Vallarai Keerai Kothu Paruppu:
Centella asiatica is the Botanical name of this creeper! The English common name is 'Asian Penny wort' or 'Penny Wort'. They call this as Brahmi/ Gotu Kola is Hindi. We call it 'Vallarai Keerai' in Tamil. Other names: Bemgsag, Brahma manduki, Brahmanduki, Brahmi, Ondelaga and Gotu Kola.
This is a wild creeper, found near the river banks and wet paddy fields! It creeps to the side wards. The leaves are bit bitter in taste.
Science Behind the Greens: It has two important saponins called 'brahmoside' and 'brahminoside'. Guess folks claim make sense to me...as this is widely used to treat skin disorder(in the village). These two saponis are responsible for rectifying the scars or wrinkles or rashes(sounds nice, right)!! These greens have several phytochemicals like triterpenoids...which has anti-inflammatory property(Wow)! They posses alkaloids, minerals like iron and copper - helps to purify the blood and increase iron absorption(good for anaemic patients)! The most important factor that I am interested in it is...it is composed of lots of amino acids like alanine, threonine, serine, asparate, glutamate, lysine, histidine and alanine. Though I couldn't point out an exact amino acid...that is responsible for improving one's memory power(improve intelligence) but I could pretty much say...all these amino acids have a cumulative effect on one's brain!
Like to give it simple...brain has a severe barrier system, it doesn't just allow any amino acid/chemical to pass through it(unless until it has necessary job). So most of the drugs(98% brain related drugs/even depression pills)doesn't reach the brain cell. They are all gimmicks! Anyways, pharma firms are working on some 'hybrid' pills inorder to smuggle their drug to cross that tuff blood-brain barrier, okay! Well...coming to my point, these amino acids (not just one...more than 5 essential amino acids) have the capacity to cross the blood-brain barrier!! For example 'Serotonin is good for memory power'...but even though we eat lots of serotonin rich diet...it can't travel beyond the blood stream. Research is saying that more than 5 amino acids in the diet help to cross this barriet. But what percentage of each a.a is still not clear to the scientists. They say...genetics/our gene is pre-programmed for intelligence & memory power. Please don't get upset...eat a complete balanced diet, I guess it is also the lifestyle(though Scientist are not conclusive about the percentage)taking a balanced meal could really help!!
According to folks remedy they are body tonic, strengthens the body, improves one's immune system (to fight against the disease), blood purifier, iron rich (good for anaemic patients), it is said that pharmaceutical companies put them in good use to produce more face creams and stuff! It has some important factors to rectify the early signs of wrinkles! It is strongly recommended to improve one's memory power!
Asian Penny worts - Leaves 1 bowl - chopped
Chilies 3-6 chopped
Onions 1 bowl(thinly sliced)
Garlic 6 chopped
Tomato 1 large chopped
Lentils(moong dal/thuvar dal)1 cup
Cumin seeds 1 spoon
Olive oil 2 spoons.
Cook lentils with water, salt and a spoon full of oil. Maybe in a pressure cooker, till 3 whistle sounds.
In a wide vessel, heat oil. Add cumin and wait till it crackles.
Now add cumin, chilies, garlic and fry for a minute. Then add onions & tomatoes...saute for few more minutes.
Add greens and cooked lentils to this. Further add salt too. Cover and cook till they are done.
Serve warm in a soup bowl. Its also good to go with plain steamed rice, as well.