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  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.


  1. The Basil Seed drink does look very odd. I will let you try it.

    1. Good sharing, for healthy purpose, Chia seeds offer the highest volume of Omega-3, as well as addition fiber (soluble and insoluble) along with vitamins or perhaps minerals you don’t usually get whenever you take sea food oil. Chia seeds giving you long lasting energy during the day moving in deep, restful sleep during the night time. May read this article about Chia seeds at:

  2. so did it work?

  3. As kids we drank Tukmaria on hot days,on the island that I come from.
    I now live in Texas, and about a month ago I was so hot after gardening (added with hot flashes) and thought that it would be nice to have a drink of Tukmaria..
    By the way on the island we called it "Tokmaria". Creole pronunciation.

    I have been drinking up to two glasses a day (with boiled and cooled agar), lots of tukmaria and a bit of non fat milk. I'm not sure if it is the cooling effect of the tukmaria,but even my hot flashes have diminish immensely, and lost about 5 pounds.

  4. I add two Tblesp of takmaria to a fruitsalad, which I enrich with pumpkin-, sunflower-, sesame-, and linseeds and then eat with a handful of oat flakes and 1/2 cup of kefir. I eat that every morning and I feel full the whole day. Absolutely no cravings and way smaller portions than usual. Since I started doing this I haven't been actively dieting just eating healthy (especially no sugar and wheat) and only when and as much as necessary to be satisfied. I came down from a size L to S-M in less than 2 months. It definitely works for me!

  5. I have been doing a lot of thinking about tukmaria since getting so much interest in this post. If you cannot find the seed, try using chia soaked in either juice,almiond milk, kefir, yoghurt, fruit or whatever you like. It is just as filling. Try filling a screw top jar with your favourite breakfast brew and taking to work with you. It's an added bonus that it won't spill. xxx nirala

  6. Are they high on protein? I'm on a low protein diet so is it okay to have 1 tbsp. with water on a daily basis


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