A House needs a Grandma in it ~ Louisa May Alcott
When I hear the word Dadi (which means the paternal grandmother), the image that comes in my mind is always of my Grandmother-in-law i.e. my husband’s dadi. When I was growing up, my parents’ busy schedules, the distance from our native place and my grandparents’ fragile physical health meant that we never got to spend a lot of time with them and therefore I never really grew close to my own dadi.
After marriage when I started living with my grandmother-in-law, it was my first experience of living in a joint family. At 88 years old, she was the matriarch of the family in the true sense. A woman whose strength was hidden inside her fragile frame, whose mind and senses were as sharp as possible, whose foresight and maturity led to the marriage between her Hindu grandson and a Catholic girl (me!) and a woman who had endless knowledge and wisdom pouring out of her.
Our Dadi was a strong believer in Ayurveda and had a home remedy for every ailment possible. Every time she found me coughing or sniffling, she would quietly step into the kitchen and order the house help to prepare a concoction with her instructions, which would give me immediate relief. She was always grinding some leaves or seeds and making potions for something or the other, much to chagrin of my husband, an allopathy doctor. They would often argue in zest about the power of modern medicine vs traditional home remedies, and as you can guess, she always won. When at 88 she could not only walk and move about without assistance but also do all her own chores ( she insisted on hand washing her own clothes), we had to believe that her traditional knowledge trumped the chemicals and synthetic products.
My husband was her favorite grandson and when I was expecting Samaira, she was unarguably the most excited person in our family. She would always be telling me precious little nuggets about how to treat colic, recipes for baby food , bathing the baby and so on and so forth. How I wish I had written down every gem of her knowledge at that time because in a cruel twist of fate she passed away exactly two weeks before the birth of her great grand daughter.
Even though her loss has left a vacuum in our lives which will never be fulfilled, we strongly believe that she came back to us in the form of our adorable little angel and any one who has seen the bossy but mature, willful but extremely loving nature of Sam will also believe the same. So for us, our Dadi continues to live amongst us and her pearls of wisdom have helped me navigate those difficult few months after delivery and these tips stand in good stead even though Samaira is almost 5 now.
Here are 20 of her amazingly simple but effective home remedies or Dadi Maa ke Nuskhe which I think should be taught to all new mothers because they are so helpful in making sure that your child’s growth and development is not affected by common ailments and diseases.
20 Dadi Maa Ke Nuskhe
Traditional Knowledge for Natural Growth
Sore Throat in Kids
♦ 1 tsp fresh ginger juice, ½ tsp honey and a pinch of turmeric. Swallowing this mixture thrice a day helps in soothing the throat
♦ For older kids add ½ a raw onion, 2 cloves, 4-5 mint leaves, 2-3 black peppercorns and a small stick of cinnamon to a glass of water. Boil it till the water becomes one-fourth, strain, add a teaspoon of honey and give to the child while lukewarm.
♦ Warm ¼ bowl mustard oil and while it is warming add 4-5 cloves of chopped garlic. Once the garlic is completely burnt, cool the oil. Apply this on the nose, chest and back of kids just as you would a bottle of Vicks. Cover up and let the kids sleep.
♦ Boil 1 tablespoon pepper powder in a cup of milk along with a pinch of turmeric (haldi) and give once daily for at least 3 days. Helps alleviate cold with phlegm too.
♦ If the child is constipated, boil 5-6 Currants (munakka) without seeds in milk. Let them eat the currants and then get them to drink the milk to get relief from constipation.
♦ Boil half a cup of water with a pinch of carom seeds. Once the color of water changes, let the water cool, strain & reserve it for use. For babies give 1 teaspoon at a time twice in a day. For older babies 2-3 teaspoons twice a day can be given.
♦ Take 1 tsp each of coriander seeds and cumin seeds and soak in water for an hour. Crush and strain, add a little sugar and drink for relief from diarrhea.
♦ A pinch of nutmeg with a quarter teaspoon of honey is very effective in treating diarrhea in kids.
♦ Take half a cup of water and a pinch of fennel seeds, boil them till the water becomes half in quantity, cool & strain the water then give it to kids. 1 teaspoon at a time 2-3 times in a day will give relief from colic.
♦ If the baby’s stomach is hard and the baby is crying then its colic, or gas pain. Dilute a pinch of Hing (asafoetida) in lukewarm water or oil and with the help of cotton apply around the navel in circular motion. This will give immediate relief from colic.
♦ Boil 3 tsp of powdered cardamom peels in 6 cups of water till it is reduced to half. Cool it and keep giving spoonfuls of this water often to get relief from vomiting.
♦ Apply a little Mustard oil on the child’s belly button after bath every day and they will never have chapped lips.
♦ Mash a ripe banana and apply on burns. Bandage with betel leaves.
Loss of Appetite
♦ Take equal quantities (a pinch to one-fourth of teaspoon) of freshly ground black pepper, asafoetida, dried mint powder, thyme and seeds of large cardamom. Boil in water till one fourth remains. Give it lukewarm combined with a bit of honey for 2 times a day.
Prevent Flathead in babies
♦ Take 1 meter of a soft cotton or muslin pre-washed cloth and make a pillowcase out of it. Fill it with washed and sun-dried mustard seeds (around half a kg) and stitch the fourth side with double or triple stitches. The mustard seed pillow prevents flathead in babies.
♦ To relieve children from worm infestation give them a drink of a little fresh buttermilk mixed with a pinch of hing fried in ghee.
♦ Mix 1 drop clove oil with 2 teaspoons of sunflower oil and massage gently on the gums to relieve teething pains in baby.
♦ To treat skin rashes and itching, combine a small amount of turmeric powder with aloe vera or water to form a paste and apply on the affected area.
♦ If the child has excessive dry and flaky skin then use a paste made of chickpea flour (besan), Camphor (a pinch) and milk/rose water before bath.
♦ Use a good Ayurvedic oil to massage babies every day before bath. Massaging not only strengthens baby’s muscles and bones but also gives a bonding time for the mother and baby. Many kids have what is known as “growing pains” and have muscular pain in legs and arms during night. A gentle massage before bedtime would ensure that they don’t have any pains and sleep well.
The oil that Dadi used for all the kids was and its effects can be seen in all the beautiful and healthy kids in our family including Samaira. I trusted her choice and used Dabur Lal Tail for her body massage everyday.
Why Choose the Traditional Knowledge of Ayurveda for Natural Growth
The reason I believe that Ayurveda the oldest known medical science in the world, is better than modern medicine based on chemicals is not only because the ingredients are natural but also because the Ayurveda system believes in creating a balance between the five elements of the universe.
The concept of childcare (known as KaumaraBhritya) in Ayurveda’s prime text Charak Samhita is ‘absolute’, taking all the environmental and other elements that could potentially affect a child’s health.
The best part about using Ayurvedic products for babies is that being a botanical healing system, most of the ingredients are natural in origin like Shankhapushpi, ginger, urad (black gram), honey etc and therefore they don’t have adverse effects. They help in boosting the body’s natural immune system and create barriers for diseases instead of chemical reactions in our babies body.
I hope that all grandmothers will keep passing this traditional knowledge of home remedies and medicines from generation to generation and our babies will continue to thrive using these natural products.
What are your favorite Dadi Maa Ke Nuskhe? Tell us in comments below.