Tomato (Bilati begun)
Tomato is a fruit of a cultivated plant belonging to the species Lycopersicum esculentum of the Nightshade family (Solanaceae) except for the tiny current tomato. Tomato plants are generally many branched, spreading 24 to 72 inches and recumbent when fruiting but a few forms are compact and upright. Leaves are more or less hairy, strong odorous, pinnately compound, up to 18 inches long. The flowers are yellow, 2 centimetres across, pendant and clustered. Fruits vary in diameter from half to 3 inches or more; they are usually red, scarlet or yellow; they vary in shape from almost spherical through oval and elongated to pear shaped. The fruit is soft, succulent, berry red or yellow in colour, containing two to many cells of small seeds surounded by jelly-like pulp. It is used raw in salads, served as a cooked vegetable, used as an ingredient of various prepared dishes and pickles.
The tomato is a New World plant. It is a major crop in India, used fresh or canned for making a variety of sauces.
Since the plant requires warm weather and much sunlight, it is grown chiefly in hothouses in Great Britain and northern Europe. Tomatoes are the richest of all foods in vitamins. They are very rich in all three important vitamins like A, B and C while most vegetables are deficient in one or more. It is the most wonderful and effective blood cleanser known to man. It is rejuvenative, stomachic, stimulant, digestive and tonic. Unripe or half-ripe fruits are very effective in stomach disorders, liver troubles and spleen disorders. But excessive consumption may retard sexual desire. This is the main difficulty.
Dr. S.J. Singh in his book 'Practical Naturopathy' has described the tomato as very rich in food minerals which help to keep the blood alkaline and this maintain a high resistance to disease. It is very rich, in iron and potash salts. Tomatoes stimulate torpid liver and are good in dyspepsia, diarrhoea and, dysentery. It is purely a stomach and liver tonic.
Dr. C. C. Thakur in his book 'Introduction to Ayurveda' has said that it improves the digestive system and cures chronic diseases of the stomach. It is a blood purifier, cures anaemia, piles, liver troubles and chronic fever.
Dr. Amarnath Ghai has said that tomatoes all essential minerals, vitamin A, thiamine and vitamin C. These are used in salads, soups, ketchup, sauces and curries. It is an important protective food. Vitamin C of tomatoes is not destroyed by heat and therefore they are practically valueable for all sorts of stomach and liver troubles.
Dr. G. S. Verma in his book 'Miracles of fruits' has written that tomato is a sort of fruit and should better be taken uncooked. It is a nervine tonic and purifier of blood. It removes constipation and stengthens teeth. It is easily digestible and as such, it is recommended as a good diet for invalids and especially in fevers, diabetes and after long fasts. Being a rich source of vitamin A, it is a dependable preventive against eye troubles. It also contains a good amount of vitamin C and is a very effective preventive and curative of scurvy. It is also very good for stomach disorders. It contains not only vitamins A, B, C and G but also other minerals like iron, calcium, sulphur and potassium.
Benefit and uses of tomato.
Several medical books and journals have described medicinal uses of tomato. These are enumerated as under for ready reference:
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