Karkidaka Masam is the month of Karkidaka Constellation in a Malayalam Calendar, and Dakshinayanam period begins in Karkidakam. Uttarayanam is day for Devata’s and Dakshiniayanam is the night. Karkidaka becomes the first phase of the beginning of night. This month is also called as Ramayana Masam, Tullakarkatakam, and Panjamasam. The Monsoon is usually at peak during Karkidakam. During few decades ago, the season of Karkidaka Masam was filled with heavy rains and floods which hampered the agricultural activities and financial status of the society. To manage this natural conditions and to bring spiritual upliftment a practice of reciting Ramayana begin during this month, which is now a custom. Similarly reciting of Lalitha Sahastra Nama etc. is also followed in few places.
According to Ayurveda Karkidaka is the time for preventive therapies, to improve immunity and to regain strength to tackle the seasonal changes. The atmosphere transits from hot and dry to a cold and humid condition. Ayurveda advices Varsha Ritucharya (Rainy Season Regimen) during the Karkidaka Masam. The Vata and Pitta Doshas are usually imbalanced during this period and disease of these Doshas is more prone to occur. The weak Digestive capacity during the season also adds up to the pathology causing Vata and Pitta Dosha disorders. These vitiation leads to a long run aliments or may also be a causative factor for seasonal diseases occurring during subsiding seasons. Due to weakness of body, low energy levels and week metabolic status the body is prone for the ailments of monsoon season.
Aggravated Vata Dosha Causes:
The vitiated Pitta Dosha causes:
Benefits of following the regimen:
Karkidaka Masa comes under Varsha Ritucharya and implementation of change in regimen from Uttarayana to Dakshinayana is advised. Ayurveda has advised Ahara (Diet), Vihara (Activities) and Aushadha (Medicine) to be followed during Varsha Ritu under Varsha Ritucharya (Rainy seasonal regimen).
The Regimen for Varsha Ritu:
Diet and Herbal medicines:
- Adopting Swadu (Sweet), Amla (Sour) and Lavana (Salty) rasa into the diet helps in further pacification of vitiated Vata Dosha.
- A regular check on proper bowel movement and timely appetite is also important as the irregularities in both happen due to vata To manage this condition the diet with Ushna-Snigdha Ahara (warm & unctuous food) is advised.
- Upavasa (fasting), Laghu Ahara Sevana (consumption of light food) Kashaya pana (decoction), Aushadha kanji or karkidaka kanji sevana (a herbal gruel made from medicinal herbs and rice, which is believed to boost immunity and improve digestion)
- Aushadha sevana like vatahara kashayas (vata pacifying decoctions) under physician’s supervision helps to prevent vata vyadhis (diseases caused due to vata) and boosts immunity.
Dietary Restrictions: To maintain good health during karkidam, follow specific dietary restrictions like avoid heavy and spicy foods and focus on light easily digestible meals are advisable.
Panchakarma Treatments: Panchakarma is renowned Ayurvedic detoxification and rejuvenation therapy. During this period, Ayurvedic practitioners recommend various treatments to detox, rejuvenate and to strengthen the immune system and prevent illnesses.
- Abhyanga (Ayurveda massage), khizhi (herbal bolus bag massage), udvarthana (herbal powder massage) etc. are advised during this period.
- Abhyanga is an application of lukewarm medicated oil in a particular application technique. This helps to manage the dryness, and pain due to prakupita vata dosha (vitiated vata dosha). kayaseka and khizhi also have similar vatahara (vata pacifying) effect.
- Basti Chikitsa advised during varsha ritu is a purification treatment and is the best treatment for management of impaired vata dosha. Basti chikitsa is a kind of medicated enema therapy performed with medicated kashaya or medicated oil. This shodhana / panchakarma (detoxification) helps in cleansing of colon and also bestows the rejuvenation effect thus restoring the physical, physiological and psychic strength.
- Wake up early: Try to wake up before sunrise to make the most of the early morning hours, which are considered conducive to health.
- As the strength at physical, physiological and Psychic level is found to be low, so doing too much of physical and psychic exertion is not recommendable during this season.
- Ayurveda advises to adopt a moderate level of physical activities as per individual strength to stay fit physically, moderate diet habits as per rainy season regimen to maintain optimal physiological process.
- Similarly proper sleeping habits with optimal time duration according to the individual’s Prakruthi (constitution) and season.
Avoid Exposure to Cold and Dampness:
- Rainwater and dampness can aggravate Vata and Kapha Doshas in the body. Avoid getting drenched in the rain and protect yourself from cold winds. Keep your living space dry well-ventilated to prevent the growth of mold and dampness
- Doopana (fumigation) with astagandha choorna is a better practice to arrest communicable diseases.
In addition to these the vatahara (vata pacifying), herbs of Dashamoola or Dashapushpa is added as per the availability.
Dashamoola comprises the following herbs:
Dashapushpa comprises the following herbs:
Method of preparation:
Water kept for boiling when starts boiling should be added with 10gm of Dashamoola choorna, 100gm of Shastika Shali/ Navara rice. After Shastika Shali is properly cooked Jeeraka (cumin), Trikatu (ginger, long pepper and black pepper), Methika (fenugreek seeds) and Dashapusha are added and mixed properly. Add coconut milk as per the quantity sufficient. Saindava lavana (salt) or jaggery can be added as per the taste preference and to be consumed hot for better result.
When to consume Karkidaka Kanji?
Karkidaka kanji can be taken as early dinner meal throughout karkidaka masam or for a period of 7 days or 21 days as per the convenience.
Who can take Karkidaka Chikitsa ?
Karkidaka chikitsa is a regimen rather a treatment, thus it is a part of Varsha Ritucharya (monsoon regimen). It involves diet, lifestyle adaptations along with few Panchakarma procedures to promote health and prevent the diseases occurring due to vitiated Doshas as per the season. As the seasonal changes brings the vitiation of Doshas and affects the health of an apparently healthy individual also. Therefore Karkidaka chikitsa and Varsha Ritucharya has to be adopted by healthy person, one who aspires of healthy living. Apart for this people suffering from diseases caused due to Dosha vitiation, such as Joint and Musculoskeletal diseases, Respiratory disorders, Digestive disorders, Skin problems) especially Vata and Pitta disorders has to adopt Karkidaka chikitsa for curative, detoxification and rejuvenation purpose.
Benefits of Karkidaka Kanji and Karkidaka Chikitsa:
Karkidaka kanji is a Laghu Ahara (light for digestion), also helps in enhancing digestive capacity, and pacifies Vata thus preventing Vata disorders, boosts Immunity by detoxification and rejuvenation of the body.
It is important to consult Ayurveda practitioner before undergoing any treatments or starting a new diet. They can provide personalized advice based on an individual’s health condition and requirements.