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The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 14, 4th Quarter 1999


Effects of Dietary Herbs and Spices

K.P. KOCHAR, M.D., Ph.D.

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Whenever the curiosity of the present day investigator probes into the past and brings to light even fragmentary information on the ingenious methods of our ancestors, it makes a fascinating study." In India, reference to the curative properties of some herbs in the Rigveda (though very orief) seem to be the earliest records of use of plants in medicine. Far more detailed account is available in the Atharva veda. The period of Rigveda is assumed to be between 3500-1800 B.C. After the Vedas there is no information on the development, of this science in India for a period of about 1000 years. Then came the two most important works on the Indian system of medicine, Charak Sarnhita and Susruta Samhita. India, with its wide climatic conditions and topographical features, is perhaps unrivalled in the world and a wide variety of spices of herbs can be grown with ease. With these factors, naturally the Indian medicinal flora is one of the richest and cosmopolitan one with high therapeutic potentialities.3 By diligent efforts it is possible to utilize the herbal health, for the utmost advantage to humans.

Efforts have been made to locate the herbs, identify and study them by using contemporary technological developments with the prime idea of rediscovering comprehensive utility of our ancient heritage and translate it into the terms of reference and application to the modern paradigm of scientific nutrition and human health. The science of nutrition forms a significant part of the Study of preventive medicine. Dietary regulation is an important corn^ncni of treatment of diabetes mellitus,'"" atherosclerosis constipation and other ailments associated with overweight and cancer.

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