FRUIT and GILOY-HALDI MILK IMMUNITY PROGRAMME

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gobind Sadan’s Delhi community is getting great benefits from its rich home-grown supply of natural immunity-building foods. Maharaj ji has created a treasure of traditional Ayurvedic medicinal plants in Gobind Sadan, alongside its treasure of holy places of all religions.
At the beginning of the pandemic, galgal juice from our many galgal trees was being offered to the sangat daily for its Vitamin C content. Once those fruits finished, delicious sherbet from over 75 bael fruit trees has been offered every other day. Bael fruits are used in Ayurveda to improve digestion, but they also contain Vitamin C, beta carotene, B- vitamins, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper and iron. The fruit is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral! Achaar from another fruit that grows very well in Gobind Sadan’s orchard—karaunda—is offered daily at breakfast. It is high in iron and Vitamin C.
The most popular immunity-boosting concoction so far is giloy-haldi milk, prepared every other morning by Poppu (Charanjit Singh, Gobind Sadan’s master halwai) in the langar. Some years ago, an ayurvedic specialist planted giloy vines at the base of some of Gobind Sadan’s many neem trees. Neem is itself a treasured ayurvedic remedy for many problems, but it tastes terrible. The giloy vines have climbed to the top of those neem trees, apparently extracting some of their potent properties and adding many more of their own. The juice of those vines is now being mixed with haldi (turmeric) in hot milk to make a very tasty immunity-boosting drink for the sangat.
Poppu gives his recipe: He first washes and mashes 750 grams of the giloy vine pieces, and then boils them in 5 kgs. water until 2 ½ kgs. of the water remains. Then he boils 20 kgs. milk in a large patila, and mixes 150 grams of haldi with a small portion of the boiled milk and then stirs that rich yellow haldi milk back into the patila of milk. Then he sets aside one bucket for diabetes patients, and adds 2 ½ kgs. sugar to the rest of the haldi milk in the patila. Lastly he strains the giloy water and adds that to the haldi milk. Before offering it to the sangat, he takes out a glass and offers it to Maharaj. In addition to the traditional Sikh Ardas, he also prays: “Maharaj ji, may whoever drinks this recite Nam and have good health and great willpower.”
The health benefits of traditional Indian herbs are being studied scientifically, with very impressive results. Studies are confirming that giloy is an amazing plant that boosts immunity, helps to manage blood glucose in diabetes, improves metabolism, helps in weight management, decreases fevers, increases platelet count, is anti-inflammatory, builds the body’s defences against infections, foreign bodies, and micro-organisms, reduces hay fever symptoms, helps repair liver damage, and also may be useful against breast cancer, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and digestive problems! Haldi is another wonder plant that is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, improves brain function and lowers risk of brain disorders, lowers risk of heart disease and cancer, helps to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and may help to treat depression, delay aging, and fight against age-related diseases. Gobind Sadan’s sangat is not aware of all these benefits, but they all make sure to get their daily glass of giloy-haldi milk because it tastes so good!