‘All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy’ - Well, the saying is obviously true, working throughout the day sans any exercise (play) makes not only Jack but any person dull and unhealthy. In today’s fast paced sedentary lifestyle, most people are preoccupied with excessive work, no thanks to the work from home mode and hence they hardly get time to exercise, or even take a short walk. Additionally, irregular eating and sleep timings, unhealthy habits like intake of junk food, forgetting to drink water, smoking, drinking etc have rendered an overall depreciation of health. Owing to this, one not only faces problems related to the kidney health like kidney stones, urinary tract infection, bladder problems, water retention, and excess uric acid in the urine but also issues related to the gut like gas, bloating, indigestion, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea. Additionally, it also causes problems regarding skin, hair, sleep, and even mental health.
The human body is made up of 5 different elements or Pancha dhatus namely Earth or Prithvi, Water or Ap, Air or Vayu, Fire or Tejas and Ether or Aakash. These Pancha dhatus govern the various systems of the body and constitutes the three specific doshas or energies in human beings. The doshas namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha when in balance maintain health and vitality whereas when they are out of synchronization, they cause different types of health anomalies. Well, you need not worry as Mother Earth has bestowed us with a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. One such incredible vegetable that offers a remedial solution for all Pitta disturbances causing problems related to the kidney and renal system is Daucus carota, that goes by the common name Wild Carrot.
What Is Wild Carrot?
Wild Carrot is a flowering, herbaceous plant of biennial origin that can reach a height of 1m (3 feet) and a spread of 30cm (1 foot.) It goes by the scientific name Daucus carota and belongs to the Apiaceae family which includes parsnip, parsley, fennel and angelica. It is mainly native to temperate regions of Europe and southwest Asia, and naturalized to North America and Australia. Although, it can grow in any soil and sustain in wide range of temperatures, it chiefly requires calcareous soil, which have fine-particles and high nutrient status. It thrives well in thickets, areas along railroads and roadsides, lawns, fence rows, pastures, degraded prairies or meadows, abandoned fields, vacant lots, junk yards, and other waste areas.
Wild Carrot has a small, spindle shaped root that is whitish, slender and hard unlike that of normal carrot. The stem of the plant is erect and branched, generally about 2 feet high, tough and furrowed. The leaves of wild carrot are tripinnate, finely divided and lacy, and overall triangular in shape while the flowers are small and dull white, clustered in flat, dense umbels. The umbels of the flowers are usually pink in bud form with a reddish or purple flower in the center of the umbel. The fruits are usually small, dry and bumpy with protective hairs surrounding it. They are mainly oval or flat, with short styles and hooked spines. The fruit is small, dry and bumpy with protective hairs surrounding it. The fruit mainly contains 2 seeds which are yellowish-brown to gray, flat on one side, and convex on the other side.
Although, wild carrot is quite similar in appearance to the deadly poison hemlock; it is distinguished by a mix of tri-pinnate leaves, fine hairs on its solid green stems and on its leaves. Additionally, the root smells like carrots, and occasionally it has a single dark red flower in the center of the umbel.
Daucus carota or wild carrot was mainly introduced and naturalized in North America, where it is fondly known as “Queen Anne’s lace”. It was mainly named after Anne, Queen of Great Britain, and her great grandmother Anne of Denmark. It is so-called because the flower of the wild carrot plant resembles lace; and the red flower in the center is thought to represent a blood droplet where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace.
Synonyms Of Wild Carrot
Wild Carrot is known by different names in different parts of the world. It is chiefly known as Queen-Anne’s lace, Bees’ Nest, , Yarkuki, Zanahoria Wild Carrot, Birds Nest Weed, Devils Plague, Bird’s Nest, Carrot, Carotte, Carrot, Wild Carrot Garden Carrot, Bee’s nest plant, and Bird’s nest root in English.
In the Indian subcontinent, it is known as Gajar in Hindi, Gjaru Gadda in Telugu, Gajar in Marathi, Muriin Malayalam, Carrot Vithai in Tamil, kootipacha and Gajjari in Kannada. Other synonyms include Gajaram, Shikimoola, Naranga kanda, Grunjana, Peetaka, Naranga varnaka, Shikhimoola, Vartula, Yavanestha, Dindeeramodaka and Granthimoola.
Unlike carrot, this tap root of wild carrot is not edible. In Ayurveda or modern science, generally the part that is above the ground and the oil obtained from its seeds has therapeutic benefits and hence used for the treatment of various ailments.
Ayurvedic Indications Of Wild Carrot
Daucus carota is sanctified with a wide variety of qualities which are mainly indicated in Ayurveda to be used for Mehahara (treats urinary tract disorders), Deepana (enhances stomach fire), Pachana (helps in digestion), Rochana (stimulates appetite), Kupachan (prevents bloating, indigestion), Kamala (prevents jaundice), Kasahara (Relieves cough), Vayasthapana (prevents ageing), Shonitasthapana (prevents bleeding), Hridaya (treats heart problems), Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea), Pandu (treats skin disorders), Raktadoshahara (blood purifying), Vran Ropana (heals wounds), , Prameha (manages diabetes), Vamana (prevents nausea and vomiting), Trutahara (relieves excessive thirst), Jvara (useful in fever), Krimihara (relieves intestinal worms), Yakrit Vikara (prevents liver infections), Amahara (treats indigestion), Dahahara (relieves burning sensation), Shwasha (relieves breathing difficulties), Anulomana (improves breathing), Pandu (treats anaemia), Balya (improves muscle strength), Hikkanigrahana (controls hiccups), Kantya (relieves sore throat), Triptighno (relieves pseudo-satiation), and Vamanopaga (treats emesis), and Varnya (improves complexion).
Chemical Composition Of Wild Carrot
The seed oil of wild carrot is the preliminary source of medication and it chiefly contains flavones including chypsin, apigenin and luteolin. It alsocontains 5- methoxysoralen and 8- methoxysoralen, furanocoumins. The seed oil is a renal irritant and mainly shows potent diuretic activity. The tuber of wild carrot consists of alpha and beta carotenes.
Imbued with potent diuretic, carminative, anthelminthic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, emmenagogue, anti-dysenteric, galactagogue, deobstruent, diuretic, ophthalmic, stimulant, antirheumatic properties, Wild carrot is extensively used for providing relief from renal disorders, kidney stones, urinary and stomach problems, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, jaundice, liver infections, fever, allergy, asthma, skin conditions including eczema and vitiligo, rheumatic arthritis, bleeding, diabetes etc. It is also used for treating menopause, menstrual disorders, dysmenorrhea, etc.
Health Benefits Of Wild Carrot
Treats Kidney Anomalies
Wild Carrot is a traditional remedy for enhancing healthy functioning of the kidneys by aiding in the excretion of excess uric acid and maintaining the uric acid level in the kidneys, thereby preventing or treating gout. The powerful anti-lithiasis property of the seed inhibits the formation of kidney stones, helps to break or reduce the size of the formed ones and thus prevents various underlying health conditions like polycystic kidney disease, kidney stones, and cystitis.
Consumption of tea made from the roots of wild carrot helps treating kidney stone.
Prized for its excellent carminative and digestive qualities, wild carrot confers an absolute solution for all digestive woes. The anti-flatulent property reduces the formation of gas in the alimentary canal, thus reducing flatulence, bloating, constipation, and abdominal distension. The antacid property of the tuber prevents the formation of excessive acids in the stomach thereby treating indigestion, ulcer, gastritis and promoting better absorption of nutrients in the body.
Aids In Weight Loss
The abundance of flavonoids in the seed of this plant helps the body shed excess weight faster. Owing to the presence of fibre and anti-obesity action, when taken regularly, wild carrot chiefly satiates sudden hunger pangs and prevents overeating and hence can play a pivotal role in one’s weight loss regimen. It also reduces the accumulation of LDL (i.e. Low-Density Lipoproteins or bad cholesterol) in the body, thereby improving metabolism and helping the body to maintain a proper weight.
Owing to its potent galactagogue action, wild carrot helps to increase the production of prolactin and corticoids, which in turn triggers the production of breast milk, thus improving lactation and the quality of breast milk. This is extremely beneficial towards the young ones since breast milk is ideal for their nourishment and helps strengthening their immune system.
Combats Respiratory Issues
Sanctified with powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, and anti-asthmatic properties, Wild carrot is considered to be a well-known traditional remedy for all sorts of respiratory woes. It is extensively used for treating the common cold, sore throat, cough and flu symptoms. It also actively thins and loosens catarrh particles within the chest and nasal cavities and hence eases breathing and helps the body to get rid of mucus.
Shields Against Infections
The antioxidant and antimicrobial property of wild carrot not only helps in removing bacteria and germs from the body but also used for recurring fever conditions. It also helps in reducing general debility, weakness, and fatigue and improves the vitality of the body.
Thanks to the intrinsic hypoglycaemic property, Wild carrot plays a fundamental role in pacifying the blood sugar levels in the body. The production of insulin from the β-pancreatic cells becomes active in taking this plant. It helps to reduce the breakdown of starch into glucose which in turn leads to low blood glucose levels and thus helps in managing diabetes.
Intake warm water infusion of the flowers of wild carrot to keep blood sugar levels in control.
Wild Carrot is extensively used in treating gout as it reduces the uric acid levels in the body by actively participating in its removal through the kidneys and hence, prevents them from getting deposited in the synovial tissues.
Boosts Eye Health
Just like usual carrot, wild carrots contain Vitamin A and are hence extremely beneficial for improving vision and overall eye health. The abundance of antioxidants in wild carrot also reduces the production of fluid within the eye, thereby reducing pressure and treating and managing glaucoma. It also improves blood flow in the retina, protects the nerve cells and improves vision.
Relieves Liver Problems
Wild Carrot possess potent hepatoprotective and hepatostimulative properties which makes it a one-stop remedy for the treatment of jaundice, in which the liver gets mostly effected. It also safeguards the liver against various diseases and infections.
Promotes Cardiac Functions
This bitter herb is prized for its cardio-protective quality as well. It holds high significance in treating a host of heart ailments. Owing to its strong antioxidative nature, it fortifies the heart muscles, prevents lipid build up in them, and hence alleviates the risk of heart attacks, heart blocks, blood clots, etc. It not only plays a crucial role in lowering the levels of cholesterol in the blood but also dilates blood vessels and normalises blood flow, hence managing high blood pressure.
Effect On Doshas:
This potent diuretic plant showcases Madhura (i.e., sweet) and Tikta (i.e. bitter) Rasa. It is blessed with Tikshno (i.e., sharp) and Laghu (i.e. light) gunas. It has Ushna Virya (i.e., hot potency) and Madhura Vipaka (i.e., sweet metabolic property). The bioactive ingredients in this bitter herb balances the Pitta (fire and air) doshas and Kapha (earth and water) doshas and often an excess of it can aggravate the Vata (air) doshas.
Owing to the sharp and light properties, the herb helps to break down kidney stones, cut through the thick rheum matter caused due to increased kapha doshas, and it also reduces pitta and kapha doshas in the head and chest, thus helping to uphold a normal body temperature. Additionally, being a Pitta calmative, it detoxifies the liver and blood, while simultaneously fortifying the vital organ and enhancing cellular growth and tissue regeneration. Owing to the intrinsic properties and doshas, wild carrot portrays a positive effect on the various Dhatus (i.e. body tissues) which are Rasa (i.e. Plasma), Rakta (i.e. Blood), Mamsa (i.e. Muscles), Asthi (i.e. Bones) and Shukra (i.e. Reproductive Fluids).
The ayurvedic properties that help in portraying the following main prabhabs on the body areGrahi (anti-diarrhoea), Sthoulya-har (reduces obesity), Deepana (digestive stimulant),Mutrakrichha (treats urinary problems), Kapha-har (pacifies the Kapha/mucous), Tvakadosh-har (cures skin diseases) and Sotha-har (reduces swelling).
Wild Carrot Dosage
The accurate therapeutic dosage of the wild carrot seed or seed oil may vary from person to person depending upon the age, severity, and condition of the patient. At present there isn’t much scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for wild carrot. But none the less one must consult an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner, as he or she will thoroughly examine the indications and prescribe the effective dosage for a specific period of time.
Wild Carrot Side Effects
Although wild carrot is extremely beneficial when taken under proper medical supervision but it is contradicted in certain conditions. Consumption of wild carrot is strictly prohibited during pregnancy as it can make the uterus contract triggering menstruation which can lead to abortion. It is also forbidden to not have it during lactation. In certain cases, the seed can trigger allergic reaction in people who are allergic to birch, spices, celery, mug wort, and similar plants. The reaction is often named as Celery-carrot-mugwort-spice syndrome. Despite the fact that it is a medicine for kidney problems, an overdose can worsen kidney condition. Intake of wild carrot also increases the risk of getting sunburn after exposure to Uv light or sun. It can also affect blood pressure, hence patients undergoing a surgery are often suggested to stop intake of wild carrots for atleast 12 weeks before a scheduled procedure.
Although, deemed as a weed of some sort, Daucus carota or wild carrot has incredible therapeutic application worldwide. Thanks to the quarry of essential bio-active ingredients, and multitude of therapeutic properties, it is widely used for treating kidney problems, digestive anomalies, rectifying flu and feverish conditions, inducing lactation, augmenting skin and hair related woes, relieving pain and inflammation, managing cough and cold, sore throat, treating respiratory diseases, preventing viral infections, managing diabetes, treating gout and many more.