Treat Excess Bleeding the Old Siddha Way
By Sheela Rani Chunkath
Published: 30th April 2016 10:00 PM
There is a very effective drug, which Siddha Vaidyars use to great advantage. It is not part of the traditional Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia. It is Imbural— the drug is prepared from a single herb and is effective in preventing bleeding. It is especially useful in menorrhagia, where women experience excessive bleeding during the menstrual cycle.
Imbural, the scientific name of which is Oldenlandia Umbellata, belongs to the family Rubiaceae. It is a herb, which has great styptic action and can stop all kinds of bleeding. In English, it is called dye-root or chaya-root and is used in dying as a mordant. It belongs to the same family as another popular Ayurvedic herb called manjishta, from which a red dye is extracted.
Oldenlandia Umbellata (I do love the sound of the name) is a herb with small white flowers and is found quite commonly all over India; mostly in the drier tracts. The herb has many uses and is used to treat cold, cough, vomiting of blood, rakta pitta conditions and also as an antibacterial agent. A decoction of the leaves and bark is prescribed for tuberculosis and asthma. The decoction is also used to wash poisonous bites. It has been used in many villages for the treatment of snake bites.
However, Imbural remains a very effective treatment for excessive bleeding during menstruation and is far superior to many allopathic treatments, which rely on hormones to control or regulate the flow. This allopathic approach has many unintended side effects.
However, along with Asokadivati, menstrual problems can be tackled very well with our traditional medical systems. Unfortunately, most patients visit allopathic physicians before they decide to try something more effective, like our traditional systems of medicines. Most health problems can be solved easily if they are dealt with in the initial stages.
Siddha, Ayurveda and Unani have a wonderful range of drugs to tackle many of the menstrual problems. From Ashokarishtam and Sathavari Lehyam in the ayurvedic pharmacopeia, to Kungilya Parpam and Padikara Parpam in Siddha, to Qurs-e-Marwareed and Qurs-e-Gulnar in Unani, we have many time-tested and effective remedies.
Our acharyas were quite sensitive to using a particular herb for a particular health condition. They had their theories on what constituted good instruments of knowledge. And it had to be Pratyaksha (direct perception), Anumana (inference) and Yukti (logical application). So, it was not as if these herbs were picked up at random and used. The usage of herbs was monitored and it was empirically evaluated. I find this more reassuring than medicines prescribed by pharmaceutical companies, which have to recoup the crores of rupees they have invested in research and development. These pharma companies often encourage prescription of such drugs for those who may not even need it. The anti-cholesterol drugs, in my view, fall in this category, where even the healthy are led to believe that they have a major health issue and are prescribed drugs with doubtful beneficial value. There are many studies which show that cholesterol levels and heart attacks are not very well correlated. Yet, how successfully has the fear of cholesterol been marketed to help sell anti-cholesterol drugs. My grievance is that in the bargain they have also vilified ghee, one of the most valuable agents of good health.
The writer is retired Additional Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu.