The world groans under malnutrition even in this era of plethoric plenty. Both children and adults suffer from illnesses of poverty even when the world around has so much to offer! The most common deficiencies found in the present generation are that of Vitamin A (VAD), deficiencies of iron, calcium and folic acid. We find an alarming lack of both macro (found in carbohydrates, fats and proteins) and micro nutrients (found in vitamins, minerals and trace elements) in our daily diet that accounts to malnutrition and the consequent diseases.
As a permanent solution to this, the Department of Foods and Nutrition of India suggests the use of drumsticks, well deservedly called as the powerhouse of nutrients. Drumstick leaves and fruits (the thin pods) are widely used in the Indian cuisine while countries like Philippines relish the rich soup made of drumstick leaves. Researchers have identified the health beneficial flavonols (kaempferol) and certain other components (Quercetin-3-glucoside) in drumsticks giving us a richer perspective of its nutritional values. Drumsticks contain vitamins and minerals including calcium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C, and proteins. The leaves are blessed not only with proteins but also with 8 amino acids making it a real boon to vegetarians.
- Almost all parts of the drumstick plant have therapeutic values. A soup made with fresh drumstick flowers with cow milk is an excellent herbal tonic for sexual debility and functional infertility in both males and females.
- Drumstick leaf soup is an ideal tonic for pregnant women to aid their health in pre and post delivery days. It also eases any trauma associated with delivery. It is a common practice amongst Indian women to include drumstick leaves in their diet after delivery as they help to increase breast milk after child birth.
- It is a great herbal medicine for different kinds of digestive disorders.
- Rich in calcium, it fortifies bones and is advised especially for children.
- It is a great blood purifier along with other green leafy vegetables and garlic.
- Use drumsticks to thwart infections of the skin, throat and chest!
- Drumstick oil is a healthy, odourless substitute like olive oil. It may lower the cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cancer with its mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid.
There are many ways of cooking drumstick pods and leaves. Choose at least one that suits you the best. Indian recipes with drumsticks leaves and pods are endless. Not to mention that India has a worldwide export of drumsticks from fresh drumstick fruits, drumstick powder to seed kernels, and cake powders.
-Aparna K V