Below are some home remedies, which I have heard of, read about and some which are tried and tested and proven to be effective time and again. I owe a lot to my parents who believe strongly in the power of herbs and home remedies. My father has written down many remedies, some of which I am are shared by me here for the benefit of the people at large. I would love to have contributions from visitors too.
Our precious little ones. We wouldn’t want anything to happen to them, but it is well known that the immune systems of babies below the age of one year are immature. Hence, they are very susceptible to falling sick with slight changes in weather, diet, etc. Indians don’t like to give babies western medicines at the drop of the hat, it is for this reason that most Indian households stock up on medicinal herbs to tackle common situations such as gripes in the middle of the night or a sudden rise in body temperature. These are also popularly known as Dadi Ma ke nuskhe (Grandmothers prescriptions).
Indian home remedy (Naatu Vaidyam & Ayurveda)
In India all new born babies are given some herbs (These herbs refer to Naatu Vaidyam and Ayurveda) which are freshly rubbed on stone with some water and administered to the babies after bath, this is known as “janam ghutti” in the north and in Tamil it is called “Orakyara Marundhu” (Herbs which are rubbed and administered). Each herb which is part of the janam ghutti has a function, which not only strengthens the digestive system, prevents the child from getting coughs, colds, fevers and infections, induces good sleep patterns and brings about general well being in the baby.
According to Indian tradition, whenever an infant cries abnormally for a long period of time, the first step should be to change his clothes and make him wear loose, comfortable, fresh clothing. It is advisable to avoid synthetic clothing as this affects the baby’s sensitive skin and may cause itching and a rash. Always use soft pre-washed cotton or Malmal(A soft thin plain weave fabric usually made of cotton or silk and dyed in pasted shades). Preferably use whites and non-dyed fabrics on the soft baby skin.
If everything with the clothes is ok and the baby continues crying, lightly press the baby’s stomach, ears and back. The baby will react immediately if it is experiencing pain in any of these areas.
Traditional home remedies for Stomach ailments
STOMACH PAIN (COLIC)
Colic is one of the most common reasons a baby cries. The reason could be untimely feeds and wrong kind of gassy foods consumed by the breast feeding mother.
If a baby (less than nine months of age) has a pain in the stomach, the recommended remedy is to crush 10 to 15 grains of dill seed (known as “Suva” in India) in a teaspoonful of water. This extract should be mixed with a few drops of mother’s milk and administered to the baby.
H Here’s a picture of the dill seed for identification.
Another common stomach ailment is constipation. Everyone is aware how uncomfortable it is to be constipated. One loses one’s appetite, feels that one’s stomach is distended and dreads the next trip to the bathroom. If adults find constipation so discomfiting, one can only imagine what a baby must feel. Tradition has a cure for this too. Administer a few drops of castor oil mixed with a teaspoonful of mother’s milk or lukewarm water. The dose of castor oil should be adjusted according to the age of the baby and the severity of the constipation. This once-a-day dose should be termin
ated once normal bowel movement has been restored.
CHEBULIC MYROBALAN : Botanical Name: Terminalia chebula – also known as harda or pilehar in Hindi, kadukka in Malayalam, Kadukkai in Tamil, kadukar or karakaya in Telugu, harithaki, pathya, sudha or poothana in Sanskrit. (Refer to the picture on your left)
It is very effective in treating constipation. Just rub the seed of the harda on a stone with a little bit of water and give the paste to the baby every morning after bath and the baby will be relieved of constipation.
1. A natural and simple diet is a significant factor in preventing constipation. Eat plenty of green vegetables, whole grains, cereals, bran, fresh and dry fruits, milk and milk products etc. One should carefully avoid faulty diets, intake of refined and rich foods lacking minerals and vitamins, overeating, extravagant consumption of meat, regular use of purgatives and excess of strong tea or coffee. If you are prone to habitual constipation, taking warm water frequently during the day-time will be of good help to you. Food should be properly chewed and should be taken as per schedule, avoiding odd meal timings.
2. Mix the three myrobalans (Indian gooseberry, Chebulic myrobalan and Beleric myrobalan) in equal ratio and grind them in a mixer and sieve it. Consuming this powder with a glass of warm water twice or thrice a day helps relieving constipation.
3. In a glass of cold water mix a teaspoonful of Ispagula husk. Now you get this commonly as Isabgol. Take this solution followed by another glass of water. This remedy is highly useful for constipation.
4. Keep drinking water in a copper vessel and leave it overnight. Drinking this water in the morning helps regulating the bowel movement.
5. Mix one part of Indian Senna, 2 parts of Chebulic myrobalan, and one part of Indian gooseberry. Grind the mixture into a fine powder. Taking a teaspoonful of this powder is effective in chronic constipation.
6. Apply Castor oil/ Coconut oil to the Anus region of the Baby, so that it doesn’t pain for the baby while passing motion and the hard motion easily slips out. Use a cotton bud to apply and don’t use your finger else you may hurt the baby with your nail.
1. Cut a lemon into two halves. Sprinkle a very small pinch of black salt over the cut surface, and lick it. The strong aroma of lemon coupled with the salty taste will make you feel better.
2. Cut a slice of ginger. Chew it for some time. You can use black salt to impart a salty taste to the ginger.
3. Make a sherbet out of ginger and lime, Add some black salt and sugar to taste. You will feel much relieved.
Loss of appetite and indigestion are closely linked entities of digestive disturbances in Ayurveda. Agnimandhya is the term used to denote the loss of appetite while Ajeerna denotes indigestion. A harmonious balance of Vata and Pitta hold the essence of a normal appetite. A vitiation in their mutual balance could lead to a loss of appetite. Irregular dietary habits bring about a vitiation in Pitta while psychic problems like anxiety, fear or physical causes like suppression of impeding urges lead to an imbalance in Vata. Both these sequences lead to disturbances in normal levels of appetite.
1. Extract about a cup of pomegranate seed juice. Add a pinch of rock salt and a spoonful of honey. Taking this solution slowly removes the bad taste from the mouth and increases your appetite!
2. Take equal parts of mustard seeds, ginger, cumin seeds and black salt and grind the mixture to a fine powder. Add this mixture to a glass of buttermilk and drink it an hour before meals to enhance the appetite.
3. Mix well a spoonful of each – Indian gooseberry powder, clarified butter and honey. Take this paste prior to meals to improve the appetite.
4. Ingredients : one part each of cloves, long pepper, 3 parts of Indian gooseberry and 8 parts of ginger. Grind the mixture to obtain a fine powder. Add sufficient sugar to make the taste acceptable. Consuming a spoonful of this mixture twice or thrice a day helps in regaining the lost appetite.
5. Mix in equal parts, cinnamon bark, small cardamom, coriander seeds and fennel seeds. Soak the mixture in cold water overnight. Strain this blend with a tea strainer. Drinking this cold infusion early in the morning helps in building an appetite.
6. Soak about 10 grams of tamarind in a cup of warm water for 30 minutes. Squeeze the mass to obtain tamarind juice. Add a pinch of table salt to suit your taste. Add about 2 grams of powdered ajowan seeds. Taken before meals, this juice improves appetite. Alternatively, you can dilute 1/2 a teaspoonful of tamarind pulp in one cup of water for this purpose.
7. Basil tea is an efficacious drink to enhance appetite. Take about 20 gms of Basil leaves and boil the same in 250 ml of water till the quantity is reduced to half of the original volume. Strain the liquid and mix an equal amount of milk, a pinch of cardamom powder and sufficient sugar to suit your taste. Consuming this tea twice a day helps to increase your appetite.
Flatulence is known as Anaha in Ayurveda. The causative dosha is Vata and is characterized by stiffness in the lower abdomen, scanty defecation, and occasional breathing problems.
Light roast a tablespoonful of fennel seeds. Once they cool down to a bearable temperature, chew them thoroughly in divided doses. After the first two doses, you will experience a great deal of relief.
This is known as Ajeerna in Ayurveda. It is result of fasting or consumption of food before digestion of the earlier intake of food. Untimely food habits, heavy or dry food, psychological causes like fear, anger, jealousy etc., suppression of natural urges and excessive intake of water cause indigestion! A reduction in Pitta activity with an excessive Kapha characterize the doshic profile of indigestion.
1. Mix a teaspoon of ajwain seeds with 1/2 spoon of rock salt. Consume the mixture with a glass of water. This will instantly get rid of flatulence and stomach disorder.
2. Add 2 drops of mint oil in a cup of warm water and drink immediately. It provides instant relief from gripping and flatulence.
3. Wash about 20-25 fresh curry leaves with cold water. Extract the juice from these leaves. In a cup of plain water, add about 1 teaspoonful of lemon juice and the juice obtained from the curry leaves. Add 1 teaspoonful of honey to this blend and always drink this when its fresh. It relieves nausea, vomiting and flatulence induced by indigestion.
DIARRHOEA (Loose Motions)
This condition is termed as Atisara in Ayurveda. Diarrhoea could be caused by any of the following :
Intake of foods of any particular quality in excess, foods incompatible with your prakriti or with seasonal variations, intake of foods that are not well cooked, contaminated water or other beverages etc.
Further, in Ayurveda, diarrhoea is also described to be induced by mental causes and by toxins.
Atisar is classified into 7 distinct types namely, Vataja, Pittaja, Kaphaja, Bhayaja (caused by fear), Tridoshaja, Shokaja (caused by grief) and Raktatisara (diarrhoea associated with bleeding).
During diarrhoea, ensure that you are on a suitable diet to overcome dehydration, as advised by your physician. Ensure that the body is replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Whey or buttermilk are considered effective remedies for diarrhoea. Whey is the liquid portion of curd while buttermilk is obtained by churning the curd after the fat has been removed. Take any one of them in small volumes at frequent intervals.
- Kanji made from cooked rice cooked in water, with a pinch of salt is also very good and soothing.
- A solution made with salt and sugar (Electral water/ ORS) is to be administered to the person suffering from time to time. This is to prevent dehydration.
Raw banana is an effective astringent and is recommended widely as a diet for treating diarrhoea. Cut one raw banana into three pieces and soften them in a pressure cooker using an adequate volume of water. Drain out the excess water. Separate the peel and mash the softened pulp well. In a skillet, roast a small volume of poppy seeds till they brown. Grind them to obtain a fine powder. Add this powder to the banana mash together with a pinch of salt. This delicious and nutritious receipe checks diarrhoea owing to its astringent properties.
The dried rind of a pomegranate is an invaluable remedy for diarrhoea. A fine powder of this rind, 1 gm twice a day taken with buttermilk helps to check the frequency of loose motions.