Six Tastes Drink ~ A Sweet Drink To Enliven the 6 Tastes & Our Digestive Fire

Six Tastes Drink Ingredients

Mix Together:

(You can adapt it to your taste, place & availability)
  1. Pure, fresh water
  2. Jaggery or natural cane sugar, or any sugar (sweet)
  3. Tamarind juice (astringent)
  4. Grated raw mango, lime juice or other fruit (sour)
  5. Neem flower petals (if available / bitter)
  6. Cardamom (sweet)
  7. Rock salt or black salt (salty)
  8. Pepper (pungent)
  9. 1-3 Shodhana Vati tabs crushed (contains all 6 tastes)
Six Tastes Drink

When and How to Drink

You should ideally take this drink on the first and second day of Navaratri (The 9 Nights of Mother Divine). This is the first thing we drink for the Festival to enliven Agni/energy by having all the Six Tastes.
This drink showcases how life itself has all the different flavors of experience. And tells you it’s not only to have a sweet & easy time always ~ life can sometimes have sad and bitter experiences too. So we have to drink and accept/enjoy the full range of life, knowing that everything balances out just like the Six Tastes (each taste & experience has its own purpose & value).

Before you drink chant this:

Shaatayu Vajra Dehaaya - diamond like physical fitness. / Bestowing hundred diamond like body.
Sarva sampat Karaayacha - which helps to gain all the wealth. Sarva = all. / All the property may come to you.
Sarvaarishta Vinaashaaya - Sarva = all. aaristha = bad things. Vinaashaya - stop. / All the disease may be destroyed.
Nimbakam Dalabhakshanam - Bunch of three leaves. / Hence I am consuming.
Nimbakam = neem.
Dala = branch. - Involves puspam, patra and sticks are used in this spring festival to take bath, eat and decorate the entrance, etc.

Tamarind Rise – Nine Planet Recipe

Tamarind Rise
Recipe by Dr. Padma Raju
Dr. Padma wants to share this recipe with you, which can be had all year, but is especially good for the period known in the Vedic calendar as Navaratri (a.k.a The 9 Nights of Mother Divine).
This recipe is special because the ingredients are related one by one to the Navagrahas (nine planets). According to Vedic Astrology, the Navagrahas are inside us and continually influence our lives. So when we make this as a Prasad, all the nine planets are nourished in our physiology and the influence of the Grahas (planets) is balanced. Feeding to someone else adds to the beneficial effect. 
When the effects of Navaratri are enlivened through the Pujas, offering this as a Prasad pleases the Navagrahas and increases their support even more. All we need to do is prepare the Prasadam and pray to Mother Divine before we eat. Because her energy is what made us, she resides in us and we can offer the Prasad to her through ourselves.
The Divine Mother is a universal theme in cultures & religions all over the world, so from whatever angle we honor & revere her, these things we can do.

Ingredients

  1. 1kg of soft red Lilly Pilly fruits
  2. 8 oranges
  3. 2/3 cup raw sugar
  4. 10 whole cloves
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 2 peeled and chopped apples

Cooking Instructions

Things You Need to Prepare Ahead of Time

  • Boil or steam rice, and keep warm.
  • Dry roast lightly in a pan: whole fenugreek & whole cumin (separately, one at a time), and grind to powder. And whole sesame seeds roasted & ground in the same way if you want to add (optional).

In a Frying Pan

Add some unrefined sesame oil and with medium heat make a "Tadka" (fried spice mix) as follows (quantities can be varied according to taste): 
    1. Fry brown mustard seeds ~ ½ teaspoon, till they “pop” (before adding other things)
    2. The following are optional:
      • Cashews, urad dal and/or chana dal in small quantities and roast while stirring constantly so they cook well. Some people like to add peanuts also.
      • Roasted sesame seed powder ~ 1 teaspoon. Sesame oil is already there in the recipe so sesame powder is not required
    3. Tamarind paste 100gm, and stir well
    4. Whole red chili(s) if you want, or black pepper ~ moderate, to taste.
    5. Ground Rock Salt ~ moderate, to taste
    6. Fresh Curry leaves if you can get them ~ several leaves
    7. Asafoetida ~ 2 pinches
    8. Fresh ginger pieces very finely chopped or grated ~ 1 teaspoon
    9. Dry roasted fenugreek powder ~ 1/4 teaspoon
    10. Dry roasted cumin powder ~ 1/2 teaspoon
Stir well till fully mixed. Add a little more oil if you want and fry gently till nicely done & flavors well blended.
At the end of cooking add turmeric ~ 2 pinches
Combine Tadka with cooked rise & mix well.
  • Can garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves.

How to Make Ghee the Vedic Way

Ghee Jars
Written the Gheeru, Dylan Smith
Ghee Making is Very Simple
The article is extensive as there are so many layers of conscious cooking you can utilise when making ghee.
I invite you to read the full article, but just to prove its simplicity:

Ghee Making Instructions Simplified

1. Place high-quality unsalted butter in a clean heavy-bottomed pot.
2. Put on low heat (preferably fire or gas flame).
3. Do not touch while cooking. Let the ghee be, and send it good vibes.
4. When the top layer of the ghee is “crusty” and still, with a reddish/brownish color, turn the flame off.
Ghee jars
5. Remove most of the crust from the pan and dispose of it.
6. Strain the ghee through a thin strainer + cheese cloth into jars for use and enjoy!
Now, much more mindful recommendations on how to make the best ghee ever…

Before You Make Ghee

Ensure the kitchen, yourself, all the pots and utensils are very clean.
Ghee is super-sensitive. It is so rich in micro-organisms that react to your energy as well as other micro-organisms such as food crumbs or scraps.
Ghee, when completely purified and made properly actually gets better with age. In order for it to last with potency, you need to keep your jar of ghee clean. One way to do this is to only use a clean spoon when scooping out some golden nectar that you want to drizzle into your pan or on your plate of freshly cooked rice.
Cleanliness certainly also includes clean thoughts, emotions and state of being of the person making it.
In Ayurveda, we call this emotional state called “Sattva” - which refers to a pure light radiating from the individual.
Be happy, sing mantras inwardly or outwardly, you will be surprised how much this enhances the ghee quality. Ghee is extremely rich in beneficial microbes, particularly Clostridium butyricum, and these bugs become more prevalent and radiate their health-promoting qualities when attention and love radiates in their environment and especially if that flow of consciousness (“Soma”) is directed specifically towards them and the sweet medium of fat that carries them.
Keep all ghee making equipment dry.
Be careful of nearby taps that may splash water during use.
Clean Kitchen
I use paper towels to wipe all the utensils down (pot, ladels, spoons strainers, etc) before use as paper towels have not been contaminated with foods or bacteria, unlike tea-towels.

Other Aspects To Consider

Obtain the best quality un-salted butter possible

  • This means as ethical as possible.
  • Grass-fed, well-treated, happy cows.
  • Cultured butter.
  • Ideally butter made from churning yoghurt.
  • Amount of butter - For greater potency, keep the ghee-making in small batches. This is one factor that will distinguish your tasty homemade ghee from commercial ghee. I think over 8-10kg of ghee per pot in a regular gas stove is too much. It does however depend on the fire you are using to cook.
Butter in pot
In the video above, we used about 6.5kg of butter per pot.

NOTE: Instructions for ghee preparation (e.g. time limit to cook and finish) differs according to a few factors:

  1. The size and weight of your cooking pot
  2. The amount of butter you are using
  3. The strength and size of your flame.

Use a Heavy Bottomed Pot

I like a heavy stainless steel.
We also have a pot only for cooking ghee. This way the ghee remains more pure and un-touched, in a microbial way and a subtle energetic way.

Use a Very Low Flame and Simmer Mat

I like to use the lowest flame possible and I cook it overnight with a lot of butter.
I also use a simmer mat that disperses the heat more evenly, rather than a concentrated flame that fires a small surface area at the pot base centre.
Pot position - Ensure the centre of the pot is directly over the centre of the flame.

The Cooking Process

  1. Cook the butter on a low flame.
  2. After it melts, it will go through various stages of bubbling:
    • big bubbles - this is the Kapha dosha being released (purifying the vitiating earth and water elements out of the butter)
    • medium bubbles - this is pitta (purifying the excess fire element from the butter)
    • small. hard, quick bubbles - this is vata (purifying the air and space element from the butter). This is one of the final stages of the ghee making process.
  3. There are also various stages of “foaming” throughout the process. This is mostly early on in the ghee making process. Sometimes, there are two stages of “stillness” - when the top layer of the ghee is still. The first stage is usually “still foam”, and the “second stage of stillness” is after the second
  4. The ghee is ready when there is a still “crusty” layer at the top. There are hardly any or no bubbles, and the layer is crusty with a reddish/brown colour.
  5. Don‘t touch the ghee throughout the process as much as possible. Let it be.
  6. At the end, you can move the crust/foam with a clean spoon to peak through. You should see what looks like a reddish/dark brown coating on the base of the pot. It may looked burnt and others would even say you burnt it because there is dark gunk stuck to the base of the pot. But it should not be. It can be burnt (black colour, smells burnt), of which is not good. You do want that coating (slightly burnt milk solids and butter impurities) on the case which kind of looks like honey comb stuck to the base.
  7. Scoop out the crust - Scoop out majority of the crust for easier straining. I let this crust sit in a strainer over my plate to collect the drips (every drop is precious).
  8. Strain the liquid gold through a fine sieve + clean cheese cloth (that doesn’t shed strings. I keep my cheese cloth for ghee only in a ziplock bag, which I change every few times of making ghee).
  9. Pour into clean sterile jars and enjoy!

Cooking time

As said earlier, the time to prepare ghee absolutely changes according to the unique factors (butter quantity, flame strength, pot used).
It takes me 10 hours to prepare 6.5kg of butter on my stove (see time-lapse part of ghee-making video, where 10 hours is turned into 36 seconds, highlighting the preperation stages).
The Importance of Proper Purification and Cooking
Here is another factor that will distinguish your ghee from others ghee - cooking it for a long time to properly purify the butter and remove the impurities.
Most people don’t do this for a few reasons:
  1. They don’t understand the importance of proper purification
  2. They are scared to burn the ghee
  3. They are commercially making ghee and/or want more bang for their buck
I Burnt My Ghee, What To Do?
You can tell if you burnt your ghee as it will be a brown or dark golden colour. The main factor is you can smell it burnt, but you can also taste it.
The only use I know of burnt ghee is to use it as fire fuel or for oil lamps. Not for eating.
Note, it may take a few goes to “get to know” your ghee set up (stove, pot, butter amount etc.) before you nail it.
Keep an eye on the ghee, don’t leave it as it can burn very quickly. Don’t leave the stove unattended. Give it your divine attention.

Cleaning Up

This is a big process of making ghee, particularly if you are doing quantities like 6.5kg per pot.
Cleaning the pot:
  1. With a scraper and without much force, scrape off the excess milk solids at the bottom of the pot and dispose.
  2. Soak the pot in hot water + natural soap + lemon juice for an hour or more.
  3. Again scrape with more force the base of the pot and remove basically all the large parts of the gunk.
  4. With steel wool, clean the final remains of the pot and finish.
Cleaning ghee cloth:
I just use very hot water and rub it together. That’s it. Dry in the sun if possible.
Cleaning utensils (ladles, spoons, pouring jugs, etc):
I wipe with paper towel to remove oil and then clean as usual.

Making Ghee According to Jyotish (Vedic Astrology)

Ghee is one of the foods that mostly resonates with Soma - a quality in nature that relates with the cosmic waters, has an unctuous (snigdha) lunar quality and offers consciousness-expanding nectar.
We can increase the Soma quality in ghee by preparing with mantras, good intentions and a blissful state of cooking.
We can also utilise the energy of the planets and stars when cooking to further enhance Soma.
Times that are beneficial and more Soma enhancing to cook ghee:
  • The waxing moon, especially full moon in its waxing stage, and on Fridays and Sundays.
  • Ashwini nakṣatra (constellation)
  • Dīpavali (Diwali festival)
  • Other auspicious events and times.
Times that are inauspicious to cook ghee:
  • New moon
  • Eclipses
  • When a woman is menstruating (her downward flow of energy at the time contradicts with the upward flame of agni/fire).
  • Note, to first consider the inauspicious times. For example, if you are experiencing an eclipse on a full moon, it is better to not prepare ghee.
There is so much to ghee-making. It is a beautiful ritual and can even be a form of meditation.
Keep pursuing until you find your unique way and methods.
Please comment 👇 your experiences and any tips or questions on ghee-making.

The Ayurvedic Benefits of Gold (Swarna)

Dylan Smith

🎥 : Mathilde Lebouc (https://tildelebouc.squarespace.com/)

Gold’s mystical qualities have attracted human beings since the dawn of history.
Gold is far more than a mere commodity or even a monetary metal.
Now I’m going to be sharing with you some golden nuggets of wisdom…

The Other Names for Gold & Their Meaning

  • “Abhaya” - assurance or “fearless” of disease. Assurance of mental state. money, you feel financially assured when wearing gold.
  • Svarṇa
  • Suvarṇa
  • Kanaka - also a word for “a miner”.
  • Hema - typically used as a “weight of gold.” also a word for “the earth”, “a handsome woman”,  “dark or brownish colour horse.”
  • Hāṭaka - also a word for a “particular magical drink”
  • Tapnīya - gold.
  • Gāngeya - also a word for the holy river Ganges.
  • Kaladhauta - also a word for “bullion”
  • Kāñcana - another word for wealth,
  • Cāmīkara - gold
  • Satakumbhha
  • Kārtasvara
  • Jāmbūnada - could be gold from the Jambu river in Jambudvīpa “the land of Jambu trees” (Indian Blackberry (Syzygium cumini), Dvīpa = island or continents.
Woman wearing Gold Rings
  • Jātarupa - another word for “brilliant”, “beautiful”, “splendid”.
  • Mahārajata - another word for “turmeric” and “thorn-apple” (Datura inoxia).
  • auram” - Which means “to glow” in Latin.

The History of Gold

  • Gold is the earliest recorded metal used by humans.
  • There are records of it being mined for over 7K years. Earliest records are from Bulgaria.
  • But there have been gold nuggets found in Spanish caves over 40K years ago.
  • Vedic tradition has probably been earlier.

Why is gold our metal of choice?

  • It’s not difficult to extract or mine - it doesn’t take any chemicals to get it out.
  • Gold is the most malleable metal there is: just one ounce of gold (28gm) can be drawn into a wire that is 50 miles / 80km long without breaking.
  • Noble metal: it doesn’t oxidise or corrode. It doesn’t tarnish, it maintains its beautiful luster for thousands of years.
      • Pioneer 10 Plaque - Pioneer 10, a spacecraft launched from earth in 1972, is hurtling through space right now bearing a gold plaque inscribed with messages from man kind with drawings of humans and a map of our solar system, just in case the spacecraft is intercepted by intelligent extraterrestrial life. Gold was chosen to bear this message - which will not reach the nearest planetary system for 10 billion years - because gold endures.
      • Gold harvested from Egyptian tombs that is thousands of years old still is shiny and looks new.
      • Gold found in shipwrecks looks as if it just came out of the mint.
  • Gold can be drawn into a few as fine as a hair . One ounce of gold (28gm) can be drawn into a wire that is 50 miles / 80km long.

Karats

  1. 24kt is 100% gold. e.g. gold bhasma. Can’t be used for jewelry.
  2. 22kt is the highest that can be mailable. 22/24 = 91.67% gold.
  3. 18kt - 75% gold.
What is the other %?
Other metals:
  • Copper - 100% gold gives red gold.
  • silver,
  • nickel (white / banned in Europe),
  • silver,
  • palladium.
This is what changes the colour of gold.
Gold Bars & Coins

How Much Gold is There on Earth?

There's estimated to be 187,000 tonnes of gold above ground (that has been mined). Recorded in 2017.
50% of this - jewelry.
40% - investments of this is in - coins, bars.
10% - electrical wires.
Producers of Gold in the World:
    1. Biggest producer - China produces 440 tonnes / year.
    2. Richest area -  22% of the gold in the world is sourced from South Africa.
    3. Asteroid impacts on earth about 4 billion years ago and clears the land for the gold to be mined.
    4. Gold In The Sea - super minuscule. Researchers believe there merely are about 20 million - 10 billion tonnes in the ocean. It's not worth harvesting.

MEDICINAL USE

Gold dust in honey

This was a Roman ointment for battle wounds suffered by great military leaders.

Svarna Bhasma
Virya - Sheeta
Gunas - Guru (heavy), Picheela (slimy)
Karmas and Indications:
  • Vajjikarana (aphrodisiac)
  • Heavy to digest
  • Stoutens the body
  • Good for eyes/vision
  • Improves intelligence, memory and wisdom
  • Good for the heart
  • Extends/improves life span and complexion
  • Confers clarity and stability of voice
  • Cures disease caused by two kinds of poisons (vegetable and animal)
  • Good for emaciation
  • Insanity
  • Fever arising from all three doshas
  • Pulmonary tuberculosis.
If Suvarṇa Bhasma is not properly prepared, it:
  • Destroys strength and vitality of men
  • Gives rise to a large number of diseases
  • Produces misery
  • Can produce death.
Suvarna (Svara) Bhasma

According to the Bhavapraksha Pūrvakaṇḍa, good quality gold should undergo shodana samskara (purification) and be made to bhamsa (ash) in order to be used medicinally.

Smriti

This powerful formula enlivens the cellular memory of perfect health and helps restore the body to balance.

Regular use helps increase consciousness, creativity, happiness, health, and balance in mind and body.

"Smriti" is a sanskrit word where the english word "smart" comes from. Smriti helps enhance cognitive function and capacity for greater performance.

Smriti by Vital Veda

Pragnya

Corrects and brings the intellect back to balance. Promote greater intelligence of the mind.

Pragnya (Refined Intellect) by Vital Veda

Swarna Dhatu

Helps restore and regenerate nerves, bones and tissues, because it nourishes and strengthens all seven layers of the dhatus (tissues) in the body.

Helps to strengthen and stabilise the whole system.

Swarna Dhatu (Golden Nourisher) by Vital Veda

Special Matra Basti Oil

Special Matra Basti oil for Matra Basti (small nourishing enema)

We only use top quality oils procured in a specific manner (mrdu paka = soft preperation).

Special Matra Basti Oil by Vital Veda

Pusya Drops

Essential herbal drops to help boost immunity and build tissues for infants and children.

Precious and potent formula of rare herbs.

Pusya Drops by Vital Veda

Bruhat Vata Chintamani Rasa

A very effective formula often used for cardiovascular disorders.

Bruhat Vata Chintamani Rasa

References

The Gold Primer - Golden Possibilities 1980

Pioneer 10 - https://www.space.com/17651-pioneer-10.htmlBhavapraksha Pūrvakaṇḍa

Bunya Nuts: The Native Australian Jurassic Fruits

Bunya Nuts
Bunya Nuts only drop their ripe fruits in abundance every 3 years, so when the season arrives, festive abundance emanates from the Aussie bush.
These native Australian trees have been around since Jurassic times!
Just see, feel and breathe the ruthless spiky leaves, tall trees, and monstrous (up to) 10kg cones. It makes sense that dinosaurs used to eat this as food (whole cone)!Today, people avoid parking their cars under these trees, put up warning signs “CAUTION: Large and deadly bunya cones fall here”, and unknowingly or indolently dispose of this free food as garden waste.
But traditionally, there would be large “Bunya gatherings” of indigenous tribes travelling from long and far to feast on Bunya and community love.
There are reports of tribes from as far away as South Australia & Western Australia travelling to the main spot - Bunya Mountains, 200km NW of Brisbane for these gatherings.
Bunya Tree
Dylan Smith holding two Bunya Nuts
This native pine (Araucaria bidwillii) promotes the Vedic energy “Lakṣmī”- abundance of nourishment that connects us to the cycles and rhythms of nature’s intelligence.“Mother Divine Feminine” (Devi / Lakṣmī ) expresses herself through seasonal rhythms of climatic patterns and cyclical harvesting periods.She also triggers the recipients of food harvests and weather shifts to reciprocate to Mother Nature with reverence, which ultimately aligns the intelligence of that individual towards the level of Nature’s intelligence.
A cone can have bonyi 20-100 nuts, so make a social date with your friends & family to process together and have a feast for the soul before a feast for the belly. 
We de-shelled a bunch for cooking in the next couple weeks, and left most of them in their shell to store for longer.
So many ways you can prepare and eat them: make flour, pizza, bread, dosas, pesto, gnocchi (tastes like nutritious potatoes when boiled), roasted, add them to curries, fermented drinks, etc.
People even study Fibonacci’s math with Bunya cones!
Thanks to Bundjalung country and indigenous wisdom for providing and maintaining this food.
Sprouts
You may come across some nuts that are sprouting. Particularly if your bunya nuts have been sitting in moist conditions. If you do, plant these in the ground and spread the Bunya love!
This is what the tribes did on their way home from the Bunya gatherings.
Bunya Nut Harvesting Process
Recipes:
For plenty of inspirational Bunya recipes and ideas, click HERE.
Thanks to Bundjalung country and indigenous wisdom for providing and maintaining this food.
Thanks to @om_cade @soledelriccio @daliagencher @t.karacsay @mousa_meditation for feeding our soul and belly.

Lilly Pilly Chutney Recipe

Lilly Pilly Chutney

Botanical name: Syzygium smithii.

Plant facts: The tree is a summer-flowering, winter-fruiting evergreen tree.

Health Benefits of Lilly Pilly

They say this type of Lilly Pilly, Riberry (Syzygium luehmannii) was used by the Australian native aborigines for its anti-bacterial properties.

It also has great healing components present in it. It is rich in Vitamin C, B12 and folate. It has good astringent properties that improve the firmness of the skin which in turn helps your skin look radiant and youthful.

Dylan Smith Picking Lilly Pilly Fruits from the Tree
Lilly Pilly Bush Plant in a Pot

Lilly Pilly Chutney Recipe

Ingredients

  1. 1kg of soft red Lilly Pilly fruits
  2. 8 oranges
  3. 2/3 cup raw sugar
  4. 10 whole cloves
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 2 peeled and chopped apples

Method

  1. Collect 1kg of soft red fruits.
  2. Keep them in a bowl for 10-15 mins or more so spiders can disperse.
  3. Soak in water so you can remove all the dud fruits, bugs, sticks or any other undesirables.
  4. Place in a pot along with the juice of 8 oranges, zest of 2 oranges, 2/3 cup raw sugar, 10 whole cloves (these Riberry Lilly Pillies are from the same family as clove), 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 peeled and chopped apples.
  5. Cook until the fruit softens and the liquid becomes a more "sticky" consistency.
  6. Pour into sterilised jars and refrigerate until ready to use.

Should last a couple of weeks or so! Enjoy 🙂

Lilly Pilly Chutney in a Glass Jar
Lilly Pilly Chutney

Protein Pancakes (Gluten Free)

vegan protein pancakes

Vegan savoury & high protein pancakes that are primarily made of Urad (black gram lentil) - known to be like "meat for a vegetarian/vegan.

Medicinal Qualities: 

  • Doshas: This pancakes are good for Kapha & Pitta.
  • Season: Especially great in winter and cold climates.
  • Male Aphrodisiac - Helpful to increase sperm count in men.
  • Can be a little hard to digest. 

Ingredients

  1. Besan (chickpea) flour – 1/4 cup
  2. Urad flour - 3/4 cup
  3. Onion (chopped) - 1
  4. Salt – per taste
  5. Ajwain Seeds - 1 tsp
  6. Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  7. Tumeric – ¼ tsp
  8. Water - 1 to 2 cups
  9. Ghee or oil for cooking
  10. Fresh Coriander for garnishing
  11. Squeeze of lemon juice

Method

  1. In a large bowl mix flour, onion, salt, ajwain, turmeric & cumin seeds
  2. Add water & mix well to make a batter, ensuring no lumps of flour remain
  3. Heat tawa or non stick pan and drizzle on 1 teaspoon of ghee
  4. Spoon 2-3 tbsp of batter onto pan and spread to make a pancake
  5. Shallow fry for about ½ minute. Press down with spatula

6. Flip over and cook on other side for ½ minute

7. Spoon a little more oil or ghee on the sides of the pancake to make it crisp

8. Flip it one more time for about 10 seconds

9. Serve hot with chutney

10 Garnish: With a squeeze of lemon and fresh coriander.


Related Recipe: Sweet Buckwheat Pancakes


Did you try making these vegan protein pancakes? Please comment below on how your recipe went!


Kakamachi (Solanum Nigrum / Black Nightshade) Uses + Jam Recipe

Botanical name: Solanum nigrum
Sanskrit name: Kakamachi
English name: Black nightshade.

Plant Description: This nightshade grows abundantly along the eastern fringe of Australia. It grows like a weed. It also grows in India, Americas and South Africa. It is native to Eurasia.

Pant Identification: The berries grow in clusters. If a plant has only single berries, it may be the poisonous Atropa belladonna (Deadly Nightshade), which rarely is found in Australia so don't worry

Parts Used

Berries - The berries are ripe thus safe to eat when they are dark purple/black colour. As with most nightshades, when the fruit is not ripe (in this case, green colour), it can be poisonous.

Leaves - According to Ayurveda, the leaves of Kakamachi is one of the best leafy green vegetables one can eat for health. Fry in ghee to purify

Whole plant - Root, ripe berries, seeds, leaves and stem are used in Ayurvedic medicine.

Health Benefit of Kakamachi

Skin Health - The whole plant is great for the skin(1) although it is slightly heating (usna virya). 

Liver Health - Whole plant is useful for the liver.

Lungs - Lung and respiratory health are one of Kakamachis main uses. The seeds are most useful for lung health.

Voice - Good for voice (singers eat those ripe tucker berries). Check out other methods to improve your voice.

Balances All 3 Doshas - Kakamachi alleviates all three doshas when vitiated(1) and is essential for kapha.

Aphrodisiac and Rejuvenator - The sweet taste (madhura rasa) supports this.(1)

Digestion - Causes easy movement of faeces and other waste products. 

Anti-Oxidant Rich - A group of phytochemicals known as anthocyanins are responsible for the dark blue colour as well as the flavonoids is what makes dark purple coloured fruits and berries high anti-oxidant thus prevent cell damage.

Caution: Only use fresh.

“[Kakamachi] when used fresh is a rejuvenator but used after some days it is poison.”
~ Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbata, (ch. 7, 243)

This means when you cook the leaves or berries, eat that fresh, don't keep it overtime and eat is later.

Kakamachi Jam Recipe

Ingredients

  1. 500g of fresh ripe kakamachi berries
  2. 400g of quality raw sugar
  3. 1 tbsp of lemon juice

Ideally, harvest your own kakamachi from a bush area that you know is organic and spray free.

Ensure the berries are fully ripe (dark purple/black colour). Don't harvest unripe (green or light purple colour) as that is poisonous.

It is rare to buy the berries commercially. Solanum nigrum is prohibited for trade as a food in Australiaby the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Plus it is more fun and rewarding when you input "more completely" in your creation process.

Method

  1. Remove the berries from the stems with your hands or isolate the berries while you forage them. Remove any bits of leaf and stalk.
  2. Gently wash the berries with fresh water. Careful because these berries are porous.
  3. Place the berries in a heavy-based pan and gently crush with a potato masher or squeeze with your hand, just enough to release some of the juices. Turn the pan on.
  4. Add the sugar and lemon juice to the pan and leave to simmer on low heat. Allow for 5 minutes of bubbles. Keep stirring to prevent the jam sticking to the bottom of the pan.

4.  Cook down for around 20 minutes. Allow about 5 minutes of bubbles to come while simmering

5.  Put the jam into clean jars. The jam will keep in a cool dark place for 1 year. Once opened keep in the fridge.

References:

(1) Caraka Samhita, Sutra sthana, chapter 27.


Elderberry Jam Recipe

Elderlberry Jam over Toasts

Botanical name: Sambucus nigra (this is the common blackish-blue variety).

Plant facts: The tree has hollow stems, which were used traditionally used as a straw to make flute like instruments.

Health Benefits of Elderberry

Elderberry has been shown by scientific studies to have many benefits:

It cures the common flu. This is more effective when made into a syrup or wine with other anti-bacterial spices like ginger and turmeric. Antiviral components of elderberry fruit extract were tested and found to effectively inhibit Human Influenza A (H1N1 virus) in vitro, possibly by blocking the ability of the virus to infect host cells.

Manages Infections - Can be used in a range of infections.

Throat
Khantya - Good for the voice, sore throats, anti-inflammatory, good for udana vata and avalambaka kapha.

Anti-Oxidant Rich - A group of phytochemicals known as anthocyanins are responsible for the dark blue colour as well as flavonoids  is what makes dark purple coloured fruits and berries high anti-oxidant thus prevent cell damage.

Brain Health - The phytochemicals also help prevent deterioration of nerve cells in the brain. Preventintoothe all to common vata disorcers of the head like Alzheimer's and dementia.

Nutritious - Elderberries contain 87 percent of the daily value in vitamin C, and high amounts of vitamin A, potassium, iron, vitamin B6, fiber, and betacarotene.

Elderflowers, which bloom in summer, are great for fever - and can be brewed into a tea. Other traditional uses of elder flowers are as external antiseptic washes to treat wounds and as an eye wash for conjunctivitis and eye inflammation.

Elderbery Jam Recipe

Ingredients

  1. 500g of fresh elderberries (not dried)
  2. 400g of jam quality raw sugar
  3. 1 tbsp of lemon juice

Ideally, harvest your own elderberries from a tree that you know is organic and spray free.

Plus it is more fun and rewarding when you input "more completely" in your creation process.

Method

  1. Remove the berries from their stems with your hands or a fork and wash to remove any bits of leaf and stalk.
  2. Place the elderberries in a heavy-based pan and gently crush with a potato masher or squeeze with your hand, just enough to release some of the juices.
  3. Add the sugar and lemon juice to the pan and leave to simmer on low heat. Keep stirring to prevent the jam sticking to the bottom of the pan.

4.  Cook down for around 20 minutes, skimming off and discarding any scum which has come to the surface.

5.  Put the jam into clean jars. The jam will keep in a cool dark place for 1 year. Once opened keep in the fridge.

feature photo by Great British Chefs.


Amalaki (Embilica Officinalis) Uses & Benefits

Dylan Smith harvesting amalaki

Amalaki (Embilica officinalis) is not only considered by many to be Ayurveda's most potent fruit, but Amalaki is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda that is used extensively in formulations. 

Nomenclature

English: Indian Gooseberry
Sanskrit: Amalaki, aka Amla (vernacular).
Latin: Embilica officinalis or Pjullantus embilica (less common)

Synonyms:

  • Dhatri ("Mother" or "Nurse") - Amalaki is the ultimate carer and healer.
  • Amrta ("Immortality") - There are only a few herbs which have the Amrta quality. Amalaki is like nectar that promotes immortality.

Energetics

Rasa (taste): Sour (predominately), sweet, bitter, astringent, pungent
Virya (energy): Cooling
Vipaka (post-digestive effect): Sweet
Gunas (quality): Dry, light.
Dosha: VPK-

Tridoshic Fruit

One of the marvels of Amalaki is that it contains all 6 tastes except salt. Thus this fruit mitigates:

  • vata by its sour taste
  • pitta by its sweet taste and cold virya (energy) and
  • kapha by the dry quality and astringent taste.

Usually sour herbs aggravate pitta. Amalaki is an exception, and is one of the very few sour herbs that actually reduce pitta.

Ayurvedic Action

Ganas (classical groups):

  • Vayasthapana (Anti-Aging) - Caraka (The famous sage) quoted Amlaki as the best among the Vayasthapana herbs.
  • Jvarghna (Treats Fever) (Caraka)
  • Kasaghna (Treats Cough) (Caraka)
  • Virecanopaga (Purgative) (Caraka)
  • Kusthaghna (Treats Skin Diseases) (Caraka)

Indications

Rasayana - Longevity and Immunity

Rejuvenator that promotes longevity. Thus is included in the classical group of Vayasthapana. "Rasa" (the essence of properly digested food) is being spread ("ayana") to nourish all the rasavaha srotas: 10 dhaminis (arteries) and heart, as well as the udakava srotas: Talu (soft pallet) and kloma (pancreas/thyroid).

This potent anti-oxidant fruit is fantastic immunomodulator, aphrodisiac and rejuvenator. (Bhavaprakasa).

Digestion

Assists bowels and reduces inflammation in the GIT as it supports healthy intestinal skin. Especially helpful in ulcers, hyperacidity (Amlapitta), colitis, hepatitis, haemorrhoids and intestinal bleeding conditions. Great laxative and liver cleansing action. Healthy intestinal "inner" skin accordingly improves health and lustre of the "outer" skin.

Diabetes and Metabolism

Its Ojas and immune boosting action helps cope with diabetes and urinary disorders (Prameha), (Bhavaprakasa).

Home Remedy: 2.5ml Amalaki juice + 2.5ml Turmeric juice + bit ot Honey (Astanga Hrdayam U.).

More Benefits:

  • Respiratory System - Amalaki's immune boosting action strengthens the lungs and helps in cough.
  • Sattva (Pure Consciousness) - Amalaki’s prabhava (special effect) is having a sattvic effect that raises the quality of consciousness and the overall wellbeing of the body.
  • Raktapitta (Bleeding diseases) (Bhavaprakasa).
  • Caksusya karma (Benefits the Eyes) - Reduces excess pitta in the eyes. Triphala is one of the best formulations for eye diseases (Netra roga). (A.P.I.)
  • Soma Roga
  • Kesha (Hair Tonic) - increases hair strength, reduces premature baldness greying since it pacifying the pitta burning the roots of the hair. A main ingredient in the Vital Veda + the Raju family's Bringraj Amalaka 11 Oil and Rajus Kesha Oil.

Vitamin C Powerhouse

According to the studies, the average Amla fruit (22.5gm) contains 121mg of vitamin C.
The average orange (130 grams) has about 70mg of vitamin C.

So one little Amla berry is packed with more vitamin C than the orange, which a 5.8 times bigger fruit!

Amalaki has 10 TIMES the amount of vitamin C than an orange when we measure equal weights of both fruits.

Research suggests this all-natural vitamin C content contributes to the potent antioxidant capabilities of Amalaki.

This is far from mega doses of vitamin C that people are taking. But what is compelling is the ability of Amalaki to take a small amount of vitamin C and use it to activate an entire matrix of chemicals that deliver a multitude of health benefits.

More about Amalaki herb coming soon.

Important Formulations

Triphala

One of the most popular formulations in Ayurveda and rightly so because mostly everyone can use it and benefit from triphala's actions.

Triphala helps in diabetes and skin diseases. It is fantastic for the eyes (external and internal application) and helps in fever. It helps in digestion and natural, regular elimination (laxative action), thus is an essential supplement to take today when we (even health individuals) are inevitably exposes to environmental toxins. 

Note Triphala is contraindicated for those with loose motions, diarrhoea, bleeding disorders of the GIT. 

"Tri" = Three
"Phala" = Fruits

The three fruits (in equal quantity) that make up triphala are:

  1. Amalaki (Embilica officinalis)
  2. Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica)
  3. Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)

Shodana Vati - 3-Dosha Balancing and Purification

Shodana Vati's main ingredient in Triphala plus a whole lot more other herbs. If one takes Shodana Vati (superior option) people do not need to take Triphala.

This is a Raju family formula made with love and mantras that is the best free radical scavenger and anti-oxidant; immune modulator and blood purifier. It's good for gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, tooth and oral problems, female problems, high cholesterol, chronic cough, eye disorders, addictions, helps clear the skin and more. Available at Vital Veda.

Chyavanaprasha

Chyavanaprasha is a honey based jam (leham) procured with many herbs. Eating this regularly maintains optimum energy and immunity levels, especially during seasonal and life changes. Chyavanaprasha reduces kapha, colds, and promotes inner strength.

Unfortunately most herbal manufactures are not making proper Chyavanaprasha. The only company that makes it properly to my knowledge is Maharishi Ayurveda, although Maharishi Amrit Kalash is superior.

Anand Sidhi Yog - Nutritious Immune Boosting Bliss

An easy to digest rasayana that strengthens and repairs all the dhatus (tissues). It provides supreme nourishment for rapid healing and feeds the most re ned levels of the physiology, the mind and only the healthy body, not the disease.
It strengthens the lungs, helps in chronic cough and is a great anti-oxidant. "ASY" restores physical vitality, immunity, good digestion and eternal bliss. Amalaki is the main ingredient in this Raju family formula made with love and mantras. Available at Vital Veda.

If taking Anand Sidhi Yog, no need to take Chaywanaprash or Amrit Kalash since ASY is superior.

Check out our Amla Pickle Recipe here.

If you are in India and Amla is in season (around December), take advantage of that and eat them fresh!

 

Credits:
Chywanprash photo - Jiva