Sunday, March 6, 2011

A day in the Documentation of Traditional Visha Vaidya Practices

Holistic Health With the help of the Department of AYUSH, New Delhi, VK-nardep has started documentation on “Traditional Visha Vaidya Practices (TVVP)" in Southern parts of Tamilnadu. We (Dr.V. Ganapathy and VK- nardep technicians along with healer Ramachandran Nair and Suresh Kumar) documented indigenous traditions at Madichal near Kaliiyakkavilai in Kanyakumari District.

VK-NARDEPTake for example, traditional Visha Vaidya Thiru. Kolappan. Now his age is 81, his experience spans six decades. His son K.Suresh Kumar (age 39) has now an experience of 20 years. Both are rendering service to the community through their K.S.K. Siddha Visha Vaidya Salai near Madichal. Healer Kolappan’s whole generation is doing Visha Vaidya healing for more than 200 years. Per month he is treating an average of 10 – 15 cases. He is treating a range of poisonous bites: the Aranai bite, Cobra bite, Analai bite, Rat bite, Scorpion bite etc. and also non poisonous snake bite and Cat bite etc. But he is not giving treatment for poisonous materials intake.

How does he identify the bite?

He differentiates two kinds of bite. One is Erai (food) bite; that is usually snake biting others during its search for food. In this type of bite, even poisonus snake bite is not harmful. The second type is the Visha Kadi or poisonous bite. This is very dangerous. And this in turn has has 4 types from One teeth bite to Four teeth bite. Of these the four-teeth bite is the most dangerous. This four-teeth bite is almost non-curable.

What are the vital indicators in treating a poisonous bite? The place and time of bite, oozing of bleeding, muscles involvement and the nature of pain: all these play vital role in the identification of the nature of bite.

How does he select the patient for treatment?

Once the patient comes, the Vaidhya cleans the place of bite in the body. Then he examines the patient for the following:

  • whether his eye has changed into white,

  • whether there is leakage or output of body fluids like semen,

  • nature of bleeding,

  • site of bite

  • time of bite.

He restrains from treating if the bite is at:

  • ankle joint and

  • above the neck.

He checks what he calls AMIRTHA nilai (which is in traditional knowledge system considered as a prime body holistic vital ebergy flow in the body )condition. If the bite is above the Amirtha nilai point place, then he restrainst from treatment, as the bite has been fatal already. Here the explanation of the selection of patient has parallels with Varma treatment.

Methods of Treatment:

  1. Clean the bite spot in the body with hydrogen peroxide (but we suggested alum water).

  2. If the patient is unconscious, then he/she is given immediately “Saramaari thylam”(a herbo mineral metalic living material medicated oil). The quantity is 15 to 20 ml. If the patient is conscious then he is giving Vizha Kudineer (prepared herbal decoction – Andrographis, dried Zinger, Pepper, Indigo, Sweetwood, etc.are main ingredient).

  3. Vizha Kal After giving this herbal formulation, the healer uses Vizha Kal (A kind of herbo-mineral medicine stone like substance) on the affected place. This formulation get applied (by pressing) for a minimum of 15 minutes to 1.30 hrs at the bite place. During that time the rubbing of the stone generates a Heat. So thehealer repeatedly changes his finger. If the venom is inside the body, the stone will stick on the place; if not it will drop. After the application is over, the physician takens the stone and puts it into the milk. The milk changes its colour to blue.

  4. Then again the patient is given the Vizha Kudineer.

  5. If the patient still in the dangerous stage, the healer uses Uyiralathy Kulikai ( a pill prepared from herbo-mineral and living materials). This is given one to three times, depending upon the situation, along with the above said Vizha Kudineer or Indigo leaves juice.

  6. In between the above the course of treatment the physician also chants the mantras repeatedly. As per his experience, he considers the mantras to have an significant healing effect.

Advise to the patient:

VK NardepThe healer advises the patient to intake only satwic food. The patient is also advised to avoide sleep for the next 24 hrs to 36 hrs. For the next one or two days the healer keeps the patient under observation and advises the patient to take Vizha Kudineer for 3 days. Now he advises non-vegetarian food: particularly chicken. The healer avoids completely the conventional first aid treatments for the poisonous bites. His charges are usually a minimum of Rs.300- 700/ and in rare cases upto Rs.2,000/-.

Textual knowledge source:

Vizha Vaidya bookHe is following “Vizha naraneeyam” a Vizha Vaidya book more than 20 years back, but now he is following “Malanguravan Vazhi” – a Vizha Vaidya literature in Malayalam. He is also often refers Karuida panchatram, Agasthiiyar Vizha Vaidya nool. During our interaction he stressed the importance of Prana and Amirtha nilai pulli (traditionally considered as a point of body’s holistic Vital energy). He shared the experiences of how he encountered and cured some of the challengable poisonous bite cases and how he arrived at the treatment and some medicines preparation also. He shared the experiences of his father and father-in-law who were also healers.

Dr. Ganapathy examining patientHe also gives treatment to chronic poisonous bite oedematous ulcer and skin diseases. He is now very much worried about his current and future practise having become endangered. He attributes this to lack of awareness and neglect by Govt policy. We expressed our gratitude for his heart to heart interaction and appreciated the challeneges he faces in practicing this life saving healing system even during the changing times. We collected the sample medicines and documented the interaction in the form of video as well as through the prepared performa.

Courtesy : VK-nardep website

For more information about Vivekananda Kendra Natural Resources Development Project (VK-NARDEP) please visit the website

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