The Malayalam month of Karkidakam is the time when herbs and the medicinal shrubs in your backyard get special attention. Including leaves in your diet during the monsoon, especially Karkidakam improves health and helps rejuvenate the body. Pathila thoran or a special stir fry made with ten different types of medicinal leaves is mostly cooked during Karkidakam as it strengthens body and revives the immune system. You could choose any ten varieties of medicinal leaves that are available in the locality.
Chembila (colocassia leaves), chena ila (elephant yam leaves), payarila (cow pea leaves), thakarayila (oval – shaped cassia), mathan ila (pumpkin leaves), thazhuthama (spreading hogweed), kumbalam ila (ash gourd leaves), mullan cheera (spiny amaranth), Mysore spinach, koval ila (ivy gourd leaves), sambar spinach, neyyunni (diplocyclos palmatus) and choriyanam ila (Indian stinging nettle leaves) are some of the herbs and medicinal leaves that are usually used to make the pathila curry.
Colocasia leaves, abounding in calcium and phosphorus, helps improve the digestive process. Meanwhile, the oval shaped colocasia leaves are excellent to cure eye infections and keep away constipation and skin diseases. Ash gourd leaves help purify blood and stimulates brain activities.
Thazhuthama or the leaves of spreading hogweed is a store house of potassium nitrate which helps cleanse the urinary tract by increasing the volume of urine. Besides, it is an amazing remedy to cure cough and heart ailments as well.
Pumpkin leaves are rich in vitamins A and C. The iron content in spinach leaves helps cure anemia. The elephant yam leaves have lots of fiber, calcium and phosphorus in it. The cow pea leaves improves digestion and is abound in minerals, vitamins A and C as well. Including cow pea leaves in your diet safe guards the liver from cirrhosis.
The Indian stinging nettle leaves could be cooked during Karkidam as they are known for its incredible medicinal properties. However, do not forget to rub some coconut oil on your palms before removing its itchy skin. Those who have high blood pressure could use natural rock salt instead of the regular table salt, in their food. Besides the medicinal leaves, the pathila thoran, which is easy to cook, has grated coconut, garlic, bird eye chilies and turmeric powder as its ingredients. The tasty dish could be had with regular meals or with the Karkidakam special marunnu kanji (herbal porridge) as well.