While one can prevent most illnesses by taking preventive measures prescribed by our ayurvedic vaidyars, preventing accidents is a little chancy. I have been quite careful, never driving at high speed, keeping the floor of my house clutter-free, and keeping the bathroom floor dry. An uncle of mine got out of bed, stepped on a small foot mat and broke his hipbone. An acquaintance miscalculated the distance between steps, missed one step and had a hariline fracture near his ankle. A friend did not notice a speed-breaker while out on a walk, fell down and tore his thumb ligament. I have never had an accident where I have slipped and torn a ligament.
But last week was my turn. A flat pair of chappals with an apparently safe rubber sole was the culprit. Unfortunately, the rubber had hardened with age and lost the good grip. I found myself flat on my back on the wet floor just outside the college bathroom. Mind you, I was not rushing or running. I just turned, the sole of my chappal acted as a lubricated pivot and there I was ignominiously sprawled on the floor with half a dozen students looking at me anxiously.
So in addition to the normal precautions which one takes to avoid accidents such as holding the balustrade and being careful while taking the stairs, not rushing to answer the phone or the doorbell, carefully handling a kitchen knife etc, one needs to pay attention to two areas where most accidents take place—the bathroom and the staircase. If you have old people in the home, re-floor the bathroom or get those slippery tiles covered.
And watch those staircases. Too many people I know are missing their step and landing up with broken bones and torn ligaments. Pay attention to your footwear. While I am all for style, consider safety first. In spite of all precautions if someone meets with an accident, the two best oils to liberally use externally are Murivennai and Dhanavantaram oil. There is no need to massage the area. Just apply the oil liberally. If you know a traditional bone-setter, have him look at it and apply some herbal paste and bandage it to immobilise the foot. Each physician will give you different advice and recommendations. You will have to follow the most convenient one. However, the one thing most ayurvedic practitioners will ask you to do is to take 10-15 drops of Gandha tailam, Bala tailam and Ksheerabala tailam in a little warm milk with or without sugar twice a day. These three oils are great at mending tissue and bones, and will help heal faster.
Gandha tailam is made from processed sesame seeds mixed with herbs ranging from Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) to Sida cordifolia (Bala) and Hemidesmus indicus (Indian sarsaparilla). Bala tailam is made from similar ingredients. As the name suggests, Bala is the main ingredient, others include Tinospora cordifolia, Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata), Ela (cardamom) and Manjishta (Rubia cordifolia) etc. Ksheerabala tailam (101) is a household favourite and is part of our first-aid kit. It is used for everything from sprains to bruises and headaches.
It is made from Bala, milk and sesame oil. It is processed for 101 days with fresh ingredients being added every day. The lesson I have learnt is that I need to ensure that my footwear has flat and safe accident-proof rubber soles.
The writer is retired Additional Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu. She can be reached at sheelarani.arogyamantra@gmail. com/arogyamantra.blogspot.com