George Brett was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999. He played his entire 21-year baseball career for the Kansas City Royals. In the 1980 World Series, the Royals lost to the Philadelphia Phillies. In this series, Brett made headlines as he had to leave the second game in the sixth inning due to haemorrhoid pain. He had a minor surgery the next day and returned to hit a home run. After the game, Brett was famously quoted as saying “...my problems are all behind me.” Western allopathic medicine has little to offer for haemorrhoid or piles, as it is commonly known, except surgery and some relief from constipation.
In contrast, both Ayurveda and Siddha have a plethora of medicines to deal with the condition. Most haemorrhoids are neglected or untreated in the early stages and go on to become bleeding piles as most allopathic treatments focus only on relief from constipation; which, while useful, cannot cure the condition.
Ayurveda and Siddha offer both internal and external medicines to treat the haemorrhoids/piles. Piles is often a hereditary condition. It is also caused by excess vayu resulting from constipation — a derangement of apana vayu. Sitting long hours also makes one susceptible to the condition.
The Siddha system of medicine offers the famous Karnakizhangu lehyam as a cure. It is a jam-like preparation made from different types of yams, wild yams, elephant foot yams and fist yams. The mind boggles at the various other ingredients that go into this preparation: mango cotyledons or seeds, Cissus quadrangularis or pirandai (Tamil), Cissus setosa, pulinaralai in (Tamil) and pulipirandai (Malayalam), dried ginger, Terminalia chebula, kadukkai in (Tamil), nut grass tubers, korai kizhangu (Tamil), cassia pod pulp, saraikonnai puli in (Tamil), palm jaggery, ghee and water.
This preparation is useful for all types of piles with the dosage being six to 12 gms twice daily. In acute cases this is often given with Nagaparpam, a preparation of zinc. Many people will get apprehensive regarding the use of a metal, though zinc is often an ingredient in most
The other preparation which is given along with Karnakizhangu lehyam is Natha parpam — a preparation made from apple snails and Pila globosa.
If someone is diabetic and cannot use the Karnakizhangu lehyam, Siddha offers Inbooral mathirai, a tablet made from the chay (Oldenlandia umbellata) root cortex. Oldenlandia is a native of the Coromandel coast of Tamil Nadu. Chay root is also the source of a beautiful red dye and had been traditionally used to paint the red figures on chintz or glazed calico cloth.
Manjishta kwatha churanam and the pulp of Aloe vera is also given to treat piles along with an external wash of triphala. Ayurvedists also prescribe Kasisadi tailam made with iron sulphate for external use.
Moolakudara tailam made from the dried tender fruits of Terminalia chebula, kadukkai (Tamil) and castor oil is used both for internal consumption and external application. Terminalia chebula and castor oil both have laxative and other curative properties and greatly help the condition. Usually one to two teaspoonfuls is given at bed time.
Haemorrhoids are easy to treat when they first make an appearance — early warning signs include presence of fresh blood in the stools, itching around the anus and slight pain while passing stools etc. It should be treated right then. Prevention is, of course, better. Do not sit for long hours at a time, keep an alarm for every 15 or 20 minutes, get up and stretch. Avoid constipation. Use castor oil in your diet. There is a unique Tamil preparation called vadagam which is made with castor oil, about which I will write in my next article.
The writer was earlier Health Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu and is currently, Additional Chief Secretary and Chairman & Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation. She can be reached at Sheelarani. arogyamantra@gmail. com. Earlier articles can be accessed at www.arogyamantra. blogspot. com