Posts Tagged ‘Health & Beauty’

Spice Garden: Milagu (Black Peppercorns)

By Admin - June 10th, 2014

Spice Garden: Milagu (Black Peppercorns)

Written By: Kayalvizhi J.

Welcome to Spice Garden! Love Tamil food? Me too. I’ve always been attracted to the aromas, fragrance and textures of spices, the way the flavours just blend and intertwine and the way we serve our food and by the repertoire of herbs and spices we use for healing. Our cooking is not only tasty, but beneficial for the body. The levels of obesity and disease in all communities is increasing, but we can prevent this by adopting more of our ancient healing into our cooking. Your grandma and mom have a good knowledge of home remedies and recipes made with a variety of herbs and spices to promote healing and maintain good health. And we, the younger Tamil youth should also become knowledgeable about these things, and this blog is an attempt to impart some knowledge about Tamil spices, herbs and recipes.

While I may be biased saying Tamil cuisine is the tastiest in the world, the world has also noticed. Tamil cooking has been praised all around the world, and Tamil cooking influences can be seen in other cuisines, and in the English language. For example, the English word ‘Curry’ is derived from the Tamil word, Kari, ‘Mango’ from Maangai, ‘Conjee’ from Kanji, Ginger from Inchiver. Tamil Sangam literature and epigraphs chiseled in walls of ancient Tamil temples have also recorded information about the benefits and preparations of Tamil herbs and spices.

Today we will be looking at the spice, milagu also known as yavanappiriyam (black peppercorns).

Quick Benefits:

– Digestion
– Aroma
– Appetite Stimulant
– Cough and Cold Fighter
– Constipation Fighter

If you’ve had Tamil food, it is likely it would have had some black pepper corns in it. Peppercorns are added to many savoury dishes, especially to meat and chicken. Black pepper helps in digestion and its aromatic flavour helps flavour in meat and poulty dishes while helping masking ‘meaty’ smells (especially when mixed with garlic). Pepper is ground when used in dishes. Pepper is also used in home medicine to treat coughs, colds, fevers, asthma and constipation. A mixture of salt and pepper with caraway leaves used as a gargle can help fight cough.

In many cultures, you may have notices certain soups are eaten as appetizers before means to increase appetite. In Tamil cuisine, rasam acts as the appetite stimulant and includes black peppercorns. Rasam can be consumed at different periods in a meal; eating rasam before meals is to induce appetite, while eating it after is to promote digestion. It is the pepper in the rasam that contributes to both these benefits.

So next time you are making a meat dish, try to sprinkle some peppercorns into it.

Feeling Blue?

By Admin - January 2nd, 2014

Feeling Blue?

Written by: Gayathiri Sivakumar

With frequently changing weather, it is no surprise that many of us may be feeling sick. Here are some remedies to stop sickness in its tracks.

Chicken Soup: The stock of chicken soup helps to slow down mucus production, thus making it easier to breathe.

Drink Hot Liquids: It is important to stay hydrated, so make sure you keep replenishing your water, and drink tea, and warm water. Honey and lemon tea are also an effective choice.

Eucalyptus Oil: Eucalyptus oil can aid in opening up clogged nasal passages, using a few drops of it during your bath, or rubbing a drop under your nose can help open up blocked passages. The steam mixed with oil will really assist in bringing relief.

Extra Pillows: An elevated surface to sleep on will help nasal drainage.

Gargling with Salt and Warm Water: Gargling can moisten dry throats, and salt is a great antiseptic that helps get rid of the germs.

Garlic: Garlic has tremendous antiviral properties that can assist in a shorter duration of sickness. You can either chew on a clove, or brew it in water, or add it to your soups or tea.

Sleep: When you are sleep-deprived, your body is working harder than it needs to and it usually does, over time, this drains the body, and makes our bodies more vulnerable to germs and bugs than if we were not sleep deprived. Get rest, and your body will heal quickly.

Vitamin C: Drinking orange juice during your cold can assist in shortening the duration of your cold by propping your immune system with much needed boost.

Wash your hands: Stay clean, and wash your hands frequently to avoid others from catching your cold. Once your cold it over, remember to wipe down surfaces (phone, laptop keypads, computer mouse, doorknobs, etc.) to prevent infection.

Prescription to Health?

By Admin - December 14th, 2013

Prescription to Health?

By: Abera Chelvaratnam

When the term “healthy” is seen or heard, automatically associations like “eating only greens”, “nasty taste”, “a trend” comes to mind. It is not obscure for these connections to exist because even as young children growing up in North America, many of the popular television shows that were watched had characters who were disgusted when their parents would serve fruits and vegetables. Common scenes such as feeding nutritious food to the dog, or being treated with only ice cream and many sugary foods as a reward is very influential in a developing child. Surely, after watching so many of these shows children want to indulge themselves with foods that have no nutritional value other than high calorie and fat content. Not only are there social influences, but as a matter of fact the cravings for high fat and high calorie foods are also genetic. Historically, human ancestors were largely herbivores, thus they needed large number of foods to sustain adequate energy for their daily needs. These plant eating ancestors acquired a taste for sweet tasting things because generally speaking sweeter tasting foods is linked to being more calorie dense. Lastly, prescription drugs are clearly prevalent in both technologically and medically advanced society, where they offer fast “solutions” to majority of problems. So obviously why would humans want to be “healthy” if they can pop a pill to stop their illnesses?

Are prescription drugs and over the counter drugs really solutions? Maybe in some cases. Prescription pain killers and is taken widely from once a day to many through a span of sometimes a lifetime. Clearly, it’s a misconception that medicine is a solution, rather many times it’s a treatment that must be taken continuously in order for the body to heal itself temporarily. Being a treatment rather than a solution doesn’t propose any problems to many people since it’s simple to take one pill whenever pain is felt and just carry on with the day. It’s definitely not bothersome to anyone’s lifestyle whatsoever that is until the side effects come into play or even when the drug becomes ineffective. Morphine is usually an effective painkiller that is given to patients post surgery such as after having abdominal surgeries. After surgery, glial cells in the patient’s body get excited and send out pain signals to surrounding nerves causing pain in the patient. Morphine binds to receptors on neurons to dull the pain. However, according to University of Colorado at Boulder, morphine may actually prolong the pain. Normally, morphine should dull the pain, but it can in fact also bind to TLR4 receptors on glial cells to further intensify the pain. In cases such as these, patients are able to assess the effectiveness of the drugs and stop using them if side effects outweigh the treatment. However, sometimes the downsides of drugs are not easily detected. According to Kaiser Permanente, regularly taking prescription painkillers is associated with a higher risk of erectile dysfunction. In the study, 11, 000 men with back pain were studied and more than 19 percent of these men who took high doses of painkillers also took ED prescriptions, while only less than 7 percent of men who didn’t take painkillers received ED prescriptions. Something as simple as taking painkillers for back pain can cause addiction, overdoses that lead to death and is now even associated with erectile dysfunction. A simple “solution” to a problem is capable of producing even more problems in the body, where more treatments might have to be taken.

Blemishes Banished!

By Admin - July 17th, 2013

Blemishes Banished!

Written by: Gayathiri Sivakumar
“Neem offers many benefits and is an effective anti-bacterial cleanser. This face mask is perfect for those with blemishes, acne, or oily skin. Neem has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for many years. Turmeric is an excellent exfoliant and adds a glow to dull skin. Together, these two help clear blemishes from your skin to reveal a clearer complexion.


2 tablespoons – Vepampoo Illai (Neem) You can use neem leaves (ground) or neem leaves powder. (If you are using neem leaves, boil the neem leaves then grind them using a mortar and pestle)

1 tablespoon – Manjal (Tumeric)

1 table spoon – Lemon juice


Mix ingredients throughly in a small bowl to form a paste, you can add more powder until you achieve a paste form. Apply mixture over your face for half and hour, then rinse with tepid water. Splash cold water on your face and moisturize.

Suit Yourself!

By Editor - December 11th, 2012

Suit Yourself!

With Top Talents and UTSC and UTSG TSA formals on its way, here are some tips for men from Harry Rosen!

Man’s ingenious mind has come up with innumerable ways of folding the pocket square, from the most pristine horizontal to the seemingly artless and bunched-up “cloud.” Here are just three. Check out to read the full story!

Modern Women, Ancient Healing

By Editor - October 13th, 2012

Modern Women, Ancient Healing

Written by: Gayathiri Sivakumar

A lot of the things our ancestors do, are really beneficial to us. If we want to keep our culture and traditions alive, it is up to us to learn about different aspects of our culture. This time, I wanted to learn more about home remedies used by Tamils and went on another quest.

Energy Boosting Snacks

By Editor - April 13th, 2012

Energy Boosting Snacks

In a studying slump? Need an energy booster to help get through studying? Ditch the coffee, and pick these up! Any other good snack suggestions of your own? Let us know!

Love Life. Be Happy.

By Editor - February 12th, 2012

Love Life. Be Happy.

Written by: Sahana K.

Happiness depends on ourselves, we owe it to ourselves to make ourselves happy because we all deserve happiness. I hope these tips will help you be happier all around. 🙂

The Danger of Stress

By Editor - October 12th, 2011

The Danger of Stress

Stress is damaging to health, there is no question about that. But, stress as we know it today it dangerous to our bodies. Professor Robert Sapolsk, of Stanford University conducted a study on baboon troops on the plains of Africa to understand how deadly stress can be in the animal world. He found that stress is not only a state of mind; it’s quantifiable, and measurable.

First Formal? Do’s and Don’ts some young women use in preparing for a formal!

By Editor - October 6th, 2011

First Formal? Do's and Don'ts some young women use in preparing for a formal!

Written by: Jess E.

So, it’s your first formal? Here are some do’s and don’ts by that some young women use in preparing for a formal. Have some ideas of your own? Leave behind your tips.