Mangaluru: It has been a time-honoured tradition for the people of Tulunadu to have an intake of decoction made of the sap obtained from the bark of the Devil’s Tree (Alstonia scholaris, known as haale mara, paale mara and saantni rooku in local languages), early in the morning of Aashadha Amavasya, which happened to be on Thursday, August 14 this year.
The day is regarded as auspicious to ward off a host of physical ailments besides build up immunity in the human body and boosting lactation in women. Children are sure to rid themselves of worms and pediatric troubles with the intake of this wonder sap.
The sap is to be extracted before sunrise and only with the use of white quarz stone, which is found in river banks, say the traditionalists. The use of metal implements is avoided since the chemical reaction with the metal can turn it toxic, so goes the belief.
The bitter sap is mixed with an assortment of ingredients which can be a combination ginger, jaggery, black pepper, garlic, ajwain and others, but not necessarily all of them.
Like every year, the decoction was distributed free of cost prominently at two points, The Vedam Aayu Ayurveda Multi-speciality hospital on Karkera Road (extension of Telecom Road and Fire Service Road) at the Pandeshwar end saw a large number of people queuing up to have a share of the sap of life.
Many carried containers to take more home to be given to those who could not move around. Another place, Suvarna Clinic in Alake, was less crowded.
There were separate counters, one for spot intake and another for takeaway doses. The stock at both spots appeared to have gone dry by 8 am.
It was reassuring to see that people were still following old traditions besides reaffirming their trust in native medicines.