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The herb 'Sarasaparilla', better known as 'Nannari' is a wonder herb which would come in handy during summer, with its cooling medicinal property of protecting one from common summer ailments.The syrup made from this herb root is called nannari syrup.Our ancestors used to drink a mixture of extracts from 'Nannari' roots, adding a tint of lime juice and palm sugar (panamkalkandam) to keep them cool during summer. However, the palm sugar was replaced with white sugar, and in course of time, people were drawn towards other attractive alternatives.
The exposed part of the root is brown in colour, while the inner part is whitish. The root has an astringent taste and a pleasant odour. The herb is found in foothills and only the roots of the herb are used for extraction. the 'Nannari' extract is prepared from its roots through steam distillation, after which, it is mixed with citric acid, water and sugar, in certain proportions, to constitute the 'Nannari' concentrate or syrup.
How to select
Nannari syrup is not so readily available in regular grocery stores or supermarkets. They may be bought from health food stores or ayurvedic shops. The bottle and cans should be checked for expiry date and any signs of spoilage, bubbling, leakage or rusting( in case of metallic cans).
· About 50ml of this syrup is diluted with 145ml of cold water and 5 ml of fresh lime juice, to make 200 ml of delicious sherbet.
· Nannari juice can be added to jaljeera or soda to make a refreshing fizzy drink.
How to store
Store nannari syrups in coloured bottles and store it in a cool, dark place. Freshly prepare nannari syrup may be kept in the refrigerator and used for the entire summer months.
· It is used as a demulcent to relieve body pain, and helps in keeping the body cool.
· It is also a diuretic, and helps in toning urinary system, while also preventing stone formation. It also controls tonsillitis.
· During peak summer, one and all can enjoy the 'nannari' drink early in the morning before breakfast.