This new year, embrace the bitter as well!

2 min read

Jewish people celebrate Rosh Hashanah, by eating apples dipped in honey to wish each other “a sweet new year”. Turkish people prepare sweet ‘Ashure’ to wish each other “health, safety, prosperity and spiritual growth”. Chinese people around the world make sweet glutinous rice cake ‘ Nian Gao’ to symbolize getting more and more prosperous each coming year…while all these dishes are sweet, not everything in life is sweet, is it? perhaps that is why in southern parts of India people celebrate the new year with bitter-sweet Neem and Jaggery to signify that life is full of Sorrow as well as Happiness and one needs to taste both to live a healthy and full life…

This March 28th 2017 will mark start of yet another new year for Hindus all over the world. In Maharashtra it is celebrated as Gudi Padwa and in Karnataka, Andhra and Telangana as Ugadi/Yugadi.

Distinguishing feature of this celebration is consumption of Neem and Jaggery. It is called Limb-Gul in Maharashtra, Bevu-Bella in Karnataka (recipe Here) and Ugadi Pachadi in Andhra/Telangana region.

As a child I still remember squinting my eyes shut at the bitter taste of Neem-Jaggery but no matter how many puppy faces I made, could not get out of eating the bitter sweet elixir!

Neem a.k.a “village dispensary”

is a tree native to Indian Subcontinent. Neem has abundant health benefits ranging from antibacterial activity to anti-ulcer activity and from decreasing blood sugar levels to suppressing cancer cell growth and that is why it is also known as “Arishtha” (that what relieves all sickness)…

Neem has shown to benefit in-

  • inflammation, fever, bacterial infection, fungal infection, malaria etc.
  • decrease blood sugar levels in mice per studies so far (Diabetic people, hope you are reading this!!)
  • protecting liver with its antioxidant properties
  • treatment against TB-causing bacteria, Strep causing bacteria, Candida, chikungunya virus and measles virus

Some even claim that Neem flower extract helps in weight loss, but there isn’t enough scientific evidence to back this claim yet!

Find out 6 amazing ways of using Neem leaves


Known as “Gur” in the Indian subcontinent is unrefined and raw cane sugar. It is also known as Brown Sugar (US/UK), Kokuto (Japan), Panela (South America) and by many more names in different parts of world…

Myriad of research is available on its medicinal properties, Jaggery-

  • protects DNA and cells against oxidative damage
  • helps lower serum cholesterol and serum glucose levels, helps stop the spread of cancer cells especially in breast cancer.
  • reduce atherosclerosis
  • shows antioxidant properties

Now we can keep going on and on about benefits of Neem and Jaggery or you can try this 5 star recipe of zucchini chutney with Neem

“This Gudi Padwa/Ugadi, DawaiBox wishes you a Happy and Healthy New Year. Let the Neem repel all that is bad in your life and Jaggery bring nothing but sweetness in it :)”

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Soniya Nikam, MS, RD.

Soniya Nikam, MS, RD.

She is a Registered Dietitian who does not believe in dieting; She has a Master's Degree in Nutrition but she is not your "I know it all Nutrition Guru!"; She loves food but loves talking about food even more. Her articles are a direct reflection of her personal quest where nutrition science meets real life! Oh, and she is owned by a 3 m.o. naughty kitten :)

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