Sunday, November 30, 2008

Medicinal Power of Sugar Cane

Sugar cane is another plant found in the back gardens of some homes and now grown in large plantations. There are two varieties - the yellow and the black. The black variety has a lower sugar content and a higher mineral content than the yellow. Sugar cane is considered indigenous to Sri Lanka, and is the type used in medicine. Equal quantities of the juice of sugar cane and king coconut water with a little gingelly oil is given to pregnant mothers to induce pains even now in certain rural areas. Copious quantities of sugar cane should be given to patients with chicken pox, measles and like diseases which are accom­panied by high fever.

In cases of continued fever, except enteric fever, a drink made from sugar cane syrup, king coconut water and powdered Bulu seeds keeps the patient comfortable. Sugarcane is also the chief ingredient for a decoction for bleeding piles when used in combination with kooratampala and the yam of the ash plantain tree.

Sri Lankan Home Remedies Using Iriveriya (Plectanthus zeylanicus)

Iriveriya is another plant found in gardens. It grown successfully as an indoor plant. It is aromatic and grows easily and is used in many prescriptions for fever and diarrhea. The book Yogasatakaya gives details of how to use Iriveriya in various stages of diarrhea. For example, in long standing cases it is a mixture of Iriveriya and Kalanduru; if the diarrhea is accompanieg by loss of blood, the ingredients are Iriveriya, Kalanduru and unripe beli fruit. If there is a severe gripe then it has to be lriveriya, Kalanduru, unripe beli with kelindahall. It has to be administered together as a decoction.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Medicinal Power of Ginger

Ayurveda is a subject widely spoken of in Sri Lanka today. Ayur means long life, and veda means science, the science of long life. It would therefore apply to all medical systems, although it has come to mean the Eastern system only.

Sinhala medicine has a long history and probably dates as far back as the origin of the Hela or the 'Sinhalese nation itself. In the last two centuries however during foreign domination our ancient system of ayurveda might have been lost forever, but for the efforts of a devoted few who received Pirivena education.

The native physicians did not have a great variety of ready-made or prepared medicines. They had a few Guli, Kalka, Arista and Asawa, but these they used with the juice of a variety of herbs grown in their own home gardens to treat different diseases. Therefore we see that it is really the herbs in various combinations that do the good work.

Ginger is one of more common home-grown plant. Ginger is known as Mahausadi in Ayurvedic circles. Besides, it has 20 epithets when in the raw form and 24 when dry. The Dravya Guna Niganduwa, the Encyclopaedia of tropical plants and drugs used in Ayurvedic medicine describes it as acrid and digestive and, as an ingredient in medicine for costiveness, nausea, cough, colic and palpitation of the heart.

But dry ginger should not be used by those who are suffering from skin diseases, anemia, kidney complaints and high fever. A person suffering from acute diarrhea and vomiting is generally liable to catch a chill. A piece of ginger, a piece of equal size of the bark of the murunga tree and a few bulbs of garlic all crushed and rubbed on the palms and soles of the foot and also a little of it tied on to the two big toes would warm him up. For diarrhea and colic, the liquid extracted by crushing together raw ginger, Iriveriya and Undupiyali and mixed with a tablespoon of lime juice and bee's honey is good. Into this is dipped a red hot piece of iron. The dose is one tablespoon at a time three times a day. This should bring quick relief.

Dry ginger is the chief ingredient in the treatment of amoebiosis. Dry ginger, stems of Karapinchcha and Tamarind leaves, the rind of a raw lime are taken in equal quantities and roasted as for coffee. A tablespoon of this powder is mixed with a tablespoon of coffee powder and brewed in half a cup of boiling water. When cold, add bee's honey to sweeten. This should be taken three times a day for the best results.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Garlic and Sri Lanka Home Remedies

Garlic is cultivated as a spice. It contains a large quantity of medicinal properties. It is given in fevers, coughs, flatulence, disorders of the nervous system, dropsical affections, pulmonary phthisis, whoop­ing cough, gangrene of the lungs and dilated bronchi.

A decoction of garlic made with milk and water is given in small doses in hysteria and sciatica (an inflammation of the sciatic nerve at the back of the thigh). Garlic in the form of a syrup is a valuab1e remedy for Asthma, hoarseness and disorders of the chest and lungs.

It is a disinfectant. It is applied to ulcerated surfaces and wounds. A poultice of the bulb is used for ring-worm. The poultice is applied on the abdominal and public regions in cases of retention of urine due to lack of tension or muscular power of the bladder. Raw garlic juice can be inhaled during a bout of whooping cough. The oil in which garlic has been fried is a useful liniment for rheumatic pains, nervous diseases like infantile convulsions and very old wounds.

The oil extracted from the pods is given for checking chilly fits or intermittent fevers.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Medicinal Uses of Malabar Nut Tree or Adathoda

Another common herb is Adathoda or pavatta or Agaladara in Sinhalese. In English it is called the Malabar nut tree and its botanic name is Adathoda Visca. The leaves contain powerful curative values specially for the treatment of chest diseases. It is a special remedy for Pthisis or consumption. An infusion of fresh pavatta leaves, two or three tablespoons mixed with one teaspoon of ginger juice and bee's honey is very effective for the treatment of coughs accompanied by a heavy chest. A decoction prepared with Adathoda roots, Katuwalbatu (Sola­num Jacquini) Elabatu, raw ginger and Tippili root (long pepper) of equal quantities (2 1/2kalandas) is very effective for severe coughs and for catarrhal fever.

Another preparation with Adathoda consists of the juice of raw Adathoda leaves (4 tablespoons), Thippili powder (16 tablespoons), white sugar or sugar candy (2 ounces), ghee (10 tablespoons). Boil them together till reduced to the consistency of an extract; when cool add one tablespoon of bee's honey and stir it well till it is well mixed.

Dose: one or two tablespoons for a cough with pain on the sides of the chest or Asthma.

Adathoda roots could be used as coffee powder specially for chronic bronchitis.

Adathoda roots, bark, flowers, leaves and fruits are all used in medicine. A poultice or the leaves is applied over fresh wounds, rheumatic joints and inflammatory swellings. A warm decoction of the leaves is used for scabies and other skin diseases, neuralgic pains and bleeding from the nose.

Smoking is harmful for the lungs, but smoking dried leaves of Pawatta is a cure for Asthma.

Sri Lanka Herbs: Anoda or Abutilon Indicum

A large number of plants of medicinal value are common weeds; some agricultural and horticultural crops commonly cultivated also have medicinal properties. Many of our herbal plants have eco­nomic use as well and therefore they can be described as useful plants too. These plants are used in making perfumery extracts and even cosmetics.

The Anoda or Abutilon Indicum grows mostly on waste lands. It is better known as bethanoda, a shrubby plant. The leaves are smashed and boiled with rice flour for use as a poultice for sores. The flowers and leaves are used as a local application for boils and ulcers. A decoction of the leaves is used as a mouth-wash for tooth ache and tender gums. A decoction of the leaves gives a soothing effect to the inflammation of the bladder and urethra. The roots are diuretic and their infusion makes a cooling drink in case of fevers.

The seeds are used in a decoction for hemorrhoids. These seeds are poisonous when taken in large quantities, but in old books it is said that women ate the seeds as a contraceptive.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Medicinal Uses of Liquorice or Walmi

The popular remedies of herbal medicine were common through­out this country for many centuries until the advancing tide of synthetic drugs. Vegetable drugs have been known over the world for ages. Thousands of herbal plants are now recognized as drug-yielding plants in Europe and America.

Walmi (Phaseolus adenanthus) or wild liquorice is a common herb. The juice of Walmi (liquorice) is given for sore throat, dry cough and urinary ailments. The juice is also a good blood purifier. A paste of the leaves made with some gingelly oil applied over swellings, rheumatism etc., brings great relief; the leaves dipped in hot mustard oil or honey are used for the same purpose; a poultice of the leaves is used for removing freckles. A paste of walmi (liquorice) leaves and the roots of Plumbagorosea or Ratnitul is a stimulant dressing when applied over leucoderma patches for one month.

Decoctions, "Peyavas" And "Kalkas"

Indigenous medicine is a self-reliant system with its own philosophy. It has unique medical methods in preparing peyavas, putapakas, kalkas and oils.

The decoction is fairly well known among the Sinhalese. Boil 8 cups to one cup. Peyava is to boil the ingredients in eight cups of water and simmer it down to four cups. Then you have to add the pori or rice pop-corns and boil again to one or one and a half cups. For the Putapaka the raw herbal leaves are pounded and steamed under hot embers and the juice extracted. For the Kalka the herbs are ground and boiled into a paste with sugar candy or sugar.
Related Blog Post: