Down to Earth - - Pal­ette/Food - Chyawan­prash Akarkara.

THE COVID-19 out­break has dis­rupted life all over the world. There is a sense of in­se­cu­rity and un­cer­tainty about ev­ery­thing. Most peo­ple are look­ing for im­mu­nity-boost­ing foods. The price of has sky­rock­eted. While there is an en­vi­ron­ment of fear and dis­trust, peo­ple are still search­ing for foods and herbs that can boost im­mu­nity. Sev­eral herbal teas and de­coc­tions are be­ing un­earthed from the trea­sure chests of Ayurveda and Sid­dha forms of medicine, as there is no study about the spe­cific im­mu­nity against the novel virus. Cure is a far-fetched idea be­cause the ex­act im­pact of the virus on hu­man phys­i­ol­ogy is still a puz­zle.

Yet it is vi­tal to im­prove our generic or the broad spec­trum im­mu­nity in these times so that our body is equipped to deal with this new in­fec­tion. Fear psy­chosis and stress also com­pro­mise im­mu­nity, and there­fore, the new course of im­mu­nity-boost­ing should be a holis­tic ap­proach. Eth­nic medicine of­fers some hope.

AKARKARA BY CHANCE When I needed veg­eta­bles re­cently, I walked to the neigh­bour­hood ven­dors ex­pect­ing some fresh veg­eta­bles and fruits of the sea­son, least ex­pect­ing I would find some­thing much more ex­cit­ing. There was a large bunch of yel­low flow­ers scat­tered on the side­walk with dark green leaves and brown stems creep­ing close to the ground. I recog­nised the plant as

In usual times, my first re­flex would have been to pluck a flower and bite it to ex­pe­ri­ence the sharp tin­gling sen­sa­tion that it sends across the palate, numb­ing the mouth for a few min­utes. But I had


Hand­ful of Akarkara leaves and ten­der stems (about one cup)

2 tbsp: chopped fer­mented bam­boo shoots

5-7: dry red chill­ies

3 tbsp: black se­same seeds

Salt to taste

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