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What is Karkitaka Chikitsa and what is the importance?

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‘Karkidakam’ is a month according to the Kerala calendar which starts during the mid of July coinciding with the ‘Karkitaka Sankranthi’ when the sun passes through the Tropic of Cancer. The monsoon enters the second phase by this time and the environment is lush green, water is clean and climate is cool and refreshing. The first phase of monsoon is the period of monsoon disease outbreaks and the immunity is compromised due to the onslaught of heavy rain, diseases, sudden change in weather and climate as well as the brunt of the preceding harsh summer.

Humanity is immune compromised, morbid diseases surface up and there is a need for detoxification and rejuvenation. Nature is brimming with the required medicines and the climate too is conducive. Putting together all these contributory factors the intelligent Ayurveda medical fraternity of Kerala devised the famed efficient promotive health care regimen of Karkitaka Chikitsa which is a way of physical, mental and spiritual healthcare with medicines, therapies, diet, rituals and customs.

The Specialities of Karkitaka Chikitsa

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Karkitaka Kanji-the Medicated Porridge

This is a porridge that is being consumed as either breakfast or supper during the month of Karkitaka. Special Njavara rice is cooked with a combination of herbs and garnished with coconut milk to serve as a nutritive digestive therapeutic detoxifying diet.

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Mukkudi

Herbs are processed in butter milk and taken on an empty stomach to keep the guts germ free, stabilize digestion and promote healthy gut flora.

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Dashapushpam

This is a group of 10 herbs which act as detoxicants for different systems of the body including the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, blood, uterus, etc. This is worn ornamentally and also used in food and drinks.

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Pathila

This is a group of 10 locally grown greens which are used in food as an accompaniment to Karkitaka Kanji or with any other food. These set of greens are cooked in many ways to suit different palates

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Karkitaka Thirummal

Customized external Ayurveda therapy programs that include treatments like Abhyangam, Kizhi, Pizhichil, Dhara, Vasthi etc. are done under medical supervision to manage the existent diseases and the general wear and tear.

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Karkitaka Vayarilakkal

Cleansing Panchakarma therapy of Virechanam or purgation is done after the therapies to detoxify the system. Mild to moderate purgatives are used for the purpose with a strict dietary regimen to precede and follow.

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Karkitaka Rasayanam

Customized nutritive medicines are advised by doctors after Virechanam to restore and enhance immunity, strength, vitality, beauty and endurance.

Spiritual customs and rituals are part of the month which is considered to be a sacred period in Kerala. These measures help in enhancing mental health and reducing the stress of the individual and the society. Hence Karkitaka Chikitsa is considered to be the best example of preventive health care.