What is Karkidaka Rice Gruel or Karkidaka Kanji?

Karkidaka Masam

Karkidaka Masam or the month of Karkidaka is in fact one of the months in Malayalam calendar (calendar followed in the state of Kerala, which is equivalent to the solar calendar). This month starts in the mid of July and ends during the mid of August. The ‘Karkidakam’ month is notable for Ramayana (an epic in India) study. Traditionally, the whole ‘Ramayana’ is read during this month as a custom.

The month of Karkidakam is considered to be a lean season and called “Panja karkidakam” in Malayalam (which can be translated as ‘the season of extreme scarcity’). However, Ayurveda considers the month of Karkidakam as the month for cleansing our body of impurities and preparing the body and mind for the challenges for the rest of the year.

As per Ayurveda, the month of Karkidakam is the time when the whole earth, water, and air will be contaminated and also the time when one’s digestive function will not be done properly. It will be the time when human body gets weaker, tired and ready to receive any disease; in short, it says, the body will be weakened to the maximum.

So it is the practice of the people of Kerala to strengthen their immune system during the second half of the monsoon season, especially in the month of Karkidakam (month of July-August) by undergoing ayurvedic therapies and drinking the specially made medical rice soup or ‘marunnukanji’ or ‘karkidaka kanji’. It also serve as a health tonic and assists in increasing one’s energy and stamina.

Need For Special Care in the Monsoon Season

After the onset of monsoon following the heavy summer, ‘thridoshas’(vata-pitha-kapha, the bio energies) gets disturbed. The prakruthi (environment) also gets polluted due to air and water pollution and as a result our ‘agnibala’ (digestive capacity) goes down as well. As the equilibrium in the body and environment gets disrupted, the body is more prone to get diseases like fever, cough, cold, rheumatic complaints, diarrhea and the like.

So in order to prevent the disorders caused during the monsoon and to improve our immunity, we will have to undergo oil massage and have special diet; karkidaka marunnu kanji (medicinal rice soup) is one of the main recommendations by ayurvedic physicians.

The Ayurveda oil therapy will be done for 7 to 21 days depending on the age of the patient. In addition to this, ayurveda laxatives likes ‘avipathi churnam’ are also recommended in order to speeden up the elimination of pitha and kapha doshas from the body. It is also advised by ayurvedic physicians to drink medicinal water made from ‘panchakola’( panchakola is a mixture of various herbs like thippali, thippali root, pepper, koduveli and dried ginger) during the Karkidaka month.

Karkidaka Kanji

The karkidaka kanji (the medicinal porridge) is one of the special diets advised by the ayurvedic physicians for all people to overcome the disorders caused during the monsoon and to improve the immunity of our body. It will clean the body from the inside and aid in good digestion. If taken in a proper manner, this ‘porridge’ will provide enough strength to deal with sickness and disease in the whole year to follow.

Another common disease seen during the rainy season is arthritis (‘Vatham’ in Malayalam). The karkidaka kanji is very good for this disease and arthritis won’t be a bother post this treatment.

During the earlier time, the Karkidaka kanji was mostly prepared at home with guidance from ayurvedic physicians, but now-a-days, the Kanji Kit is available in the market. The kit contains Njavara rice (Special medicinal rice grown in Kerala), medicinal leaves, other medicinal powders used for making karkidaka kanji. For best results, this Kanji should be taken continuously for at least from 7 to 14 days.