Green herbal gems | Daily News



Green herbal gems

Cooks all over Sri Lanka revere Elabatu/ Solanum Indicum/ as a tasty and nutritious vegetable that also has a variety of health benefits. For as long as anyone can remember this vegetable has been part of Sri Lankan cuisine and having an Elabatu plant in the home garden ensures a daily supply of this popular vegetable. Green Thumbs speaks to Institute of Indigenous Medicine, Department of Dravyaguna Vignana, Senior Lecturer, Dr. S.D. Hapuarachchi on Elabatu – a wholesome plant for the health conscious.

Elabatu is a vegetable that is cooked as a curry where the fruit is used along with some coconut milk without seeds. The recipe is known to our grandmothers, especially those residing in the villages. The leaves too have its benefit when it is used for preparing Kola Kanda along with the leaves of other plants, resulting in a juice that is good for chronic fever.

“Solanum Indicum is a shrub with a lot of branches. In Ayurveda,‘Brihati’, commonly refers to the dried root of the plant Solanum indicum. It is a very prickly, perennial (lasting for a long time) under shrub found mostly throughout warmer parts of the country up to an elevation of 1500 m. Traditionally Brihati, is used in the treatment of respiratory ailments (asthma, catarrh, dry and spasmodic cough), dropsy, heart diseases, chronic fever, colic, scorpion stings, difficult urination, and worm infestation. For medicinal purposes the fruits are also used as they have significant analgesic (acting to relieve the pain), antipyretic (used to prevent or reduce fever), anti-inflammatory and CNS depressant properties. CNS depressants are used to treat insomnia, anxiety and panic attacks,” explained Hapuarachchi.

However as with so many vegetables and fruits there could be side effects and problems which is why we must exercise caution. Happuarachchi pointed out that Adults are generally advised to take not more than 5 grams of the powder per day. It can also be taken with water, not more than 100 ml a day. It also increases the heat in the body.

Hapuarachchi also elaborated on the dosage of Solanum indicum - 5-6 gram of Brihati is used to prepare decoction. Boil dried coarse powder in one glass water up to half a cup. The decoction is then ready, filter it and drink. The root Powder and fruit powder is taken in a dose of 1-2 grams.

“The leaves are also good for chronic cough and it relieves pain and itching in the body. The delicious curry improves immunity against viral fever and allergic Rhinitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose caused by a virus infection). Normally when dealing with Elabatu we don’t use the flowers but the roots and fruits are used,” pointed out Hapuaracchi.

“Solanum indicum roots in Ayurveda are used in the treatment of asthma, catarrh, colic, digestive disorders, dry coughs, dysuria, fever flatulence, heart diseases, hysteria , nasal ulcers, pain in the body, toothache, vomiting, and worms. It is considered carminative (relieves flatulence). The fruits cures kandu (itching), kushtha (obstinate skin diseases including leprosy) and krimi (parasitic infection),” added Hapuarachchi. 

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