Thanga Bhaspam, Velli Bhaspam, Legiyams - The irony
Recently, some of my friends were discussing the role of Gold/Silver and their impact on the environment and what was considered safe levels in our systems.
When I mentioned that as a little kid have taken a few grams of gold and silver powder as part of medicines over a period of years to cure a weird infection, no one in the audience believed me and they actually thought my "credibility" was taking a hit with a statement like that.
That is really sad because I am reasonably sure (and my parents have confirmed) that it was Gold containing powder (Thanga Bhaspam) which was always mixed with Honey and given to me and Silver containing powder (VeLLi Bhaspam) which was given always by mixing in Ghee (clarified butter). Why different media were used to dissolve the powders, we do not know. In addition to that was given a Legiyam (or viscous solution) that would clean out my bowels in record time and literally purged me.
Distinctly remember the old Siddhar( telling me that my blood was impure and he was purifying my blood (Raththa Suddhi was the word he used.. ie. blood purification) using the combination.
When mentioning this to Allopathic doctors (at least the western medicine doctors were referred to in our family as Allopathic doctors), they would comment on how these treatments were known in the western world but were avoided because of the "poisonous" nature of the cures and they used heavy metals like Arsenic, Bismuth, etc. to get to the digestive tract and attack the system using a "mild poisoning" method.
The way the body tries to fight mild poisoning, it kills the real poison also and that helps recover the system. It is not totally true that western medicine ignores these elements now.
You can see Bismuth in pepto bismol like stomach restoring systems. Chemotherapy uses heavy elements, kind of like the "raththa suddhi" used by Sidhhars.
The thing that would always beat me was the labels on these medicines from the sidhdha vaidhya saalai which would say "Used in curing the following with other medicine combinations... and Putru Noi or Cancer would be in the list"
Being in 7th grade and having limited exposure to Cancer as a "cureless disease" in those days, would ask my parents if this whole thing was bogus and can be believed. They recommended that since there were not many other alternatives, might as well go with the flow and believe! Their point was "Siddha medicine has been around for centuries. People won't go back to a doctor if they don't cure a high percentage of patients".
Now some dude in China actually goes and proves using western science that old eastern medicines have a reasoning behind them.
My personal take on how this type of thing evolves over time (again, note my very over simplified explanation) is..
In the good old days(thousand or two thousand years ago) there was a huge gap in the knowledge base of the people. There were many smart people who probably weren't famous or well documented but left their mark by passing on their knowledge in spite of not having media. Today we have a population of 6.9B instead of an estimated 170M in 0BC (a forty fold increase) and Information technology has come a long way from stone tablets to bluetooth. We only question the information from the past and want validation with current methods of understanding.. But as a % of people with higher knowledge levels have we come far?
Is information really leading to improved knowledge? What use is all the information if you do not act on it? Can knowledge be useful if it did not have a Ph.D behind it?
Does everything from the olden days have to be proved and understood in a doctoral thesis to be accepted? By who? why?
Should we confer Ph.D's to all our grandma's who tell you that using turmeric powder when boiling vegetables or adding turmeric to food that comes from the ground is safer or applying turmeric on baby girls is good for their hormone cycles? Or should we have research papers like:
Choi, Hyunsung; et al. (July 2006). "Curcumin Inhibits Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1 by Degrading Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Nuclear Translocator: A Mechanism of Tumor Growth Inhibition". Molecular Pharmacology (American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics) 70: 1664–71.
Aggarwal, BB.; Shishodia S. (May 2006). "Molecular targets of dietary agents for prevention and therapy of cancer". Biochemical Pharmacology (Elsevier) 71 (10): 1397–421.
Hatcher H, Planalp R, Cho J, Torti FM, Torti SV (June 2008). "Curcumin: from ancient medicine to current clinical trials". Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 65 (11): 1631–52
Maybe if there was a Journal of Grandma Society and it had papers published every month and we could have references like
"Effect of kasthuri manjal podi on long term hair growth" , R. Saraswathi, K. Vijaythaammal, et. al. J. Gram. Soc., Vol 23, 2010, pp1023-1025
would more people be inclined to take it seriously?
Will the use of heavy metals to target poisons be taken more seriously now that we have this news?