Ayurveda Karkadaka Chikitsa aka Monsoon Treatment in Kerala: An Overview
Dr.Ajay Krishna P B.A.M.S | Dr.Jyothi Gopinath B.A.M.S
As the monsoon season arrives, which corresponds to the Malayalam month Karkadaka, is considered to be auspicious from ancient times itself – one aspect of health that is highlighted is the Karkadaka Chikitsa (treatment during the month of Karkidaka) – literally Monsoon Ayurvedic Treatment is to detoxify the human body and at the same time to rejuvenate one’s health to keep you going throughout the year.
In Ayurveda, Karkadaka is considered the month of rejuvenation and restoration of health. During this period, the body’s doshas (vital energies) Vata , Pitta and Kapha are imbalanced due to the climatic changes and increased vulnerability to various Disease. Karkadaka Chikitsa aims to address these imbalances and promote overall well-being by focusing on improving immunity, digestion, and overall health.
Ayurveda Karkidaka Treatment: Benefits and Advantages
In Ayurveda, Ritucharya ( regimens to follow in each month) are well described, in which Varsha ritucharya (regimens to follow in monsoon season) is an iconic part.
During Karkidaka month, the atmosphere transition from hot, sunny and dry to cold, moody, and humid; the body becomes weak due imbalance in tridoshas, especially Vata dosha and weak digestive fire lead to more vulnerable to diseases.
Therefore, undergoing Karkitaka Chikitsa will aid;
- Detoxification of the body.
- Boosting Immunity.
- Rejuvenation of body and soul.
Throughout the year, we ingest toxins and pollutants in different ways, that accumulate in our system, leading to low digestive fire, low immunity, swellings, body pain and even autoimmune disorders. The Karkadaka chikitsa helps to mobilise the toxins in your body and eliminate them through shodhana chikitsa (purification therapies).
The loss of equilibrium in Tridoshas causes an impaired immune system which will make the body more prone to diseases. Therefore undergoing Ayurveda Karkidaka Chikitsa will aid in enhancing immunity strength.
REJUVENATION OF BODY AND SOUL
By harnessing the healing powers of mother nature, Karkidaka Chikitsa can help one to achieve balance and harmony within their body.
Karkadaka chikitsa: How does Karkadaka affect the body?
According to Ayurveda, The sudden climate change from a hot climate to cold climate causes various effects on our body.
In Ayurveda, there are six Rithus (seasons) Sisiram, Vasanta, Grishma, Varsha , Sharat and Hemanda. In these Six Ritus comes under Adana kala and Daksinayana kala.
Adana kala is also called Agneya kala due to its Hot climate, where Pitta and Vata dosha are increased. Among six Rithus, the first three Rithus come under Adanakala; they are,
Daksinayana kala is also known as Viasrga kala. Where Vata and Kapha dosha increase. Among Six Rithus
Came under Daksinayana kala
So when the body enters from Adana to Daksinayana kala, that means the last few days of Grishma Rithu and the first few days of Varsha Rithu. At that time, the body becomes very weak and causes various effects in our body due to Tridosha imbalances such as Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Due to Increase in Vata causes
- Pain and swelling in the joints
- Dry skin
- Digestive issues
Due to Increase in Kapha causes ,
- Impaired Immune systems can lead to Fever, respiratory illnesses, allergies and especially the body being more vulnerable to infections.
Due to decrease in pitta causes
- Digestive power can lead to reduced appetite, impaired digestion, and accumulation of toxins (ama) in the body.
That’s why practicing Karakadaka Chikitsa in this period of time is importance since it improves immunity, Digestion and helps to reduce the pain and swelling of joints.
Understanding Karkidaka Chikitsa
Karakadaka chikitsa is a traditional health care treatment practised in South Indian state of Kerala.
In Karkadaka hence more Vata gets Aggravated and Vasti (Enema) is the main pacifying treatment. According to Ayurveda, Vasti is the Agroushada (Best treatment) of Vata, is the main panchakarma which cannot be excluded in Karkadaka chikitsa
As external treatment is important in Karkadaka, internal medication is equally important.
With the proper assessment of physical condition of each individual patient by experienced doctors, authentic Ayurvedic formulations are prescribed like;
- Kashaya pana (Decoction)
- Lehyam ( Lickables )
- Choornam (Powder)
- Oushadha Kanji (Medicine Porridge)
- Kayaseka (Pizhichil)
Along with this, doing panchakarma is more effective because it’s the best way to restore the balance of Tridosha and strengthen the body.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes for Karkadaka Chikitsa?
In Ayurveda, the diet and regimens to follow in every season are well described in Samhitas like Ashtanga Hrudayam in chapters like Ritucharya Adhyaya. Even though every seasonal regimen are explained in it, among them, Varsha Ritucharya (regimens on monsoon days) is having much importance and is still followed in this era also.
The Karkidaka month comes under Varsha Rithu (rainy seasons), is a period of time where a healthy regimen of early waking, an indulgent bath with light oil massage and warm water, intaking easy to digest foods – which should be hot and freshly cooked and healthy like Oushada kanji (medicine porridge) and should include tastes like Svad (sweet), Amla (sour), Lavana (salty) in regular diet of monsoon days and an early bedtime. This help to pacify the Vata that the climatic changes have provoked.
Ensuring good bowel movement and appetite is also important in balancing Vata. Hence (Ushna-Snigdha Ahara)- warm and unctuous meals are advised in Varsha Rithucharya (regimens to follow in monsoon season).
Abhyanga, the practice of body massage with lukewarm oil, counters the dryness, rigidity and pain in joints caused by Vata dosha Kopa (vitiation of Vata) during the season.
Oushada Seva, or systematic intake of Ayurvedic medicines like vatahara decoctions under the supervision of a physician during this period, will helps to prevent Vata rogas and to boost up immunity too.
Mental exertions and too much strain on our body (like excessive exercise and loss of sleep) are not encouraged during this period. Day sleep and exposure to extreme temperatures are contraindicated.
It’s equally important to maintain a healthy space inside and outside of the body, i.e., cleaning our surroundings is also important (doopana); fumigating the house with ashtagandha-like powders is a healthy practice to stop the spread of communicable diseases up to an extent.
What is Karkadaka kanji and its benefits?
Karkidaka kanji and Karkadaka Chikitsa are two ineluctable parts of Karkidaka month.
Karkidaka Kanji, also known as Oushada Kanji (medicine Poridge)- intaking, is one of the common old diet regimens that follow from ancient days in each household of Kerala in the month of Karkidaka.
During Karkidaka month (monsoon Season), due to very weak digestive fire and low immunity power, and Vata Dosha Prakopa (vitiation of vata dosha), one has to intake a diet which is easy to digest and to avoid indigestion and at the same time, which enhances the digestive fire along with boosting one’s immunity power and Vatahara in nature (pacify vata dosha). The main component in such a diet is Karkadaka Kanji which can be made at home and followed by anyone. Taken from the ancient texts of Ayurveda, Karkidaka/ Oushada Kanji is a unique blend of medicinal plants and herbs, spices and grains; Usually, primary components are the same like;
- Shashtika shali (Njavara rice)
- Coconut milk
- Crushed or ginger powder
- Turmeric powder
- Jeera (cumin seeds)
- Crushed pepper
- Methika (Fenugreek seeds)
- Pippali (Piper longum)
But there are local variations depending on the availability of herbs and spices; some add Dashamoola choorna (powder of roots of 10 drugs) and powder of Dasapushpa ( 10 flowers- having medicinal values). Each ingredient has its specific role and helps balance and offset the effects of each ingredient.
Which would ;
- Easily digests.
- Enhances taste and digestive fire.
- Boost up Immunity.
- Detoxifies and rejuvenates the human body.
- Prevention from Vataroga by pacifying Vata Dosha.
The kanji (porridge) is usually taken as supper or early dinner for a period of 7 days, 21 days, or throughout the Karkada month as per the convenience of the person and the availability of drugs.
Who needs Karkadaka chikitsa?
Karkadaka chikitsa – more than a treatment, it’s a regimen that to follow in monsoon season. In Karkadaka Chikitsa, diet and lifestyle changes are also an iconic part along with the panchakarma procedures and play hand-to-hand role.
Thus irrespective of age and gender, anyone can undergo Karkadaka Chikitsa in Karkadaka month.
In Karkadaka, sudden seasonal changes will affect a healthy person also. So Karkidaka chikitsa is good for a Healthy person to maintain his health By Detoxification and Rejuvenation.
And also for those who having,
- Individuals with Low Immunity
- Individuals with Digestive Issues
- Individuals with joints and Musculoskeletal issues
- Individuals with Skin problems
- Individuals with Respiratory conditions
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