Milk Therapy: Medicinal Uses of Buttermilk

General features and some preliminaries regarding buttermilk have been mentioned so far. It is time to note a few of the specific medicinal uses of buttermilk in connection with particular afflictions. These have been selected from a few ancient classics. Stress is laid on selecting the simple medications alone that employ buttermilk as a chief if not the only means. Medicaments employing a very large number of ingredients are generally avoided. The texts from where the selection has been made are mentioned at the head of the lists given:

Buttermilk given internally

From Charka Samhita

A drink in dysentery and sprue: The pulp of wood apple, the pulp of bael fruit [Aegle marmelos) and pomegranate are to be cooked in the buttermilk and given. This will hasten the cure and stop the purgings.

To overcome intoxlcatedness : Prepare a gruel [yavagu) with cooked poi vegetable and curds. This destroys intoxicatedness. To ward of excess obesity: Use takrarishta (a proprietary preparation or yoga in which buttermilk is the principal ingredient) and honey.

For intestinal mal—absorption, swellings and inflammations and piles: As a preventive as well as a curative measure, make it a habit of taking buttermilk daily and regularly.

Using buttermilk is advantageous also in difficulties in urination, diseases of the stomach, tastelessness, jaundice and anaemia and also in cases of poisoning by artifical poisons [gara).

To increase the efficacy of buttermilk: If buttermilk is drunk mixed with a powder of ajwain and vit salt, the digestive fire will get more stimulated and there will be a comfortable passing of urine, faeces and flatus, as well.

In Piles: Buttermilk is excellent here.

Prepare a drink with dried ginger and peepal, sour it with buttermilk. Add a powder of black pepper and administer this to a patient of piles.

In case of bleeding piles, drinking of buttermilk in which a powder of harad or chebulic myrobalan or of triphdia or all the three myrobalans are added will be useful.

Stomach diseases: These can be cured by using butter milk in which a powder of chitrak [plumbago) root is mixed.

From Sushruta Samhita

For patient of wounds: They should give up taking curds, buttermilk and the like. For, these would provoke the existing vitiations and also augment pus formation.

Culvultions [apatanak): Early in the morning and on an empty stomach, eat sour curd mixed with a powder of black pepper and vacha [Acorus calamus). This will destroy the disease.

In Dysentery accompanied with blood: Lick up some butter and drink buttermilk over it. This is beneficial and often curative.

From Arya Bhishak

In fever due to biliousness or pitta: Take the seeds of apamarga (Achyranthes aspera or chirchira), soak them overnight in water, grind in the morning and administer as a drink.

In jaundice: Rub the root of apamarga in buttermilk and administer as drink.

In splenic enlargement due to kapha: Add the powders of ajwain and vit salt in buttermilk and administer.

In chronic fever: Dry ginger is to De rubbed in the water of the buttermilk. This should be drunk for 21 days.

For piles: Give dry ginger powder mixed with buttermilk.

In prameha: Mix one pav of the juice of the tamarind fruit with an equal quantity of buttermilk. This is to be drunk.

For bleeding dysentery: Grind the seed of mango in buttermilk and administer as the specific curative drink here.

In cholera: Give pieces of cucumber ground in curd.

In the poison of a dog bite: First give jaggery for eating and over it give a drink of buttermilk in which a powder of the bark of hingota is added.

For Urinary stones: Bark of indrajava (Holarrheea anytydysenterica) is to be ground in curd and then given.

For taking out the intoxication of opium: Take 3-4 mas has of hing or asafoetida and administer it as a drink in buttermilk.

Giving curd for drinking will take away the poison of dhatthura (Datura stramonium).

For poisoning in cattle: Grind soapnuts {shika kayi) along with the husk in buttermilk and feed the cattle with this mixture. Poison will sink down.

In jaundice: Take 1 tola of turmeric powder, mix this with 4 tolas of curds and let the patient eat it early in the morning.

From Sharngadhara Samhita

To remove the violent smell of garlic: Remove the husk from the garlic bulb and separate it into individual bits, soak them overnight in buttermilk.

This will greatly lessen the strong smell of garlic.

From Yoga Ratnakara

In recent fever: Buttermilk is unwholesome.

In disease accompanied with burning sensations: Buttermilk should be given up.

Patients of heart diseases: Buttermilk should not be touched.

For tastelessness: Both curds and buttermilk are salutary.

Swellings in the joint: Taking powder of triphala and dry ginger along with the water of curds would be beneficial.

B. Buttermilk given as an external application

Buttermilk is best used as a routine food adjunct. It is very useful in various types of affections as attempted to be shown above. Besides these, butter milk forms a medicinal external application also occasionally. This is usually in combination with many other ingredients. A few examples are as below:

Itchings, boils and eruptions and oedema: A number of drug materials like turmeric, daruhaldi (Berberis asialica), tulasi, neem leaves, deodar, drumstick leaves, coriander seeds and so on are all taken in equal amounts and ground in buttermilk and applied on the oil besmeared regions.

Stomach ache: Barley flour is mixed with buttermilk, a little bit of javakhar is added, the whole is warmed and applied as a poultice. A bandage is tied around over this poultice.

In elephantiasis of the foot and the scrotal swellings: The bark of the root of Calotropis [madar) is ground with cow’s buttermilk. This gives a good relief.

Itchings and eczema: The leaves 01 amalatas are ground in the buttermilk and the paste is rubbed all over the body and a bath is taken after some time. This is quite an effective medication.

Tumour on vital parts: Grind pot vegetable in oil gruel of flour and buttermilk. Add salt and apply by night and day.

Ringworm: Take the seeds of radish, son (hemp) and drumstick and also of mustard, barley and alsi. Grind them all in buttermilk and apply.

Leprosy: In a kind of leprosy called sidhma kushta take cotton leaves, the root of kakjangha and the seeds of radish. Grind them all in buttermilk and apply. Or, take only radish seeds and grind them hi cow’s urine, buttermilk or old rice water and apply.

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