A very dear friend of mine was visiting Chennai. She runs a spa in Bengaluru, and while she was handling hot wax, she inadvertently dropped quite a bit of it on her foot. The skin broke into an angry blister almost two inches in length. Being a feisty person, she decided to go ahead with her programme of coming to Chennai to attend a course. She had been applying some medicines but the wound looked quite red and angry, and there was also pedal oedema. Because of the swelling in the foot, she had some problem walking without pain. We then decided to go the siddha way. She was asked to apply Kungilyam Vennai and Mathan Tailam.
Some weeks earlier, I had written about Mathan Tailam for the treatment of bed sores and sore associated with diabetes. A friend’s father who had a diabetic foot sore applied Mathan Tailam after reading the article. The wound started healing but then the healing process plateaued and the wound would not close even though it seemed to have stopped festering. The vaidyar advised that instead of using the store-bought Mathan Tailam, which had both the juice of datura leaves and copper sulphate, they could make it at home by boiling equal quantities of the juice of datura leaves and coconut oil till all the moisture had evaporated. Datura plant is quite commonly available and thus he was able to make the oil preparation at home. He applied it religiously on the wound and it has healed well. It took some time because the old gentleman’s blood sugar level was not so well controlled. He is a happy man now as he was able to avert undergoing the plastic surgery suggested by his doctor.
Yes, this article is about the two separate incidents, so let us get back to my friend with the wax burn from Bengaluru.
Venkungilyam – Resin from Sal trees She applied both Mathan Tailam and Kungilyam Vennai, and there was instant relief from the burning sensation. In a couple of days the pedal oedema had come down and she was healing well when she headed back for Bengaluru.
Kungilyam is the resinous exudate of the Sal or Shorea robusta, a tree found in the Central Indian forests. The exudate is a minor forest produce.
In addition to being used as a drug, the Puranas tell us that Kalyanar, a devotee of Shiva, used to burn the kungilyam as a scented offering to the Lord at Tirukkadavur in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. Even when his family had nothing to eat, he used the last gold thali chain of his wife to buy the kungilyam. Shiva, being pleased with such devotion, blessed him with wealth and prosperity.
Now to the more mundane matter of how to make Kungilyam Vennai. The Siddha Vaidya Thirattu, the classical text followed by Siddha vaidyars, gives us this simple recipe.
Take one part of kungilyam and two parts of coconut oil or gingelly oil. Powder the kungilyam and boil with the oil. When it has dissolved carefully, pour it into water and churn it with a stick blender. A buttery mass (quite like the shata dhauta gritham I had written about earlier) will rise up. Collect it and keep churning till no more buttery mass can be recovered. Discard any water and store in a cool place.
You don’t really have to make it at home as it is readily available in Indian medicine pharmacies. It is an invaluable oil to have readily in the kitchen and during times of festivities such as Deepavali for treating burn wounds.
The writer is retired Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu. She can be reached at Sheelarani.arogyamantra@gmail. com.
Earlier articles can be accessed at www.arogyamantra.blogspot.com