Health & Heritage: Assam

Assam. For many of us, the word conjures up lush green tea plantations. Black tea from Assam is popular all over the world for its aroma, colour, and taste. Tea aficionados across the globe swear by its health benefits. Did you know that the breakfast tea is not the only health drink from Assam?

Read on to learn about the other popular and healthy offer from this Indian state.

Assam Tea

The state of Assam is situated in North-East India, in the south of the Eastern Himalayas. Tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, wetland ecosystems, riverine grasslands, hills, and bamboo orchards contribute to one of the richest biodiversity zones in the world. The lifeline of Assam is Brahmaputra — a river that is older than the Himalayas. Greenhouse like conditions of high humidity and heat make this state the world’s highest producer of tea. Tea leaves are hand harvested and experts monitor every stage of the tea production process.

Camellia sinensis var. assamica is a fermented and highly oxidized tea popular for its bright colour, malty flavour, body, and briskness. For caffeine lovers, this is a healthy alternative, as it is the highest source of caffeine content compared against other teas.

Let us consider the health benefits.

Health benefits of Assam Tea

Amlokhi Aakhon — Gooseberry Soup

Amlokhi Aakhon or gooseberry soup is often served before a meal. Made of gooseberries (Phyllanthus emblica or amla) and including healthy ingredients such as turmeric and lemon grass, this is a healthy and delicious start to a meal.

Let us consider the health benefits of gooseberries.

Health benefits of gooseberries

The List Doesn’t End Here

There is a long list of dishes for locals and visitors to try, including khar, baabhgajor lagot kukura made of chicken meat, lentils, and bamboo shoots, maasor tenga — a tangy fish curry, xaak aru bhaji — a herb-rich vegetable rich, ou khatta — a sweet and sour elephant apple chutney, and more.

Have You Heard of Mising Ethnic Group?

Assam and neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh are home to the Mising (Mishing, Miri) ethnic group. In addition to a rich heritage of crafts, music, and dance, knowledge of herbs has been passed down through generations. Herbal practitioners and indigenous healers have a rich repository of over 55 herbs that they use for treating malaria, jaundice, menstrual problems, digestive problems, cuts and wounds, skin problems, and many other ailments.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Healthy habits are wisdom passed down through generations. Be it tea, soup, fish, vegetables, there are so many healthy options that one can learn from people and culture of Assam.


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