Greens (keerai in Tamil) had been part and parcel of South Indian diet from time immemorial. It is considered an easily digestible food than flowers, vegetables, and tubers. Though taking greens everyday is a healthy habit, it should not be taken at night. Taking greens at night can lead to formation of gas in the stomach and other gastric inconveniences.
Care should be taken in selection of greens. Greens with dark black patches should be avoided as they may be contaminated with heavy metals. Also avoid worm infested greens.
Pasalai keerai (Spinach)
This is said to have blood cleansing properties. It strengthens the liver and pacifies pitta. It is a well known remedy for diseases related to the urinary system. People with painful or difficult urination can benefit from taking spinach on a regular basis.
Sirukeerai (Amaranthus Polygonoides)
This greens belong to the amaranthus family. Singers can benefit from taking cooked Amaranthus polygonoides regularly. This is found to preserve and improve their voice. It also works wonders in the case of mouth ulcers and stomach ulcers. Regular consumption of this greens also benefits those with hemorrhoids. Skin conditions like scabies and eczema respond well to consumption of this herb.
Mulai keerai (Amaranth)
This is a tasty green consumed extensively in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Recipes made of this green are very tasty as well as healthy. It cools and energizes the body. The more mature greens of this family is the ‘thandu keerai’. A very good blood cleanser, this green is also strengthens the heart. It loosens stools and helps treat painful and difficult urination due to increase in body ‘heat’.
Known as gongura in Andhra Pradesh, there are numerous tasty recipes made using this green. Consuming this green helps constipation, stomach ulcers and digestive disorders.
Pannai keerai (Celosia argentea)
Pannai keerai has immense medicinal value. Regular consumption of this greens helps ward off ulcerative colitis, stomatitis, sore throat and similar conditions. This has a sweetish-sour taste and is found to be useful in treating eczema and venereal diseases. It loosens the stool and helps in easy bowel movement.
Ponnanganni (Alternanthera Sessilis) is an excellent coolant. It neutralizes excessive acidity in the body. It helps keep away bad breath. It is useful in treating skin conditions like scabies, eczema etc and improves the skin tone and texture. It is an excellent herb for hair growth. Application of coconut oil boiled with ponnanganni leaves, shoeflower (hibiscus), arugampul helps in luscious hair growth.
This greens action on ulcers is well known. It has been very effective in treating all types of internal ulcers, stomach and mouth ulcers. Taking this greens twice or thrice a week keeps the body alkaline and takes care of acidosis, which is considered to be the root cause of all modern diseases.
This green is an excellent remedy for people suffering from sinus related conditions. Thoothuvalai leaves can be ground to a fine paste adding a bit of tamarind and salt for taste. This paste is taken with hot rice twice or thrice a week. This green has a tendency to increase ‘heat’ in the body and hence should be taken in moderation.
Mint is well known for its action on gas. It adds strength to the body and improves digestion. Kashayam made of dried mint leaves is found to help with jaundice, stomach aches, headaches, hiccups, nausea and vomiting. Dried and powdered mint leaves can be used to treat mouth ulcers. It is also a well known breath freshener.