Ageing parents have a lot of health issues on their plate. From brittle bones and joint pains arising out of arthritis to blood pressure or sugar related concerns – they have to deal with it all. Recently, I saw my mother using a special oil to get relief from her nagging knee pain, and it piqued my curiosity. She told me it was a plant-based oil made from Aak or Sodom Apple tree, which has a lot of medicinal properties.
Most parts of the Aak tree– also known as Madar tree– including the leaves, flowers, roots, and seeds, are used in herbal or Ayurveda medicines. It is said that just touching the aak plant can treat several health problems, even if you don’t consume its parts. Doesn’t it sound magical?
For those caught unaware, Aak plant is a common home remedy and many of us, like me, would have seen our mothers or grandmothers using its oil or leaves to treat some of their ailments. Its leaves are also used to make oil, which is then used to treat muscle or joint pains.
A study on Calotropis gigantea (scientific name of aak leaves), posted on National Library of Medicine shows that aak leaves have anti-inflammatory properties which helps in reduction of swelling in joints making it great for people with arthritis or knee pain problems. According to the study it could be used for rheumatic pain. It can be a great home remedy for people who have survived Covid-19 and are suffering from muscle or joint pains. Apply some oil on the area of concern, cover it with a dry aak leaf and wrap it up with a bandage. Doing this for 5-6 days can reduce internal as well as external swelling.
If you are on a trek or get bitten by a snake or a scorpion, all you have to do is find an aak leaf. Along with anti-inflammatory properties, they also have anti-poison effects. Applying the paste of the leaf on the bitten area can treat the wound. Christian Agyare, a scientist, has written in Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2016 that aak is capable of healing such wounds.
A 2011 study on the National Library of Medicine shows that Aak leaves have a hypoglycemic effect which controls blood sugar levels and helps in maintaining the insulin levels in diabetics. Though these leaves could be used as herbal medicines or concoctions to treat diabetes, another home remedy is to put two aak leaves at the soul of your feet and wear socks over them. Do this for one whole day and the next morning try taking a blood sugar test; the levels would have decreased, as per claims.
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Aak flower or seeds, if consumed, can be great for treating stomach problems like constipation, gas, bloating and other digestion-related problems. The flower acts as a good laxative and promotes easy digestion.
According to a study done by Anuja Bhardwaj, Kshipra Misra, published in Management of High Altitude Pathophysiology, 2018, consuming aak flowers or roots (dried in the sun and made into a powder) every day is a great home remedy for treating respiratory ailments like asthma, cold, cough, rhinitis, etc. In this Covid-19 pandemic it will be great to make it a part of your everyday routine.
So, listen to what your elders say and certainly try this home remedy!