The Siddha way to effective digestion
By Sheela Rani Chunkath
23rd September 2012 12:00 AM
There are some people who are so obsessed with their weight that they feel happy when they have diarrhoea or dysentery and rejoice over their consequent weight loss. Losing weight in this manner or through any form of illness is not conducive to good health. It would lead to other health complications. Our ancient health systems of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani, all focus on your digestion and your digestive capacity. As long as you feel hungry, there cannot generally be anything seriously wrong with you. If you can digest food and not have heartburn, burps or gas so much the better. You should always be mentally filing away the state of your digestion as it is a kind of one-stop test that tells you about the status of your health.
If you have indigestion, diarrhoea or a lack of appetite, the Siddha Vaidya Thirattu, a Bible for Siddha physicians, offers the age-old Omam thanneer as a remedy. Omam (Tamil and Malayalam) is called ajowan in Hindi and is used as a fairly common ingredient in our cooking. It is used in parathas and pakoras and even made as a kuzhambu in Tamil Nadu.
Omam contains the essential oil thymol which is carminative, stimulant and antispasmodic. Omam thanneer is prepared by a distillation process so that the essential oil is released. Fifteen to 30 ml of Omam thanneer along with an equal quantity of water is taken once or twice daily to improve digestion and to get rid of colic.
Siddha also offers Inji lehyam, a jam-like preparation made from fresh ginger juice, nerinjil juice (Tribulus terrestris or small caltrops), kandankathiri juice, radish juice, lime juice, cumin, cardamom, cloves, taleesapatra, Emblica ribes, dried ginger, pepper, long pepper, jaggery, milk and honey. This is a little complicated to prepare at home and can be purchased off-the-shelf from a Siddha pharmacy.
This lehyam helps to relieve abdominal pains due to indigestion, vomiting etc. Both Omam thanneer and Inji lehyam are used in the treatment of anorexia.
A simpler product which can be made at home for which the recipe is found in the Siddha Vaidya Thirattu is Inji rasayanam.
Take one portion of fresh ginger (100 grams), half portion of cumin (50 grams), one and a half portions of sugar (150 grams) and sufficient quantity of ghee.
The ginger is cleaned and peeled and cut into small pieces and fried in ghee. This is powdered to the extent possible. Cumin is fried lightly and also powdered. Both these powders are added to powdered brown sugar or country sugar. About 1/4 to 1 spoon of this taken once or twice daily helps with vomiting, biliousness, burning sensation and inflammation of chest and stomach, loss of appetite and indigestion.
If your digestion and appetite continue to trouble you, consult a vaidyar and set it right at once. Allopathy does not pay enough attention to the state of your digestion unlike our traditional vaidyars. The key to good health begins with good digestion.
The writer was earlier Health Secretary, Tamil Nadu, and is currently Additional Chief Secretary and Chairman & MD, Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation. She can be reached at Sheelarani.arogyamantra@gmail. com. Earlier articles can be accessed at www.arogyamantra.blogspot.com
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