A classical poetic remedy for hiccups

Published: 03rd November 2013 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd November 2013 04:20 PM   |  A+A-


Through the years, I slowly seem to have become the first point of reference for my friends’ health problems. I think they have become lazy to visit a vaidyar and as Sudarshan and Taleesadi normally work for most colds and fevers, and so they are convinced that I have the healing touch. The other day I had an unusual request. One of my friends called me to say that her brother had been having non-stop hiccups for three days, that she was very worried and whether I could suggest some remedy. I told her to consult a vaidyar but I also remembered that Theraiyar, the great Siddha saint, had written a verse on how to treat hiccups. Theraiyar wrote his various medical treatises some time during 1000-1500 AD and these treatises are a treasure house of medical information. Civil society and governments must do more to preserve and disperse the fantastic knowledge contained there and in similar treatises about various herbs and minerals.

I could not recall Theraiyar’s verse in full so I called up a Siddha vaidyar, Dr Thirunarayanan, and asked him if he could send me the verse. Thirunarayanan immediately emailed me the verse and told me that the prescription given in the verse was very effective, and that my friend’s brother should definitely try it. The version in Tamil goes as follows:

Ettu thippili, eerainthu jeeragam,

Kattu thenil kalanthunna,

Vikkalum vittu pogum,

Vidavidil pothagam chuttu podu,

Naan theranum allanae

Roughly translated the verse reads as follows:

“Eight of thippili, five times two of jeera,

Mix with honey and consume, This will stop the hiccups,

If this doesn’t work, add burnt peacock feathers.

My name is not Theraiyar if this treatment is not effective.”

Take eight parts of thippili or Piper longum and ten parts of jeera (basically a four is to five ratio) and lightly roast in a pan and powder.

To the cooled mixture, add honey and consume. One can take about two gm of the mixture two or three times a day, according to Thirunarayanan. He says that most times this will work. If it doesn’t, the ash of the peacock feathers can be used. He says half a gram of the ash can be added to the thippili-jeera mix and consumed.

In the case of my friend’s brother, he became hiccup-free pretty soon and is now a devout reader of my columns.

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  Earlier articles can be accessed at


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