In Ayurveda (Charaka Samhita text) Rakta Shali rice is considered as the best and states that it balances Kapha, pitta, and vata effectively. It is in use for over 3,000 years. It is considered to be diuretic, spermatophyte, eye-invigorating, cosmetic, tonic, and pleasant. Red rice is rich in antioxidants and mineral levels.
Soak, ferment, roast or sprout before consumption to derive full benefits of millets and whole grains.
One of the rarest and most precious varieties of rice that we have is Rakthashali Red Rice. This small and slender-grained rice is known for its nutritive and medicinal properties. It comes to us as unpolished raw rice with full bran. Rakthashali Red Rice is good for making kanji or rice porridge and payasam. Steamed rice can be eaten with Indian curries. It can be consumed by all ages especially the aged, the ailing, and the young.
Rakthashali, with red husk and grain, is acclaimed from Vedic times onwards as a medicinal rice variant and an auspicious grain for Vedic rites. But never been a popular one outside the coastal belt of south Karnataka where it is the native staple food. Studies conducted on the nutritional significance of this Rakthashali in medications coupled with documented indigenous knowledge of traditional and Ayurvedic medical practitioners and focused academic papers to conserve ethnic wisdom revealed amazing advantages of this grain. Besides being a functional food for promoting lactation, Rakthashalis acknowledged therapeutic value in the treatments of allergies & skin ailments, uterus related problems, gastro intestinal problems, liver, kidney, nerve disorders.
This rice variant occupied from time immemorial and mention of it in ancient ayurvedic texts about its power to redress imbalance in the tridosha, (vata, pitta, kapha). Research finding that endurance to disease and infections is high among people using such traditional food also encouraged us. This ‘great grain of life’ was launched a decade back in the lush green paddy fields of the enchanting Thirurangadi – Malapuram region of north Kerala.
Authentically pooled below information on the finer aspects of this rice helps in revitalizing the traditional healing systems and prompting people to use it as a functional food with simple medicinal formulations.
- Offered along with fenugreek and salt or sugar to promote lactation.
- Parched “Rakthashali” in gruel form is a good diuretic (urine production).
- Improves saliva secretion, beneficial in relieving indigestion problems, if used after delivery.
- Water left after washing this rice is used for external applications and for detoxification of the body and as a therapy for allergies.
- Rakthashali gruel, if mixed with 5gm coriander and 25 gm castor oil will relieve pregnant mothers from vomiting during early stages and with powdered coriander for relief of unusual pain during the 8th month.
- Rakthashali mixed with curd, smashed banana and jaggery, will alleviate burning sensation of urine.
- Applied on skin with butter milk for skin diseases.
- Cooked to thick paste with turmeric smeared on wound or put in a cloth and tied on the swollen portion at night. Washed in the next morning for severely smashed and bruised wounds with swelling and pain with stones, thorns inside.
- Pre-soak for 2-3 hours.
- Pressure cooker: 1 cup rice : 3 cups water. Cook on high flame for up to three whistles. Lower the flame and cook for another two more whistles.
Charaka Samhita, which is the oldest text on Ayurveda medicine mentions the curative properties of Rakthashali Red Rice. It is known to help produce blood cells and considered to be very good for women who are anemic. We also have anecdotal evidence from our own farmer’s family that the rice is recommended during chemotherapy to stabilize or retain blood count.
Rakthashali has high levels of Vitamin B5 which help in the production of red blood cells. Therefore it is good for women and also persons undergoing various high-stress illnesses and treatments.
Bio Basics procures Rakthashali Red Rice from two farms in Kozhikode and Wayanad. Now our Tamil Nadu farmer group that has been trying to grow Rakthashali also harvested their organically grown Rakthashali. So, it comes from two sources. Since it is medicinal rice, it comes as unpolished raw rice rather than parboiled. The plant is very sensitive to climatic variations. The grain is dense with nutrients. The rice is harvested in December-January. It is aged and milled fresh every one or two months.