Vegetable soup, Milagu kuzhambu, Thoodhuvalai rasam... Simple foods to avoid diseases during rains



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During rainy seasons, if we remain diligent about what we do, especially with the food we eat, from the time of waking in the morning till sleeping at night we will be able to protect ourselves from getting sick. Particularly, it is better to amend the food habits in our daily life. Dr Edward Periyanayakam, a naturopath and homeopath, provides recommendations about the right kind of food items and also the right time of eating them.


“During winter it is better to avoid sleeping directly under the ceiling fan, or keeping the air-conditioner at low temperature or doing face wash using cold water. The reason is that those activities will lead to sneezing, nose block, heaviness of head, headache and cold, queuing to bother you. Some may have these kinds ofconcerning reactions due to environmental pollution. Therefore it is recommended to have hot water wash, drinking lukewarm drinks and so on during cold

 climate. Instead of tea or coffee, it is better to have honey mixed with ginger juice. Ginger and Thualsi (Ocimum sanctum) along with sugar can also be added with tea. Lemon juice and honey can also be added to lukewarm water and consumed. 

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Those who suffer more from cold can have pepper, cumin seeds, thulasi , omavalli (Plectranthus amboinicus) and thoothuvalai (Solanum trilobatum) boiled together, along with palm jaggery and consumed. It soothes the throat. It will also give relief from nose block and cold. Sore throat and infection can be treated by gargling with warm water added with salt. Drinking Thulasi leaves soaked in water can also provide relief.

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Some may avoid taking head bath during winter season. Some may avoid it because of migraine, sinus and heaviness of head. But this will lead to infection of the scalp. Therefore instead of avoiding head bath it is better to have it quickly dried out after taking bath using frankincense. It is also advisable to have hot water bath during winter instead of avoiding it. Relief from cold can be achieved by taking bath in hot water boiled with Eucalyptus and Nochi (Vitex negundo) leaves. Nochi leaves can also be kept inside the pillow cover and sleeping over it will also relieve us from nose block and headache. 

There is a chance for getting indigestion problems during rain reasons. Hence from the time of taking breakfast one should be diligent. As far as possible it is better to have steamed food items like, idli and idiyappam, accompanied with Thothuvalai and ginger chutneys. Having dosai made of grinding the batter with Musumusukkai (Mukia madarasapatna) leaves will get rid of cold. Similarly Kalyanamurungai (Erythrina indica) leaves can also be used with dosai.

There is every possibility to have gastric problems leading to dysentery during rainy seasons. There will be considerable loss of bodily fluid leading to dehydration during dysentery it will cause fatigue and makes one unable to walk. Dysentery happens only because of unhygienic conditions and contamination of water. Therefore it is important to keep our premises clean and hygienic to avoid such conditions. It is advised to have the hands washed before food and drink only hot water at all times will help avert dysentery. Further, cholera and malaria are caused due to contamination of drinking water and it is recommended to drink only boiled water after allowing it to cool down. 

There can also be viral infection prevailing during winter. Hence, it is better to drink Nilavembu water or papaya leaf extract. Along with a handful of curry leaves, add 10 pepper seeds, a piece of ginger and a spoonful of cumin seeds and grind them together. Add boiled water to it, filter the same and add honey to it. Consuming it will reduce fever. Take 10 seeds of pepper, fry it in a pan, and boil it with water. Filter the same and consuming it will keep the fever under control.
Instead of coffee or tea, drink soup varieties. Drinking soup made of mature lady’s finger or tomato soup will cure cough and cold. Due to drenching in rain or cold climate one’s nose may be blocked, leading to cold. At this time it is better to have soup made of Manathakkali (Solanum nigrum) to avert cold. Though Manathakkali has a cooling effect drinking it as soup will cure throat irritation, nose block and cold. Similarly soup made of ‘Narukkumoolam’ having long pepper as its ingredient, available in traditional medicine stores will also be helpful.

Vitamin C will not be suitable for some individuals despite one having cold or not. But the same person can drink juices rich with vitamin C, like orange juice and lemon juice. If someone is bound to have allergy in taking such juice varieties it is better not to have it. Other than that it is better to avoid excess of milk and its related products like curd, butter and ghee, especially during rainy seasons. But buttermilk is good to have. Similarly, it is better to avoid sweet items and add food items tasting bitter, sour and spicy. 

Thoothuvalai rasam can be included for lunch. If there is cold, Poondu kuzhambu, Milagu kuzhambu and Sundavatral kuzhambu can be considered. They are suitable during winter seasons and also suitable for everyone. Cold can be treated by having dry Sunda vatral seeds fried and powdered and, mixed with one or a few mouthful of food during lunch. Similarly eating small onion raw along with lunch will cure cold. It is better to avoid food items fried with oil and also that are rich in fat. It is also recommended to avoid consuming green leaves during rainy seasons and it should be avoided particularly during dinner.

Those who wish to have fish and meat can have them. However, it should be ensured that they are digested properly. Chewiing betel leaves, mint (Pudhina) leaves or fennel seeds (Sombu) after food will facilitate digestion. In the evening times, chukku coffee is good. It is not merely adding powder of chukku along with milk and drinking it. It should be made by adding together pepper, twice its amount with chukka, then twice its amount with Kothumalli (Dhaniya) and four or five cardamom seeds, boiled in water with palm jaggery, getting it filtered before drinking it. While the mix is boiling it is better to add Thulasi, Thoothuvalai and omam.

Just because they are delicious, it is better to avoid bajji, bonda and vadai which are made out of oil, in the evening. Food at dinner should also be ensured to have steamed items, or rice and millet based. During winter season adding pepper powder to all possible food items is recommended.

Before going to bed it is better to drink garlic milk. After removing its skin, 10 – 12 garlic pearls can be boiled with water in equal volume of water. While it begins to boil pepper powder, turmeric powder and palm jaggery can be added to it. Curdling it will give garlic milk. It will cure nose block, suffocation due to phlegm, cough, heaviness of head, leading to sound sleep during night. Many will not like to have fruits during winter and some fruits do not suit them too. But banana is the fruit that can be eaten at all times and there is no problem to have them.

Winter will invite many vermin such as mosquitoes, beetles, centipedes and so on. Fumigating the surroundings by burning Nochi and Vembu leaves will help us avert mosquitoes and other disease causing vectors. We can protect ourselves from insects by burning camphor inside the house, spreading crushed garlic around the bed and sprinkling turmeric water. 

Those who suffer from sleeplessness can keep skinned garlic beneath the pillow. It will lead to sound sleep. Similarly, while taking the first handful of rice during dinner, it is recommended to consume boiled small onion so as to have restful sleep. Eating sapota fruits in the day time will cause good sleep during night. We don’t drink much water during rains. One should remain aware that it will lead to constipation. Therefore it is better to have adequate water. Even if there is constipation it is recommended to take dry grapes, guava and papaya to have it cured. 

(This article written by Maria Belsin has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)



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