Thuthi keerai once not so easily seen in South Indian markets has come back with a vengeance. It has found new patrons in the new enlightened generation. This generation has paid dearly for the blatant misuse of noxious chemicals in the agricultural realm and the subsequent damage caused to the ecosystem as a whole. Awareness of healthy diet, organic food, exercise etc is on the rise. That may be the reason behind the demand for some rare greens like thuthi keerai etc. Now for some info on thuthi.
Thuthi keerai in Tamil or “Indian mallow” is a long forgotten green that has come back with a bang in the markets. It grows in plenty in hot temperate regions of India. It is known as Atibala in Sanskrit and pettaka in Malayalam. The leaves, flowers and root of this plant have immense medicinal value.
Thuthi keerai is a well known Tamil home remedy for constipation. Alternative systems regard constipation as the root cause of almost all diseases that afflict mankind. ‘Fast food’ culture has pervaded the Indian food domain and has replaced healthy eating habits. Excessive consumption of these tasty but nutrition less foods leads to malnutrition. Also these lack essential fibres that aid digestion. Needless to say, constipation cuts short longevity. Thuthi keerai helps in overcoming constipation. Fresh, clean leaves of the greens can be cooked with green gram and ghee. This preparation is taken with rice regularly to cure constipation.
Haemorrhoids find an excellent remedy in thuthi leaves. Siddha and Ayurveda texts state that frequent consumption of food high in sour and hot taste (foods which contain excessive amount of chillies, tamarind, etc) jeopardizes gas in the intestines and can cause haemorrhoids. The number of haemorrhoid sufferers is on the increase the world over. Stress in workplace, lack of exercise, seated in a place for long periods of time etc can cause haemorrhoids. Constipation and haemorrhoids are closely related. Constipation leads to haemorrhoids. Thoroughly cleaned thuthi leaves are cut to small pieces. Green gram, garlic, shallots are sautéed in ghee and added to the cut greens and cooked. This is then ground to a fine paste. This paste taken twice or thrice a week takes care of the painful haemorrhoids and helps in gradual reduction of its intensity.
Thuthi keerai is a rich alkaline food that neutralises acidity in our body. Our body should be in an alkaline state for it to function effectively and keep premature aging, joint paints, exhaustion and various adverse conditions at bay. Thuthi is an alkaline food par excellence. One way to benefit from this alkaline storehouse is to clean the leaves and wash them. The leaves are then cut to small pieces and added to boiling water. Garlic, shallots, pepper and salt are added to this boiling water as required. The water is then allowed to cool. This green steeped water is taken regularly to neutralize acidity.
Thuthi is also used as a diuretic. Rasam made of thuthi leaves is an excellent diuretic and when taken regularly takes care of urinary retention and other such complications. It also relieves stomach ulcer.
Water steeped with thuthi leaves is a well known remedy for diseases of the gums. This can be used as a mouthwash. Regular gargling after brushing the teeth with this thuthi mouthwash can safeguard you from gum diseases and the like.