Perspective of dietetic and antioxidant medicinal plants


By Dilip De Sarker

cover image of Perspective of dietetic and antioxidant medicinal plants

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Modern food habits, vis-a-vis lifestyle, has started taking its toll in the form of obesity, depression, auto-immune diseases, spondylosis, arthritis, cardiac disorders, insomnia, cancer, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, osteoporosis and many other ailments. Keeping pace with the demand for lifestyle food, food companies are producing more and more synthetic food or processed food. This is one dimensional food, i.e. food for food's sake. We are on the verge of forgetting that food has other roles to serve in our body, mind and soul too. Food has other dimensions to act, i.e. to serve as medicine as well. The concept of functional food or nutraceuticals, though it sounds new, has its roots in the traditional food habits of great cultures like Indian, Chinese, Mediterranean or Greek, which have survived thousands of years of trials and errors. Hippocrates (c. 460—c. 370 BC), the great Greek philosopher, had said

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food"

Therefore, we should go back to basics and eat only food that possesses drug properties as well. A host of food plants are available around us which have the capacity to alleviate several modern day life-style diseases. The traditional 'sak', 'sabjee' and whole grain foods are to name a few. The line between drug tablets and nutraceuticals is rapidly becoming narrower. The nutrients in cereals have shown to possess the property of reducing the risk of diabetes, coronary heart dysfunction, tumour incidence, higher blood cholesterol etc. The garlic has immunomodulatory function among other innumerable nutraceuticals. The sages of Rigveda have said,

"Plant! Thus I hail thee, the Divine Mother of mankind."—Rigveda 10.97.4.

The authors in this book have tried their best to give glimpses of information about the medicinal plants surrounding us that have dietetic as well as antioxidant properties and tried to answer the moot question of sufferings of modern society.

Perspective of dietetic and antioxidant medicinal plants