Kerala Ayurveda's Panchakarma Treatments during the Rainy Season of Karkidaka

In 2009 we published a post on Karkidaka treatments written by Guest Blogger Dr. Anishkumar. This is a continuation of the same, but written by Maneesh Jayachandran from the viewpoint of a patient.

Ayurveda is the knowledge about human life and it's maintenance. It contains the knowledge to protect the health, prevent diseases, treat the diseased and rehabilitate the cured patients. Ayurveda lays more stress on prevention of disease rather than treatment. There is a practise of people taking traditional karkitaka treatment to cope up with the environmental changes.It is a period of detoxification done during the malayalam month of Karkitaka (July-August) during the rains.Panchakarma treatments are provided by different doctors to cleanse the human body.Panchakarma means five activities or processes done to cleanse the body, mind, intellect and indriyas (senses). They are vamana (vomiting), virechana (diarrhea), vasthi (a process of providing medicine to the body through anus similiar to enema), nasya (providing medicine through nasal openings) & rakthamoksha (the process of draining impure bloods through wounds made in skin). A combination of these techniques are done by doctor to cleanse the human body.Body should be prepared for panchakarma. Snehanam and Svedanam are the two cleaning procedures.

Ayurvedic Herbs ae depositing in the fire during a vedic yajna.The herbs & materials gets converted to vapour state, rise above and invoke the clouds.It is a chemical process. Similarly there is an agni or fire altar in our stomach. It is called the Jadaragni. Food deposited in the Jadaragni, it gets converted to energy and is used to power the operations of the top part of the body including the brain.The energy rich brain decides to provide the life sustaining materials to all cells of the body. According to Ayurveda, the internal Agni powers the human body in a healthy way. It is a life force that acts and controls all activities happening in the human body. When the life force weakens, diseases affects our body. So Agni should be improved for long life.There are chances for weakening of the Agni during the rainy season.

THe Keralite practices of health protection are mainly aimed to strengthen the Agni. The first friday of Karkitaka month is celebrated as Oushadhaseva day. Koduveli is consumed as medicine. The sanskrit name of Koduveli is Agni itself. The normal instruction is to consume koduveli after cleansing it.Uncleaned koduveli is also seen given by some doctors on Oushadhaseva day.Quantity will be very less.

Kerala treatments of Abringam, Dhara, Pizhichil, Kizhi is mixed with Panchakarma treatments. Pizhichil and dhara are contribution of malayali doctors to Ayurveda.The basis is charakam, Sushrutham, Ashtangahridayam texts. These treatments are very expensive nowadays. Budget disease prevention treatments are also popular. For eg. Uluva and Shathakuppa is crushed and mixed with warm gingelly oil. This mixture is applied in the body for 30 to 45 minutes and allowed to bath. Bath can be in water boiled with leaves of Avanakku, Vathamkolli and Plavu. This can be done for seven to fourteen days. Also stomach can be cleaned using gandharvahasthadi kashaya or avanakku oil. Kadukka, Curry leaves or chukku made kashayam also does the trick. Rest and proper food is important when undergoing karkitaka treatment. 

Treatment in Ayurveda tradition is like an austere practice that needs complete participation of the individual. Self restrain is essential to attain results. Hot water should only be used for cleaning, drinking and bathing during the period of treatment. Hotwater improves the Agni and performance of the kidneys. It clears cough and food residue that stays in the throat and tonsils. It vanishes ribs pain, abdominal distension and hiccough. Bathing in hot water cures vatha related problems. If the water is too hot, it might create injury in eyes & hair. To prevent myocitis, mix crushed Kadukkashells to the bathing water. Similarly Oedema, Pain, Churning, Numbness etc. can be prevented by mixing crushed avanakku leaf and Karunechi leaf to the water.This can cure joint pains & oedema that comes after a viral fever.

Do not sleep during the day or wake up during the night.Irregular sleeping pattern can affect our biological sleep clock. This can derail biological inner processes in the body.Do not obstruct the normal operation of flatulence, faeces, urine, semen, hiccough, cough, sneezing, yawn, vomiting, sleep etc. These are called the Vegaas. Don't close the tears. Do not bear the hunger and thirst.Do not miss sound sleeping.Flatulence and the rest are in-built regulatory mechanisms. Stopping them can cause many diseases.

Do only simple exercises during the treatment period. Avoid sexual intercourse. Only this way the body's energy can be used to cure the damages happened to the body. Avoid journeys, Dust, Smoke, Sunlight, rain etc. to save you from infection & allergic disorder. Hard Pillow is avoided to avoid even slight impact to the head and spine. Limit the use of television, cell phone & computer. Avoid the tasty & beautiful foods. Don't use intoxicating substances. The basic idea is to avoid temporarily the comforts to get a healthy result after the treatment.


  3. Ayurvedavum Deerghayussum - Dr. K. Muraleedharan ISBN 987-81-8264-931-6
Now Read: Now read Food and Medicines an Ayurvedic Viewpoint


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