A Spoonful Vrisha Ghrtam to Beat Cold - The New Indian Express

A Spoonful Vrisha Ghrtam to Beat Cold

Published: 01st December 2013 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 29th November 2013 06:08 PM

Adhatoda vasica is a herb about which I have written earlier. It grows wild and is not eaten by animals. It is, however, of great benefit to us humans in treating colds.

As early as about 200 to 350 years ago, the Sahasrayagam talks of a preparation made with Adhatoda vasica. The plant is referred to in Ayurveda as Vrisha. A ghee called Vrisha ghrtam is prepared by using all parts of the plant including its leaves, flowers, bark and roots. The recipe reads thus: ghrtam or ghee 7.5 gm, Vrisha Samulam (meaning all parts of the plant) 3.75 gm, Vrishapushpa (meaning the flowers) 0.625 gm.

It is a vindication of the genius of the Siddhars that Adhatoda has been found to have bronchodilatory properties. The active compounds, vasicine and vasicnone have effects on the bronchial system. I am not in favour of separating the active principles and using them as drugs as we do not really know how the whole herb works. Often separating out the active principles alone can have unforeseen side effects and then Ayurveda gets a ‘bad name’.

In Chennai, early mornings and nights in December can be quite cold; I find many Chennaites walking around with earmuffs in the early mornings. This is the time of the year that Vrisha ghrtam comes in quite handy. It is an invaluable aid for dry coughs, irritated throats and wheezing. Many vaidyars prescribe this ghee along with Vyaghryadi lehyam, Agastya Rasayanam and Dasamula Rasayanam. I have written about Agastya Rasayanam earlier. I have also written about Dasamula Arishtam. Dasamula Rasayanam is a variant and is more like a jam.

Dasamula Rasayanam is made from 30 herbs, Agastya Rasayanam from about 20 herbs. Both use the 10 dasamulam herbs. Vyaghradi lehyam uses Solanum xanthocarpum or kantakatri as it is called in Tamil. The other day in my farm we had prepared a bed with cowdung to grow greens. While the greens took root it was completely taken over by small kantakatri plants. Of course our workers wanted to weed it out. I requested them to leave it so that we could have a patch of kantakatri. Normally, these plants are not cultivated by farmers and are usually found growing wild. My farm workers think I am a little strange wanting to grow kantakatri which is a thorny plant. I have not tried to make anything out of it yet except that I know that it is a useful and powerful plant in dealing with respiratory complaints. I am definitely going to find out if someone in the village knows of any interesting preparation to deal with coughs, colds and wheezing.

Some repairs and renovation in the house has everybody down with a bad throat and cold. Half a gram each of Vyaghryadi ghrtam, agashya rasayanam and dasamula rasayanam with one tablespoon of vrisha ghrtam definitely soothes the throat and helps in tackling the cough and cold.

The writer was earlier Health Secretary, Tamil Nadu, and is currently Additional Chief Secretary, and Chairman and 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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