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Recent medical studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine confirm that contrary to what has been viewed as nothing more than traditional hocus-pocus, grandma really does know best!

Subcontinental grandmothers have, on the medical home front, been right all along. Age-old desi todkas (remedies) passed on through generations indeed do offer a host of health benefits. 

Turmeric (haldi), an essential of grandma’s in-house pharmacy, has proven to have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties, and whether taken or applied topically, offers a cure for acute and persistent arthritic and rheumatic pain.

The same goes for that oft-repeated, oft-ignored, remedy for insomnia. Forget sleeping pills and have a glass of warm milk instead! This is because milk contains tryptophan, a natural, harmless and non-addictive protein, which is why babies usually fall asleep immediately after being fed.

Apart from keeping vampires at bay – still medically unproven – garlic is one of the best heart disease preventatives to be found: consuming as little as one clove a day helps reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL), promotes ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL), and even assists in regulating blood pressure. Eaten raw or cooked, garlic on a daily basis also encourages uninterrupted blood circulation, thus reducing the chances of heart disease, as does a daily helping of cooked or raw red – not green – chillies.

Red chillies also contain a generous dose of capsaicin, a natural substance which helps blood vessels retain their elasticity, reduces the chances of blood clot formation and goes a long way towards maintaining a healthy, vibrant, cardiovascular system in different ways.

The knowledge of herbal remedies, as passed down by our grandmothers, is finally getting the recognition it deserves and this is only the tip of the iceberg  –  grandmothers know far more than they ever admit.

– B Khan

First published in the ADBUZZZZ Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on April 13, 2014.