Mudgayusha – Soup From Moong Dahl, the Green Gram

Yusha are liquidy, cooked soups made of vegetables or pulses. In contrast to kichari, a rice-dahl stew, or yavagu, rice-water-spices stews that are prescribed medicinally, the yusha focus on the vegetable or pulse at the center of the dish. 


Of the 22 yushas (यूष) described in detail in the ancient text Kaiyadeva Nighantu, six are especially described for their medicinal effects. The first of these six is mudgayusha, made of the most useful and medicinal bean, known in Sanskrt as mudga. Its main therapeutic property is to safely stimulate the digestive fire.


The mudga bean is also known as the green gram, the mūng bean, and the moong dahl. The green gram is an annual vine with yellow flowers and fuzzy brown pods that grows in warm seasons and is frost-intolerant. The pods are elongated or flat cylindrical and are the fruits of the plant. There are usually 30-50 pods per plant. Each pod is 5–10 cm long  (1-2 inches long) x 0.4-0.6 cm wide and contains 12-14 seeds separated by a septum. The seeds can have hues of green, yellow, brown or blue depending on the soil, season, and sun, and can be more cylindrical or more spherical in shape. These seed colors along with the presence or absence of a rough layer coat distinguish different subtypes of the mung bean.


Mung beans are recognized for their high nutritive value. Mung beans contain about 55%-65% carbohydrate, calculated to about 63% of the dry weight of the bean and can contain 20%-50% protein in the dry bean. The two main storage proteins of the mung bean are globulin and albumin, which makes it a a substantive source of dietary proteins that are easily digestible, leading to less flatulence in humans compared to other forms of legumes. The mung bean is also rich in vitamins and minerals.


Mung beans have been known to Asia for thousands of years. Carbonized mung beans were discovered in several archeological sites in India, including the eastern zone of the Harappan civilisation in northwestern India, and in archeological sites in Karnataka where mung beans have been dated back to 2,500 years BCE.


Of the śimbi-dhānyās (beans that grow in pods), mudga is the most excellent. Like the other beans -- pigeon peas, masura lentils, butter beans, black gram, horse gram, garden peas, cow peas -- the mung bean is astringent and cooling, and in excess causes drying of the stool inside the intestine (vibandha) to stop it from progressing downward. But the mung bean makes the body lighter because it is both nourishing to the body but not bulking. Thus, it can aggravate vata when eaten in excess or raw. Raw mung flour on the outside of the body is excellent however for soaking up excess oil and mucous, and is thus used as a superior poultice and substitute for soap, especially for people with skin diseases, excess fat, and blood disorders. 


Mung Preparations

Many ways to prepare mung had developed in different parts of ancient Bharat. Many cook whole dried mung beans by boiling until they are soft, to yield a green soup. Because the skin tends to produce some flatulence, mung beans were generally prepared by drying (which is then called a pulse), and removing the outer skin to yield a light yellow bean, and splitting the bean into halves, known as moong dahl. Mung bean paste is made by continuing to cook the bean soup from dahl until the liquid evaporates into a paste known technically as kalka. Mung paste is usually made by removing the hull, cooking, and pulverizing the cooked beans to a dry paste. This dry paste can be set into metal sheets to dry and cut into squares to make Bengali dhoka. The dry paste can be mixed with spices and onions to make bean croutons (bori), or fried to make bean paste fries (bora) or doughnuts (vada), or sweetened and made into bean cookies. In south India, the moong bean paste is mixed with spices and fresh grated coconut into a preparation called pesalu. Batter made from ground whole moong beans including the green skin is used to make a variety of dosa called pesarattu. In east Asia, mung bean paste is made into ice cream. In south India, mung bean sprouts are cooked with green chili, garlic, and heating spices by wives to increase the pitta and heat in their husbands. But these preparations can aggravate the doshas.


Medicinal Properties of Mung Yusha

In contrast, when mung is made into the classic hot soup with only water and digestive spices, mudga-yusha is considered the best of all yusha because it can be supportive in almost all disease conditions. When cooked into the yusha form, the mudga bean's properties of increasing vata (increasing cooling, drying, lighter, mobile, roughening) evolve to make it more balancing of pitta and vata in the body, because a warm cooked soup of beans in water with spices counter excess cooling, drying, lighter, mobile, roughening. It is an excellent remedy after alcohol intoxication, or when recovering from emaciation, poisoning, or excess exercise. It is used to feed patients as they recover after panchakarma, for patients suffering with ulcers, and for patients with diseases of the through and eyes. It is an excellent rasayana. The key to defining the soup as yusha is to cook one part mung to 18 parts water. At the end of boiling when the mung bean is soft and mushy, pungent spices (katu dravya) such as saindhava lavana (rock salt), and sunthi (Zingiber officinale), and pippali (Piper longum) seasoned in oil (sneha), must be added to the preparation.




यूषाणामुत्तमो मौद्गो यूषो हृद्योऽग्निदीपनः |
शीतलो मधुरः पथ्यो बलासे पित्तलोहिते ||६५||
तृट्दाहज्वरसंशुद्धव्रणजन्तूर्ध्वरोगिषु |
मुद्गानां द्विपलं तोये शृतमर्धाढकोन्मिते ||६६||



yūṣāṇāmuttamō maudgō yūṣō hr̥dyō'gnidīpanaḥ |
śītalō madhuraḥ pathyō balāsē pittalōhitē ||65||
tr̥ṭdāhajvarasaṁśuddhavraṇajantūrdhvarōgiṣu |
mudgānāṁ dvipalaṁ tōyē śr̥tamardhāḍhakōnmitē ||66||

  (Kaiyadeva nighantu, chapter 5, sloka 65-66)

Translation  Mudgayusha is best among all yusha, fulfilling for the heart (hrdya) and beneficial for Hrid-roga (cardiac disorders); agni-deepana (increases digestive fire); sheetala (cooling to its environment); madhura (fulfilling by taste); pathya (wholesome for diet and lifestyle); balaa (increases strength of the body); and is useful for stopping raktapitta (bleeding disorders). It is useful also for treating trt/trsna (excessive thirst), daha (burning sensations inside the body), jvara (fever), vrana(wounds and boils), urdhva-roga(diseases above the clavicle).  The amount of mudgayusha one should eat is a maximum of 2 pala (96ml). 


Recipe: Mung Yusha 


mung, whole (green gram) - 1/2 cup

water - 9 cups (~2L)

black pepper powder - 1/8 tsp

(pippali) long pepper powder - 1/8 tsp

cumin seed powder - 1/8 tsp

coriander seed powder - 1/8 tsp

dry ginger powder- 1/8 tsp

saindava, or sea salt - 1/8-1/2 tsp



  1. In the morning, soak half a cup of whole green gram for three hours in about 2 L of water.
  2. Cook it in a half-covered pot, on medium then low heat until it comes to its first boil. Remove only the froth. Keep it cooking until it becomes soft.  Do not use a microwave or pressure cooker.
  3. When it is soft, add pepper powder, coriander seed powder, cumin seed powder, long pepper powder, dry ginger powder and salt. Mix well and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes. 
  4. Serve hot and enjoy the benefits of mudga-yusha.

Betel Leaf and Cancer: An Evergreen Controversy

In modern times, paan is associated with a bad reputation due to its association with mouth cancers. When the paan leaf - which is the tambula chewed for millenia for health benefits -  is chewed with other additives, it becomes a poison. 

The areca nuts, with their misleading name "betel nuts" since the nuts and leaves are from separate plants, are cut into thin slices, chunks, or small thin long pieces for use alone or as part of the paan recipe. Sometimes they are marinated with other ingredients. A betel leaf is set down, and several sweet, sour, astringent, and pungent ingredients are smeared onto the leaf. The areca nut pieces are then sprinkled atop, and then the betel leaves are wrapped into a polygon and placed into the cheek cavity of the mouth. As the juices flow outward through the betel leaf and into the mouth, they provide a brilliant melange of tastes and a freshness in the breath that is unmistakable, and often why paan is so addictive.

Betel leaf and cancer: An evergreen controversy

Studies have shown a close association between the incidence of cancer in India and the chewing of betel quid, which is the juice of the leaves along with tobacco, areca nut (catechu), and slaked lime released by saliva, have proven to be cancerous in various studies. However, freshly-picked tambula (betel leaf) chewed without these modern additions shows no toxic, mutagenic or carcinogenic effects. In fact, chewed alone, it shows protective and anti-cancerous properties. 



There are cautions too, which demonstrate the full investigation of betel leaf in all its uses. Betel leaf is not advised for people who are affected with wounds, bleeding diseases, dryness, inflammation of the eye, poison, and those who are intoxicated, and emaciated because the usna (heating) and teekshna (sharp and penetrating) properties in the leaves will worsen them. Excess chewing of the betel leaf -- more than one a day -- may provoke bleeding disorders. 


However, modern scientific studies using animals and cell models also show that betel leaves have antidiabetic, hypolipidemic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.



Having a betel plant in your backyard or terrace garden will surely add aesthetics to your garden and health to your body. Here’s how you can grow your betel plant. 


Take a 15-20 cm long stem from a healthy plant by making a 45-degree cut just below the leaf node. Remove all leaves from the stem except the top 2 ones. Soak it in a glass filled with water and place it under indirect sunlight. Keep changing the water every 2-3 days. Once the roots appear, transfer the plant to your garden or to a deep pot filled with soil giving proper drainage. You can also get a plant from the nursery and transfer it to your garden or pot. Though it grows in almost all soil types, sandy loam soil is ideal. Water it regularly, provide it with plenty of indirect sunlight and pamper it a little with compost/ cow manure. When it grows to about 4-5 feet, start pruning the leaves to encourage its growth. In about a few weeks you will have a beautiful betel plant in your garden. 


If you are not yet ready for daily tambula, you can try chewing a single betel leaf the next time you have a common cold, sore throat or indigestion. The ancient wisemen advised the best medicinal effects when you pick it from your garden. You can also pluck your own organic betel leaves and make a broth. 

- photo credit to Vivekanandan S

How To Cook Your Veggies the Optimal Way

The term pathya includes all instructions around the diet and lifestyle that will reverse a disease and restore balance, moving us along on the right path.  While lifestyle is included, most patients ask the vaidya about diet and which foods to eat and how to prepare them. It is often given top priority in Ayurveda for both conserving health and alleviating sickness. A healthy diet will protect you from the majority of ailments. 

Vegetables, one of the most diverse nutrient-filled food families, are classified as Shaka Varga (the family of foods that grow as appendages on plants) in Ayurvedic texts. Shaka are grouped by the six main parts of the plant that are eaten, according to the 11th century clinician-scientist-writer Bhavamishra: patra (leaves of the plant, known as leafy vegetables), pushpa (vegetables that are flowers of the plant), phala (vegetables that are fruits of the plant), nala (vegetables that are the stem of the plant), kanda (vegetables that are the tuber of the plant), and samswedaja (vegetables that have sprouted from moisture). The order is important, as with most ayurvedic instructions. Each subsequent subgroup is heavier to digest than the previous, making sprouts the most difficult to digest and leaves the easiest of all vegetables, as long as they are prepared properly.

The cooking master clinician Bhava Mishra wrote c.1550 CE about various plant-based foods and the practice-based evidence and science behind them after understanding botany, forestry, agriculture and physiology. 


पत्रं पुष्पं फलं नालं कन्दं संस्वेदजं तथा |

शाकं षड्विधमुद्दिष्टं गुरुं विद्याद्यथोत्तरम् || 


patraṃ puṣpaṃ phalaṃ nālaṃ kandaṃ saṃsvedajaṃ tathā |

śākaṃ ṣaḍvidhamuddiṣṭaṃ guruṃ vidyādyathottaram |


Translation: In this order -- leaf, flower, fruit, stem, tuber, sprouts & mushrooms, the 6 vegetable groups increase in heaviness to digest.

 -- Bhavaprakasha Nighantu, Shaka Varga 10/1

The wisemen knew that constipation is triggered by all Shakas when consumed. The usage of raw vegetables, according to Acharya chakrapanidutta, induces aggravation of Apana vata as well as excessive flatulence. These are Guru (heavy to digest), rooksha (dries up the body) and promotes stool formation. As a result, using them inappropriately leads to bone fractures and marrow deterioration, as seen by a loss in steady walking, bring hazardous to the eyes, and lowering blood flow. It is thought that Shakas contain most of the factors for an illness to manifest, thus one must be mindful not to consume too many veggies. Plants, like every other organism, have an inbuilt biological reaction to help them survive. This is usually accomplished by deterring other species with its bitterness. Ayurveda warns that the prolonged exposure to a raw vegetable diet does have a detrimental effect upon the Kostha (Gut). 

शाकेषु सर्वेषु वसन्ति रोगास्ते हेतवो देहविनाशनाय |

तस्माद् बुधः शाकविवर्जनं तु कुर्यात्तथा ||


śākeṣu sarveṣu vasanti rogāste hetavo dehavināśanāya |

 tasmād budhaḥ śākavivarjanaṃ tu kuryāttathā ||

Translation:  The elements that cause diseases that destroy the body are present in the Shaka; therefore the wise have suggested a person not be habituated to consuming vegetables in excess or in exclusion of other foods.

-- Bhavaprakasha Nighantu, Shaka Varga 10/4

General Method of Cooking Shaka

Step 1.  Shaka Shodhana: Cleansing of Vegetables

Before cooking, clean vegetables in water. Add salt, then spice powders such as raw mango, the antimicrobial turmeric, and the heavy metal chelator coriander.  Water and salt helps to remove soil and any other adherents. Today, cleaning raw vegetables is required to prevents excessive accumulation in our body of pesticides and additives sprayed during transport and display that place us at higher risk of cancer. Soaking infuses salt and spices into the shaka. 

Step 2.   Sneha Bharjana: Stir Frying in Fat

After sufficient soaking, shaka must be stir-fried (bharjana) for a few moments in either fat, oil or ghee, known as sneha. Oils and ghee neutralize the mild poisons that plants produce to deter animals and insects from eating them. These poisons can slowly destroy our digestive power if we do not process vegetables correctly. Adding the digestive spice cumin and the vata-lowering hingu/asafoetida helps the gut process the minerals and complex components in vegetables. Shaka types of foods add extra roughness to the gut and must be countered. Sneha in general best pacifies vata by countering the cold, dry, rough, light, and mobile qualities in shaka. The Maillard reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars in vegetables that gives browned food its unique appeasing flavour profile occurs in oil. 

Step 3.   Lavana & Toyagni Sannikarsha: Salting & Rehydration 

After partial cooking in the selected sneha, one should add salt (lavana) and a little quantity of water (toya). Addition of salt midway opens the tissues of the plant and breaks cell membranes to allow entry of aromatic tempered spices into the vegetable's chemistry, converting bland-tasting shaka into exquisite flavour.  Adding a small quantity of water delays excess breakdown of proteins and prevents overfrying. This half-oil, half-water approach to cooking allows both detoxification and optimal digestion of vegetables. To remove excessive bitterness from vegetables, steaming in water removes bitter elements, followed by boiling them in strained cultured buttermilk to detoxify them. The obligatory addition of fat is done in the final step by adding spices tempered(agni) in oil or ghee. To make the dish more savoury, tamarind juice can be added instead of water, but only for non-sour vegetables. 

Each vegetable is different so spices and processes that counter their unfavorable tastes and gunas (qualities) have been calculated by traditional recipes that advise use of specific steps. Some are optimally digested only when combined with particular grains or pulses, other as soups or stews.

Āhāra Samskara refers to transforming raw food to real nutrition by enhancing the palatability so that the mind wants to receive it and by reducing the chemicals that prevent optimal digestion for that person, as well as eliminating the parts of the vegetable that might cause long-term adverse effects to the digestive system. Only with judicious understanding of the true nature of each vegetable can one enjoy its nutritious benefits and delight, rather than force-feeding in improper ways just for the sake of purported healthy reputations of vegetables. 



The heart-shaped betel leaf occupies a special place in the hearts of Indians. Throughout the ages, whether chewing paan in religious ceremonies and weddings, added as slices to green mango drinks, or an essential ingredient in an ayurvedic formulation, the betel leaf has managed to mark its territory as an integral element of Indian culture. 

Known as tambula in ancient times, this leaf belongs to the betel vine (Piper betle), which climbs around the thin-stalked tall areca palm tree (Areca catechu), also known as the supari tree or betel nut tree. Because the betel nut is wrapped by betel leaves when eating, they are related by function. But the leaf and the nut are not from the same plant!  

The betel nut/areca is recognized by its round, caffeine-filled brown-and-white-speckled hard berry seeds. Its leaves are of the palm tree family, long and fibrous and dried for making disposable, eco-friendly palm leaf plates and bowls.

In contrast, betel leaves are evergreen, glossy heart-shaped leaves with a distinct central vein. Betel leaves are known as paan in Hindi, paanpatha in Bengali, tambula in Sanskrit, vettilakkoti in Malayalam, vettilai in Tamil, tamalapaku in Telugu, and villayadela in Kannada> The betel leaf is an evergreen vine of south and southeast Asia.  


Paan (tambula) leaves are described in the daily routine of a healthy person in the ancient text Charaka Samhita, showing that its medicinal use was known 5000 years ago. Ayurvedic texts mention tambula sevana (chewing) as an essential element of a healthy daily routine. It is the ancient equivalent of chewing gum. The ancient physician Vagbhata suggests chewing one cleanly picked leaf each day with powders of nutmeg, edible true camphor, betel nut, clove, cardamom, kankola. Betel leaf is reputed to improve skin complexion, promote health, intellect, and memory, and is also mentioned as a digestive aid. 


Sloka -                                        

ताम्बूलं विशदं रुच्यं तीक्ष्णोष्णं तुवरं सरम् | 

वश्यं तिक्तं कटुक्षारं रक्तपित्तकरं लघु ||  

बल्यं श्लेष्मास्यदौर्गन्ध्यमलवातश्रमापहम् |  

Transliteration -        

taambuulaṃ viśadaṃ rucyaṃ tiikṣṇoṣṇaṃ tuvaraṃ saram |

 vaśyaṃ tiktaṃ kaṭukṣaaraṃ raktapittakaraṃ laghu ||

 balyaṁ "sleṣmāsyadaurgandhyamalavāta"sramāpaham |

Translation - Tambula is clarifying (visada), enhances appetite (rucyaṃ), is sharp, penetrating and produces heat (tiikṣṇoṣṇaṃ), is astringent (tuvaraṃ) and flowing (saram) | It is vaśyaṃ, making a person obey the eater of tambula. It is bitter (tiktaṃ), pungent and caustic (kaṭukṣaaraṃ) and in excess, it causes bleeding and destruction of tissues (raktapittakaraṃ), thus it lightens the body (laghu) |Tambula improves the body's strength (balyaṁ), relieves kapha and phlegmy diseases (sleṣma) and rids excess moistness from the mouth, removes bad breath (daurgandhya), wastes (mala), and cleanses the oral cavity |

Source: Bhavaprakasha Nighantu, Guduchyadi varga, sloka 10

Each medicinal plant in ayurveda is clarified for use by its medicinal properties, which were deduced by master ancient clinician-scientists. These are known as rasa pañchaka, reflecting five main influences it imparts to the human from its nature. 

The betel leaf has properties are 

  • rasa (~taste): katu (pungent) , tikta (bitter) and kaṣāya (astringent) 
  •  guna (~quality):  laghu (light), tīkṣṇa (penetrating) and visada (cleansing)  
  • vīrya (~effect after reaching the cell):  uṣṇa (heating) 
  • prabhaava: vaśyaṃ

Tambula pacifies vāta and kapha doșas and is thus excellent for singers and orators.   


Even today, betel leaves are still incorporated into contemporary dishes, such as Betel Leaf Dosa, Betel Leaf Modak, and Betel Leaf Sharbat.  One tasty way to add betel leaf into the diet is in rasam broth. Betel leaf broth is an excellent digestive and prescribed in the medicated diet during common cold, sore throat and indigestion.  

Betel leaf broth 


Tamarind paste, made into a gooseberry size ball  

Tomato, 2 medium 

Peppercorns,  1 teaspoon 

Coriander whole seeds, 1 teaspoon 

Cumin whole seeds,  ¼ teaspoon 

Garlic,  4 cloves 

Betel leaves,  2   

Water,  2 glasses

Asafoetida,  ¼ teaspoon 

Turmeric,  ¼ teaspoon 

sea salt to taste 

Oil,  2 teaspoon 

Mustard,  1 teaspoon 

Dried red chilly,  2 

5-7 curry leaves

7-10 coriander leaves  

Preparation - Soak the tamarind ball in a sufficient quantity of water and extract the juice, casting away any solid parts. Grind the tomatoes, peppercorns, coriander, cumin seeds, garlic, betel leaves, curry leaves, coriander into a paste and add it to the tamarind juice. To this mix, add 2 glasses of water, asafoetida, turmeric, salt and boil until it becomes frothy. Season it with mustard, dry red chilly and curry leaves sautéed with oil. Garnish it with a few fresh curry leaves and coriander leaves.    

The betel leaf is also an appetizer. It provides strength and removes bad breath. A unique mystical property of betel leaves is vashya, which makes another person agree with the one eating betel leaf. It might be one reason that betel leaves are an essential item in business deals, marriage alliances, and august occasions. 


Tambula Sevana – Paan the Ancient Mouth Freshener

When you still crave dessert after a good meal, worry not, because Ayurveda has suggested a special herb that satisfies the palate and enhances digestion. For ages, tambula, better known as paan to most Indians and betel leaf (Piper betle) to the west, has been both a favorite mouth freshener and a gut helper. The term tambula is the Indonesian term for tambūla, where it grew indigenously. The term betel leaf comes from the term Tamil term vett-ilai (ilai is leaf).

Known for millenia throughout the lands of ancient India, this herb known as the betel leaf creeper that grows around the supari tree. From its use as an auspicious gift for welcoming guests to its importance in Vedic rituals, to its use in the acts of foreplay as highlighted in ancient love ritual texts such as Kamasutra, tambula is celebrated for its versatile uses. In recent times tambula has recaptured admiration due to its unique taste, and adventurous uses in various recipes such as ice creams, mocktails, cocktails, lattes, and doughnuts.

Badmouthed by those who misunderstand the value of paan, the essence of this heart-shaped leaf herb however, is its therapeutic quality of nutritional effectiveness. Wise scholars of the ancient period gave detailed accounts of its use as a post-meal treat for aiding detoxification of the mouth and stimulating digestion of an individual. The Ayurvedic recipe of tambula is very unique in itself, as it is infused with various herbs such as clove buds,and purified camphor, which enhance digestion and bring about satiety. 

Its appeal is partly in its fast-growing evergreen creeper nature. It is an herb that can be easily grown in a warm kitchen or small garden with low maintenance. Once the plant is fully grown, it yields lush green heart-shaped leaves you can pluck, clean and use for your tambula preparations. The simple recipe suggests enclosing 1-3 herbs inside the betel leaf, wrapping into a conical shape, and tucking into the space between the cheeks and gum.

To understand the actions of each substance with our body, Ayurveda wisemen understood its interactive properties through the concept of rasa pañchaka, the specific influence of any herb with its chemical composition on the physiology. These factors acknowledge the drug's effects from the entry to ultimate effect in the body. Tambula has rasa (tastes) of tikta (bitter) and katu (pungent), alkaline qualities and possesses heat-generating potency in our body (ushna guna) which instigates the pitta dosha (the body’s actions of transformation). 

The pitta dosha is also involved in the process of digestion at the gut level and instigating metabolism at the cellular level in our body. Hence, consumption of tambula directly influences the metabolism in the body. The strong bitter and sharp qualities counter any toxins produced by the bacteria in our mouth and also reduce both mouth odour and any inflammation-inducing agents. The tastes also stimulate sensory organs in our head region and reduce kapha to prevent buildup that could cause diseases in the sense organs in our head. 

This strong and potent drug must be used with caution, as it directly influences pitta in the body. If used in excess, tambula may generate excessive heat in the body, producing ulcers in the mouth, and affecting the function of sensory organs. 

Its bad reputation comes from its mode of common consumption in modern times. Like many processed foods, ancient ingredients are changed into fanciful ignorant combinations that promote disease. Intoxicants such as betel nut or tobacco, which are known as sensory stimulants, are added, along with chalk lime, calcium carbonate, tamarind, cinnamon, clove, and various salts and processed sugars, then folded and tucked into the mouth. The freshness and stimulation both to the taste buds and to the nervous system make one fall prey to paan addiction. These new combinations are a known strong risk factor for cancers of the head and neck, and of inflammatory diseases. 

But the consumption of paan is not the same as the ancient daily routine of chewing one freshly-picked paan leaf each day after the mid-day meal.

When consumed with reverence, the betel leaf provides therapeutic benefits for chronic cough, rhinitis, asthma, headache, chronic lack of appetite.  It is also an ingredient in dozens of diseases, mostly related to excess kapha accumulation in the body.

The Piper betle leaf has been analyzed in modern laboratories to provide a nutritive source of vitamins A and C, thiamine, riboflavin, potassium and calcium. A good and potent digestive fire has the capability to keep the diseases away, and tambula is definitely a special herb to consume after meals to easily reap its benefits. 


What Is the Difference Between a Bean, Legume, Pulse, Dahl, Pea, Gram, and Lentil?

Ask most any chef, Indian cook or food expert, and they will pause before clearly describing terms related to the best plant proteins in the world.

The ancient texts of ayurveda, arguably the oldest wisdom on food shared without interruption down into the modern day, advise repeatedly that the dhānya (plants of greatest value) food groups are the most nourishing for our bodies. Dhānya were edible seeds that were used as currency and trade in ancient times. Śūka dhānyā are the cereals grasses of which śāli dhānyā are rice varieties, tṛṇa dhānyā are millets, and godhūma is ancient, non-separated wheat. Śimbi-dhānyās are the pulses, the dried seeds of various grasses and vines that have pods containing large seeds that are collected and edible.

Legumes are an umbrella term for any plant that creates its fruit or seed inside a plant with pods. Pods are a fibrous case that splits along both sides when ripe, having seeds attached to one side of the case. Legumes include various beans, peas, lentils and peanuts.

Beans are large seeds that exist in pods and are a subset of the legume family. Sometimes they grow in plants, and sometimes they are vines, or trees or shrubs. In modern science, beans are organized by the botanical family name Fabaceae, also known as Leguminosae. The plants can be grasses, vines, trees or small plants. The ancient Fertile Crescent of central Eurasia is the native home to lentils, broad beans, peas, and chickpeas. Soybeans, adzuki beans and mung beans are indigenous to Asia. Peanuts, lima beans, black turtle beans, pinto beans, navy (white beans served to US Navy sailors) beans, and green beans are native to the Americas. Black-eyed peas are a type of cowpea with a green-yellow color and a black spot near the ridge that are native to Africa. Other types of beans include kidney beans (which can be white, red, maroon or speckled) and the broad bean also known as fava bean.

The pea is sometimes called a member of the bean family because it also grows in pods. It is a small, round green edible seed that grows with other seeds together inside a long thin pod on a climbing plant that bears flowers. However the seeds of peas contain different roots, leaves and internal sprouting structures than the seeds of beans, that correspond with the way nutrients are stored. They are considered different from beans by the botanical scientists due to their embryonic leaves called cotyledons. When these round globular peas are split in half, they are called split peas.

Lentils are the whole or split bean of a lens-shaped seed that comes from a pod. Usually each pod has two seeds, each of which have the shape of a lens. The seed can either have a skin on its surface or not. Lens culinaris is the main botanical species that inspired the term lentil. Lentils are often sold with their hulls removed ("shelled") and are then known as daal. They are classified according to their size, whether they have their shell or not, and whether they are split or whole. Canada then India are the largest producers of lentils.

Pulses are the dried seeds of edible beans and lentils that can be split easily in half. When they are raw and have moisture, they are called beans and peas. When they are dried, they are then called pulses, and are more portable, able to be stored, traded and used up to a year later and included over 1800 species. When prepared as food, they are used to make thick soups.

Dahl is the term for both the thick edible soup and the seed of the lentil, pea, or legume that has been dried, hulled, and split. Once it is split, it is ready to be made into edible preparations. Beans that have not been split are not dahl. Beans that are not dried are not dahls.

Gram are a type of round bean seed with an irregular texture and cover, with a notch on one end and a curved ridge on the other that looks like a chick's head.  Various grams exist such as the large chickpea also known as garbanzo, the horse gram known as kulattha, and the bengal gram, which is the split chickpea without its skin, also known as chana dal. When dried, gram are part of the pulses that can be used as food.

When they are cooked, most legumes yield a grainy thick soft texture that can be made into a paste and then watered down to a gravy or soup.

The cultivation, harvesting, drying, storing and processing of these seeds determines its medicinal properties. A dried bean ("pulse") that is toasted on dry heat becomes harder to digest for humans. The same bean can be soaked in water then boiled, or immediately boiled, or steamed, sauted in ghee, fried in oil, or mixed with other beans.  Each choice changes the medicinal property of the bean. One reason to follow traditional ayurvedic recipes is that they inform us which steps will yield which medicinal outcomes.


Yusha are Soups That Increase Agnibala (Digestive Power)

Foods prepared with several ingredients and processes in particular ways are grouped as kṛtanna varga (family) in ayurvedic texts. Yusha is the term for hot soups made of vegetables or pulses.

This family of foods is mentioned in the Astanga Hridaya from 2000+ years ago, and has continued to be used medicinally, uninterrupted and continuously handed down for thousands of years. kṛtanna foods are considered to be among the best medicines for shifting the doshas and are therefore highly prescribed as part of the therapeutic diet. kṛtanna foods usually include seeds of beans or grains seasoned with cooling salt, pungent spices and some appropriate sneha (oily) substance such as oil, fat or ghee.

Among the kṛtanna (kṛt, process, anna, food, S.) preparations are the yusha, soups made of vegetables or pulses. 22 yushas (यूष) are described in detail in a text called the Kaiyadeva Nighantu, one of dozens of compendia of Bharat's natural pharmacopoeia, which extended knowledge from modern-day Afghanistan through the Indian subcontinent and along the Indian Ocean rim through Indonesia. Kṛta-yusha is both heavily nourishing  and helps build the body's tissues but is also easier to digest due to the combination of ingredients and the method more difficult to digest.

Six preparations of yusha soups are described in the ancient texts, in which each soup is required to have three components present: saindhava lavana (salt from the Sindh); pungent (katu) spices such as dry ginger (sunthi), coriander (dhanyaka), cumin (jeeraka), pippali; and a non-refined seed oil or ghee. This combination makes the preparation evolve into a heavily-nourishing but light-to-digest food.  The six preparations are made of mudga (green gram), kulatta (horse gram), chana (bengal gram), and 5 gram-grains (yava, kola, kulathya, mudga, mulak). 

The preparation of each different type of yusha takes the main ingredient through its raw form, which is heavy to digest (guru), into water that is boiled, into which some salt is added. As the monsoon season (varsa ṛtu) approaches, the weather becomes windy, bringing in cool air, wetness and humidity. This change in wind, water, and temperature makes the body more aggravated in the three doshas and promotes low digestive power and fever. Adding yusha to the daily diet helps to calm the doshas.

सः स्यात् कृताख्यो लवणकटुस्नेहादिसंयुतः |

अकृताख्यस्तद्रहितः क्रमाद् गुरुलघू मतौ ||६३||

दकलावणिकः सर्वः साधितो लवणोदकैः |

यूषस्तनुरसः स्वल्पमात्रः स ज्वरनाशनः ||६४||

 (Kaiyadeva nighantu, chapter 5, sloka 63-64)


saḥ syāt kr̥tākhyō lavaṇakaṭusnēhādisaṁyutaḥ |

akr̥tākhyastadrahitaḥ kramād gurulaghū matau ||63||

dakalāvaṇikaḥ sarvaḥ sādhitō lavaṇōdakaiḥ |

yūṣastanurasaḥ svalpamātraḥ sa jvaranāśanaḥ

Translation: Over the course of preparation of kṛta foods, the use of salt and pungent with oils makes the food evolve from guru (heavy-to-digest) to laghu (light-to-digest). In all types of yusha, cooking with water and saindhava salt are required. The [pitta-cooling nature of this] salt used in the process of cooking helps to subside the mild fever disease common to this season.

In India, the varsa ṛtu follows the extreme heat of greeshma (hot, dry summer) during which the person's sweat pores carry heat out of the body and deplete the central heat store in the trunk. This low central heat reduces the digestive power and appetite of a person, so the Agnibala (digestive fire) becomes very low. As varsa ṛtu rushes in wind and cloudy weather, cools the hot dry summer air, and humidifies the hot ground, creating steam and humidity, these elements of wind, cold, humidity aggravate the body and agnibala further. 

Just as all ṛtus have distinct dietary guidelines, in varsa ṛtu foods such as yusha are described to increase the agnibala in the body. The Ayurveda classics vividly describe the foods yava (barley), yusha (soup) of mudga (mung) with other cereals such as rice, millets and wheat, old honey, and different types of salts with their minerals such as souvarcha lavana. These help people regain health when they diligently follow rules for preparation and for consumption and help them sustain a daily healthy life throughout the year.