Life is a sum of good and bad experiences, both of which matter to shape us and evolve our journey. This combination is seen so clearly in neem (bitter) with gud (sweet) concoctions made during Gudi Padwa and Ugadi. These festivals mark the beginning of the New Year and spring. On this auspicious day, Maharashtrians raise a Gudi and consume a mixture of neem and jaggery to welcome the new year. In south, states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra celebrate this day as Ugadi and share bevu-bella (neem and jaggery) which symbolizes both joys and sorrows that we encounter in the journey of life.
This festive day is a celebration of the beginning of spring and new ventures. House-warming pujas are done at home along with buying gold and silver as ways of expressing this emotion. Apart from that, neem plant gained significance during this festival, which is rooted in science. Gudi Padwa being the first day when sun starts to warm up Mother Earth and therefore right time to have neem. There are two key reasons having neem helps during this time – first is that excess kapha has built in our system, so neem helps to fight it and second reason why for the whole month people continue to drink neem juice is because pitta dosha accumulates with the rising temperature and if it accumulates beyond a point, we see blood & skin issues and other diseases.
Neem being bitter is blended with jaggery that has its own benefits so that the drink is not only delicious but also super healthy! Both have medicinal properties and therefore make a perfect combination!
Jaggery is a complex carbohydrate and unlike sugar, it stays in the system longer. It aids digestion and keeps constipation at bay. It effectively cleans the respiratory tracts, lungs, food pipe, stomach and intestines. So, adding that to neem juice, will just make it more nutritious.
Here are benefits of having neem gud juice as we hit spring and can be continued through the month:
- It detoxifies the body: As the neem leaves contain enzymes that can flush out all the toxins and waste from your body, this mixture acts as a natural detox.
- It kills stomach worms: The strong enzymes present in neem have the ability to kill the harmful microorganisms and worms that grow in your stomach, thus, preventing many diseases.
- It aids weight loss: As the mixture of neem and jaggery can improve your metabolism and your body's capacity to burn fat cells, it can aid weight loss.
- It can prevent ulcers: This combination of neem and jaggery has gastro-protective elements that can prevent stomach ulcers and even treat them.
- It can protect our skin: The mixture of neem and jaggery, contains powerful antioxidants, which can help protect your skin against UV radiation and free radical damage.
- It heals wounds: As this homemade mixture has anti-inflammatory properties, it can treat wounds and heal them much quickly.
- It improves our immunity: The antioxidants in the mixture of neem and jaggery have ability to boost your immunity and keep you safe against common diseases.
Each of our festival brings with it its unique benefits that are great for our inner well-being. They are seasonal and therefore fresh in their offerings. We are blessed to be in a culture that is so rich and constantly adding newness in our nutrition. So, let’s celebrate the coming of spring and prepare our fresh neem gud juice to soak up all the benefits.
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