Various traditional methods were inculcated in our daily lifestyle to strengthen the immune system. We must revive and bring them back to our lives today. Here are two Ugadi and Gudi padwa recipes.
The day after the first new moon post spring equinox, marks the beginning of new year for Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur and few other regions and communities. It is celebrated as Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Sajibu Nongma Pānba and Cheti Chand to name a few. This was established many millennia ago for Indians by their ancestors who devised the Lunisolar Calendar. There is a science behind this and has a direct connection with the human body.
Grandmothers and mothers who took care of the wellbeing of people at home, were well prepared in their kitchens to welcome the new year.
It was understood that with the change of seasons and strong rays of the sun touching the earth, people had to cope up with the hot weather. Various traditional solutions were inculcated as part of the lifestyle regime including daily diet, to strengthen the immune system. They were our doctors! It is quite unfortunate that we ignored / undermined these practices which are now returning back as tools of wellbeing in these difficult times of coping with the ongoing pandemic. If only we held them well. Well today we are sharing a small recipe using Neem flowers and leaves which was used as an immunity booster and body cleanser.
Grind them well using a rolling pin or stone pestle. When it’s finely ground into a paste, roll them into tiny balls. They can be consumed with lukewarm water on an empty stomach, preferably the first thing in the morning. Maintaining a 45 mins -1 hour gap before eating anything else will help the mixture to settle well and maximise the benefit. Whilst this is a one time preparation on this auspicious occasion, it is best to have neem and turmeric balls on a daily basis for better health.
Alternatively a semi – liquid form of concoction is also prepared in Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and is called the Ugadi Pachadi.
Shaad Raas image and information credit – Udaya Shreyas
- Neem flowers – 10-15 nos
- Neem leaves – 3-4 (Alternatively, If neem leaves are unavailable one can use Neem powder)
- Pink rock salt – 1 pinch (or as needed)
- Carom seeds(Ajwain) – 1 small tsp
- Natural Jaggery- 5 gms or as needed (Here we used Palm Jaggery)
- Black peppercorns – 5-8 nos
- Tamarind paste – 1 small tsp (optional)
These were offered to the family members in the morning marking the beginning of the new year, when they are prepared to welcome all the flavours and shades of life. The above prasadam/offering also uses the Shad-Rasas, the six tastes mentioned in Ayurveda.
Tikta - Bitterness (Neem leaves and flowers)
Kashaya - Astringent (Ginger)
Amla - Sour ( Raw mango/ Tamarind)
Katu - Hot (Pepper)
Lavana - Salty (Rock salt)
Madhura - Sweet (Jaggery)
It helps boost our immune system against pathogens. It is also a reminder to go through life which is a mixture of both pleasant and unpleasant experiences, equanimously!