Karkidaka Chikitsa is a traditional treatment of Kerala that has been in practice for a long time. It mainly aims to detoxify the body, boost immunity, rejuvenate and provide overall wellbeing, both physically and mentally.
The time duration for Karkidaka Chikitsa is from the 15th of July to the 15th of August. Yes, the time during which Grisham Ritu (summer season) is changed into Varsha Ritu (monsoon season) which is the season of love. Who doesn’t love the smell of drops falling on the earth? It lures our senses and puts us at ease. Rain inspires creativity. It gets us together to enjoying tea and mouth-watering fried snacks. Moreover, rain brings rainbows. One can fall in love with monsoon over and over again.
But did you know these seasonal changes also affect your health by pulling down your immunity?
IMPORTANCE OF KARKIDAKA CHIKITSA
According to Ayurveda, a whole year can be classified into 2: Adanakala and Visarga Kala each consisting of 6 months. In Adanakala our body strength decreases gradually and by Visargakala it tends to increase slowly. In this way, our body strength is at the lowest by the end of Adanakala and at the beginning of Visarga Kala. At this time we should adopt all the measures to increase our body strength and to boost up our immunity.
Karkidaka is the monsoon season in Kerala and it is interspersed between the last 45 days of Adana Kala and first 45 days of Visarga Kala. Also, this is the time of all diseases as the Tridoshas (viz Vata, Pitta and Kapha) tend to vitiate at this time. This results in reduced immunity which causes all types of communicable diseases.
A lot of toxins tend to get accumulated during summers and get aggravated by the rain which results in an increase of Vata causing diseases. The water gets contaminated which causes cold, fever and allergies.
That’s why Karkidaka Chikitsa is best advised as it improves our immunity power and overall wellness. It rejuvenates our body and makes us capable of staying healthy throughout the year.
WHICH ALL TREATMENTS ARE INCLUDED IN KARKIDAKA CHIKITSA?
Several types of treatments like Nasya, Abhyanga, Ilakizhi, Podikizhi, Sirodhara, Njavarakizhi, Njavara theppu, Pizhichil, Vasthi, Mridu Virechana etc. are included in this.
Oil treatments like Abhyanga, Kizhi’s and Pizhichil are performed using hot medicated oils to strengthen and rejuvenate the body. Internal administration of lukewarm medicated ghee or oil known as Snehapana is also used.
Treatments like Sirodhara, Sirovasthi, Siropichu etc can calm and relax the body and mind. It helps to relieve the tensions and gives a night of sound sleep.
Panchakarma aims to detoxify the body. Due to monsoon, the tissues of our body softens and it becomes very easy to eliminate toxins. That is why it is the best time for Panchakarma. First the body is made unctuous using Snehasweda (oiling and sweating) and then the vitiated dosha is expelled using Vamana, Virechana, Nasya and Vasthi.
After that, the body strength is retained using njavara kizhi, njavara theppu, and rasyana prayogas.
Based on Body strength Karkidaka Chikitsa can be done for 7, 14, 21 and 28 days.
Karkidaka kanji- An integral part of Monsoon Regime
Diet during Karkidaka is as important as external treatment. The Digestive fire is extremely weak in Monsoon time and it is essential to protect it. Unhealthy food and habits of this time may lead to an imbalance of doshas and make the body susceptible to diseases. Light and easily digestible foods are ideal at this time. All heavy, oily and cold foods must be avoided.
Karkidaka kanji / Oushadha kanji (Medicinal Rice Porridge) is famous in Kerala due to this reason. Ayurveda explains several types of Yavagus or Porridges in Jwara Chikitsa (Treatment of fever). These medicated porridges are extremely light, carminative and easy to digest. In the treatment of fever it is mentioned for fueling the already weak Agni. Similarly, as the digestive process is slow in Karkidaka, intake of these medicated porridges enhances the digestion. Also, the water content in it quenches the thirst. It helps to prepare and boost our immune system. Njavara rice, fenugreek seeds, cumin, dry ginger, black pepper are the most commonly used ingredients in Karkidaka Kanji.
Here are some recipes of delicious and healthy Karkidaka Kanji which you can add to stay healthy during monsoon.
- Njavara rice – 100gm
- Fenugreek seeds – 25gm
- Dried ginger powder – 5gm
- Crushed pepper – 5gm
- Jeera – 5 gm
- Turmeric powder – 5 gm
- Garlic – 5 gm
- Carom seeds – 5 gm
- Coconut milk – ¼ cup
Wash the rice and cook it in 8 cups of water. Add fenugreek seeds and keep boiling. Once the rice is cooked add coconut milk and take off from the flame. Add the rest of the spices, mix well and keep it covered for a while.
- Kerala red rice/Njavara rice – 1 cup
- Kurunthotti root -2tsp
- Thick coconut milk- 200ml
- Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
- Dry ginger – ½ piece
- Coriander seeds-2 tsp
- Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
- Black pepper – 1 tsp
- Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
- Clove – 3 nos
- Cardamom – 4 nos
- Jaggery powder – as needed
- Shallots – 8-10 nos
- Ghee – 3 tsp
First of all dry heat the ingredients from 4 to 12 days and powder it finely. Wash the rice thoroughly and add powdered spices to it. Add 8 cups of water and cook the rice up to 20 minutes or till the rice is cooked well.
Then add the powdered jaggery to it and allow to boil till it reaches thick porridge consistency. When it is cooked well, take it off the flame and add thick coconut milk. Finally, garnish it with chopped shallots fried in ghee.
Leafy vegetables of Karkidakam- “Pathila” (10 leaves)
Pathila is a group of 10 back garden plant leaves which grow in abundance during the time of Karkidaka. They are rich in minerals – iron and are extremely good for detoxifying and cleansing the body. In a more scientific way, it reduces the acidity of our body and keeps it alkaline thereby preventing several diseases. It can be included in our diet in various forms, the most common being as a side dish to rice.
The Pathilaas include
- Thaalu – Wild colocasia
- Thakara – Oval shaped cassia
- Thazhuthama – Spreading hogweed
- Mathan ila – Pumpkin leaves
- Payaru ila – Cowpea leaves
- Chena ila – elephant yam leaves
- Chembu – Colocasia leaf
- Pacha cheera – Spinach
- Koovalam – ivy gourd leaves
- Choriyanam – Nettle leaves
- Kumbalam leaves – Leaves of Ash gourd
- Kizharnelli leaves – Phyllanthus neruri
How to include it in your diet?
Grab any of these leaves, even if it’s just one or two items according to availability. Clean it thoroughly and chop finely. Blend the leaves with chopped green chilli, turmeric and water and cook for some time. When it’s ready add grated coconut and sprinkle some fresh coconut oil to it. This can be used as a side dish for your favourite cuisine.
Note: Adopt these changes gradually with time. If sudden changes are brought in the body then it leads to many problems. So always consult a doctor.
Stay Safe and Healthy!
Validated By: Dr Pramitha Ratheesh (BAMS)