128-year-old secret unveiled!

K. Udaya Shankar with the ’Kasavinda’ leaf.  


The name of the herb used in ‘Puttur bone setting’ is now out

TIRUPATI: ‘Puttur’ brings to one’s mind the families traditionally engaged in bone-setting and treating similar orthopaedic disorders. The name of the herb used by them – a closely-guarded secret among the families – is now known, with the great grandson of its discoverer making it public.

‘Kasavinda aaku’ or ‘Koalla Thulasi’ (‘cassia occidentalis’ for botanists) is the leaf which is ground into a thick paste and applied on the limb for treating a broken bone or a twitched muscle. Kandalam Gopala Raju of Puttur was believed to have brought the leaf to light and also used it for mass application in 1880.

His grandson, whose name was also K.Gopal Raju, studied at the Kilpauk Medical College in Chennai but developed an interest in the leaf and the traditional bone setting. K.Udaya Shankar, the senior Raju’s great grandson and the son of Gopal Raju Jr., has now unveiled the 128-year-old secret. “Through his extensive research, my father had found that the leaf could also be used as a laxative, liver protective agent and an anti-viral, apart from anti-rheumatic. The opulent presence of chlorophyll in the leaf was cited to be the reason for its use in the union of a broken bone,” he told The Hindu on Tuesday.

A practising paediatrician, Dr.Shankar and his father had shared a place in the Book of Mormon World Records (USA) for treating a five-day-old infant (the youngest victim) for scorpion bite.

They were the first father-son doctors to find a place twice in the Limca Book of Records (in 1997 and 2007) for a similar accomplishment. ‘Puttur Thailam’, the famous orthopaedic intervention available in all pharmacies and even post offices in the State, besides in Malaysia, Singapore and Seychelles, is manufactured by the family of Rajus.

Dr.Shankar said he was dedicating the announcement to his late father, Dr.Raju.