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Monday, June 28, 2010
Tukmaria: diet seed?
We have a three and a half hour drive to the nearest international airport, so when one of us is about to travel, it is a great excuse to spend a couple of days in the big smoke. Apart from visiting family and friends, shopping and eating are my favourite city pursuits. Staying in the inner city meant new food shops to explore and as always, I came home with some weird and wonderful things.
I was thrilled to find ready to drink Basil Seed Drink (with honey.) Since I discovered tukmaria seed http://frompotionstopesto.blogspot.com/2010/01/tukmaria-sacred-seed.html I have been on the lookout for more recipes. I opened it yesterday. It was very sweet, thanks to the 12 % sugar and the honey flavour (!) and I needed to add some lime juice to it to make it palatable. The interesting side effect was that come lunchtime, I wasn't hungry. Checking the label further I found it contained a small amount of dietary fibre, calcium and iron and was 20% carbohydrate. So what are the healing properties of tukmaria?
The mucilaginous gel that forms around the soaked seeds acts as a demulcent, soothing the mucous membranes, and is used to relieve constipation and diarrhoea. Like chia seed, which also forms a gel when soaked, it is possible that it slows down the speed our bodies' convert carbohydrates into sugars. This would account for the feeling of fullness lasting longer and could be useful for weight loss and diabetes.
In Asia, where basil seed is also known as sabza, subza, takmaria, tukmaria, tukhamaria, falooda, selasih (Malay/Indonesian) or hột é (Vietnamese), Ayurvedic and Siddha medicine both recognise the health benefits of tukmaria. Other reputed benefits are a more active digestion, removal of toxins from the gut and the ability to help prevent heart conditions by lowering cholesterol although I have not found any scientific research to back this up.
I feel that tukmaria has great potential to replace slippery elm, an endangered rainforest tree that must be killed to harvest its inner bark, as an easily grown, safe remedy for stomach complaints.
Just before lunch today, I stirred half a teaspoon of seed into a glass of cold water with the juice of a lime. An hour later, I still felt quite full, even though the amount of seed I drank was much less than was in the drink yesterday. It was a very pleasant and refreshing drink that didn't need sweetening. It can be added to hot drinks, herb or black teas, or to warm milk. If you don't like the slippery texture add it to soaked Bircher muesli or stewed fruit. It has very little taste of its own.
I am on a mission to lose weight at the moment so maybe fate is at work again. I'm going to stick with drinking tukmaria for a couple of weeks and see what happens.