The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, June 8, 2003

Write view
Healthy fare indeed!
Randeep Wadehra

Good Health: The Alternative Way
by Katie Coutts with Marion Quinn
Indus Publishing Company, New Delhi. Pages 304. Rs. 195.

Good Health: The Alternative WayHEALTH is essential for our happiness, but the human body is susceptible to various ailments. Reasons can vary from stress to genetic disorders to a sedentary lifestyle. Though modern medicine has made tremendous progress, yet, despite sophisticated diagnostic techniques, it has been unable to provide a cure to all the ailments. Then, there are certain treatments that are either costly or have side-effects that are often worse than the original malady.

This impels one to look for the alternate methods of treatment. Ayurveda, homeopathy, magnetotherapy, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy and sheer quackery become attractive options.

The authors have, in a breezy yet thoughtful manner, enumerated various ailments and their cures: An abscess can be treated with tea tree oil, which has antiseptic characteristics. One can even use garlic for the same. However, readers are warned that this treatment is only for minor abscess. If the wound is greater, consult a doctor. Similarly, garlic, dandelion, evening primrose oil etc can help treat acne. Alzheimer's disease can be at least slowed down by eating Brazil nuts, dandelion flowers or drinking dandelion tea or consuming fava beans. Apples, blackberries, carrots or thyme can do a lot of good to those suffering from diarrhea. People suffering from menstrual cramps can get relief by drinking raspberry or strawberry leaf tea, or using evening primrose oil, or ginger or a bowl of fresh bilberries, unless of course you are allergic to any of these.

There are other common ailments that the authors say can be cured with edible herbs, fruits and other natural produce. Buy it if you believe in home remedies, but not as a replacement for your doctor.



A Manual on Dog Care
by Dr. Gautam Unny
Rupa, New Delhi. Pages xii+146. Rs. 195.

A Manual on Dog CareDog’s are great friends. They stand by you through thick and thin. Help you overcome the blues. Provide you with a beautiful companionship since they can instinctively empathise with you, and even entertain you. There are all sorts of dogs. The desi variety that is sturdy and resistant to tropical heat and related ailments; or the phoren one that needs great care and protection from the vagaries of our climate.

The author says there's no unanimity over original ancestors (wolves, jackals or the dingo?) of the modern-day dog. Though the wolf theory is most popular, some consider the dog as a hybrid of all the three. There are three types of dogs, i.e., the wild, the feral that reverted from its domesticated status to become wild, and the pet. Although dogs made their debut on this planet about fifteen million years ago, they were domesticated only about years ago. Originally, they acted as scavengers-cum-security guards, clearing up the garbage around the human habitat and fiercely protecting the dwellings. Later on, they became useful as hunters due to their superior speed, smell and vision. Gradually, over centuries, man began to work on breeding the canines while tinkering with their genetic traits.

After giving this background Unny details the various diseases that might affect dogs. He also dwells upon their behavioral problems. There are separate chapters on veterinary care, care of the pup, nutrition, dog behavior and training, dog shows etc. If you love dogs you cannot afford to ignore this book.


Advances in Potato Science
by R.K. Maiti and V.P. Singh
The Gaurav Society, Hisar. Pages viii+401. Rs. 750.

Advances in Potato SciencePotato is considered as poor man's source of nutrition. It was Europe's anti-famine food before it became staple. In Asia and Africa it is a co-staple. The world over, it was earlier looked upon as a highland subsistence crop. Mostly tasteless, it can be consumed in a variety of ways—boil it, bake it, roast it, use it as an ingredient of a curry recipe or make potato curry itself. It lends taste and texture to your daily food. Out of more than 2000 odd varieties of potatoes the world over, only seven are cultivated and the rest grow as wild herbs and shrubs. Out of the seven cultivable ones only one, the Solanum tuberosum L, is grown throughout the world. The other six are grown only in South America.

It originated in South America's Andes Mountains, where it was being grown for over 13,000 years. In 1570 it reached Spain and thence to other European countries. It was introduced into India in 1610, China in 1700 and Japan in 1766. It reached North America only in early 1700s courtesy the Scotch-Irish immigrants.

Wild potatoes are found at altitudes ranging from sea level to over 4000 meters with widely different temperatures, day-lengths and water availability. Some species are found over a wide geographical area, while others are restricted to a particular region. The vegetable grows everywhere - the semi-deserts, rain forests, and the temperate climes. The authors point out that perhaps the most curious wild potato of all is one that grows on the mossy branches of oak trees!

Chapters like Physiology of Potato Plant, Mineral Nutrition of Potato, Potato Biotechnology etc are most informative. Great reference work for students and research scholars.