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Mudakathan Keerai / Balloon Vine leaves

Cardiospermum halicacabum

The Mudakathan is a locally growing weed that’s well known in traditional Tamil cuisine. It is a perennial climbing vine with feathery edible leaves and small light green balloon-like seed pods. When popped open, the pod contains an adorable seed imprinted with a tiny white love-heart, hence the name cardiospermum or commonly also called heart seed or heart pea. The leaves are well known for treating joint pain and are an integral part of Tamil nutritional culture.

Mudakathan Keerai / Balloon Vine leaves

While all parts of the plant are used in Ayurveda, the easiest way to use Mudakathan is to follow what the villagers do all over Tamil Nadu – remove the leaves, blend them, and add it into a dosa batter. The result is a green coloured dosa that’s extremely beneficial in dealing with joint pains and arthritis.

You can also make an anti-dandruff hair oil by cooking some Mudakathan leaves in sesame oil over a gentle heat, and applying the oil to itchy dry scalp.

The Balloon Vine is easy to grow, if you don’t already see it growing everywhere. Just plant a few seeds along your fence or garden wall, and water the area regularly – soon you will have a vine with enough leaves on it to enjoy in your meals and also to use for home remedies!

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