Sacred Medicines

 Sacred medicines indicate the holistic nature of the traditional ways of healing. Temples, customs and the rituals associated with them also have health implications. Some
of these are consciously devised. The temple culture always had a hidden agenda of health
associated with it. It was the Vedic schools associated with temples that promoted Ashta
Vaidya (Eight Medicinal) families. Apart from supernatural ways of healing and emotional services, in some temples certain medicines are also administered.

       The medicine given as prasadam at Thiruvizha temple at Cherthala is believed to be an effective remedy against mental disorders, leprosy, dropsy (edema: swelling from excessive accumulation of serous fluid in tissue)etc.

Valiyenna is medicated oil prepared at Sastha temple at Thakazhi using 84 bazaar medicines and 64 green herbs. This oil is believed to be a panacea for all kinds of illnesses. Such rational treatments carried out in the spiritual background are present in Payyannur temple also.

Turmeric prasadam of the Cheemeni Mundya temple is believed to be a panacea by devotees. Turmeric is effective against a broad spectrum of microbes.

Thachumanthram is a curative ritual practiced in the domestic environment. It is practiced mainly to treat evil eye. Traditionally, magicians of Malaya community practice this. Main
ritual of the Thachumanthram consists of fanning the whole body with twigs of Nochi
(Vitex negundo).

Some of the non-conventional treatment concepts such as Teliotherapeutics
, Spiritual Healing, and Universal Life Energy are being hotly discussed now. Mikao Usuui
known as the father of Reiki, a non-conventional mode of treatment which has become
popular even in western countries, was inspired by certain Indian traditions and Buddhist
sutras. In this context ‘irrationality’ in our primitive systems of supernatural treatments
needs to be re-examined.

References - Materia Medica of the Local Health Traditions of Payyannur- Unnikrishnan. E (Kerala Research Programme on Local Level Development, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram - 2004)

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