"Grapes are the best among fruits..." Ashtanga Hridaya
Raisins are dried grapes.
One of the star fruits in Indian cuisine, ripe brown raisins
are found dotted about in rich milk puddings, ensconced
inside sweet syrupy cheese balls called Gulabjamuns, and
stirred into fragrant rice.
Vaidya Ramakant Mishra, Director of Research and Product
Development at Maharishi Ayurveda, says there is a reason
why raisins are used so generously in Indian cooking from
times immemorial. He says the ancient sages and rishis of
India taught the people to weave the use of raisins and
other healing foods into their everyday lives. This enabled
them to eat healthy food without thinking of it as
"medicinal." Just like education is very effective when
combined with entertainment, healing foods also work best
when you also enjoy their taste. Just so with raisins.
In Ayurveda, raisins are considered a highly beneficial
food. Vaidya Mishra says they have great medicinal value.
Some aspects of the psycho-physiology where raisins work
* The lungs: Raisins lubricate the body's
channels-particularly the lungs. Therefore, people with less
than robust respiratory systems find them very healing.
* The brain: Raisins have a medhya effect, which supports
the brain and nurtures it.
* The mind: Taken in quantities and combinations recommended
by a qualified ayurvedic practitioner, raisins can uplift
and balance the emotions.
* The throat: Raisins with milk or water can relieve thirst.
* The bowel: Raisins soaked overnight and taken in the
morning support bowel movements. Vaidya Mishra suggests a
healthy raisin recipe: Combine 50% raw milk and 50% cool
water. Eat two handfuls of soaked raisins twice a day, and
sip two glasses of this water alongside. Besides this, eat
light foods like squashes-lauki in particular is good-to
regulate your bowel movement.
* The womb: Women who want to get pregnant have been known
to benefit by including raisins in their diet-raisins are
considered bringhana foods, supportive of natural fertility.
What Are Raisins Like?
In ayurvedic terms, raisins contribute the madhura or sweet
taste to food. They have a cooling effect on the body. They
are also heavy to digest. Combined with their high glycemic
index, this means that raisins are best consumed in
An excellent way to reduce the glycemic index of raisins,
says Vaidya Mishra, is to combine them with spices like
cinnamon bark and cardamom. Cinnamon in particular has the
ability to lower glycemic index, so it is very beneficial to
include it when taking raisins.
Raisins and Your Dosha
Raisins are gentle nourishment, hence they are pacifying to
Vata dosha. In particular, Apana Vata, the sub-dosha that
looks after waste elimination and other abdominal functions,
is nurtured by raisins.
Pitta and its sub-doshas derive great benefit from raisins.
Soaked overnight and taken in the morning, they support
Sadhaka Pitta (which governs the emotions) and pacify
Pachaka Pitta (responsible for digestive functions) and
Ranjaka Pitta (which balances blood chemistry). Raisins also
help protect from sun damage-by supporting Bhrajaka Pitta,
which governs skin metabolism. Basically, raisins are useful
in healing a whole range of Pitta-related problems, like
burning sensation while urinating. Their diuretic effect
flushes out urine, cooling the system.
As far as Kapha is concerned, raisins can actually aggravate
this dosha, owing to their heavy and sweet nature. Unless
combined with cardamom or cinnamon, raisins taken in heavy
amounts can increase Kapha.
In her book Heaven's Banquet, best-selling author Miriam
Hospodar shares some practical tips on eating and storing
"Beware of golden raisins: they are ordinarily brown raisins
that have been treated with sulfur dioxide to maintain their
color. Monukka raisins are large and often crunchy from tiny
seeds. Zante currants are actually small grapes, also called
black Corinth. Store raisins in the refrigerator so they
Thanks to http://www.mapi.com
Oregon State University, 5/03
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