Kaljiryaso Kasai (Herbal Kashayam / Decoction of Ironweed Seeds) ~ Mangalorea Post Natal Recipe # 1

Today's recipe is the first among the Mangalorean post natal recipe series and is probably the most unpleasant recipe on my blog. Unpleasant only in taste because it is a very bitter potion - a medicinal decoction (reduced tea) made with an unfamous herb. However the health benefits and goodness of nature is anything but unpleasant.

(Click to read introductory post!)

Kaljiryaso Kasai is a deadly black & bitter decoction. The first medicine that is served to the new mother after she arrives home from the hospital. It is usually drunk on an empty stomach, served early in the morning. The ritual consists of the decoction freshly brewed, cooled and served with a piece of palm jaggery (pele god / ole bella). The taste is so bitter that it can knock you off your senses if you let the brew linger in your mouth for too long. This is one reason why you are advised to gulp it in one go and quickly pop the jaggery into your mouth in order to negate the bitter taste. Not more than a quarter cup of this decoction is served on three consecutive days as it is believed to remove 'nanji' (a very versatile Mangalorean word that roughly sums up to 'allergy') and other post delivery related ailments that get nipped in the bud on consuming this medicine. 

While I totally detested this drink during my first delivery, this time around I was curious - so I did taste the brew a bit, made a face, drank some more and then when I felt that my brains would pop out I bit into the palm jaggery - thankfully at first and greedily after that (asking for seconds!)

Since neither my balnti posteli (live in ayah/nurse) nor my mum, MIL or close relatives knew the botanical name of Kaljire I had a tough job ahead of me. After hours (spread across days) of searching on the net I finally found a few pictures that told me that I was on the right path. Do note that Kalijiri is NOT to be confused with Kala-Jeera (black cumin which belongs to the cumin family)

Kaljire is also known as Kadu Jirigay in Kannada, Kattu Jirakam in Malayalam and Kali Jiri (KALI not KALA and JIRI not JEERA) in Hindi. In English it is known as Ironweed and looks a lot like cloves without the heads.
The botanical names and gyan is as below:

Some excerpts from the net:  
Centratherum anthelminticum (L.) KUNTZE (family: Asteraceae) is an erect, pubescent annual herb found widely in the Indian subcontinent which is locally known as “Somraj,” and its seeds are known as “Kalijiri” in Hindi [56]; scientific synonyms for this plant include Vernonia anthelmintica and Conyza anthelmintica, among others. This plant is used extensively in Ayurveda for the treatment of cough and diarrhoea, as well as an anthelmintic, stomachic, diuretic, and anti phlegmatic agent. (Read more). Click here to see how the plant looks like

I also requested my very good friend Anjum who is a certified nutritionist freelancing in Mumbai to help provide the nutritional benefits of this herb and here's what she has to say. Thanks Anjum for all your help! 

Nutritional Benefits of Kalijiri/Iron Weed 
By Anjum Shaikh,  Nutritionist, Andheri W, Mumbai

It is used as diet therapy for a series of medical issues like diabetes, renal problems as well as in treatment of cancer in some cases. Its also used for medicinal property in Ayurveda, Unani , Homeopathy and Sidha.
It is spermicidal, antiviral and antibacterial and hence useful in treating skin infections. Its also been found effective in treating thread worm infections in hospitals.

There are researches being carried on its health benefits even in USA and other parts of the world and has been found to be good in healing purpose. However, little is known about the calorific value contained in it. But it does contain some oils that have a range of health benefits mentioned above.

Nutritional Content of Kalijiri decoction:
Since its only 1 tablespoon of kalijiri, which is boiled and strained, this decoction has 0 calories and 0 proteins. This decoction had antiseptic and healing properties and no calories.

About & Disclaimer: 
The above mentioned information about Ironweed/ Kalijiri has been found after a lot of research on the internet done out of personal interest - I am not a medical practitioner. Use of one's own judgement before purchasing & preparing this decoction is advised. The nutritional information provided is to be used only as a reference and is not medical advice and hence this ayurvedic preparation should not be used as a substitute to prescribed medication.

  1. Purchase this ingredient only from renowned ayurvedic shops that have the license to sell medicinal herbs and ingredients. Ensure that packaging contains name of ingredients printed on it. When in doubt, do not purchase.
  2. If you have any medical condition/are undergoing treatment avoid having it or consult your doctor prior to consuming it.
Kaljiryaso Kasai / Kalijiri (Ironweed) Decoction
Prep time: Nil | Brewing time: 10-12 mins | Serves 1

You Need
1. In a pan bring two cups of water to a boil. Coarsely powder or pound the iron weed and add it to the boiling water and simmer until the liquid reduces to approximately one cup.
2. Remove from flame. Cool and consume - preferably on an empty stomach (early morning). Munch on a piece of palm jaggery to help negate the bitter taste. 

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