices, smoothies and teas. I also use bunches of fresh basil in a vase to scent and purify the atmostphere.

A fragrant infusion of Basil, lemongrass, Kafir Lime and Star Anise

A fragrant infusion of Basil, lemongrass, Kafir Lime and Star Anise

Remedy Kit:

1. COLD AND FLU RELIEF

Here is a 2-Step remedy for that pesky cold, flu or even when one is feeling fatigued with ‘foggy mind’.

Recipe

1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

Hot water

Place all ingredients in a ceramic bowl.

Pour boiling water over the ingredients

Allow the water to be infused with the ingredients for about 10 minutes.

Place bowl on a tablle and bend your head over the bowl.

Cover your head with a towel to trap the vapours.

Breathe in the vapours for 2-3 minutes or longer.

Use as often as you can.

   ( asthmatics are advised not to follow this practice )

2. Basil and Ginger Tea

Recipe:

1 cup of fresh Asian basil leaves

½ tbsp grated old ginger

½ tsp clove seeds

1 tsp raw honey

Place basil leaves, cloves and ginger in a teapot.

Pour hot water and infuse for 10 minutes.

Add honey ( optional )

Therapy: Use both recipes at least 2 times a day until you feel better. Even without any illness, clearing up the nasal passages  regularly is good practice.

Asian Basil seeds

                                                 Black Basil Seeds

                                                 Black Basil Seeds

One of my childhood memories of food is the sight of seeds in my rose flavoured drink, that resembled frog eggs. While it may seem unappetising, I loved the crunch of basil seeds in my mouth.

Basil seeds were normal additions to sweets and drinks when I was growing up in Singapore in the fifties and early sixties. Most Asian cultures in SE Asia used basil seeds as food.

                                                                                                         Soaked Basil Seeds

                                                                                                         Soaked Basil Seeds

Basil seed expands rapidly when soaked in water, a mucilaginous layer surrounding the seed.

There are no definite records about their medicinal properties. However, I read in a Thai medical journal once that eating them can reduce the gastrointestinal tract of worms and parasites. It certainly will not hurt to throw some into your cold juices just like how Chia seeds are used.

A Thai medicine man I met in Chiangmai suggested that the seeds be eaten as a weight loss aid. This makes sense, as the swelling seeds will result in a feeling of satiety or feeling full. Also, the seeds act like a sponge, soaking up excesses in the intestinal tract.

I am sure that there are many ways that basil can be used as both medicine and food. The one aspect of basil that I like is one I share with Hindu sages:

“Basil opens the heart and brings harmony to the mind”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noni Fruit For Health

Have you seen a Noni Tree lately ? Probably not a common sight in Singapore these days. However, a trip up north into Malaysia or southwards to Indonesia, the plant is a normal fixture in most kampong or village  gardens. The fruit is edible and the large dark green leaves can be used as a wrapper to bake fish. The young shoots along with the young fruit are eaten as an Ulam or salad, dipped in a tangy chilli sauce. 

Noni Moringa citronela.JPG

However, Noni is much more than salad.

Mengkudu Salad, a raw Ulam of young Noni shoots, pumkin, cucumber , onions , fresh coconut shreds , marinated in a lime and Torch Ginger dressing.

Mengkudu Salad, a raw Ulam of young Noni shoots, pumkin, cucumber , onions , fresh coconut shreds , marinated in a lime and Torch Ginger dressing.

Take a look at the plant. It is an evergreen tree of medium height often growing wild like weed randomly sprouting shoots where there is opportunity whether along a fence or the edge of the house. In some old neighbourhoods like the East Coast area of Singapore, I have seen Noni trees peeking among the foliage, leaning heavily towards the side walk over the fence laden with fruit.

 The young fruit is a bedazzling emerald green that looks like an ornament you could wear. Even more so when small white flowers bloom outside the fruit like a fitting crown. But the fruit morphs into a white cream colour that is juicy and ripe. This is when it will take some courage to pick one up from the ground and bring it up to your nose : the ripe juicy fruit is sour and smells of rotten cheese. Now that the truth is out, will you eat a Noni? 

The fruit is appreciated for its medicinal properties and commonly used in folk medicine throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. The Pacific islanders refer to Noni affectionately as 'the pain killer fruit'. Malay midwives in villages made special tonics from the fruit to help a mother regain her health after birth. This apparently is a traditional natural remedy to clean the blood. 

Recent scientific studies , especially in Malaysia, have highlighted their phyto- medicinal properties  as  health aids in lowering blood sugar and altering the acidity of blood, to more alkaline. Definitely a head turning note to consider, looking at the statistics on diabetes in our communities today. Here is one old traditional remedy that I am sure is not going to fade away.

Noni leaves.jpg

Active Compounds ( phto-chemicals )

alizarin; aspeeruloside; xeronine

Noni is mineral and protein rich and a good source of natural antioxidants.

Natural Probiotic

I make a fermentation of the ripe fruit to make a probiotic that is chemical and sugar free.

Ingredients and material:

3 or more ripe Noni fruit

A large glass jar with lid.

Method:

Sterilise the jar by pouring hot water into it and leaving for a few minutes. Make sure the glass jar is of good quality, otherwise it may crack with the heat. 

Place the fruit into the jar, cover with the lid and store in a cool place away from sunlight. The fermentation process will take about two weeks or more. 

The fruits will begin to turn a darker shade, almost purple. Use about 2 tablespoons of the mashed fermented fruit as a blended drink together with other fruit juices of your choice. I mix them with lemon juice, as I prefer to omit sweet fruits for their sugar content. Strain the blended material before drinking. 

The fermented Noni should be stored in the refrigerator for it to last for as long as a month.

In my Jamu tutorials, I recommend a blend of turmeric, tamarind and Noni juice with a pinch of Betel Leaf juice to make an antiseptic tonic for urinary tract infections or candida.

If you would like more information on how to make Jamu Tonics, contact me for a consultation or workshop: www.medicinewoman.asia

 

 

 

5 Amazing Jungle Herbs

I came face to face with 5 wild herbs in Brunei recently. I was attending the "Pesta Ulam Ulaman' , or, the festival of herbs. The Malay word 'ulam' means an appetising herb that is also medicinal , that is eaten together alongside a regular meal.

It was not a first meeting with these herbs. I am acquainted with each and know where to get them, even in urban Singapore. Apparently, many young people of Brunei are not so acquainted with these traditional medicinal herbs that their grandparents ate, and instead are very partial to a more western diet , which is contributing to the obesity epidemic.

I was invited by the Brunei Ministry of Agriculture to present a series of talks at the festival to highlight the ways people can use these herbs in their daily lives and diet.

Eating a side dish of ulam at meals or drinking herb or spiced teas can make a difference in addressing may chronic ailments like constipation, bloating, indigestion or acne. Small steps to include these foods along side a family’s meal can make a more healthier and happier family. 

ULAM RAJAH ( Cosmos caudatus )

A pleasing taste that reminds me of biting into a green mango fruit. The herb has an astringent after taste which feels like the mouth is being cleaned. Eaten together with other dishes, especially oily food, it seems to lessen the effect of grease. The Malay culture in Brunei and Malaysia have used the herb in their cuisine as an appetiser and ulam along with their meals. I shred some of the attractive leaves on vegetable salads and fruit salads. The herb has a good amount of nourishment like vitamins, minerals and essential anti-oxidents. 

 

PUCUK PAKIS ( Wild Fern )

This species is one of a few species of ferns that is enjoyed in stir fries. It is not eaten raw, as it has a slight mucus texture. Also , some species are said to be indigestible raw. I sprinkled a few chopped heads into a mixed salad with a strong dressing of garlic, limes, palm sugar, ginger and coconut oil. It worked well, the ferns sounding a nice crunch when eating the salad. The fern is harvested on the fringes of jungles and along mountain sides. It boasts a good supply of omega 3 fatty acids and a good amount of minerals. 

CASHEW SHOOTS ( Anacarduim occidentale )

I had never eaten these shoots before my visit to Brunei 2 weeks ago. I was impressed with the neat bundles of fragile looking young shoots. They looked easy to eat, soft and meaty, much like blanched green cabbage leaves. In Brunei, the shoots are slightly blanched and eaten with a chilli dip. Every meal time at various tables, a varied selection of ulam were spread on a platter with a dipping sauce of chilli and shrimp paste, called belachan. I read in a book, " Herbs of malaysia" that 100 grams of the leaves can provide at least 35kcal of energy. So it is a useful herb that also has all added important minerals and enzymess for good digestion.

Picture 103.jpg

DAUN PEGAGA ( Gotu Kola )

A popular herb that is a regular on most tables at meal times in some homes. The sad fact remains, that today, most modern people in South Asian countries like Brunei, are oblivious to the natural remedy that this herb affords. Firstly, Ayurveda recommends its use to cut down the sugar in blood ( diabetes ) and consider it as superior brain food that improves memory. I love the slightly bitter taste that is a good balance for rich foods. It is an excellent digestive improving the passage of food through the gut. 

SAYUR BEREMI ( Purslane )

The plant is a close relative of the ornamental called, Japanese Rose. The taste is bland , much like a starchy and slimy vegetable. But it is much appreciated herb in Malaysia in a Nonya stir fry dish. Another plant that is not eaten raw. I tasted it after learning of its powerful healing properties. Blanched, it has a delicate bitter taste. This is it, the bitterness denotes a medicinal property. Stock full of anti-oxidants and minerals, it keeps blood quality at alkaline and helps reduce sugar in the blood.

All wild plants fit for the table and a great asset to one's health.

 

 

JAMU IS EVERY WOMAN'S BIRTHRIGHT

In the workshops that I teach on the use of plant remedies for health management, I have noticed how easily women learn about edible and medicinal uses of plants. This ancient knowledge should come naturally to us; it is our birthright. This is a little bit hard to swallow for modern women who were raised above ground level in sterile concrete cities. But I have hope. Women are deeper than the veneer of their make-up, and I want to peel this off, to save their lives. We can learn to remember once again.

I have struggled all my life, that is to say, not in the context of poverty, but excesses of all kinds; emotional dependency; material comfort; social status; security. Each stage of unravelling meant a certain loss to deal with. I am not always right, and I love myself for some of the bad choices I made. I learnt. So can you, but are you woman enough for the exciting journey into your Self? This may sound like an arrogant remark, and I make no apologies to all the warriors to be who I hope will take their medicines with some honey. Ah yes, honey, that manna of freedom that will coat every nerve of your senses till the end of your days. This is the path of the medicine woman. We are all by our birthright, medicine women. 

As a child I recall the intoxicating scent of Obat Peruik ( a Jamu tonic to help detoxification, alkalinise the blood and restore the gut ) emanating from my mother's kitchen. This brew listed almost 20 or more plants boiling in a clay pot. My mother, like so many women of her time, had implicit faith in Jamu and its power to deal with every chronic pain, gassy abdomen and flagging libido. They did not rely on scientific analysis or placebo studies to convince them. They relied on their womanly instincts. Meanwhile, I grew up, got smarter than my mother and began the journey into the grey clouds of forgetfulness.

Jamu is the Javanese vernacular to denote a variety of tonics made from plants. The practice is based on age - old folk remedies that Indonesian women used for the health management of their family. I learnt that an Indonesian woman will take care of the peace and harmony in her household and she was schooled in the ways of Jamu to treat everyday health needs. This is the way of the wise woman who healed not only her family, but herself too. 

I never forgot that moment in my mother's kitchen. At the height of menopause and my misplaced hormones, I remembered the healing scent of Jamu as if it were the gentle touch of my mother. It would be simpler to live conveniently with synthetic medications that ask no intimacy between you, but your timely dedication of their consumption. No, I recommend the warrior’s way, because dealing with raw nature will get your hands stained with the mark of pure authenticity that is the way to real healing for every woman.

Remember your birthright.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I perked up my life from a 0 to 10.

Thirty two years ago, I studied at the Botanic Gardens in Singapore to become a horticulturist. By the time I received my diploma , two years later, I knew I wanted to study the healing properties of medicinal plants. So began my love affair with plants. It was , and still is a passionate relationship that is healing me in so many ways. Once I began to use the essences of these plants as nutrition for my body, my life changed around positively. From feeling and being dull and devitalized, I have the stamina and energy today, that surprises even me. 

I am a fit woman today, whose physique belies the fact that I am in my sixties. All thanks to the regiment of plant foods and tonics in my daily diet that I attribute to the healing properties of plants, medicine women through the ages have used for themselves and their loved ones.

I was not always fit. In fact , my troubles began at age 41, right after I had my 2 babies. I was worn out physically and felt sluggish, bloated and fat. I was depressed and unfit to nurture my family, although I tried my best. Does this sound familiar to some of you? My health problems just got worse, not physically though, because I began to try and eat sensibly and exercise; however, my spirit and emotions tumbled on a roller coaster. I was not happy, and often felt disadvantaged, although I was surrounded by love and security. What was it? I still did not feel right in my body. Tight fitting clothes were uncomfortable, although I had a reasonable slim body. The trouble was my level of happiness; I felt unhappy, and my self esteem was low. 

Years later, was I to be informed that diet and nutrition can affect our emotional health and moods.  

After a period of experimentation with every diet that was fashionable, but did not work, I was ready to return to my roots, healing roots that is. I seriously consulted  traditional Malay Herbal medicine to take care of my health.  After all, I had grown up in the company of Malay women who used natural herbal medicines to detox their bodies and lose weight naturally. I recall watching my mother brew her stash of healing herbs and ginger rhizomes in a clay pot.  

So began an intense period of detoxification with the help of natural therapies from South East Asia. These were simple plant tonics, juices, elixirs and teas made from roots, rhizomes, seeds, leaves, flowers or fruits. The change began, slowly, but over time, it showed up as natural beautiful skin and sparkling energy from a body detox process that takes place naturally , without any artificial intervention.

I have never looked back. 

This is my mission: to bring to every woman the knowledge that I have gained over the years on how to have natural beauty and health. I have lived and used these recipes for years, to keep me healthy and youthful.

You can too. 

So when can you get started on a natural health programme that has the power to jump start your life in more ways than one. ? Trust me, it works.

Plants are storehouses for natural plant enzymes, antioxidants, minerals and omega 3 oils that our cells relies on for survival. Convenient modern life is feeding us too much processed foods that are depleted of  nutrition. Fresh, raw plants could save your life. 

The fear and pain of disease is ever a dark cloud over our heads. Will you be a candidate for heart disease, cancer or diabetes?  These diseases are rising rapidly in Singapore, and worldwide. They are aptly termed " lifestyle diseases ". If you feel bloated or lethargic, it may be possible that your body is toxic and the body is not able to activate its own natural detox mechanism, because of the toxic overload. Stop the madness and lets look at healing you. 

    Join me at a workshop, Juicing Jamu  

      19 Oct 2013

        Let me show you how to set up your own natural medicines pharmacy and make the food you eat heal you and help you stay happy and well for a long time.

        Fee: $150

        PAY $100 ONLY! for bookings before 25 September 2013

        We need help from raw plants to provide us with their enzymes to help digest the food we eat. Unfortunately, by cooking our foods, the enzymes are destroyed. Add to the burden of old undigested foods in the colon, because our bodies are not producing enough of its own enzymes. This  creates an explosive environment that is acidic and toxic  as undigested food remain fermenting in the colon, and is a breeding ground for diseases like cancer and heart disease. Here is an unnerving fact from the Ministry of Health, Singapore: " Colorectal cancer is the second most prevalent cancer occurring in men and women in Singapore, and the food we eat has a direct impact on our physical health".

        The workshop is a window you open to an infinite opportunity to begin your healing process and that of your loved ones. Why should we have the dark cloud of disease and doom dictate to us how our lives will be lived. Choose to use natural remedies that are ageless wisdom to show you how you can protect your health from the threat of modern day diseases.  

        Would it be an asset , if you at least pick up some useful tips on how to rid your body of parasites, worms and bad bacteria? Or how to stop fermentation in the gut that produces bad gas, or bloating. These are all useful knowledge that can save you time , stress and money.

        Do not hesitate, register today if you care for your health.  

        Register at: 

        www.medicinewoman.asia

        The workshop will be held at my home. It is a restful place that has a small garden, often with chirping birds.

        The limit is 15 participants, so hurry with your bookings. 

        Lets rock and cha cha our way to health, and in the process become medicine women! 

        Love and Light.

         

         

        Nazli Straits Times 26 July 2013 Beauty From The Home.jpg

        I Like Greens - Nazli’s "Gotu Kola" Salad Recipe

        I would like to share with you a salad recipe that features my favourite plant-to-eat, the tropical herb “Gotu Kola, or by its’ botanical name, Centella Asiatica.

        What a smart plant, and rightly so too, for it caught the attention of ancient sages before our time. It is rumoured, that some monk in China used it daily and lived way beyond a hundred years!  No wonder the Chinese call it the herb of Longevity. In India it is known as “ Brahmi “ the great brain tonic and used in traditional medicine for over 3,000 years. I am not sure if all these facts were ‘evidenced based’ practice. But let us live smartly and see how Gotu Kola can enrich our lives.

         Gotu Kola is one of many medicinal plants that are our natural pharmacy. Throughout the history of mankind, plants have been the panacea for ills.   Hippocrates (a Greek physician who is considered the father of Western Medicine) coined this famous saying, “Let your medicine be your food and let your food be your medicine”

        Taking Hippocrates’s cue, I am going to show you how to take your medicine and enjoy it as delicious food.

        Gotu Kola is an herbaceous plant, which means it is soft stemmed. Also it is a creeper with round coin shape leaves that grow in whorls at points on the creeping stem along with bunches of aerial roots.  In South East Asian cuisine, the whole plant, roots and all in salads and is eaten raw. The plant can also be made into refreshing drink to quench thirst. I have used it together with tamarind and lime juice with lots of ice cubes.

        Here are some of the outstanding health benefits of the plant and the salad you are about to eat:

        Gotu Kola is very alkaline, which means it will help to counter acidosis of the blood therefore improving the quality of the blood which in turn, promotes good health. It is considered a brain food, meaning it increases the circulation of blood in the brain, improving cognitive abilities and enhances memory. The positive attributes for improving health is plentiful.

         

        Nazli’s Gotu Kola Salad 


        Ingredients:

        1 kg gotu kola

        1 large carrot

        1 medium red pepper

        10 shallots

        3 red chillies

        200 g fresh desiccated coconut

        Sea salt

         

        Dressing:

         

        2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

        Juice of 5 limes

        2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

        1 tbsp honey

         

        Method:

        Soak herb in a bowl of salted water. Add ¼ tsp turmeric powder. Turmeric is an antiseptic and is effective in removing any parasite, while the salt removes dirt and pesticides adhering to leaves and roots. Leave for 10 minutes soaking and wash separately in clean water.

        Discard wilted leaves and pick the leaves and stalks only. Remove the roots.

        Take a bunch of the herb in your hand and slice thinly.

        Slice the shallots, peppers, carrots and chillies.

        Combine all ingredients, add the desiccated coconut, the dressing and toss.

         

        Serve!

         

        Resources

        In Singapore,  fresh gout kola is available at Tekka Market in Serangoon Road, or the Geylang Serai market in Changi Road. The market vendors know the herb by its Malay name, “daun pengaga”.

         

        My experience

        In 1989, a month after giving birth to my son, Sean, I felt really bloated and uneasy with my gut which from all accounts was a ‘slushy’ water bag! I was out of shape and unhappy. Even the presence of a sweet adorable baby could not cheer me up. Rosa, our Sri Lankan help then, noticed what it was and whipped up her mother’s medicinal recipe, a  simple salad with lots of shallots, lime and shredded gotu kola leaves ( apparently, all the women in her village used this cure for regaining one’s sanity after baby’s delivery!) I was grateful.  She made the salad every day for the next week.

        The first taste was bitter, but then, the combination of crunchy onion, sweet nutty coconut, sour limes and bitter leaves, in combination uplifted my senses and refreshed me. It was not difficult to eat the salad every day after that first bite. In short time, I lost the excess fluids, and felt light and rejuvenated.

        Definitely more cheerful for baby Sean.

         

         

        Introducing Our Thai Yoga Massage Services

        Hey all, 

        I hope your having a great day!

        Here at Medicine Woman Asia, we have just launched our Thai Yoga Massage Services. So please do visit our sister website - http://www.thaiyogamassage.asia/ and join our FB page for added discounts on your first two sessions. 

        Meanwhile for you who are curious about what this massage is about, i'm posting a beautiful video by Joshua Hodnett who is another fellow practicioner based in Dallas.

        Please enjoy and don't forget to like our FB page here

        What a Wonderful World

        I have the urge to play psychic and will hazard a prediction for the immediate future too: that the earth will become even more wonderful. I can almost hear the protest from naysayers to my optimism against the cacophony of doom and gloom resounding from the media. Perhaps the omen of an Armageddon this year end may spare us the future pain of seeing our planet suffocate.  

        Will the earth wither and die?  I think not. I think that Mother Earth is resilient and like any sick human being is shaking off her malaise to detoxify her gut and come clean again. Stuff that is over burdening her constitution she will release.  I am still coming to grips with the sickening after effects of storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and droughts last year that is making me feel a little ‘woozy’ in my own gut.

        Somehow, my intuition tells me that it is a clean-up process and that with some help from the gods that be, we will ride this roller coaster until the detoxification is complete.

        Then I am offered to watch a beautifully filmed video of clips from the BBC’s David Attenborough’s ‘Wonderful World’ and am silenced by the sheer force and beauty of all living creatures. It brings tears to my eyes. Up close it is an emotional reconciliation of innate forces within my human spirit that is part of the very fabric of Mother Earth’s wisdom. We have the will to live as much as the great whales in ever diminishing oceans, the fortitude of apes to feed their young in threadbare forests and the hope of a new born turtle swimming out into the world for the first time.  

        I am always great full to be witness to beauty in nature, to see there the strength and softness that I have no doubt are qualities we humans can emulate.

        Ultimately it is love and respect of our earth and all of nature that will make a wonderful world.

        New Year’s Resolution for 2012

        My resolution this year is to be committed to programming my mind, body and spirit for simplicity. I am eliminating the dross and drag of heaviness that I wear on my body and mind. No more sluggishness, hello freshness and lightness of being. This I am aware will require a plan of action that I will call a template for living, albeit, my way.

        First on the agenda of my plan is a diet that is vegetarian and will include fresh raw vegetables and fruit, nuts, seeds and legumes. These sound pretty mundane, I know, but not if you can be inventive and transform them into delectable salads, soups and juices. On the sidelines I will add pastas with   fresh herbs or tomatoes, nutty brown rice pilaffs with turmeric or saffron, wholesome grainy breads and heart warming soups made from pumpkins or carrots. The list is long, and I already have an index of at least 50 recipes. One thing is certain, there will be a raw salad at every meal and this includes breakfast.

        My Pasta and Salad

        I am not even going into the benefits of what a diet of at least seventy percent raw plant foods can do to heal a body in this blog; I just know that this is clean living. This connection to plants in a literal sense is my return to nature and the source of life.

        Meditation will be my second practice. In the quiet of the hour before sunrise and the chattering of birds, I will train my mind to be peaceful and yet clear to hear the subtle messages of my intuition. This is also a moment for contemplation of the purpose of my life and prayers of gratitude.

        I will enjoy the dawn with a cup of coffee while the cats curl beneath my feet in the garden.

        The third practice will be some form of physical activity, either cycling or an energetic walk to burn calories and improve vascular health. Some gentle yoga stretches just before bedtime will help to calm my mind and body. I understand intuitively that my body responds to exercise and movement like a thirsty plant that needs water.

        The fourth practice is natural skin care. My maxim is this: “do not use products on your skin that you will not eat.” Simple time honoured truth that I use with creativity. I make my own skin care products in the kitchen and have used honey, rice bran and even yogurt as skin scrubs and moisturisers. Delicious!

        Natural Plant Facecare

        So there in a nut shell is my ‘Template for Living.’

        What do I want to achieve by the end of this year?

        Better health, better energy, better mind and a better life.  

        ~ The Medicine Woman Asia

        Healing Ella the Dalmatian with Turmeric.

        As I pour water into the bucket I am hoping that it will be a breeze to douse Ella the dog with my concoction of turmeric powder, water and olive oil. I stir the mixture with my entire hand and watch that hand turn yellow with some satisfaction. At least the turmeric is sticking to my skin, thanks to the olive oil which is acting as a sticking agent. Well we all know how dogs can shake things off with a vigorous shake!

         I am visiting a friend and Ella the family’s pet is suffering from a skin ailment that is making her look a lot like a pink Dalmatian, sans the signature black spots that defines her breed. I could not help but notice how distressed Ella was with her constant scratching that occupied her physically and emotionally “ She has a vet’s prescription and is under supervision, but it has been a month now, with no headway in her healing” her owner said.  Ella looks up at me with mournful eyes, only briefly before another itching spasm overwhelmed her. My reaction was spontaneous. The dog needs an anti-inflammatory to sooth the skin and in my book this is the all natural turmeric.

        In the bathroom, Ben, my friend gently pours and rubs the turmeric mixture into Ella’s coat. Ella is not resisting a bit, only because she has a biscuit between her teeth, and I daresay, that the soothing cool of the water combined with the antiseptic properties of turmeric are working their wonders. We dive for cover when she does the obligatory ‘shake’. We notice that, like my hand Ella is yellow now and the turmeric has adhered on her skin, where it matters.

        My friend Ben is slowly regretting the ‘yellow’ dog and looks at me for reassurance. Turmeric has been used for centuries as a medicine for skin ailments, rashes and wounds. I have used it myself on a bad knee wound from falling off a bike. I had plastered on a wad of raw mashed turmeric tuber on the bloody open wound and the highly antiseptic properties in the plant prevented it from turning septic. It healed very quickly after that. I look at Ben and gave him a thumbs up wink, confident, that at least the turmeric will stop the inflammation of Ella’s skin and give her some relief. And it did.

        About forty five minutes into our coffee it was Ben who remarked, “she is not  scratching anymore”. Ella was sound asleep and looked peaceful.  As for me, I was once again grateful for turmeric and its healing wonders.   

        Salt and pepper and all things nice

        Fish and chips is authentic, only if seasoned with vinegar and salt.  Here lies the difference between the processed stuff and the real thing.This is the case of an authentic man, and I might say , the salt and pepper in my life.

        • Albert Williams is pure Australian like sheep’s wool knits and Gum trees. And he is my step- father. My mother’s husband of 38 years.

        I never regarded him special, he was simply Bert, the dependable half who was always at Perth Airport waiting excitedly to pick me up. Later, a  husband and the kids  on our yearly prilgrimage to our  mecca of sun, sea and fun.  Bert is effusive with news,the basics of his life with my mother, and yes, the cost of fuel. The only ones who understood his accent were the kids. When Bert spoke, it was a booming sound  that bounced off our wine glasses. Then, like the authentic blue skies of Australia, it is always his sincere and optimistic nature that wins me over. What can I say? Salt and pepper are reliable seasonings.

        This is easy for me to absorb, because the raw, authentic human being is what I demand of everyone I meet. I trully believe I learnt this from Bert. I trully love this man of simple pleasures.

        We eat fish and chips at Cicerellos at Fremantle port, eyeing opportunistic gulls eyeing our food. ” They used to be ordinary gulls’ he says, ” now they are unreal”. This is my Bert, and my mother is one loved woman. After all, she is the salt and pepper of his life.