There are many magical secrets hidden in nature. From simple ingredients that are effective remedies for skin and hair, to foods which can help reduce the chances of cancer, many powerful natural cures can be found.
A lot of these have been used since ancient times as medicines and have been passed on from generation to generation. Thus, there is always more to learn from the world around. There are always more ways in which we can make our life healthier.
Today, we are going to talk about one such tiny secret that is very mighty in its power: the turkey berry. Turkey berries are pea-sized, yellow-green berries which have been used as a popular herbal remedy since ages.
While it is likely that you haven’t heard about this tiny berry as much as blueberries and strawberries, we ask you not to underestimate it. Stay around to hear about the turkey berry benefits, which will make you gain a newfound respect for this miraculous berry.
What are turkey berries?
Turkey berry, which is scientifically known as Solanum torvum, is a spiny, flowering shrub that produces large clusters of berries. These berries are around the size of peas and are yellowish-green in colour.
This plant has many other names. For example, in India, it is known as Sundakkai in Tamil, Kottuvastu in Telugu, and Sundekayyi in Kannada.
Turkey berry is a part of the nightshade family of plants. This plant thrives in many kinds of climates but grows most successfully in sunny, temperate locations. This plant can spread easily and is found in many places such as Asia, Africa, The Americas and The Pacific Islands. This plant has many uses, both in being consumed as food and medicine.
How to prepare turkey berry?
Before learning about the various turkey berry benefits, it is important to know just how these magical berries are prepared. First, turkey berry or sundakkai is chosen carefully, with the green, soft, and thin-skinned ones being preferred the most. Multiple berries will be present in thick clusters together.
Then, the berries are cleaned by first removing the stalks, either with a knife or by gently crushing on a hard surface. Then the sundakkai is immersed in water, cleaned till some of the woody seeds settle at the bottom. This process is repeated around two to three times.
Now, these little, round storehouses of nutrients can either be consumed green, or sundried to make sundakkai vathal. Vathal means sundried, so sundakkai vathal literally means sundried turkey berries. Sundakkai vathal can be prepared in a variety of ways, such as soaking the berries in buttermilk and then drying in the sun.
This sundakkai vathal can then be fried in oil and used in dishes such as sundakkai more kuzhambu (sun-dried turkey berries in buttermilk curry) and sundakkai vathal kuzhambu (sun-dried turkey berries in tamarind gravy).
Hence, the benefits of turkey berry are not just limited to being medicinal because the berries can be consumed in many delicious ways.
Benefits of turkey berry
Now that we know the basic information about this precious plant, let’s get into discussing the various turkey berry benefits. Read on to find out just why this plant has been such an important part of ancient herbal remedies. You might just want to introduce it in your lifestyle, as well.
May help in lowering blood pressure
There has been some research which suggests that turkey berry can help in lowering blood pressure because of its high content of compounds such as ferulic acid and gallic acid. This makes turkey berry a natural antioxidating and anti-inflammatory agent, which can possibly reduce blood pressure in humans, though no specific results can be guaranteed.
May aid in the prevention and cute of anemia
Turkey berry is a rich source of plant-based iron and is often used to treat or prevent anaemia in people. This is because anaemia is caused by a deficiency of iron and turkey berry being high in iron content helps fulfil this lack.
Though there has been recent research which suggests that this iron may not be properly absorbed in the digestive tract, pairing the berries with foods rich in Vitamin C (eg. citrus fruits) might promote better absorption.
May lower blood sugar levels
Turkey berry contains glycoside antioxidants, which help in controlling insulin production and glucose absorption in your body. This means that turkey berry can help in reducing the level of sugar in the blood, which makes it useful for managing diabetes.
May improve digestion
The antioxidant content of turkey berries such as chlorogenin and phenols helps in neutralizing stomach acids. Its high fibre content can also promote better and smoother digestion.
May help in managing menstruation
Turkey berry contains a distinct steroid which is called sapogenin, which can help in controlling hormone secretions as well as regulating metabolism. Thus, turkey berry may help in getting proper, regular periods.
May help in improving immunity
Certain studies have shown that turkey berry contains antimicrobial properties which may help in promoting a healthier and powerful immune system in humans. Turkey berry has also been of use in the treatments of wounds, cuts, ulcers, gout, etc.
While there are many benefits of turkey berry, it is still important to take certain precautions while consuming it. Turkey berry belongs to a family of plants known as nightshades, which contain a class of compounds known as glycoalkaloids. When these glycoalkaloids are consumed in large amounts, they can lead to discomforting symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea, confusion, dizziness and stomach ache.
As turkey berry’s glycoalkaloid content gets lower with maturation, it may be safer to consume only fully-ripened turkey berries. But since different people have different digestive sensitivities, turkey berry may still affect some more adversely than others.
It is always better to be as safe as possible, even when going for natural remedies. Thus, it is better to ask your doctor before asking turkey berry to your diet, especially if you are breastfeeding, pregnant or have any underlying medical conditions.
Making your lifestyle healthier and happier
In the end, as miraculous as the turkey berry benefits are, no remedy can solve all your health troubles once and for all. The most important ingredient of health is consistency.
You need to make small changes in your life, from your daily meals to the amount of exercise you engage in. Undoing past unhealthy habits and looking for better solutions in their place will make a huge difference in your overall fitness.
It is okay to slip-up every once in a while because we are all human. Whether you choose turkey berry or not, what matters is that you do your best to make the healthier choice as often as possible, so you can witness those little positive changes in your body and mind every day!