Summer in south India is a 3 month affair of ferociously hot days and warm nights. There is no escape from the sweat and extreme dryness during the summer months.
Many plants thrive in this hot and dry weather. Neem, Tamarind, Palm, Gulmohar, Mango, etc shed their leaves before summer begins. After a month or two, new leaves begin to appear. By mid summer, they are filled with dense leaves, flowers and even fuits.
Aavaram poo (Senna Auriculata / Matura tea / Ranawara) is one such plant. It is a short shrub with yellow color flowers. It grows well on dry lands with minimal or no water. It is usually cast away as a weed. Surprisingly, every part of this plant has a health benefit to humans.
Yellow avaram flowers can be dried in sunlight, and added to boiling water. This drink helps control diabetes. Dried flowers are a good scrub for the skin. If you are looking for a home made face scrub, look no further than a mixture of turmeric, besan (chickpea flour) and dried avaram flowers.
Leaves and roots of this plant bring down fever and also help cure constipation and urinary infections. Parts of this plant is used in native medicines across India, Sri Lanka and Africa.
Aloe vera is another surprising plant that can easily pass for a thorny weed, but is actually a medicinal plant. It grows in wild bunches.. and can be spotted in India along boundaries of farmlands and rocky terrains.
Aloe leaves have small thorny scales on the margins. The thorny margins can be cut away using a knife and the leaves are split open. A gel like substance fills the inner part of the leaf. This gel can be squeezed out with a spoon. It is good for the skin. It removes tan, cleanses the skin and also make skin soft.
One note of caution while using Aloe. When the leaves are harvested from the Aloe plant, they should be left standing on a cup or plastic sheet. A pale yellow fluid oozes out of the leaf. This fluid can cause irritations, so it should be allowed to drain before splitting the leaf open to collect the aloe gel.
Native medicine in India has used aloe since many centuries to reduce body fat, remove fat tissues etc. Latest fairness creams and cosmetic products too use aloe in their products.
Do you have one of these plants growing by the roadside in your locality? Protect it, for you never know when they might come in handy.