Monday, June 5, 2017




Shangar used to be a popular word in the Kashmiri language. And also something readily available in every Kashmiri household.
" Kya sa tse tsetuth zuv ta potuss karhaai shangar"

" What happened? You did so much for them yet at the end they neglected you"
 " Tse gayi shangar"

 "Shame! you couldn't make it"

Word Shangar was symbolically used to shame a person or convey neglect. Hakeem and doctors would prescribe Kehwa tea made from Shangar or dried liquorice roots for so many ailments like throat infection, cough, fever, stomach ulcer, liver infection asthma, urinary tract infections and jaundice.

" Diss Shangri kehwa pagaah aasi theek"

"Give him Kehwa made from the liquorice root. He will be alright tomorrow"

I have been given this Kehwa repeatedly. We kept a good stock of liquorice root in our house. Once a barber suggested to me to apply powder made from crushed liquorice root to the boils that would erupt on my skin during college days. For sore throat, mother would force us to gulp a cup of liquorice Kehwa. It was sweet and had a different aroma/flavour.

 Kashmiris had also learnt the art of using liquorice extract( obtained after boiling the roots in water) with tobacco. For its antiseptic properties, it was also applied ( in powdered form) to wounds.
 In Kashmir, every Bohra shopkeeper sold liquorice or Shangar.In our state, it was also used as medicine by Vaids who practised Ayurveda. Liquorice or Shangar or Mulethi is no longer seen in our households. I am told that it is still a folk medicine in Europe and Central Asian countries.

(Avtar Mota)

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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