Ayurveda is the oldest discipline of medicine and treatment. Ancient Indians were botanists and environmentalists who were well aware of the healing potential of herbs and remedies made out of them.
The uses of these herbs, methods of using and their effects were documented in the Vedas, the sacred texts of Hindus, thousands of years ago. The Tamil system of medicine has incorporated Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha system to treat a number of everyday problems with natural herbs and minimal side effects.
One such herb is the Mudakathan keerai. The botanical name is Cardiospermum halicacabum, but it is commonly known as the balloon vine. Found locally in villages and peripheries of Tamil Nadu, it can be identified as a climber having balloon like fruits. The leaves, roots, seeds and the baby leaves of this plant are all used for kaleidoscopic medicinal purposes. It can be used both internally and externally.
Mudakathan keerai oil extracted from its leaves has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It gives noticeable relief in patients of arthritis, joint pain and even gout patients. The oil is used externally. The powder obtained from the leaves is mixed in popular south Indian dishes and is used for internal consumption. A combination of the two gives faster results. It’s anti-inflammatory properties make it an effective home remedy for rheumatoid arthritis and nervous breakdown.
Mudakathan has been in use since time immemorial. Its use is now proven to be extremely safe in children and toddlers. Among this age group, Mudakathan keerai is widely used for treating ear pain and discharge, cough and cold. The purulent discharge gets better with use of oil preparations from the leaf. In the women who have newly delivered, the paste obtained by grinding the leaves is applied on the lower abdomen. The application has a long history of usage for removing waste products saturated in the uterus.
The roots of the plant have special gastric benefits and mild laxative properties. Decoction made by boiling leaves in water and the powder form are consumed to treat constipation and stomach pain. It also said to reduce the incidence of hemorrhoids. Mudakathan keerai plant leaves, when ground and applied to the scrotal area, have shown tremendous potential for curing serious conditions like hydrocele without surgery. It also relieves menstrual cramping and dysmenorrhoea.
Based on the traditional use, Mudakathan keerai is often used to suffuse energy and entrench general tiredness and sluggishness. According to the Ayurveda and Siddha, Mudakathan keerai is also beneficial for essential skin problems. The water containing soaked leaves/powder of the plant is mixed with gingili oil and is used to rinse the hair. It gives immediate relief from dandruff and itchy scalp.
But the uses of Mudakathan keerai do not end at its medicinal benefits. This herb is often used to spice the south Indian dishes like dosai and rasam. The powder can be mixed in the dosai batter or along with spices when preparing rasam. For rice lovers, you can add this powder to Thuvaiyal for lip-smacking taste. Tasty soups can also be prepared using the Mudakathan powder, peppercorns, cumin seeds and some cloves of garlic. This is an elixir for cough and cold.
If you don’t want to add it to your food, you can simply add the powder in a warm glass of water and gulp it down. Adding Mudakathan to your everyday dishes makes for some tasty yet, extremely nutritious food that heals the body from inside. It is now gaining worldwide popularity and larger numbers of people add Mudakathan to their dishes and soups to acquire the nutritional benefits of this wonder herb!