Benefits of Guggulu Tikta Ghrtam
By Sheela Rani Chunkath
09th September 2012 12:00 AM
The ghrtam — or ghee-based genre of drugs is very effective and is used often by Ayurvedic vaidyars. Today, everyone associates ghee with cholesterol, but it is the best of all fats as it is completely saturated and therefore does not become rancid even at room temperatures. It is this property of ghee that has been used by vaidyars to prepare medicated ghee. Ghee also has the ability to absorb the bioactive principles of herbs when it is heated along with raw herbs. Yet another property of ghee is it is a great vehicle to convey the drug to various tissues or as the ayurvedic vaidyars put it, it is an excellent anupanam and hence useful in preparing various medications.
Guggulu Tikta Ghrtam is one such medicated ghee. Tikta means bitter and this ghrtam contains five bitter herbs — Neem (Azadirachta indica), Patola (Trichosanthes dioica), Vyaghri (Solanum xanthocarpum), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Vasa (Adhatoda vasica) and Guggulu (Commiphora mukul) —along with many others. These other drugs range from pepper, ginger, turmeric and sweet flag to more exotic ones such as Yavani (Trachyspermum ammmi) and Yukta (Pluchea lanceolata). The reason I decided to write about this ghrtam is that quite a few people I know complain about joint pains and general stiffness. Other than Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, allopathic system of medicine seems to have nothing to offer.
Guggulu Tikta Ghrtam tries to address the issue by pacifying vata, the main cause of the pain. The recipe for Guggulu Tikta Ghrtam is given in the Ashtanga Hridayam Chikitsasthana. As the Ashtanga Hridayam was compiled between the 3rd and 6th century, Guggulu Tikta Ghrtam can be considered as the one which has withstood the test of time.
Unlike many new drugs which, though FDA-approved, get withdrawn from the market because of side-effects, ayurvedic drugs continue to be prescribed by vaidyars, because they have studied their benefits and side-effects empirically rather than put them merely through double-blind trials. In fact many people ask me why we are unable to scientifically assess the validity of our traditional medicines. Other than the fact that it involves huge expenditure and that such a task can be undertaken only by government agencies, ayurvedic drugs act differently upon different people depending on their constitution (prakriti). Therfore, doing a double-blind trial is not as simple as for allopathic drugs. Scientific trials are not undertaken by private agencies as most of the drugs are in the public domain and no pharma company really benefits from proving the efficacy of our old preparations.
Guggulu Tikta Ghrtam is one drug that can be used by almost all individuals as it pacifies all the three doshas. However, since it is a ghee, one’s digestion has to be good before it can be taken. Guggulu Tikta Ghrtam is one of those time-tested preparations which is very effective in tackling the root cause of joint pains, myalgia, gout etc. It is also used in the treatment of skin diseases and deep-seated ulcers and abscesses.
The way to have Guggulu Tikta Ghrtam is to take quarter to half a teaspoon of ghee, melt it and swallow it. I usually take half a teaspoon of the ghee in a small cup and add a little boiling hot water to it so that the ghee melts and then I add a little lukewarm water so that it is at a drinkable temperature. Though it is bitter one gets used to it is after a while.
I drink my Guggulu Tikta Ghrtam early in the morning on empty stomach. I wait for it to digest before having my breakfast. The diet to be followed when having Guggulu Tikta Ghrtam has to be bland, with no tamarind or hot spices. One gets used to that also after a while. In the beginning, it is a little tough, but the ghrtam really helps. It is, however, not a painkiller, so do not expect the pains to miraculously disappear as with allopathic pain killers.
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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