Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Health has been addressed in villages by traditional practitioners ranging from bone setters to those addressing snake bites to those addressing  vayu (nervous) diseases and much else.

 The medicines for children were traditionally dispensed by Boobamma (a term that is a variation of Bibiamma as the Muslim women in this area are addressed). The Boobammas were based in Ravanaiahgaripalle 5km away. A few families there practice this, and the skill is passed down the family. Even upto fifteen years ago, the boobammas used to walk down all villages in a wide area with their bundle of medicines, and people used to buy the churnams and pills made with herbs and minerals. 

Then the practice slowly stopped, as did many traditional practices. Boobamma now works as an cleaner in the local private school. But there are three Boobammas  in Ravaniahgaripalle, and people go there when they need medicines. Sometimes people procure medicines from her through someone or the other.  Sometimes the Boobamma   goes to some villages which are on the main road.

I went with Eashwaramma to this village 7 km away, to ask about the medicines. This is Eashwaramma's natal village, but as it is a large village unlike ours she does not personally know all the people. We took a shared auto to the village from Kothapeta, and asked for the house of Boobamma. There the lady, Fatima biwi called us in and took out her medicines.  She showed  us all the medicines and explaining their uses and ingredients. 

Kuttu mathirai or erra mathirai - When the babies have kuttu in the stomach due to food and milk being improperly digested, they twist and turn (nilagatharu). Then the kuttu mathirai, or erra (red) mathirai is given in the morning. It causes loose motions of a white and sticky kind. Then the advised diet of just rasam rice has to be followed. In the evening to stop the purges a hot water bath is given and a white paste from the naama katti is applied around the navel.

Nalla mathirai - 

Kaaraka maathirai - This is a purgative given after a head bath. The diet resprictions are easy, and only meat ans sweets are prohibited.

Padisam podi, a white power including the white veligaaram , and Kuttu podi are given alternately at nights with vayu mathirai. They are given with sana baala (mother's milk) or in hot water. These are also strengthening.  
She would bring a yellow kuttu podi to address kuttu in the infant’s stomachs. She would bring padisam podi, an ash like powder to address colds. She would also bring tablets - the yellow kaarike maathirai  and black vayu maathirai. In the year 2000 a package of various medicinal powders for children for cold and congestion, for purgation, and for indigestion cost thirty rupees. 

A rich knowlege system, which will bite the dust, as modernity tramples over gentler systems and gentler people. Should the system of knowlege be saved if the purveryors of the knowlege cannot be saved.  

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