A mix of dried powders from curry leaf, pomegranate seed and mango with a dash of herbs like thyme, mace and fennel — this might sound like a recipe for an interesting chutney, but did you know it is also the recipe for a healthy prostrate?
Kitchen Clinic, a book by consultant nutritionist Charmaine D’Souza, whose clients vary from rising star Sidharth Malhotra to fashion designer Anita Dongre and endorsed by the likes of Neetu Singh Kapoor, provides numerous such natural remedies. The book advocates the benefits of Naturopathy and is divided into convenient sections based on health issues ranging from heart problems, skin and hair troubles to stomach ailments. It doles out the medical benefits of herbs, spices and other ingredients easily stocked in one’s kitchen (ghee contains linolenic acid that helps in weight loss!) and simple cures with water and different oils. For those egged on by the benefits that natural ingredients promise to provide, the book wraps up with tips on how to grow your own kitchen garden. Excerpts from an interview:
What are the benefits of opting for natural, herbal cures over other forms of medicine to cure different kinds of health issues?
The basic principle of diet based on Naturopathy is that food can be your best medicine. Many medical conditions can be very effectively treated with foods, herbs and spices found in your kitchen. They are gently effective and have fewer toxic side effects. For example — coriander, celery, parsley and doodhi (white pumpkin) can reduce hypertension. Flax oil, fish oil and walnuts can reduce your risk of cardiac disease as well as help alleviate arthritic pain and depression. Khuskhus and kesar can help you get a good night’s sleep. Garlic can reduce your risk of cardio-vascular disease and cancer. My book is based on nature’s inherent self-healing process and is meant for those who seek to restore and maintain optimum health. Once you begin to pay closer attention to what you eat and include certain herbs and spices into your daily diet, you will be able to avoid frequent coughs and colds, recover quickly from illness, increase fitness and energy levels, get relief from aches and pains, reduce your stress levels and generally feel much better as you enjoy good health, always.
What are the myths associated with naturopathy that generally refrain people from trying it?
The most common myth / misconception is that naturopathy and conventional medicine are mutually exclusive. That is definitely not true. Most patients will get relief from a combination of the two forms of therapy. For example, if you are diabetic, you should not stop your allopathic medications altogether in order to go the natural way. Incorporate cinnamon powder, methi seeds and gudmar powder (if you do not have a malfunctioning thyroid gland) into your daily diet. Over a period of time your blood sugar readings will decrease, thereby allowing your diabetologist to decrease your medication. In the case of high blood pressure, try a naturopathic diet first. Your doctor will recommend medication only if diet and exercise cannot help you. Having said this, I must recommend that anyone suffering from a serious ailment must see an allopathic doctor first.
Some food faddists widely promote the use of certain foods, an example being doodhi juice. Yes, it can help someone with hypertension, but what happens when other family members with low blood pressure regularly drink it? Their blood pressure falls further, maybe to dangerous levels because of sodium depletion and then the poor doodhi is ostracised from the kitchen.
Many celebrities are your clients. What are the general ailments that trouble these known faces?
Most of the celebrity clients I see take good care of their health because they know that in order to be the best in their field they have to be physically, mentally and emotionally fit. Unfortunately, their hectic work and travel schedules sometimes bog them down. Low immunity, stomach ailments and Polycystic Ovary Disorder (PCOD, in females) are some of the ailments I help them with. And, of course, a good
detox / cleanse after a night of painting the town red!
How to cope with stress?
Pray / meditate, think happy thoughts or go for a brisk walk. And if all that doesn’t work, just place a strand of kesar on your tongue, take a few deep breaths while inhaling from a small bottle of honey and happily tackle that stress-inducing situation.