Friday, 23 May 2014

Their own health heritage is vast - Ears, Eyes


For earaches, the cactus jaaga (Sanseveria roxburghiana) is extremely effective. This cactus has long, thin leaves. A leaf is put into the fire and after it heats, drops of juice are wrung out from it into the ear.  My daughter used to get very severe earaches and I used to go and get these plants which grew in abundance across Eguva Maalapalle. This is murva in sanskrit and ayurveda prescribes it for the same condition similarly.
Application of paste of tangedu (Cassia auriculata) leaf  and salt and turmeric also worked for Baabu who used to have a recurring ear problem as a child. Chinna eranda leaves and kammagajjaraaku leaf juice is also supposed to be similarly effective.

When a severe earache, accompanied with blood and pus,  does not respond to anything, then the jogalaiyna, the pig rearer, is approached. There is a community of these people in Tellagundlapalle. They fill the ear with water and suck at the ear with a small pipe and pull out the flies, the joreegalu,  which would have hatched in the ears, when a joreegu would have laid eggs inside. They charge by the number of flies they pull out. They also give a medicated oil.

Another remedy mentioned was that pedda vaamiti leaves be pounded with garlic and pepper and the three drops of the juice is instilled in the ears. The joreegalu flies, if they are there, fly out. Cold water is then poured into the ears.

Eye problems
In the case of watering or red eyes a few drops of mothers milk is mixed well with castor oil and applied in the eyes. When my daughter was less than a year, her eyes stayed red for some days. We went to Dhana, Chandrashekar’s sister, in Eguru, as she had just had a baby. She took some castor oil from the small bottle kept next to the lamp in front of the god pictures, squirted some breast milk into the oil, mixed the milk and oil for awhile and instilled this into the infant’s eye. This application also worked for me when I had a similar eye condition. When my daughter was about five years old, she got a red spot in her eye from getting badly poked by a stick from the bodha grass roof. Bodha, Cymbopogon nardus, is the thatching grass got from the forest. I took my daughter to Savudu Bangaarakka (deaf Bangaarakka)  in the next street for three consecutive days, and she instilled into her eyes a few drops of a leaf juice mixed with salt. The child’s eyes would smart terribly. After this, for three days she was to have breast milk instilled in her eye. We would go to Rani’s house and sit on the rope cot outside her home. She would come and either squirt milk directly into the child’s eye after making her lie down in her lap, or draw some into a cup and give the cup. Bangaarakka refused to divulge the name of the leaves she used. Once when I had a gritty feeling in my eye for a few days, as if there was a tiny growth, Govindamma instilled juice of another plant which she showed me. The gritty sensation disappeared. The plant was a small thorny shrub with thick waxy leaves which grew under the pipal tree across the village. They say that the blood from the crown of cocks is also similarly instilled in the eyes. Drumstick leaf juice is also used to address conditions from injury to the eye  to redness to a gritty feeling in the eyes.

In conjunctivitis, when the eye gets sticky with secretions, the seeds of chanubaala are dehusked by rubbing together, roasted, ground and applied in the eye. Juice of tamarind leaf with spatikam or alum is also applied. Tamarind leaf, with salt and mother’s milk, is also tied in a cloth and squeezed into the eye. People say that conjectivitis has become rarer now than earlier. They said that as it used to occur frequently earlier and as such pungent medicines were used on the eye cataract itself was rare.

If the eyes water, feel hot and burning, or if vision is clouded, or in case of conjunctivitis, flowers of the tella poolu chettu are placed on the eyes. These are cooling. The leaves are ground, soaked in mother’s milk or rice wash, bundled into a piece of cloth and squeezed into the eyes at night. They say that the nandivardhanam (Tabernaemontana divaricate) flowers can also be placed over the eyes at night.

The elders say that in earlier days castor oil used to be applied on the head which was very good for the eyes.  Now they say people have moved to coconut oil. Also, hair used to be washed with manga chakka which was also good for the eyes. Now shampoo is used which only damages the eyes.

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