Monday, March 30, 2015

Hidden Dimensions to Cleanliness

A Window near the South East corner of the author's home

In one of the earlier posts it was mentioned that the life of ancient Himalayan sages living in lush green surroundings was so disciplined and regulated and they were so aware of their own bodies that they could discern the effect of any new food or herb on their bodies readily. From this was born the ancient Ayurveda science of Herbal medicines.

My own life though far removed from that of ancient sages has been fairly well disciplined over the last several years and I too can sense the effect of new foods or changes on my body. Therefore when I noticed that I am sleeping right through the night rather than waking up in the middle of it once every night recently, I wondered what new food or change had taken place in my routine, thoughts or environment. There was nothing new in food etc. but one change had taken place.

My home is around a quarter century old. It was self designed and self built on a plot acquired more than thirty years ago. It has lots of windows all around. With age the putty holding glass planes in place had begun to crack and bits had begun to fall off several years ago. A few days ago, Hari the boy mentioned in an earlier post volunteered to replace it. I showed him how it is done and he went around the home and replacing it all within a day. But then it had to be painted over and we got some white enamel paint. The earlier white paint had gone gray and dirty with age. It was painted over again so that the windows looked like new.  One thing leads to another and the moment windows were painted, it became apparent that curtains were dirty and needed a wash. They were taken down, washed and put up again. The process encouraged a thorough spring cleaning of the living room and bedroom right down to hidden corners and deep under the double bed. Lo and behold, sleep has become much deeper and it does seem that a clean bed room contributes to it.

When months ago the new Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi launched a clean India campaign, many said that it would contribute to good health. But it seems that cleanliness contributes in more ways than one. It is not surprising then that it is the clean countries that progress most and dirty ones sink. No wonder, Patanjali the father of yoga, in his treatise on yoga had mentioned that cleanliness is an essential step towards human evolution

Friday, March 27, 2015

Health Byte- A season for almonds and a season for copra

An earlier post in this blog has a delicious recipe called Mother’s Bounty Chutney made with copra (dried coconut) and almonds. It was pointed out that it has three health benefits, first it makes up for weakness that vegetarians or vegans may suffer from not eating meat while protecting them and the planet from harm caused by it (lovegans on the other hand do not suffer any deficiency because they consume eggs and milk products too); for students, it sharpens memory and for older people it discourages forgetfulness and Alzheimer.

Both coconut and almonds provide such benefit but there is a season in which coconut is more beneficial and another when almonds are better. To determine which is which, keep a bottle of coconut oil at home. When the coconut oil is solid it is  a season for almonds and when the coconut oil melts it is a season for coconut, for as King Solomon the wise put it, there is a season to everything under the sun,
A season to sow and a season to reap, a season to laugh and a season to weep.

A gift from the Almond Growers Association and the Coconut Marketing Federation shall be gratefully accepted for increasing their sales :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A day around the Garden

The new rockery

To begin with here is a quick gardening tip  - attempt to include the five plant types and five basic garden components, howsoever small or large the garden. Large gardens may include additional stuff like garden ornaments, drift wood streams and groves of trees, but whatever the components, let them be nature like rather than geometric style e.g. an  irregular flower bed rather than a rectangular patch, a mixed flower bed rather than one filled with just a single variety etc for maximum effect.. The five plant types are ground hugging plants and flowers that may be perennial or seasonal but less than six inches tall; other plants some flowering and seasonal that are taller; bushes; climbing creepers against walls and finally trees Patches of the sixth- moss are also great if one can manage to grow some in a blank patch.. Even in nature, forests that include plants from all the five plant families mentioned here besides moss are the most beautiful of forests whereas some forests that lack an undergrowth of the other four plant types aside from trees look somewhat bleak. The trees may be small or large depending on the size of the garden. Even tiny gardens can have near bonsai trees if necessary. The five components of the garden are a lawn or grassy area, flower beds, a water body, rockery and paths to walk that are best as gravel paths rather then concrete that permit rain to soak in. Adding hanging bird baths and bird feed trays from trees shall fill the garden with day long music from the birds. If you have squirrels in the area, then they shall share the feed with the birds but if there is a cat around then there shall be no squirrels.

A water body in a garden could be a fountain, waterfall or a pond. In small home gardens, the tiniest of water bodies may be constructed by digging in a clay or plastic vessel with just the mouth showing on top. In fact, there was a spare clay pitcher lying in the garden and we buried that in the rockery we were making similarly. The birds will discover it soon for sure and drop in for a drink every now and then.

A window with a flowering creeper
There was a small rockery set against the front porch built by Shyamu several years ago below the window shown above but when a wood and concrete seating structure in the garden was demolished a few days ago because the wooden log from which it was built disintegrated with time we ended up with a large piece of concrete on our hands and decided to push that against the rockery and make it bigger. I and Hari that I shall tell more about presently then spent the last two mornings rebuilding the rockery using waste, stones and plants from around the home. The result is in the photo. In time, it will fill up with more green and flowers as the newly planted stuff takes firm roots. I am looking forward to my grandson Golu visiting in his summer vacations to stick in more flowers.


All the persons, Hari, Shyamu and Golu mentioned in the last paragraph have been mentioned in some earlier posts too. Hari, quite proud of his help in the garden is shown in the photo. Hari is from a village nearby. He is a farmer by profession but farmers from nearby villages drop into the city often for seasonal work to augment their earnings. Wages and opportunities to earn are low in most Indian villages and farm holdings small but in recent years daily work wages have sky rocketed in cities so that it is an attractive proposition for any village lad to do stints in the city especially if they can arrange accommodation for stay that is otherwise expensive to rent.. I have a spare independent room at home that I let some of them use in return for help around the home and garden. Hari has been coming for the last fifteen years so that he is almost a member of the household now.

Hari Ram Mali, 2015
A stay at my home entails more than free accommodation, dinner and some help around the home. Being a quintessential teacher, it involves me in education and some similar to that in school at a level suitable for the person concerned. I would love to supervise someone for a doctorate but most often I end up teaching the alphabet at home instead.. Hari can read Hindi quite well but not English that he is being taught nowadays. It is a bit late in the day for him to read the newspaper in English but the idea is that he can then read labels and signs etc. in English and sign his name. The wisdom about life too is not as esoteric as it has been in some of this blog but the sort of stuff one would find in Proverbs of the Old Testament, thanks to King Solomon the wise, things like warning about the strange woman whose gates lead to hell. A portrait style photo of Hari snapped indoors is included last so that he can show it to his friends on the net back home in his village. Mobile phones and internet have spread into much of India including villages so all one needs is a URL for that.. Praise the Lord.!.

UPDATE March 30, 2015

Just now, a few days after building the rockery some flowers have begun to bloom in it,

Flowers in a Rockery

Friday, March 20, 2015

Life is Beautiful if You so Choose

"A human has to choose either happiness or success as the first priority of life, it is either one or the other, the choice is yours"   author
My last post about the apocalypse would have been ignored by some whereas it would have got some concerned. However my own attitude to the issue is that there is nothing to worry. Life is limited for all and far more important than the number of its days are how they are spent and with a hope of continued better days ahead even in new lives if one accepts the fact of an after life in new bodies and situations. To a large extent life can be beautiful if we so choose.

When one pursues success, happiness recedes; when one pursues happiness, any necessary success follows

The first step to making one's life beautiful is to give up the pursuit of wealth and success as a major priority of life that many have done in this apocalyptic age. I myself prefer to try for happiness instead. When one aims for happiness which includes adding happiness in the lives of others in any reasonable way, whatever wealth or success is necessary in keeping with one's personality and needs tags along i.e. is granted by the universe without stress or turmoil. However, when one aims for success and wealth as the first priority then happiness is often the first casualty. Moreover one cannot eat and enjoy success and dollars far in excess of those required for grocery shopping, a pretty abode and decent clothing as one can enjoy peace and happiness.

Making a plain abode pretty does not cost more than a bit of paint, cleaning as well as growing flowers, pretty trees and flowering creepers that many, including this blogger, do for free around their homes; all followed by a song, and sharing a glass of wine accompanied with tasty bits with a friend or a beloved with a loving and cheerful heart. It merely requires a loving heart that too comes for free just as sunshine does. Funny, that the most precious things in life are free and clean air that many modern humans miss comes easily the moment one sheds off greed and moves out of a city  into the countryside.

There is an older post on nine worthy aspirations for life here and another one on sun inspired yoga here that anyone aiming for a beautiful life may wish to check out. With love, blessing and best wishes for every reader of this blog who aspires for beauty and happiness in life besides love and heartfelt wish for those who are trying for wealth and success instead that the Universe may protect them from stress, harm and agony that comes the moment one sheds compassion, ethics and morality in whatever may be the pursuits, worthy or unworthy, because:
"In all things, means are far important than the results. Worthy means to whatever end lead to happiness and light but unworthy ones lead to an intensely dark bottomless pit, how so ever laudable the goal."
Quote is due to this blogger 

A must read lighthearted poem in this blog about someone who became a successful billionaire 


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Thirty Unusual Years of Human Civilization and the Apocalypse
In many ways, the last thirty years  have been some of the most unusual ones in human history. Three major changes have taken place in this period, one positive and two negative.

On the positive side, human civilization has seen an unprecedented rise of communications from mobile devices to the internet. Neither good nor evil can be hidden any longer as it could be in the past and communication between humans and most countries now proceeds at the rate of thought. This does not mean that evil is being eradicated yet.  It is merely being exposed. Rather it seems, evil is also making use of these tools while it becomes more and more shameless.

The other two changes in human civilization are on the negative side. The first of these is an unprecedented rise in human populations to what some fear is fast heading towards unsustainable levels. The other is  rise of greed and practices emerging from it leading to an unprecedented rise in economic inequalities (see) so that the wealth of the world is being controlled by fewer and fewer individuals. Increasing number of humans are ending up on homeless streets, refugee camps or urban slums. Many more are being forced into scaled up beehives and anthill like homes advertised as attractive high rise apartments by the builder. The roads that a large proportion of humans have to traverse just get on with their daily lives are getting more crowded than ant tracks and while the ant tracks are cut in green surroundings, these are through more buildings. One cannot blame unfortunate humans for being so stressed with the experience that they begin shouting or pounding at each other at the least provocation on such rage filled roads, when just fifty years ago they would smile and raise their hands in a kindly gesture at a similar incident.

Not just the food and water of many humans is now polluted but even the very air they breathe hurts the eyes and throat while it digs a grave in their hearts. Many wars and guns may be traced to greed of arms industry as can environmental degradation to greed of corporations and those who manage them. Developing countries where legal systems are not strong are seeing a huge rise in corruption while in developed countries the corporate lobby manages to cast the law in their favor, for example an uncontrolled rise in banker bonuses and corporate compensations or the ever greening of essential medicines through convenient patent laws bringing in obscene profits for some of the drug industry., while the unfortunate person who consumes these is at times pushed into the poorhouse. A CEO of a Swiss drug company, Novarotis, was planning on a 78 million dollar when leaving the firm as his severance package, a share of the booty fair in the eyes of the company.
To top these unusual factors in the history of humans on the planet there is one more - nuclear devices- the capacity to blow up the world many times over in human hands that are moved more by greed, anger and pride rather than love, truth and simplicity.
While these sad developments are taking place around the world, it is not that simple solutions are not available. Many have been suggested in this blog for some of the biggest problems facing mankind. The solutions are almost as simple as telling a naked couple about to fornicate that they can avoid trouble simply by putting their clothes on again. But does anyone want to hear? Beyond a point lust is near impossible to control for many. One may as well shout at a wall. One can pelt a fornicating dog in heat with stones but he will just not let go. However while the Lord has put automatic safety valves to lust there seem to be none to greed and greedy minds are just as blind to reason as lustful ones are.

Yesterday while discussing the sad tale of two cities of South Asia – Lahore and Delhi in a companion blog (see), this author looked of the causes and expressed hopes that they could be reversed by dealing with these causes.  While a friend commented that with flow of information taking place in the world negative trends would soon be arrested another friend and fellow blogger responded in the comments that there is no way that greed would lessen in the near future and that change would come only after an apocalypse when only a few humans, the chosen ones, would remain to carry forth the flag, something that spiritual masters have also said from time to time.

Beyond a certain point when evil increases beyond sustainable levels, an apocalypse seems to be the only mechanism left in the hands of the Universal Intelligence to rectify the situation, for while humans try, it is eventually the Universe that takes appropriate action for major changes. An earlier post in this blog (see) had indicated that the unprecedented rise of human population is also a sign that such a time is near and then went on to predict the likely period as somewhere between 2030 and 2050.However the war in Syria and the responses that it fetching seem to indicate that such a time may come much sooner even.

The clock has begun to tick. When will it be?

A Rational Interpretation of Scriptures and the last days

Oil on Canvas- Dark Clouds of Armageddon by Ashok  M.

As a person from a scientific background with interests in mysticism, whenever this blogger read the works of ancient mystics, the tendency was to first respect the wisdom of ancient mystics, now claimed by various religions of the world and look for a rational meaning in their words, often expressed metaphorically, while rejecting the interpretations and explanations of those in the interim.. That has been the philosophy of this blog from the start.

It has been my experience that many give such words a fantastic interpretation to begin with and then deride and mock them. For example, when one reads a statement – It was a time when giants walked the earth – some assume the giants were fifty feet tall and then relegate the story to a fairy tale collection. However, if it is taken as seven or eight feet tall humans then such races have existed as well as dwarfs as the human species has evolved on the planet.

Consider God, a friend thought he was a shiny guy in white robes with a long white beard and then said that God does not exist. On the other hand reading meaning into the words that god is everywhere; this blogger has understood God to imply the entire formless and infinite universe and everything else besides. This everything else includes things we know little about yet such as dark matter and non physical things that can give rise to a consciousness and free will to life, or in other words a soul that is beyond the mere physical body.

While reading the statement – In the beginning darkness was separated from light  - a fellow blogger mocked at it but I have found in that a profound meaning of photons separating from anti photons at the beginning of creation. While reading the statement that God created life, this blog did not assume that it was in a pottery studio but rather an unfolding of life in the universe as described in a companion blog - – all created by the Universe or God and the fundamental laws that hold it together such as gravity. The creation of Eve from Adam makes perfect genetic sense it is the male who contains both the X and Y chromosomes unlike females that have only the Y this separation of males from females takes place not just at the human level but rather at the micro-biological level too because sexual reproduction appears in order to maintain genetic integrity in a species as explained in the referred blog..

My friend further mocked at a mention of hell and heaven because he was thinking of hell as full of horned imps grilling people on a bonfire. I on the other hand see hell and heaven all around me if I turn my gaze towards Gaza, Syria or in contrast Ikaria, a Greek island; and yes, there is more because as per the other blog mentioned earlier, the universe is teeming with life bearing planets, some hell like and others like heaven, True that laws of physics make it impossible for physical bodies to travel to such other planets but there is nothing stopping thought, soul and consciousness from doing so.

This brings us to resurrection and the last days and the original theme of this article. For me a resurrection is a time when most all human souls from the past shall reincarnate over a short period of a life time, souls that have been in limbo, perhaps for thousands of years if we look at our own clocks but even moments if one looked at those of Einstein. It would be a terrible time of crowding, this time of resurrection, the earth would team with billions of humans. That time has come. It is upon us now with a seven billion strong human population on earth having erupted suddenly for the first time on the planet; their lord is rearing his head in Armageddon and surrounding countries of Syria, Gaza, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia; when it seems necessary to some to pick up and incarcerate some others without trial, when civilized nations recommend torture through rectal rupture and feeding,  when some humans are publicly displayed while their heads are severed of their torsos, when humans proudly invent machines that can destroy entire nations at the press of a button while merry making takes place in Swiss and other banks with their frolicking bonus grabbing executives and in a bunga bunga party near Rome; when maimed and tortured children bombed out of their homes by the thousands are not permitted to flee by land or by sea, when thousands of terrified children even infants fleeing horror and violence driven by greed for more illegal drug profits elsewhere are picked and locked up instead of being hugged as the sweetest of all creation on Earth, when it becomes inappropriate or even illegal to arrange medical care for the poor and suffering or provide food to the hungry and homeless,

But then somethings are better said in metaphors than rational speech for the one who has eyes cannot see and the one who has ears cannot hear but one with none shall both see and hear, one who has withdrawn his senses as a tortoise draws in his limbs, when the armies from different parts of the world  begin to gather in Armageddon, then the time may have come when a phase of human civilization has  brought itself to the edge of an abyss. And, that shall bring us to the last days and the final judgment and one may return to the first section of this blog post for that. For sure a few humans would survive and goodness, satyuga of Sanskrit speaking mystics, prevail before greed, violence and evil slowly but surely surfaces once again on the planet, perhaps in a thousand years. It is then the angels shall gather around a crystal mountain and sing - holy, holy, holy. The Lord shall perchance bind the devil for a thousand years only for the cycle to repeat once more. There shall be a season for evil to rule and a season for truth to prevail, In the days of truth, remnants of evil shall hide in forests and caves and be led by the forest demons, in the days when evil prevails remnants of truth shall take similarly to isolated corners of the planets, forests and remote mountain abodes or
locked up in an embassy in London a capital much loved by Mammon, and shall be led by mystics nourished by nothing more than love, truth and simplicity - the powers of Infinity.  There shall be a season to cry and a season to laugh, for what is to come has been so before and there shall be nothing new under the sun.

UPDATE: See also the ice age, after the apocalypse?

Also worth reading on the subject Last Days by Ronnie Hixon

 Section of this book  about Baba Haidakhan
who warned of coming Apocalypse
From the author of - The Babaji affair

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Therapeutic Enhanced Atmosphere Bars - Atmospheric TEA Bar/Lounge

Oxygen in the atmosphere comes mainly from photosynthesis in excess of decay of the products of photosynthesis. The precise proportions of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere depend on several environmental and cosmic factors. It has varied with time on earth and must be different on different planets  in the universe bearing liquid surface water and an atmosphere. What precise combination is best for oxygen and carbon breathing life in general and human life in particular is a matter for debate and study. We presently manage with around 21 percent oxygen, the rest being mainly nitrogen. Carbon dioxide in the present day atmosphere even after much use of fossil fuels is around .04% only.

With modern technology it is a fairly simple matter to produce controlled atmospheric mixes different from the normal atmosphere in small enclosed spaces such as bars, meditation rooms and restaurants. The setting up of such spaces for use over limited periods may be of great benefit in case it produces health benefits without the use of drugs. Although there is much research and information already available for certain altered compositions of carbon dioxide and oxygen we breathe, there is a need for more new research to ascertain the precise effects with new compositions that appear promising.

The set up for altered atmosphere is not difficult to design using feedback loops. It seems Oxygen bars exist where guests pay about one U.S. dollar per minute to inhale a percentage of oxygen greater than the normal atmospheric content of 21 % oxygen. Levels of up to 100 percent oxygen are used in some short term treatments but in some cases can also be very harmful. Perhaps for a routine or longer term therapy it may not be safe to exceed twice the amount of oxygen in normal atmosphere i.e. 42 percent but this needs further study. As regards carbon dioxide, original medical mixes contained as much 30 percent carbon dioxide (Please read here) Modern mixes used in certain medical procedures appear to be a mix of 5 percent Carbon Dioxide and 95 percent oxygen. However for frequent use exceeding 2 percent carbon dioxide may not be safe but this matter too needs further study. As regards Nitrogen, it is an inert gas but it may play the same role in keeping the air passages functioning as inert cellulose and roughage does in the digestive passages. The fourth major component of atmosphere water vapor appears to be most beneficial at its sea level values of around one percent in keeping the air passages moist. Based on these initial recommendations a starting mix to explore for an enhanced atmosphere bar could be:

Oxygen: 28 percent
Carbon dioxide: 1 Percent
Water Vapor: 1 percent
Nitrogen: 70 percent

Or a richer oxygen mix may go for 33% oxygen, 66% nitrogen, 0.5 percent water vapor, 0.5 percent carbon dioxide. However as mentioned further studies are required to discover the most beneficial mixes. It may be mentioned that since it is impossible to research on an infinite number of possible combinations, the practical approach is to fix attention on a few mixes determined heuristically and guessed at. Two such have been mentioned in this article that appear promising.

The term Atmospheric TEA Bar/Lounge is abbreviation for  Therapeutic Enhanced Atmposphere Bar, Lounge, Restaurant or Chamber as the case may be. Ideal drinks to serve in such bars would be no more than mild wines or beers, herbal and floral teas and Lovegan Foods (see) that exclude meat but include milk and egg products. In case an Entrepreneur out there is interested in implementing this idea please feel free to do so but do give credit to this blog and blogger.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Falling through the cracks or soaring up to the sky

Classical Landscape by John Wootton

A line in the morning newspaper (in the editorial section, Times of India) today caught my attention - Hemmingway said the world breaks everyone but afterward some are strong at the broken pieces. It is true that the world has both joys and sorrows but as to how much it breaks anyone varies from individual to individual. The nature of life is such that one begins with struggling through education and then spends the largest part of life at earning a livelihood. There are struggles in raising a family and when one becomes too old to work and the family has grown and departed, one struggles to maintain oneself in the interim before the final sleep. Through it all are also periods of peace and moments of joy, pleasure and merrymaking not just when time and opportunity permits but also when the mind can be freed from its numerous concerns. Such concerns often increase as one's riches increase. The rich and the ambitious try for success in life whereas the wise trying for happiness instead have a greater chance of finding such moments.

As humans compete with each other to get the best seats on the train called Life to Life or the train called Life to Annihilation for those who neither believe in God nor reincarnation,  there are also a few that fall through the cracks. A homeless beggar that you noticed on your trip downtown is one such. Then there are some that also soar up to the sky. Some such are the mystics  called Sanyasis in South Asia who have created simple abodes in the wilderness, on hillsides and forests finding that more beautiful and peaceful than creations of man. My book the ‘The Babaji Affair’ contains stories of a couple of such mystics.  

Neither the beggar nor the mountain mystic can completely detach themselves from society as Bhagvat Gita an ancient Sanskrit scripture has pointed out. Stepping out from society is not just a physical thing but has to be a state of mind because if one moves out physically yet the mind continues to dwell on worldly goals and pleasures then the situation could become worse. In this latter case the Bhagvat Gita points out that it is better to stay in the world but in order to evolve and gain peace, one must struggle to do the right thing at all times while not worrying much about the consequences, a course of action that has been termed as Karma Yoga.

As long as one is in the human body there are some minimum needs of food and shelter and some dependence or interaction with society at large is necessary. The mystics do this by providing wisdom and education to society that they are able to with greater clarity than the characters trapped inside the canvas, in return for some help with their basic needs. That wisdom is ignored most times but heeded when the going gets a bit too tough to handle. It would seem that many mystics, provided they are sincere and not hypocritical in their pursuit, do manage to achieve greater peace and greater evolution than those who remain to compete within society. However as mentioned this is not the recommended course for most and that is just as well because who would then till the fields, weave the garments or bake the bricks, besides with a seven billion human population the forests would become as crowded as the cities and the mystics would then have to escape to abandoned cities instead :) ? Competition and intrigue is an essential part of human society because the moment one has attained something good, many more wish for the same and may conspire to snatch it away and not all doing so shall do it ethically and justly simply because not all humans are ethical.

A day in the life of a Himalyan Mystic is described briefly in an older post here:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Colors of Heaven - Orchids

While the Lord decided to color the sky in shades of blue, plants in shades of green and earth in shades of grays and browns, other brilliant colors appear in sunset and sunrise and in different flowers on earth from time to time. Some humans do not appreciate the beauty of flowers because a certain degree of evolution is required before beauty can be appreciated and its value understood just as the value of fine music too requires a certain degree of evolution for appreciation.

According to the a theory of creation of life - Panspermia or its adaptation Pansmeria,  (See), the genes of various life forms arrive on different planets from other planets in the universe from time to time through various mechanisms such as in the icy interiors of comets. Accordingly, the genes of plants and animals have probably reached earth in this manner. While some of these may have come from planets that are earth like, others would have arrived from planets with superior climatic and ecological conditions that may be classed as heavenly planets relative to ours. One can only guess at the source of genes of the various flower families found on earth.

Both orchids and the aster family are the largest flowering families on earth. The flower family Asteraceae is perhaps the most common flower family on earth. Both Aster and dandelion belong to this family and if there genes have arrived from a distant planet it must have been an earth like one. The orchid family of flowers, on the other hand, with its pretty colorful and frequently fragrant flowers is a truly heavenly flower. Vanilla that flavors the best of chocolates belongs to the orchid family. The roots and leaves of many orchids are edible and Orchids have been used in traditional medicine in an effort to treat many diseases and ailments. They have been used as a source of herbal remedies in China for several thousand years. Orchids, especially Gastrodia elata, Dendrobium species and Bletilla striata, continue to be grown commercially in China as a part of a large herbal medicine industry. A much greater modern study aside from traditional Chinese ones is required to discover the full range of medicinal benefits of different orchids. Recent studies show that the alkaloids in the Dendrobium species are anti-pyretic and analgesic and it has been suggested that these preparations may increase immunity, decrease oxidant stress in aging and have anti-cancer activity. To quote from the Shou chin yang lao hsin shu:
‘If it is possible to know the medicinal characteristics of foods and regulate them properly, they can be twice as good as drugs. That is because old people are generally averse to taking medicine but enjoy eating, so that treating their complaints through diet is more effective. Furthermore, in geriatric diseases, one must be cautious about purging old people, which makes treatment by diet even more desirable. In general, when an aged person is suffering, the physician should resort to nutritional therapy first, and call for drugs only if this fails. This is the great rule in caring for the elderly.’
Hippocrates, the father of western medicine put it more briefly,
Let your food be your medicine

Image from
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation