Manjal karisalankanni keerai

பக்குவமாகாரத்தால் தீராத நோயும் இல்லைஅபக்குவமாகாரத்தால் வாராத நோயும் இல்லை

This saying in Tamil means that with proper healthy and natural food you can avoid any illness but with an improper diet no disease will escape you. 

Siddha and Ayurveda medicines have been in practice since time immemorial and make abundant use of the many medicinal herbs available to us. Many of our Siddhars (adepts) like Agastiyar (considered as the first Siddhar) have written extensively about these medicinal herbs in their Siddha literature. One of the most important herbs mentioned is the Karisalankanni (Eclipta prostrata), which is commonly found with either the yellow or white flowers. This is such a potent herb that there is even a saying: 

கறிசாலையை உண்டால் காலமெல்லாம் வாழலாம்Meaning: you can enjoy a long life if you regularly partake of Karisalankanni.

Vallalar (Ramalinga Adiyar) has also written about many herbs and medicinal plants in his 6th Tirumurai and he calls this herb as ஞான மூலிகை. He further says that God, because of his compassionate nature has given us this amazing herb. This plant is said to enhance one’s spiritual leanings also. Siddhars have called this plant as கரிசலாங்கண்ணி (Karisalankanni), பொற்றலை (Pottralai), கரப்பான் (Karappaan), கையாந்தகறை (Kaiyaandakarai) and so on. The verse below describes the benefits of this herb. 

திருவுண்டாம் ஞானத்தெளிவுண்டாம் மேலை யுருவுண்டா முள்ளதெல்லா முண்டாங் குருவுண்டாம் பொன்னாகத் தன்னாகம் பொற்றலை கையாந்தகரைத் தன்னாகத் தின்றாகத் தான்

This yellow flowered Karisalai known as Pottralai enhances ஞானம் (wisdom, knowledge and mental clarity), improved intelligence, curing stomach ulcers and a golden glow in your skin. Other than these benefits it is also known as a powerful detoxin, cures jaundice and some say, even leukaemia. It is extremely beneficial for the hair and skin and is also used in making herbal hair oil. 

I grow the yellow variety (மஞ்சள் கரிசாலை) on my terrace and use it in my cooking and for making hair oil whenever possible. It can be cooked as a koottu, poriyal or tuvaiyal. Additionally, many people just munch on a few leaves of this plant every morning. 

karisalankanni koottu

Since this is propagated by stem cuttings, it is very easy to grow. Do try and include this as part of your meals whenever possible. It is a good idea to have about 6-7 pots at home and grow different herbs and greens so that you have have one variety for each day of the week.