Tuesday, June 6, 2017

KASHMIRIS AND WORMWOOD OR THEITHVENA ( ARTEMISIA ABSINTHIUM )



                                                                                             




TEITHVENA OR WORMWOOD ( Artemisia absinthium)

“Ye Kyaazi chhu Hokhaan ? Ye hai Balaai Chhu Kheivaan .Amiss Ma chhe Aam . Diss Tethveina pheikka.”
“ Why is he so thin and weak even when he keeps eating so much ? May be he has worms . Give him some wormwood ”

Word Teithvena ( wormwood ) was also used sarcastically in kashmiri language .

“Vuchhaan chhukh na me Kotaah Khaer Koruss . Amiss zun Log Teithveena ”

“ See How much favours I passed on to him. But all this worked like a bitter wormwood for him”

"ya ha chhu Theithvena Hue. Tyoth.Maarun chhusaai.Ba na sa khyema na ya"

"This is as bitter as wormwood.You want to kill me. I can't eat it."

In 1959, stalwart Modern kashmiri Poet Dina Nath Naadim wrote a poem that had Title “ Naabad ta Teithvena “ or “ Sweet candy and bitter wormwood. "

Shakespeare used bitterness of Wormwood symbolically in his Play Romeo And Juliet.

Kashmiris were familiar with this Herb plant . It was a favourite and trusted medicine used for De-worming since many centuries in Kashmir valley . I was told by many elders that in olden days , Wormwood plant leaves and green fruits were tied to stomach of children at night and that was sufficient to ensure De-worming.

Teithvena grows in many villages in Kashmir as a Grass /wild plant . It rarely grows taller than 6 feet . In summer season, pale yellow flowers appear which are followed by small oil producing glands huddled together . A small fruit also appears on this plant that produces seeds .I have seen this plant growing alongside the slopes of shankaracharya hill in Srinagar city.
Hakeems made extensive use of the leaves and seeds of this plant essentially for de-worming . Vaids and Homeopaths also used it as a medicine. Measured quantity of wormwood or Tethvein was prescribed orally due to its bitter taste and Toxicity . some Hakeems prescribed leaves of this Herb to be boiled in water and drunk for colon cleansing.


It was Raja Upinder Krishen Kaul ( Grandfather of Justice Sanjay Krishen Kaul  chief Justice of Tamil nadu High court ) who set up an Industrial Unit in Baramulla  ( J&K )to extract  “Santonin” from Wormwood  Trees . This santonin was used  in medicines essentially as a Parasite expeller from Intestines . He used local   Teithavena  or wormseed plants  as Raw Material. Raja Upinder krishen Kaul also set up first Match factory at Baramulla .

wormwood oil was used in some medicines for its anti-fungal , anti-inflammatory , antispasmodic properties . It  was also used as a  Cardiac stimulant and digestive tonic. It was also used in Beer Industry  ( substitute for Hops ) and for making Bitters . Wormwood seeds powder was  also been found useful for treatment of Malaria. The Leaves , Seeds, flowers and fruits of this plant were all  used as Medicine. With the arrival of new and newer salts and synthetic salts , use of wormwood  for Medicinal purposes has almost come to halt in developing countries.


( Autar Mota )


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