English: Aubergine / Eggplant
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Baingan / Brinjal
- The eggplant, aubergine, or brinjal (Solanum melongena), is a plant of the family Solanaceae (also known as the nightshades) and genus Solanum.
- It bears fruits which are used as a vegetable in cooking. It is closely related to the tomato and potato and is native to India and Sri Lanka.
- The fruit is botanically classified as a berry, and contains numerous small, soft seeds, which are edible, but are bitter because they contain (an insignificant amount of) nicotinoid alkaloid, which is a close relative of tobacco. Eggplant is richer in nicotine than any other edible plant.
- As a native plant, it is widely used in Indian cuisine, for example in sambhar, chutney, curries etc. Owing to its versatile nature and wide use in both everyday and festive Indian food, it is often described (under the name brinjal) as the 'King of Vegetables'.
- It helps to block the formation of free radicals and is also a source of folic acid and potassium.
- It is believed that Aubergine contains properties that may help reduce cholesterol levels, decrease high blood pressure and protect the heart as well as containing anti-cancerous properties.
- Aubergine supply the heart protective nutrient, Vitamin E. Aubergine is also a very useful source of potassium, which helps keep blood pressure at normal levels. Aubergine contains Vitamin K, which helps promote blood clotting and stops bleeding.
- Eating Aubergine is reported to counteract detrimental blood effects from fatty foods. It features antibacterial properties, which may increase the amount of urine passed. Aubergine, tomatoes and potatoes are all part of the nightshade family, which is reported to exacerbate joint pain.