Ayurvedic & endangered wild rice in Indian subcontinentSpiceBee
In India rice is cultivated in 42 million hectares (mha) under four major ecosystems, viz. irrigated (19 mha), rainfed lowland (14 mha), flood prone (3 mha) and rain- fed upland (6 mha) ecosystems. Rice ecosystems in India represent 24% of irrigated areas, 34% of rainfed lowlands, 26% of flood-prone areas and 37% of rainfed uplands cultivated to rice in the entire world. No other country in the world has such diversity in rice ecosystems. Therefore, Indian rice research program is the principal moving force in the world. through this article we SpiceBee is trying describe some of the endangered rice varieties available in India.
Rakthashali, also called Chennellu, is widely mentioned in puranas and ancient texts of Ayurveda as having properties potent enough to cure many ailments, including cancer. Ayurveda says this variety of rice, dating its use back to more than 3,000 years, is good for the Tridoshas, such as Vatha, Pitha, and Kafa. Rakthashali was a rice variety with the most nutrient and herbal value It helps maintain equilibrium in the body. It is also an anti-oxidant and can purify blood. “Its herbal properties are yet to be documented properly. It is one of the rarest rice varieties.
The maturity period of the paddy is around 110 days. About 1 kg of seeds were used for farming in around 7 cents of ‘puncha’ land. the paddy is of a rare variety widely used for medicinal purpose in the country and it is nearly extinct. “The paddy with red husk and grain is acclaimed from Vedic times as a medicinal rice variety.
Besides being a functional food for promoting lactation, Rakthashali is acknowledged for its therapeutic values in the treatment of allergies and skin ailments, uterus-related problems, gastrointestinal problem, liver, kidney and nerve disorders,” he says.The rare seed is on the verge of extinction like other varieties as it was earlier considered uneconomical compared to the new generation, high yielding rice varieties.
Also called forbidden or purple rice, black rice is a type of rice that belongs to the Oryza sativa L. species .Black rice gets its signature black-purple color from a pigment called anthocyanin, which has potent antioxidant properties .In Historiance saying that in ancient China,black rice was considered so unique and nutritious that it was forbidden for all but royalty.
The deep black or the purple hue of the black rice is a marker of its high antioxidant properties. Similar to blackberries and blueberries, that appear deeper in color because of their high content of anti-oxidants. The outermost layer of the grain (the bran and the hull), contains immense amounts of the antioxidant-anthocyanin. In fact, the amount of anthocyanin contained in black rice is higher than any other grain, including brown rice, red rice, red quinoa, or other colored whole grain varieties.
Anthocyanin can help prevent cardiovascular disease, restricting free radical movements which can cause variety of diseases like diabetes and even cancer. It can also help improve brain function and reduce inflammation .
The phytonutrients present in black rice help cleanse the body of disease-causing toxins (caused by free radicals). Black rice helps the liver (one of the most significant detoxifiers of the body) eliminate unwanted substances through its antioxidant activity.
The black rice has about 3 grams of fiber per half cup serving. This rich fibre content helps regulate the bowel movements, prevent constipation, diarrhea and bloating. The fibre helps bind the toxins and waste within the digestivetract, and flush it all out of the system on completion of the cycle of digestion.
Navara has an important place in the Ayurvedic system of treatment and is used, alone or in combination with other herbs to treat many diseases. The rice is of two kinds, the white glumed (husked) and black glumed. The 12th century Ayurvedic text, Ashtangahridayam, describes the white Navara as medicinally superior but the black glumed variety seems to be preferred by physicians today. This rice has a wide range of benefits. Boiled Navara is a good weaning food for infants, particularly those with low weight. Broth made by adding Navara rice to meat is recommended to pregnant women as it increases the weight of the foetus. Cooked with milk and herbs, it can treat internal wounds. Navara rice bran oil is used for a wide range of aches and painful conditions like the cervical spondylosis, low back ache, paralysis, rheumatoid arthritis. Ayurvedic doctors effectively use Navara rice paste, lepanam, to treat psoriasis. The paste is also an excellent remedy for skin lesions. Rice gruel made of Navara is considered beneficial in preventing various diseases and is also considered a safe food for diabetics. Navara is used in Navarakizhi, a specialty treatment from Keralas traditional medicine used for curing neuromuscular disorders. The rice cooked in a decoction of the herb, Sida (Sida rectusa. Lin), to which milk has been added, makes the body supple, removes stiffness of joints, cleanses the body channels, and improves blood circulation. It is traditionally consumed as a replenishing drink, called karkidakakanji, and is effective in curing fatigue. In today’s health conscious world market, Navara rice can play a dominant role if marketing channels open up to farmers who have preserved Navara rice against all adversity. To ensure that farmers benefit, it is imperative that cultivation is promoted only after assessing market demands and prospects of sustainability.
Kerala Red Rice or Matta Rice is also known by the name Rosematta Rice. Since it is cultivated in the Palakkad region of Kerala, it called by the name Palakkadan Matta Rice. Since they are partially boiled in the husk, called by the name Red Parboiled Rice. These rice can be taken as plain rice or be used in the making of appams, idlis and various snacks like kondattam and murukku. Black soil in Kerala and Karnataka is used for the cultivation of Matta rice. These yellowish red grains is famed for its unique flavor and natural taste. These yellowish brown coloured rice are parboiled with the reddish outer layers. It maintains its hue as well as its flavour through cooking. These course rice has a red pericarp which ensures the presence of higher nutritional content.
Apart from its natural taste, the presence of red pericarp in this rice is known for its nutritional content. Pericarp is considered as the healthy outer covering of a rice grain. As we all know polished rice varieties are devoid of this valuable layer, when they are ground out to appear shiny and clean. Kerala red rice or Matta rice retains this nutritional outer covering. Thus, the intake of Matta rice can help with the nutritional requirement of the body.The red pericarp of this rice variety has a high content of nutrients. Pericarp is the healthy outer coat of the rice grain. Polished rice varieties tend to lose this valuable layer when they are ground out to appear shiny and clean. Kerala red rice, however, retains this outer coat for all its natural goodness. With increased quantities of minerals, vitamins, fibre and more