In the Indian sub-continent, nature has bestowed a vibrant climate that includes the hot and cold seasons that are separated by the monsoon, which generally dominates in the mid-year. However, with such a varied spectrum of climates in our subcontinent, the transitions from one to another present a challenge for the populace that has to cope with the difference in temperature and humidity conditions. Despite being native to such topography and its climate, the inhabitants here suffer from various disorders related to their health.
Monsoon, in particular, brings in more health issues for the common people because the humidity index peaks after falling off initial showers on hot dry earth! The pathogens find a conducive environment. Ayurvedic experts counsel Panchakarma treatment as part of the Karkidaka Chikitsa that has been specifically developed for monsoon-time ailments.
In Kerala, as per the Malayalam calendar, Karkidakam is the last month which falls from July – August.
As per Ayurveda, in this season, the human body becomes more prone to diseases due to the imbalance of doshas. So it is important to take preventive measures to strengthen the body and prevent diseases.
The monsoon rains are at their peak in the month of Karkidakam. Sudden climatic change from hot to cold has a profound impact on the body. An imbalance of doshas and less immunity will cause many diseases like fever, digestive problems, vatharogas, and inflammatory diseases.
Ayurveda, the ancient traditional medicine system from the land of India has been backed by a very authentic knowledge base that was accumulated through the works of sages for centuries.
This body of medical knowledge also touched upon the necessary subject of monsoon-time diseases that affected the people of this region. The Ayurveda acharyas developed ‘Karkidaka Chikitsa“ which was a dedicated field towards offering the resurrections against the imbalances caused in three primary doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha in the monsoon period. They found a generic reason for the disturbance in these three doshas!
The Karkidaka Chikitsa has been developed with the fundamental objective of detoxification of the body. Therefore we find the dominance of the concept of Panchakarma treatment in this Chikitsa! Another subsidiary dimension of relevance and significance is that of immunity strengthening so that external pathogens find a strong buffer while affecting the body.
One of the reasons why Karkidakam is considered the best month for treatment is that during the highly humid monsoon season, the pores of the body open to their fullest and can easily absorb all the oil, and poultices applied to them.
Karkidaka Chikitsa is particularly effective in the prevention of diseases and increasing energy levels and extending the longevity of life. Karkidaka Chikitsa helps in healing both physical and mental disorders. Moreover, it also prevents many other ailments such as arthritis, Spondylitis, back pain, insomnia, muscular pain, stress, and depression.
Preventive treatment – taking preventive measures to prevent diseases.
Curative treatment – intensive measures taken to cure an existing disease.
Any type of curative treatment first begins with the internal purification of the body (also known as Panchakarma). Panchakarma uses herbal medicines to remove toxins from the body, improve the body’s metabolic process and restore any imbalances.
There are 5 ways in which Panchakarma treatment may be administered. Any one of these therapies or a combination of two or three of them is generally used for this treatment process.
Vamana uses emetics (a substance that causes vomiting), to eliminate toxins present in the respiratory tract. It cures diseases such as asthma, allergies, nasal congestion, obesity, skin disorders, etc.
Virecana therapy uses laxatives to remove toxins from the GIT. It helps cure diseases such as diabetes, constipation, psoriasis and gynecological problems.
Vasti uses medicated enemas in the form of medicated oils and herbal concoctions to eliminate toxins from the GIT. It helps cure conditions such as cervical spondylosis, constipation, digestive problems, backache, obesity and infertility.
Nasya uses nasal administration of medicated oil to remove toxins from the head and neck region. It helps improve memory, gain better eyesight, and cures conditions such as insomnia, headaches, migraine, nasal allergies and sinusitis.
5. Rakta Mokshana (Blood letting)
Rakta Mokshana refers to the blood-letting therapy through which blood is purified.
Following the cleansing treatment, the actual curative treatment is commenced. A good Ayurvedic doctor will be able to prescribe the right curative treatment based on your body’s unique requirements.
Some of the more commonly followed treatments are listed below
The person is asked to lie on a wooden table, and 2 – 4 highly trained therapists apply lukewarm herbal oils all over the body in a rhythmic manner. One session lasts 60 to 90 minutes and the recommended period of therapy is 7 to 14 days. This treatment is used to cure rheumatic diseases such as arthritis, paralysis, sexual weakness, nervous weakness and nervous disorders.
This treatment follows the process of sudation – making the body sweat. Medicinal puddings are externally applied to the whole body, or specific parts of the body for about 60 to 90 minutes, and the entire treatment lasts 14 days. It treats rheumatism, emaciation, joint pains, high blood pressure and skin diseases.
3. Sirodhara ( Thailadhara / Thakradhara)
In this treatment, herbal oils, medicated butter milk and milk are continuously poured onto the forehead for about 40 minutes. The recommended treatment period ranges from 7 to 14 days and helps treat insomnia, short-term memory loss, skin diseases, headaches and mental illness, neurodegenerative diseases and stroke.
In this treatment, a cap is fitted to the person’s head and lukewarm oils are poured into it. The oil has to remain there for a period of 15 to 60 minutes depending on the condition of the patient. The entire treatment has to be done for about 7 days and is an effective treatment for paralysis, dryness of the nostrils, throat, mouth and head diseases.
This treatment (also known as powder massage) involves two therapists applying a specially concocted herbal powder on the body for about 30 – 40 minutes. The duration of the treatment ranges from 7 to 14 days and helps to treat complications such as obesity, and impaired circulation.
An important dietary suggestion to be followed through this month is the ‘Karkidaka Kanji’, a medicated rice porridge. When rains are heavy, this medicated porridge will enable the individual to remain healthy.
Karkidaka Kanji, the Oushadha Kanji, is a unique medicinal porridge traditionally popular in the South Indian state of Kerala during the rainy season. During this time, with the incessant rains beating down the roof, this month is spent in the rejuvenation of the mind and body. The unique combination of herbs, spices and rice in this dish would keep the body in stability. This is a special diet in Ayurveda that is good for people of all age groups as it would help to improve the immunity of the body, and acts as a detoxifying agent. Karkidaka Kanji.
Alleviate current diseases.
Treatment is done as per individual constitution Panchakarma is recommended during this season. Along with the treatment, a special gruel, Karkidaka Kanji is a cervical part of the diet in this season. Navara rice is one of the main ingredients which will be helpful to enhance muscle tone, and the drug Dasamoola alleviates Vatha and Kapha.
The specialty of Karkidaka Kanji is that this item is prepared out of ayurvedic drugs which is having the property of increasing the digestive power easily digestible.