The ancient Ayurveda emphasized the treatment of various ailments with the use of medicinal extracts of herbs. Many of the herbs which are used for treatment are exported from Assam.
Assam, located in the North-Eastern part of India is rich in flora and fauna. Various kinds of edible herbs which are native to this place are popular around the globe. These herbs are called Xaak in Assamese.
There are almost hundreds of varieties of different xaak. Each xaak is known to have its unique medicinal property. Most of the xaak we get in Assam is rich in minerals and vitamins.
Traditionally, on the first day of the Assamese new year, a total of 101 varieties of xaak are eaten. Xaak can be eaten in fried form or used in curries. Xaak has an important role to play in Assamese cuisine.
Xaak grows in swamp areas having tropical climatic conditions. The most common xaak which are available everywhere are- Lai Xaak, Datha Xaak, Mani-muni, Mosandari, Pui Xaak, Dhekia Xaak, Kolmou Xaak.
Among these, the two xaak which are known to have maximum medicinal property are- Mani muni and Mosandari.
When we talk about mani muni xaak, we should know that there are two types of mani muni plant, namely, Bor mani muni and Xoru mani muni. The leaf of the mani muni plant is in the shape of a kidney, mildly toothed and palmate nerved.
In Assamese, the word "Bor" means big. Bor mani muni is the one having the larger size of leaf contrasting with the xoru mani muni having the smaller size of leaves. Ayurveda mentions that mani muni xaak revitalizes the nerves and brain cells. It is widely used as a blood purifier and treatment of blood pressure and also enhances memory.
The ancient Ayurveda emphasized the treatment of various ailment with the use of medicinal extracts of herbs.Saponins, which is also called triterpenoids is an active constituent of this particular herb and is responsible for healing wounds and vascular effects by inhibiting the production of collagen at the wounded site.
It also treats emotional disorders and depression.
The next most popular xaak is Mosandari or the Himalayan Spinach. It is extremely useful in treating stomach-related issues like dysentery. It also increases the blood in the body, treats heart diseases and strengthens muscles.
Researches say that it is effective against allergies and asthma. Polyphenols are a potent component in Mosandari and are an antioxidant that fights against free radicals.
This plant supports the body's immune system by stimulating the production of lymphocytes which are crucial for the body's natural defence mechanism.
In Meghalaya, this herb is called Ja Mordah and is a popular ingredient in salads. Mosandari has a taste of fish, so it has the nickname fish mint.
The best places to get all the popular varieties of xaak are the vegetable markets in Ganeshguri, Uzan Bazar, Beltola and Silpukhuri.
Apart from that, there are Assamese restaurants like "Paradise" and "Khorika" in which serve traditional cuisines using this xaak.