Munikrishna, of my street, started having fits from the age of eleven. He had gone to the woodapple tree just beyond the village to collect fruits. The tree is near the common lands where dead bodies are cremated. It is said that people sometimes get possessed by spirits in these places.He went into the bushes under the tree to search for fallen fruit, and he heard some noises there. That was the day he started having epileptic fits, according to his mother.
His family got antrams, amulets, tied on him by Thathappa, a vaidya of the neighbouring village. He did not improve. He was also taken to Baata Gangamma temple for getting an antram tied. That was also of no avail. Various treatments were tried but nothing helped.
Finally he was taken to Vallivedu where a lady gave medicines for fits. He would take goat’s milk, betel leaf, pepper and garlic. The juice of the medicinal leaves would be added to these and administered. This was administered on three consecutive Sundays. On the next two Sundays a pigeon also had to be taken. His father would purchase a pigeon from Pakala for three hundred rupees. The betel leaf, pepper, garlic and the leaf juices were added to pigeon blood and given. The patyam imposed for two days after Sunday was to have only boiled rice or some puffed rice without adding even salt. During the entire period of treatment the patient was advised not to go near any tamarind trees nor to any place where there had been a death. His attacks ceased after the course of treatment. He recovered completely, but a few months later there were very faint tremors when he was sleeping. The family was thinking of taking him for another course of medicines, but those tremors stopped in a few months. He has been well for a few years now.
His mother said that earlier a passing vaidudu had advised her to give him raw pig’s blood with betel leaf juice, garlic and pepper. She said she did not give it because he was an iterinent, and she would not have known how to contact him again if required.
Dhanakka of the lower street later showed me the leaf kattipaapati aaku as the leaf that her own father used to give to epileptic patients in Vallivedu. When he was alive, she said, many epilepsy patients used to come to him. He used to give this leaf with gorochanam and kasturi pasupu (wild pasupu). Dhanakka says all the patients who came to him recovered. Chinnapaapakka saw the leaf and said that it was the same which was given with garlic and salt for calves when they got fits. She said calves sometimes get fits when they get drenched in the rains. She said paapati kaaya, kattipaapati aaku, garlic and pepper were also given to calves.
People traditionally go to Kalikiri for these conditions, which are referred to as vayu conditions. Thay say a churnam or medicinal powder is given there which is to be had for a few months. The diet restrictions are supposed to be very rigourous. During the course of treatment they say that the patient is not supposed to go in the shade of tamarind trees.
But such conditions are to be treated within a year, when recovery chances are best. The Vallivedu lady also said that when consulted about an epileptic patient of many years. She said that she would give the medicine but it depended on the fortune of the patient whether he recovered or not. She said he would have responded had he come within a year of starting fits. ...