Jakhiya is a Flowering Plant Grown as a Weed
It is particularly prevalent in the regions of India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
Jakhiya (scientifically Cleome viscosa) also known as wild mustard or dog mustard or Asian spider flower, is a flowering plant that belongs to the Cleomaceae family.
The Cleome viscosa species is reported to be a traditional and folkloric asset in India and Thai medicinal systems.
The plant is native to South Asia and is particularly prevalent in the regions of India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
In culinary traditions, it is used as a spice and is particularly popular in the cuisine of Garhwal, Uttarakhand.
Plant Structure & Attributes
It is particularly prevalent in the regions of India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
The Jakhiya plant is known for its strong aroma and pungent flavour, often described as a combination of mustard and garlic.
Actually a weed, the plant is grown between crops or in multi-cropping patterns. The Jakhiya plant is characterized by its tall stems, small yellow flowers, and slender leaves.
The seeds are small, dark brown or black. Due to its nutty aroma, it adds a unique and crunchy flavour to any dish.
The plant is utilized for treating fever, irritations, liver diseases, bronchitis and looseness of the bowels. The oil extricated from jakhiya seeds has restorative properties.
How to Use Jakhiya?
Uses and Health Benefits of Jakhiya
Here are some of the common uses and health benefits of Jakhiya:
- Culinary Use: Jakhiya is primarily used as a spice in regional cuisines, particularly in the cuisine of Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India. The seeds and leaves of Jakhiya are added to dishes like curries, lentils, pickles, and chutneys to impart a distinct flavour and aroma. It is often combined with other spices to enhance the overall taste of the food.
- Digestive Aid: Jakhiya is believed to possess digestive properties and is used in traditional medicine to aid digestion. It is often consumed after meals to alleviate digestive issues like indigestion, bloating, and flatulence.
- Anti-inflammatory Potential: Jakhiya has been associated with potential anti-inflammatory properties. In traditional medicine, it is sometimes used externally as a poultice or paste to soothe skin inflammations, insect bites, and minor wounds.
- Antioxidant Effects: Some studies suggest that Jakhiya may exhibit antioxidant activity. Antioxidants help protect the body against oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals.
- -Fresh oil of crushed seeds is used for treating infantile convulsions and mental disorders.
- Several published studies have shown that leaves of Cleome viscosa are useful in healing wounds and ulcers.
It’s important to note that while Jakhiya has been traditionally used for culinary and medicinal purposes, scientific research on its specific health benefits is limited.
As with any herb or spice, it’s advisable to use Jakhiya in moderation and consult with a healthcare professional or herbalist for personalized advice and guidance.
Culinary Uses of Jakhiya
How to use Jakhiya for food?
Most Uttarakhand dishes use Jakhiya for tempering all types of dishes in ahadi cuisine. Jakhiya is allowed to crackle in a spoon or two of oil before being tossed into curries and dals.
A fundamental flavour in Garhwali food can leave a colourful feel on your taste buds.
Jakia works best when teamed with potatoes in curries. It can be used with raw bananas or arbi ( colocasia) too. Jakhiya helps to spice up your vegetables and can also be used as a substitute for jeera.
Dal (Lentil) Dishes: Jakhiya is often added to dal (lentil) preparations to enhance their flavour. It can be used in dishes like Dal Tadka or Dal Fry.
Pickles: Jakhiya is a popular ingredient in pickles, particularly in Garhwali pickles. It adds a unique flavour to mango pickles, lime pickles, and various vegetable pickles.
Chutneys: Jakhiya can be used in chutneys to give them a distinct taste. It can be added to coriander chutney, mint chutney, or tamarind chutney for an extra flavour boost.
Because of its sharp pungent smell and crunchy taste, people from the hills prefer jakhiya over cumin and mustard seed for tempering. Leaves of jakhiya are also eaten as a substitute for green vegetables in villages.
Ayurvedic Qualities of Jakhiya
The ayurvedic properties of Jakhyia
Cleome Viscosa (Jakhia) is found in tropics throughout the world and is used in traditional medicine in many parts of India and outside. Almost all the parts of the plant are used for treating diseases.
It has the following Ayurvedic properties:
- Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent)
- Guna (Quality) – Teekshana (Sharp)
- Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
- Vipaka (Post digestive effect) – Katu (Pungent).
- Karma (Action) – Fruit – Balances the Vata and Pitta dosha.
To Sum It Up
Summing up my Garhwali Experience with Jakhiya
To SumItUp: Because of its sharp pungent smell and crunchy taste, most Garhwalis prefer Jakhiya over cumin and mustard seed for tempering.
It is used in the tempering of vegetables, curries and pulses. Apart from Rajasthan, it is grown and dehydrated in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand mostly by the farmers of the Gharwal region
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