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Good Health And Well Being From Old Kitchen Vessels In Hindu Homes Of South India

We might have knowingly or unknowingly replaced all old kitchen vessels in our homes without realizing their importance and positive impact on health and well being. Kitchen Utensils in Hindu Homes in South India like Kal chattis, urulis, eeya pathirams, irumbu kadai, vengala panai, cheena chatti, sembu sombu etc had a unique purpose and also were helpful in keeping one healthy.

Sheela Rani Chunkath explores the importance of Old Kitchen Utensils in Hindu Homes in South India in her article in the New Indian Express 
Excerpts from the article 
 Cheena chattis and irumbu kadais are frying pans or woks made from iron. Do you wonder why our grandmothers did not take iron supplements? Traces of iron from the food cooked in these vessels helped to maintain healthy haemoglobin levels in blood. 
For example, let’s consider the case of eeya pathiram which was traditionally used to make rasam. Canards are being spread that the vessel is made of lead. It is not. 
There are two types of eeyam—one is velleeyam or tin and the other is kareeyam or lead. Eeya pathirams are made of tin. 
In Ayurveda, tin (vangam) or tin ash (vanga bhasmam) is used to treat diabetes and many conditions of the urogenital tract. Simply having rasam made in an eeya pathiram helps you to prevent diabetes. A paper published in an international research journal details how vanga bhasmam is used in the treatment of non-healing wounds, premature ejaculation, for semen augmentation, cough, cold, bronchitis and asthma. Vanga bhasmam balances kapha. Since diabetes is said to be a disease of vitiated kapha, one can see why vanga bhasmam is used in the treatment of diabetes.

 Kal chatti is made from soft soapstone and is used to make sambar, keera kootu (a dish made from greens) and perhaps fish kolambu.

In Kerala, urulis (odu vessels) bring back memories of chakka varatti (jackfruit halwa). Urulis are made from bell metal, an alloy of copper and tin.

Rasam (usually a thin tamarind-based gravy) made in an eeya pathiram tastes different. Vengalai panai (also made from a kind of bell metal) is synonymous with a Tamil bride’s first Pongal, when freshly harvested rice is offered to the sun god with turmeric and sugarcane.

The copper vessel called the sombu is what one drank water from. And as if to remind us of this, most temples in south India offer the consecrated water with tulsi from a copper vessel.

Vengala panai, irumbu kadai and eeya pathiram have been sold or given away and replaced with the toxic non-stick cookware. And we wonder why the number of people suffering from cancer is on the rise. In Ayurveda and Siddha, the efficacy of the centuries old vanga bhasmam in treating diabetes has been elaborated. While one needs to consult a vaidyar before starting treatment with vanga bhasmam, one could have been ingesting trace amounts of the metal through our everyday food.