CHENNAI: Cloudy skies, unexpected downpour and driving or walking through rainwater — all of these spell diseases. The prevailing inclement weather in most parts of Tamil Nadu has brought with it a spike in cases of cold, cough and fever. A common complaint among many is a headache. As the rain gods continue to play hide-and-seek with the state, people are opting for prevention over cure. While many prefer to consult a pharmacist for over-the-counter pills to prevent headaches, some rely on paati vaidhyam (grandmothers’ health tips).
Vaishnavi Ravi, a resident of T Nagar, says her late grandmothers had simple yet effective ways to treat sinus headaches. “My paternal grandmother used to make a juice from betel leaf, add some crushed camphor and apply the paste on our forehead. Within two hours we could sense relief. My mother, father and I use this technique.”
Her maternal grandmother had a remedy for headache caused due to excess heat. “She used to heat water and add cumin and cloves to it. Once the mix came to a boil, she used to ask us to consume it. It gave relief in a few hours. Clove gives a cooling effect that helps cure the headache,” she says.
Native treatments differ from place to place. Jyothi Iyer, a resident of Coimbatore, says, “Kumkumam (vermilion) paste could be put on the forehead for relief. One should ensure the kumkumam is of good quality, natural and does not have any chemicals.”
Often, women also suffer a headache if their hair doesn’t dry well after a hairwash. As a remedy to this, Seetha Raman, a resident of Tambaram Sanatorium, says, “Take a few betel leaves, tulsi leaves, a
hint of ginger, cumin and some black pepper. Grind it in a mixer adding a little bit of water. Strain the mixture, add honey to it and drink a glass full. This kashayam will give heat to the body to prevent a cold.”
It is believed that neem and turmeric can heal anything. Bagirathi Chandrasekaran suggests, “Heat neem oil and whole turmeric. Inhale the mixture for a few minutes to get relief. I follow this till date.” Raji Shankar from Chromepet recommends a paste of buttermilk and dried ginger which when applied on the head gives instant relief.