Media galore with advertisements reminding the health conscious Kerala population of the approaching Karkidaka and their annual Ayurveda treatment program. The Monsoon Karkidaka Chikitsa is indeed an integral element of Kerala lifestyle that has withstood the contemporary dynamism and has adapted to the changing societal fabric. Karkidaka Chikitsa is the special detoxification - rejuvenation diet, medicine and therapy followed in the month of Karkidaka which mostly falls between the 17th of July to the 16th of August every year. The start of the month is the next day of Karkidaka Sankranthi or the Summer Solstice and the start of Dakshinayana when the sun starts to travel southwards. Uttarayana and Dakshinayana are the two halves of a year between the Summer and Winter Solstices. Uttarayana is a harsh and demanding period as far as health is concerned. The bone chilling windy winter, excruciating sunny summer and the continuous thunderous rainy downpour mark these six months. The mind and body of life on earth including humankind is debilitated.
Salient Features of Karkidaka Month
Dakshinayana sets in at this juncture when the rains are settled, water bodies are clean and flowing and the herbs that have sprouted in summer have reached optimum usable potency. Agricultural activities are completed and the farmer is just waiting to harvest the produce. A weak body, ample time and the availability of resources augmented by a conducive climate are all the cumulative motives to initiate a rejuvenation of the body, mind and environment. Thus originated the Kerala special Karkidaka charya in a predominantly agricultural society and is a sum observance of special healthy food like Karkidaka marunnu kanji - medicated porridge, Pathila thoran - dish of 10 healthy fresh greens, marunnu seva - detoxifying concoctions, Karkidaka uzhichil - Ayurveda oil therapies, Ramayana parayanam - daily chanting of Ramayanam epic, donning the Dashapushpam - 10 anti-poisonous herbs on the hair by women, etc. The whole house and surroundings are cleaned to get rid of the dirt, pests, rodents and insects from the house prior to the Karkidaka Sankranthi. Daily spiritual chantings, placing of Dashapushpam and other holy things in front of the house, strict vegetarianism, etc. are a few aspects of the daily routine of the month.
Common Ayurveda Karkidaka charya Treatments
Chronic patients are advised to follow Ayurveda treatments during the Karkidaka month to manage their illnesses that might have aggravated due to the preceding harsh climate. Healthy people follow the treatment as a preventive health regimen. The whole Karkidaka charya or Kerala Monsoon regimen is comparable to the annual overhauling and servicing of a machinery that has been used for the whole year continuously.
Ayurveda treatments include abhyangam, kizhi, uzhichil, pizhichil, dhara and other therapies as prescribed by a qualified Ayurveda doctor and performed by qualified Ayurveda therapists. The oil treatments are generally followed up by purification Panchakarma procedures like induced medicated emesis, purgation, nasal cleansing and enemas. Once the detoxification and purification are completed, adaptogenic, rejuvenation promoting preventive Rasayana in the form of treatments and medicines like Aswagandhadi Lehyam are advised.
Word of Caution
Ayurveda Karkidaka charya has gained a lot of popularity and antisocial dangerous unqualified quacks are in the fray to bait and lure the innocent health enthusiasts into a dangerous trap. The unscientific medically unsupervised Karkidaka charya is certain to be disastrous with long term dire health consequences. Hence it is very important and a must to select authorised registered Ayurveda institutions with qualified doctors and staff for a Karkidaka charya. Ayurveda has two innate purposes of protecting the health of the healthy and treating the disease of the diseased. Both these are possible through Karkidaka charya, provided one takes care to find the right place and right people. May health prevail in all and may all be able to withstand the pandemics and disasters including COVID 19.