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Medicated Herbal Oils – Thailam (Tail)

The oils (also called TAIL, TAILA, TAILAM, THAILAM) used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine are prepared from the herbs, decoctions and Kalka keeping oil as a base. These preparations are used for local application in the treatment of skin disorders and the hair and scalp problems. Some are also taken internally for the treatment of the diseases.

Preparation Method of Ayurvedic Medicinal Oils

Herbal oils, also called medicated oils, contain 3 major substances:

KALKA1 Part
SNEHA4 Parts
DRAVA16 Parts
  1. KALKA: Kalka is an herbal paste, which represents 1 Part. It is obtained by grinding raw herbs until they form a smooth paste.
  1. SNEHA: Sneha is the base material i.e. oil (commonly sesame oil, coconut oil or both), which represents about 4 parts.
  1. DRAVA: The Drava is a liquid form that represents 16 parts. The liquid is an herbal decoction or Kashayam, which needs to be prepared beforehand.

To prepare Drava, 1 part of the powder of herbs is added to 16 parts of water in a stainless steel pot. It is allowed to boil until the quantity reduces to the 1/8th of the original volume. The finished Kashayam should represent 16 times the quantity of Kalka to be used in the preparation of oil.

Then, the Kalka and Sneha are mixed in a wide mouth vessel and stirred well using a metal spoon. Then, the liquid or KASHAYAM (KWATH or Decoction) is added. This is allowed to heat under a medium flame till KALKA becomes granular and soft.

The liquid is strained and stored in a colored glass bottle. The best way to ensure that the oil is ready is to burn it in a stove. It should not make a cracking sound as it would mean the oil still contains water and so, needs to be heated further.