Wintergreen oil


Thus sometimes hath the brightest day a cloud;
And after summer evermore succeeds
Barren winter, with his wrathful nipping cold:
So cares and joys abound, as seasons fleet.

– William Shakespeare

A Shakespearean summer has the brightest cloud while the winter – barren and wrathful.  That had also taught me about colorful summers and rusty calm brown winters. But the beauty of the aromatic shrub wintergreen is the fight these put up, to continue their photosynthesis throughout winter and maintain their skin color. Yes. They remain green throughout winter and hence the name ‘Wintergreen’, also aptly called evergreen.

Their genus is the Gaultheria which contains an aromatic compound methyl salicylate. Innate to the winter’s rusty smell, the oil of wintergreen is a pale yellow or pinkish fluid that has a sweet, woody smell. This characteristic smell could possibly trigger asthma although it could serve as a medicine for arthritis, rheumatism, edema, hypertension, and such inflammation.

Analgesic

How could a woody rusty oil be an analgesic? The answer to this is the intensity that comes from the salicylate, which induces numbness and an anesthetic effect on the nerves. As it improves blood circulation while the analgesic is work, it effectively fights pain.

Astringent

The astringent property of wintergreen oil could contract muscles, tissues, hair roots and blood vessels. This helps in strengthening and stiffening of the target organ, thus adding firmness and lifting the external skin leading to a younger look.

Diuretic

This property of the wintergreen oil comes from is stimulating characteristics. It stimulates the kidneys thus helping in water flushing and filtration by the organs. This aids in the removal of toxins like uric acid. This prevents building up of fluids in any part of the body. By preventing unwanted fluid pockets, direct disorders such as rheumatism and arthritis which are cause due to the accumulation of unwanted toxins, are naturally kept under check. Kidney stones, gall bladder stones are all no risk effects of wintergreen oil.

Edema cure

This essential oil helps removal of excess water, fat and salt from the body. Now what does this cost us? As good as it gets, is the escape from serious conditions such as edema, water logging and hypertension.

Emmenagogue

Women health is a critical area of study and research. Obstructed menstruation is a known issue in urban women. The essential oil of wintergreen is one of the agents that can liberate the obstruction and restart the menses and also aid in keeping them regular. What could possibly the long-term effects? – saving our women from uterine ulcers and cancers, abdominal pain, failing health and difficult periods.

Art

Wintergreen oil is surprisingly one of those oils that have diverse applications. It can be used in fine art printing applications to transfer color photocopy image or print into an art.  The image is coated with wintergreen oil before being placed face down on the target paper. The final step is a standard etch press.

Usage

The oil comes with a strict warning. It is UNSAFE for oral intake. It is rigidly recommended not to directly consume it by mouth – no direct drinking. According to research in Oregon, about 30ml is enough to kill an adult and 1ml would kill a child. So NO-NO to oral intake.

This shrub is a home plant of native America. Native Americans were known to use the wintergreen berry in tea. It is a common flavoring agent in gums, mints and candies. It is a component of the American-origin drink root-beer.  Only if we learn not to do the DON’T’s, we shall be able to make the best and diverse use of this otherwise useful essential oil.

Disclaimer – Usage for different applications might demand specific mixture and composition with specific compounds that may not have been discussed in this blog. All of the above information has not been evaluated by the food and Drug Administration or any other qualifying entity. All of the content above is from various sources on the web. The medicines and the recipes discussed, are proven to be effective based on the experiences and other blogs on the internet. Not all of these have been personally tried and tested by me. I am no expert in this oil’s usage. Good luck trying!

This post has been written in collaboration with the IndianSuperHeroes. They have these oils purely extracted from the herbs. You can find them in their store right here.

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Lavender oil


The first thought that comes to my mind at the sound of lavender, is the lush teen purplish color full of energy and youth. Contrary to intuitive interpretation, lavender hails from the old world. References to spikenard (believed to be the ancient name of this essential oil) dates back more than 2500 years ago in Syrian culture, and possible earlier than that in Indian culture.

Little did I know that it comes from ‘Lavandula’ – a genus of 39 species of flowering plants. It hails from the mint family, Lamiaceae. Many members of the Lamiaceae family are cultivated in moderate climates. The beauty and the color of the plant have it seeded as ornamental plants. Appearances are deceptive. Trust me, there’s a lot more to this mesmerizing beauty than just the looks and the color.

The essential oil distilled from the flower spikes of certain species of lavender has two distinct forms – lavender flower oil (a colorless oil, insoluble in water, having a density of 0.885 g/mL) and lavender spike oil (a distillate from the herb Lavandula latifolia, having density 0.905 g/mL).a specific lavender oil from Kashmir called the Kashmir lavender oil is famous for being produced from lavender at the foothills of the Himalayas.

Although varied by species, all of the lavender essential oils are known to contain primarily of monoterpeneoids and sesquiterpeneoids. Of these linalool and linalyl acetate dominate, with moderate levels of lavandulyl acetate, terpinen-4-ol and lavandulol. 1, 8 cineole and camphor are also present in low to moderate qualities. In all lavender oil typically contains many more than 100 compounds, although a great many of these are present at very low concentrations. The domination of lavandulyl components reason out why this herb is named lavender and hence the essential oil’s name is also reasoned out.

Lavender oil has been the favorite household oil among several nations and cultures. Egyptians used it for mummification and as perfume; while the Romans used it for bathing, cooking and for scenting the air. Americans use it as antioxidants.

Lavender oil is a key ingredient in aromatherapy since it is considered an excellent medicine for aching muscles, injuries, and sores. Lavender bath, lavender shower, steam inhalation, and hand/foot bath are known to be very effective and soothing. It is a common sleep aid and is believed to help in beestings and insect bites. It is considered a flavor booster in healthy recipes, a remedy for stomach discomfort, a natural chemical-free lip balm, and a non-toxic air freshener.

Apart from serving as a medicine, lavender oil’s antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics make it conducive for skin benefits. It improves eczema and acne in skin therapy, when handled appropriately.

Thanks to all of the references and articles that helped me wow at this ancient yet young essential oil. Old is indeed gold! Old is young, for the young and old.

Disclaimer All of the above information have not been evaluated by the food and Drug Administration or any other qualifying entity. All of the content above is from various sources on the web. The medicines and the recipes discussed, are proven to be effective based on the experiences and other blogs on the internet. Not all of these have been personally tried and tested by me. I am no expert in this oil usage. Good luck trying!

This post has been written in collaboration with the IndianSuperHeroes. They have these oils purely extracted from the herbs. You can find them in their store right here.

VMM vs UVM


VMM Vs UVM

VMM and UVM are two major verification methodologies that are built on SystemVerilog based test benches. VMM stands for Verification Methodology Manual and UVM stands for Universal Verification Methodology. The industry is shifting gears towards UVM due to the flexibility and powerful register model. The differences and the similarities are highlighted in this article to briefly understand the details.

Phasing  –  

UVM has phasing similar to VMM. Although the names of the phases are different, and the behavior obviously has minor differences, there is not a whole leap of difference here. The idea is to separate out elaboration from stimulus generation in a test in both the cases. The subtle difference again, starts to appear in the part division of the phases. Another difference is the control in the hands of the developer, where user-defined phasing and user-defined relationships between the phases is a magic wand in hand, to control the stimulus better.

Register model –

The register model is the real takeaway in UVM. A methodology becomes powerful when it enables the abstraction of chunks of memory such as registers. The backbone of the register model comes from Memory Allocation Manager (MAM) in VMM. Now the area where UVM differs is the granularity it provides to the developer. That is, the developer I sable to iterate through hundreds of registers/memory blocks and memory maps, with a single register model per module. The surprise does not end there. The RM provides bit level access, and control for each of the memory sub-blocks. Chunks of memory blocks can be read and written from within a test stimulus in no time. The VMM MVM model only enables the offset and byte level access.

Sequences Vs Scenarios –

Both UVM sequences and VMM scenarios have the same capabilities. They need to be able to allow multi-layered stimulus and modularity of tests. The beauty of these components lies in separating the stimulus from the testbench which is a head-on challenge for every verification engineer. The differences that sequences provide are the pronounced object oriented approach in terms of virtual sequences.

These are some of the major differences existing today. The purpose of the article is to take up same/similar components and concepts to see how differently the two methodologies empower the verification engineer.

Basil oil


We are all ruled by our memories – good, bad, favorite and bitter ones all put together. An important part of our memory is the fragrance we have grown up with. The smell of our favorite dish probably reminds us of our mom. And it is the person or the occasion that steals our attention at that moment. A fragrance could be as powerful as time to give us a ride back to our fondest of times. Visiting Hindu temples was an important part of my childhood and growing years. And one such fragrance that calms me to this date is the aroma of holy basil or the famously called Tulsi. Apart from curing common cold and allergies, the holy basil and the whole basil oil family is known to have a lot of uses and manifestations. And that’s what encouraged me to delve into these herbs a little bit. And I am so glad I did this because this research let me unearth a lot of ancient practices and foods. And here is what I found . . .

The ‘King’ of herbs

Tulsi is known for purity, calmness and revered sacred. Tulsi comes from the family of basil herbs. Ocimum basilicum or the great basil is possibly native to India and I am guessing it should have travelled as far as Italy during the British times. To this day, it is considered very belonging to the European part of the world for it is the ‘King of Herbs’. The very name basil comes from the Greek βασιλικόν φυτόν (basilikón phutón) which means “royal/kingly”. The whole basil family is known for its medicinal and herbal uses. Yes. Be it the great basil which is widely recognized as the culinary herb in Europe or the holy basil worshipped down south in India, you will have come across some derivative of this herb at some point in life.

Chemically royal

There are many varieties of Ocimum basilicum or the royal basil. Sweet basil (Genovese basil), Thai basil (Ocimum thyrsiflora), lemon basil (O. × citriodorum), and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) are some of the prominent types. These are treated as annuals. It is amazing how every continent has had some form of basil since time immemorial. Basil plants tend to be extremely sensitive. The surroundings of a growing basic plant must be maintained hygienically. Once nurtured and grown, the presence of the leaves in a place could clean up the space from dirty flies and insects. Intuitively, the basil of that land has been the perfect antibiotic for that weather and geography.

The compounds found in basil essential oil come from fresh basil leaves, stems and flowers. The basil extract from these parts, are steam distilled to produce basil oil. These compounds are rich antioxidants. Monoterpenes and phenyl-propanoids are the key constituents of any basil’s oil. The character to each basil variety is infused by the genotype and percentage difference in the constituent chemical compounds.

Composition

Sweet basil oil is made up of d-linalool with 55 percent and estragole (methyl chavicol) with 70 percent. A variety of the essential oil contains methyl cinnamate of 28 percent.

Sweet basil oil contains other properties such as 1, 8-cineole, eugenol, borneol, ocimene, geraniol, anethol, 10-cadinols, B-caryophyllene, a-terpineol, camphor, 3-octanone, methyleugenol, safrole, sesquithujene, and 1-epibicyclosesqui-phellandrene. It also contains juvocimene 1 and juvocimene 2. Take note that variations of these chemical properties may exist depending on the source of the plant.

In food

Basil is majorly considered a culinary ingredient. Nations and traditions have been playing around with the herb in all kinds of dishes from basil tea to basil flavored pastas and salads. Extremely rejuvenating drinks like basil raspberry water, holy basil water (in Indian temples) are considered healthy and cleansing. Basil oil is added in tomato ketchup, pickles, fancy vinegars and spiced meats and sausages. It is the signature ingredient of Italian cuisine.

Medicinal uses

The mild aroma of basil oil is known to effectively relieve sinus congestion, asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. It is believed to alleviate mental fatigue, migraine and depression. Its carminative properties culminate in aiding the digestive system by reducing indigestion, constipation, menstrual cramps and flatulence. It is generally recognized as safe for external and internal uses.

Other benefits

Ancient Chinese doctors used basil oil to treat epilepsy and as an antidote against snake poison. The oil soothed irritated skin, relieved pain caused by rheumatism, and nervous disorders.

Wow! Isn’t that a diverse manifestation for one small herb? I am super tempted to go with the basil pesto pasta with a walnut topped cranberry veggie salad in basil oil island for my dinner. So! What are you going to invent with this herb king?

Disclaimer – All of the above information have not been evaluated by the food and Drug Administration or any other qualifying entity. All of the content above is from various sources on the web. The medicines and the recipes discussed, are proven to be effective based on the experiences and other blogs on the internet. Not all of these have been personally tried and tested by me. I am no expert in this oil usage. Good luck trying!

This post has been written in collaboration with the IndianSuperHeroes. They have these oils purely extracted from the herbs. You can find them in their store right here.

Lemongrass Oil


As I walked past a Thai massage spa en route the grocery store, I saw a lady walking out of the spa, so happy and energized. What a blank gaze, she might have thought. Or maybe not. She knew that I was lost looking at her. But she walked unperturbed. Yes. I was looking at her, but not at her really. Something else drew my attention away. My gaze turned into a gasp, only for good though. One pair of tiny nostrils is an unfair geometry to experience such fragrance, I thought to myself. But come to think of it, the spa door was just closing as the lady exited, and there was not a lot of room for so much fragrance that swept my attention. Wait, what’s this strong aroma? How could it be so intense in such a short time, through a narrow door, that was already closing? It got me curious. And I had to enter the spa just for the free smells. Or at least. Welcome to lemongrass Wednesday, greeted the signboard.

Cymbopogon citratus is the Latin name of this South Asian/ North African herb. Going by its family name citratus, it is a citrus plant. Unlike other herbs, this is a weed. It looks like an ordinary weed grass, but has a strong citrus flavor, which is why it has been used in a realm of fields such as medicine, food, perfume and a disinfectant, to name a few.

Composition – Geranial, Neral

To understand this oil, it helps to learn the chemical composition. The DNA of this oil is decided by two aldehydes – geranial and neral, of which, the former is responsible for the lemony aroma and the latter gives acute sweetness. The combination of the two is a strong, sweet, lemon like flavor accompanied by raw bitterness that comes from the native weed. Aldehydes inherently have the ability to cleanse surfaces. When diffused, they can rejuvenate and lessen feelings of stress. The two major varieties are citratus and flexuosus families. It is an important herb in Ayurveda. The oil is extracted from the leaves of this plant. And thus, it can be identified by its pale or bright yellow color, with a strong, lemony and earthy scent.

References –

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Refreshing benefits –

The oil from the flexuosus derivatives is commonly used in the perfume industry. In combination with sweet almond oil, it could be a winning combo for massage oils. It is a promising additive to DIY household cleaning products. Lemongrass oil is a natural air freshener. It induces hygiene by its ability to repel insects and flies. Here again, the citral geranial content helps in keeping the surroundings free from mosquitoes and ants.

The citratus component is getting used in newer dishes in cooking. Lemongrass soups are a thing in several Thai restaurants off late. The bold flavor soothes travel fatigue, and mundaneness in routines. Lemon Orzo, the traditional Thai red curry, steamed lemon grass recipes and many more recipes world over, bask in the aroma and glory of lemongrass. The raw herb makes it to the list of aromatic tea and countless other beverages.

In medicine, lemongrass oil is found to be antibacterial and antifungal (possibly due to geranial). It is also believed to remove excess gas from the intestines thereby aiding in gastrointestinal health and digestion. A flavonoid compound called luteolin has been linked to combating cancer cells, apart from improving symptoms of lung infections and multiple sclerosis. The intuitive citrus scent could potentially elevate our senses, thereby uplifting the mood and the freshness in the atmosphere. The strong aroma takes over the atmospheric odor, thus aiding anxiety relief, irritability and insomnia.

A study conducted in 2009, tested whether essential lemongrass oil vapor helped the atmosphere. It was observed that 89% of atmospheric bacteria were removed within 15 hours, when lemongrass oil was sprayed in an office environment.

Caution –

The citral concentration is so intense that it is believed to potentially burn outer skin (just by external application), if the oil is not blended carefully. With properly researched and combined mixtures, the lemongrass oil could turn out be an amazing culinary ingredient, or aromatherapy medicine. It is a treat to put it to right use, and reap its benefits.

By the time I was done reading the note, my throat and my lips had dried out entirely. I closed my mouth, to protect myself. I had a thousand thoughts rush my mind, in awe of the experiments, our ancestors have done world over. Every culture has tried and tested this herb in food, medicine and cosmetics. Massive respect for all of that hard work. As I approached the exit door, my mind was refreshed and I am guessing it reflected on my face. I am pretty confident about this although I did not get to see myself in any mirror. The lady gazing at me, contemplating a visit to this spa, had her attention divided by the scent of this citrus senorita. I walked unperturbed. Deja vu! I know that feeling miss. But with a tricky smile this time, for I was passing on the ecstasy of this geranial Cymbopogon citratus, to the one approaching with curiosity.  Ah,  what could a small herb do to your evening?!

Disclaimer – 

All of the content above is from various sources on the web. The medicines and the recipes discussed, are proven to be effective based on the experiences and other blogs on the internet. Not all of these have been personally tried and tested by me. I am no expert in this oil usage. Good luck trying!

This post has been written in collaboration with the IndianSuperHeroes. They have these oils purely extracted from the herbs. You can find them in their store right here.

SunoMaaKiKahaani


I am sharing my write up, which was a submission to #SunoMaaKiKahaani (Listen to a mother’s story) by the government of India. It is a small write-up that is constrained with word limit.

I hope to expand this as a complete blog. For now, the original entry . . .

Amidst mothers who defended their girl, I went to school alone, explored, and came back with strength. She prepared me for a tomorrow surrounded by strangers. You can be a hero amongst those who love you. Would you go beyond yourself and still show courage? She came into an orthodox family and introduced me to Bharatanatyam (primarily devadasis’ art then – prohibited, in a traditional Brahmin household), created a dancer in me; pushed middle-class frontiers; afforded foreign education. Burning her midnight oil for my dance exams, she also passed on her indomitable spirit to me – it took two years to gather myself up, to go on stage and be a performer, yet again, after her demise – especially after the warrior battle she put up against her brain damage. Yes. Not just education that matters – it is the material you make yourself, your character that writes your tale no matter how learned you become! Should I dance ever again? The day before my performance, I felt shattered, before the last set of hairpins from her, revealed her answer to my two-year long question. She lives on, in my new “Environment-Day” plant, this write-up, and in every good soul around.

VMM vs UVM


VMM Vs UVM

VMM and UVM are two major verification methodologies that are built on SystemVerilog based test benches. VMM stands for Verification Methodology Manual and UVM stands for Universal Verification Methodology. The industry is shifting gears towards UVM due to the flexibility and powerful register model. The differences and the similarities are highlighted in this article to briefly understand the details.

Phasing  –  

UVM has phasing similar to VMM. Although the names of the phases are different, and the behavior obviously has minor differences, there is not a whole leap of difference here. The idea is to separate out elaboration from stimulus generation in a test in both the cases. The subtle difference again, starts to appear in the part division of the phases. Another difference is the control in the hands of the developer, where user-defined phasing and user-defined relationships between the phases is a magic wand in hand, to control the stimulus better.

Register model –

The register model is the real takeaway in UVM. A methodology becomes powerful when it enables the abstraction of chunks of memory such as registers. The backbone of the register model comes from Memory Allocation Manager (MAM) in VMM. Now the area where UVM differs is the granularity it provides to the developer. That is, the developer I sable to iterate through hundreds of registers/memory blocks and memory maps, with a single register model per module. The surprise does not end there. The RM provides bit level access, and control for each of the memory sub-blocks. Chunks of memory blocks can be read and written from within a test stimulus in no time. The VMM MVM model only enables the offset and byte level access.

Sequences Vs Scenarios –

Both UVM sequences and VMM scenarios have the same capabilities. They need to be able to allow multi-layered stimulus and modularity of tests. The beauty of these components lies in separating the stimulus from the testbench which is a head-on challenge for every verification engineer. The differences that sequences provide are the pronounced object oriented approach in terms of virtual sequences.

These are some of the major differences existing today. The purpose of the article is to take up same/similar components and concepts to see how differently the two methodologies empower the verification engineer.