Fever an easy nut to crack with bonduc nut - The New Indian Express

Fever an easy nut to crack with bonduc nut

Published: 15th September 2013 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 13th September 2013 01:03 PM

The Department of Ayush, Government of India, developed an anti-malarial drug—Ayush 64—in which one of the main ingredients is bonduc nut or fever nut as it is popularly known. It is also known as nicker seed, yellow nicker or grey nicker. The scientific name is Caesalpinia Bonduc. Ayurvedic vaidyars have for long used the seeds of bonduc nuts for treating fevers.

The use of Ayush 64 has been subjected to double blind trials where it has proven to be very effective in treating malaria without any side effects. In fact, bonduc nut powder is used alone for treatment of fevers where the cause of fever is unknown. Ayurvedic vaidyars use this as a first line of defence for treating fevers where most tests indicate that nothing is seriously wrong with the patient but the fever persists. It is especially useful in cases where a person has had malaria and has repeated bouts of fever but tests negative for malaria. Since it is difficult to detect the malarial parasite, Ayurvedic vaidyars prescribe Ayush 64 or a variant to treat the fever.

One of the favourite home remedies they prescribe is to take 2-4 grams of the stem of guduchi or Tinospora cordifolia and boil it with 2 powdered seeds of Caesalpinia Bonduc. Caesalpinia Bonduc known as Kallarchikai in Tamil and Kalanchi in Malayalam, is a beautiful looking seed. Grey in colour and smooth textured with a hard outer covering. It has to be broken to extract the inner seed. This is finely powdered and added to the stem of Tinospora cordifolia. (I have written in detail about the wonderful properties of Tinospora cordifolia in my earlier article). The two are boiled together with a glass of water and reduced to about half a glass. The resulting kashayam is a wonderful pick-me-up for those suffering from fevers. Both the herbs have antioxidant properties. It has been used traditionally to revitalise the spleen and liver. In villages, the leaf or seed paste is applied over the hydrocele to reduce the swelling. Some years ago a friend and I were talking to some villagers when one of them talked to us about the scrotal swelling of their young son. They said that they had consulted a few local doctors but the swelling had not subsided. My friend immediately asked them to bring a few ‘Kallarchikais’. He asked the mother to break the outer covering and take out the inside seed and powder it well. He asked her to get one country egg, break it on a tava and make a kind of fried egg. He asked her to add the seed powder to the egg yolk and flip the egg over. When cooked it was to be given to the little boy. The boy was cured of his scrotal swelling. From local villages in India to different parts of the world, bonduc nuts have been part of the traditional medicine. In countries such as Mauritius it is used as an anti-helmintic . In Sri Lanka, the plant is used for skeletal fractures. Nearer home, in Katra valley of Jammu and Kashmir, the plant juice is used to cure intermittent fever. In homeopathy, the plant is considered an excellent remedy for chronic fevers.

Bonduc nuts and Tinospora cordifolia kashayam is a good starting point for those suffering from unexplained fevers.

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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