Sunday, September 5, 2010

Health benefits of Kumkum or Kesar: Saffron is natural remedy for hyperpigmentation


By Syed Akbar
Kumkum or saffron has been hailed as a natural remedy for
hyperpigmentation. But more than its beauty enhancing properties, saffron
also called kesar is a harmless painkiller and analgesic. It gives quick relief
from headache, abdominal discomfort and pain caused due to injuries.

Kesar finds its use in Ayurveda, Unani and homeopathy, besides in
traditional Indian cuisine. Though Kesar has a number of health benefits, it
should be consumed in limited quantities. The daily intake in no case should
exceed 5 grams, caution practitioners of natural medicine.

Ayurveda and Unani doctors prescribe kesar tea as a general health tonic and
for gynaecological problems. It is also used for increasing the power of
vision, for treatment of fevers and hypertension. While buying kesar one
should check its purity.

Kesar is used both internally and externally. Its external uses include
dermatological applications for problems like blemishes, wounds, cuts and
abrasions. Internally kesar is used for colouring food items, and as kesar milk
and saffron tea.

Ancient Indian texts regard saffron as a natural rejuvenator and appetiser.

Home remedies

Just a "tilak" of saffron paste, prepared by mixing kesar with milk, on the
forehead provides relief from headache.

For problems like hyperpigmentation, take four or five kesar pistils and soak
them in a little quantity of milk. Apply it gently on the face and massage the
affected portion.

Saffron tea is recommended for common cold, sore throat and upper
respiratory tract infections. It is also good for heart.

Kesar is said to be a good natural remedy for insomnia. Drink kesar milk
before going to bed for sound and peaceful sleep.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sleep budgeting & Sleep debt: Meditation can cut down the daily sleep time by three hours

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 2: Sleep budgeting is just a meditation away. Those who want to cut down 
their daily sleeping hours to work more can do so through meditation.

Sleep can be budgeted up to three hours a day without the usual associated side-effects 
by doing meditation,according to senior biologist Dr Prashant Kaul of the University of Kenucky, USA. Human beings need seven to nine hours of sleep for the body to perform its physiological functions properly, but this can be brought down to four to six hours through meditation. Meditation will also remove the problem of "sleep debt" caused due to irregular

While regular meditators achieve sleep budging for up to three hours, even novice meditators show positive results.

A team of biologists led by Dr Prashant, studied the effect of meditation on sleep budgeting as practised by yogis. People, who are new to meditation, were picked up and they were tested for psychomotor  vigilance task before each meditation session, 10 minutes after each activity and one hour later. Even in novice meditators sleep duration was lower than non-meditators and general population norms.

"In long term meditators, multiple hours spent in meditation are associated with a significant decrease in total sleep time when compared with age and sex matched controls, who did not meditate. We are further investigating whether meditation can actually replace a portion of sleep or pay-off sleep debt," he said.

The team noted that meditators have deeper or more intense sleep, and thus may be able to 
achieve the restorative benefits of sleep in less time. The team enrolled seven yogis for the study. They all slept between four and six hours a day. Meditation may also provide a longer term reduction in sleep need roughly equal to the time spent in meditation.