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Uses and Benefits of Haritaki (Chebulic Myrobalan)

Posted by on Jan 29, 2014

Haritaki or Chebulic Myrobalan (Terminalia cebula) is a common plant in India. In Ayurveda, Haritaki is said to be the mother of all herbs for its many health benefits. The Haritaki tree can be about 30 metres high. The fruit of the tree is usually harvested between November and March. The fruit has a slightly bitter, astringent taste and has many medicinal properties.

  • The tannin present in the fruit helps in detoxification. It is also used as a laxative. It cures constipation, purifies the digestive system and helps in eliminating the harmful substances produced from metabolism. A small piece of dry Haritaki can be kept in the mouth after meals.Scan10836
    Organic Triphala

    Do you know that a simple elimination of wheat and wheat products from your diet may have immense health benefits? Click the button at the end of this post to know why rice is better than wheat as a form of safe starch (carbohydrate).
    Some of the uses and benefits of Haritaki or Chebulic Myrobalan:
  • The gallic acid present in Haritaki kills the E. Coli bacteria in the intestine. It prevents stomach infection, kills worms and boosts the activities of the liver and the spleen.
  • The chebulic and neo-chebulic acid present in the fruits of Haritaki plant act as anti-oxidants. It prevents toxicity of the liver caused as a side-effect of some medicines.
Fruits of the Haritaki Plant

Fruits of the Haritaki Plant

    • The chebulic acid increases the production of insulin from the pancreas and thus lowers blood sugar. This is why Haritaki is used for the treatment of diabetes.
    • A 10% solution of Haritaki can be used as a mouth wash.
    • Haritaki prevents the increase of H. Pylori bacteria in the intestine.
    • Haritaki is an effective anti-oxidant and eliminates harmful free radicals from the body.

pen-and-wash-sketch-landscapeOrganic Haritaki

    • Haritaki increases the strength of the heart muscles and is effective in preventing the accumulation of fat in the coronary artery. It also plays a role in keeping blood pressure under control.
    • For those with enlarged livers, there is an increased risk of contracting hepatitis and jaundice. For such people regular consumption of Haritaki would decrease the risk of such infections.

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    • Haritaki is helpful for tackling obesity. It cleanses the stomach, aids in the digestion, assimilation and metabolism of food in the stomach and increases the metabolic rate of the body. Haritaki thus helps in increasing the energy expenditure of the body. By boosting the secretion of bile, Haritaki helps in the mobilization of the stored fat in the body. It also keeps the appetite under control. For those who have successfully reduced their weight by diet and exercise, consumption of Haritaki helps them to keep to their ideal weight.
    • Haritaki helps in the production and elimination of urine from the body. Thus, it helps in reducing the risk of urinary tract infection.
    • Regular consumption of Haritaki or Chebulic Myrobalan will help in the reduction of skin problems.  Grounded Haritaki, when applied over skin, will help in the cure of acne, sunburns, rashes, eczema etc.
chebulic-myrobalan-tree-drawing

Pen & Water colour sketch of a Haritaki tree

Haritaki Powder

Caution: 

Haritaki is not recommended for those who are allergic to the fruit as well as for women during pregnancies.

Do you have experience of using this wonderful fruit? Please use the Comments section below to let us know.

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Earn a Pension from your Mutual Fund investments in India

Posted by on Mar 25, 2017

Here’s a plan for a conservative investor who aims to earn a regular income/pension from his investments in mutual funds and expects a return that is better than what bank fixed deposits offer him at this point.

  • The Indian equity market is expensive on today’s date. The current PE (price to earnings, one of those markers that show how expensive the market is) of the NIFTY is near 22 against a historical average of 18. See here.
  • Hence, it won’t be wise for our conservative investor to invest a lump sum in an Equity Fund (that invests almost 100% in equities) or even a Balanced Fund (with at least 65% in equities) right now.

  • Among the Debt Funds, the Short Term Debt Funds are the most stable (longer term bond funds are more volatile) although they won’t give you the highest returns in the long term. Still the short-term funds are much better than bank fixed deposits with an average annual return of about 9% per annum. See here.
  • There is little difference between the Liquid Funds and the Short Term Debt funds in their risk profile. The short-term funds invest in slightly longer duration papers and some of these may have an exit load (deduct a small percentage) if you withdraw money within 15/30 days of your investment. But the short-term funds would give you an additional 1 to 1.5 percent return compared to the liquid funds.
  • I would recommend an investment of 80 to 90 per cent of your corpus in two or three short-term debt funds (select the 4/5 star rated funds from the above list and while selecting please check the expense ratios of the funds (the lower the better). Opt for the Growth option and after one month initiate an SWP (systematic withdrawal plan) so you withdraw 7.5-8% (what an FD would offer you) of your investment in that fund every month or every quarter. At the present rate your initial investment should still grow!
  • Keep the rest (10-20%) of your corpus in another short term debt fund and wait for the market to fall. At opportune moments, when the PE has come down substantially (20 or lower), switch some portion of this investment to a Multi-Cap Equity Fund. See here. These funds invest in all kinds of companies: big, medium and small, their world is not limited to any specific sectors and, as such, they are the most diversified. You can stagger this investment, doing it in several tranches to get the benefit of market volatility. The general principle is you should increase the amount you switch with each fall.

If the market never falls, your money is still safe in your fund and you can keep it and use it as an emergency corpus at any point of time.

[Disclaimer: What is suggested above is by way of guidance only. I am not a financial adviser and I am not asking anyone to follow this guidance. I had to write this short note for a friend and am uploading it here with the hope that it may help a few thers too. Readers should make investments only after proper assessment of their risk profile and at their own risk.]

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Review: Jedo Micro 0.9 mm Mechanical Pencil

Posted by on Mar 25, 2017

A 0.9 mm lead mechanical pencil is perhaps the pencil with the strongest lead that you can use for writing without any need to sharpen the lead. I have been looking for a 0.9 mm pencil in Calcutta in which I can use B or 2B softer lead for darker impressions. However, I have found neither the 0.9mm mechanical pencil nor the 0.9 mm lead refills in my locality and even a little beyond.

But on searching the amazon.in site, I have found a Korean brand of mechanical pencil named JEDO M105 at a very affordable price. I have also got 0.9 mm lead refills manufactured by MICRO, Korea from the same seller. I discovered that both the pencil and the leads are produced by the same Korean Company.

Jedo 0.9 mm mechanical pencils are available in four colours: black, green, blue and yellow. Their yellow version is more orange than yellow. The pencils have thin plastic barrels that gradually taper towards the tip. There is a metal sleeve at the end of the tip. The pencil has ridges where you would grip it and this facilitates easy gripping. The tip, the clip and the eraser cap that needs to be pushed to advance the lead are made of steel. On removing the cap I found a thin, cylindrical, blue rather flimsy eraser. If you use a mechanical pencil at home, it is always better to use a separate eraser.  The stainless steel clip will securely attach your pencil to your chest pocket, very unlike what I have seen with most other cheaper mechanical pencils.

The finish of the JEDO M105 isn’t perfect, but it performs its function adequately. The lead is sturdy and will not break easily. This is better than 0.5 mm or 0.7 mm leads in that respect. Considering its price, JEDO M105 is a good buy especially because it may not be very easy for you to find 0.9 mm mechanical pencils and lead refills here in India.

You can also buy Micro Touch-Line 0.9 mm leads which come in plastic dispensers. Five such containers, each carrying 126 leads, can be bought for Rs.125 plus delivery charges. The leads are of fine quality.

Compared to this Korean brand, I have used much superior mechanical pencils made in Japan.  Those Japanese pencils are almost equally affordable here in India. But I haven’t found the 0.9mm variety there. I recommend JEDO M105 mechanical pencils to those who haven’t found 0.9 mm pencils in a retail shop. These are ideal instruments for writing on very inexpensive paper and that way you save a lot of money.  It is a decent buy!

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An Academic Clairvoyant

Posted by on Mar 18, 2017

The other day I read a report (Harvard talks back to hard work: Professor finds Modi’s election victory like a Bollywood blockbuster) in The Economic Times on the remarks made by Bhaskar Chakravorti, a Tufts University public policy professor, on Narendra Modi’s latest election victory. The report also contained comments about what the author considered a ‘policy failure’, namely demonetisation. The most intriguing comment on the effects of demonetisation that the professor made is, what I would consider, a rash and sweeping statement involving every Indian: “Every person living in India had to experience some form of dislocation or inconvenience.”

Bhaskar Chakravorti must be a clairvoyant, a person gifted with the ability to perceive matters beyond the range of ordinary perception or how could he know about the experiences of ‘every Indian’? Can he read the mind of others? Ever since the Indian government announced the cancellation of higher denomination banknotes, some ‘intellectuals’, here and abroad, opposed the move that was primarily an attempt by the government to identify people who hoard cash. Why should you hoard cash unless you are dishonest or corrupt? Why, in today’s world, should most of your liquid wealth be in your personal possession rather than in a bank? The most obvious motive of hoarding cash is to hide income and evade the tax net. Indeed, demonetisation should hurt the dishonest and the corrupt the most, those who do not pay tax despite earning a sizeable income, those who do not contribute to nation-building.

Admittedly, such a measure will cause some inconveniences to some people but to say that everyone has faced disruption is a blatant lie. Does a poor Indian need banknotes of Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 on a regular basis? There are villagers in India who have never seen those notes. The lower denomination notes of up to Rs. 100 are adequate for their daily needs. A large section of the urban population, especially the younger generation, would face the least disruption because most of them can efficiently use the digital modes of payment. Yes, there are many Indians who can’t use digital payments, but those who have the most, those who carry large transactions are all well-equipped to do it! Even poorer people like this translator here can do with a little cash!! The government never said that it is aiming to have an entirely cashless economy, which is not possible any way. It was a measure to compel people to do with less cash so the corrupt can’t hoard cash and hide their wealth. I do not know why an honest man, especially those who have some education, would oppose it. But professors from the haloed institutions of the West, some intellectuals here, and many who opposes the central government had only negative things to say about the move. Shall we say that all these critics have some personal (vested?) interest in cash?

line and wash drawing of lawyers in a court

India reels under corruption and nepotism. Would this professor tell us if he has any ideas how to remove those ills? No, they won’t offer us any solution to the problems that this country faces. Only when some positives steps are taken, they would oppose it.

How would a relatively cashless economy restrain corruption, you may ask. The fact is when you do a digital transaction, you always leave a trail and the tax authorities can find it. If you and I exchange millions of rupees several times between us and do business, the government may not have any means to know about it unless we do the transactions through a bank. Professionals –doctors, lawyers — would ask for their fees to be paid in cash. Big purchases are made in cash. Bribes are paid in cash. Recently I visited a local court with someone who came from another country. What she saw at the court premises made her dumbfounded. Every payment needs to be paid in cash because things won’t move if you don’t pay bribes and no one would accept the bribe if you use a credit or a debit card to pay the bribe, would they? I asked a young lawyer, ‘What if I pay your fee using my credit card?’ The young man said, ‘Then your job won’t be done!’ That is the real India!

I don’t know if this Tufts university professor visits India. He needs to go to a government office, a police station or a court in India with a personal errand to understand the meaning of the word ‘inconvenience’! He should then remember that an Indian citizen faces it daily and perhaps feel ashamed to compare that daily harassment with the small ‘inconvenience’ of demonetisation that perturbed him so much.

 

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