Most of us have struggled with consuming the right amount of water daily. At least some of us have experienced a sore throat even after consuming the filtered water at home, restaurants and other public places. At other times the problem is with excess thirst even after consuming adequate amount of water according to medical recommendations. Whatever be the case, the deeper physiology does not get enough moisture and hence remains undernourished. Besides we replace a major part of our water diet with coffee, tea, sugary drinks, juices and aerated beverages. Time and again we also tell ourselves that there is nothing that can match a glass of pure water. So is there an alternative to water then? How did our great grandparents or even grandparents fought their way through minor or even major health ailments?
Water represents soma, the nourishing, cooling quality that is associated with lunar energy.
It is the major constituent of our body. So there is no alternative to water but there is an alternative to plain drinking water. The idea is to consume water after infusing natural herbs and spices in it. This not only adds some flavor to your cup of water but also has several healing properties for the body, mind and emotions. So from such wisdom of grandmothers and grandfathers, we explore what can be the elixir of life – water infused with herbs, a medicated cocktail indeed. Here are some of those healing waters that we tried, bringing out flavors, colors and of course the richness of the aroma it brings.
– Sappan wood or East Indian red wood – Is pink your favorite color? Traditionally, the decoction of the heartwood, known as Patranga or Pathimugam is given as a powerful agent to stimulate menstrual flow and a tonic for women for fast recovery after childbirth. It acts as a strong astringent too and used in treating blood clots within the vessel. It is also used as a cure for kidney disorders, diarrhea and indigestion too. Just add a pinch to a pot of hot water, the aroma hovers in the air for long and water turns pink to red. Remember to use only a pinch of the herb otherwise you might end up having bright red water and a strong taste.
– Cinnamon with Ginger – An important ingredient in many Indian recipes, cinnamon also called as Karuvapattai, Dalchini, Tamalparta is pungent, sweet and astringent. It is hot in potency. If used in moderation, its oral intake stimulates digestion, expels abdominal gas, an excellent cure for cough and sore throat, sleeplessness and tastelessness. Prepare tea by boiling half teaspoon grated ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder or small piece of a whole cinnamon stick and one clove in one cup water. Boil for a few minutes. Filter and add honey. Drink hot few times a day.
– Khus grass – It is known by many names such as Khas Khas, Khus, Vetiver, Ramacham and Usheer/Usira (Ayurveda). An aromatic herb used in several cosmetic products, since time immemorial, refreshes the skin and all senses so much. Its oral intake has a sedative effect on the nervous system. It has cooling, blood purifying, digestive, anti-microbial properties and hence is a great choice if cool water suits your palate. 50gms of the Khus grass roots steeped in 2 litres of cold water for 4-5 hours or overnight is a great thirst quencher and a cooling agent for summers or relieving body heat.
– Indian Kino – It is also known as Malabar Kino, Vijaysar and Venga. Traditionally known as the ‘magic cure for diabetes’, it is said to be a time tested method of managing blood sugar levels. Either a piece of the Kino wood can be soaked in water overnight or add some water in a Vijaysar Wood Tumbler overnight and drink the reddish brown water on an empty stomach. If you are taking some medication for diabetes then you need to take medical advice before you consume this water as this can significantly drop your blood sugar levels.
– Fennel – A sweet, aromatic ingredient in many Indian kitchens, it is also known as saunf, shombu and shatapushpa. You may have heard of fennel water and fennel teas and how it aids digestion, eases hyperacidity and is a remedy for difficult or burning urination. In the age of ibuprofen and other pain killers, this is an effective solution for menstrual cramps and easing other symptoms like bloating, mood swings by tapping into the volatile oils found in fennel seeds. Add 1 tsp of fennel seeds to 1 cup of hot water, cover it and let it sit for 10 minutes. Strain and use.
What are the things you do to hydrate throughout the day? Let us know!