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    Dhanvantari Ayurveda Academy exports quality, organically grown Navara Rice to many part of the world since long time. We keep all the measures to ensure the rice keeps highest standards in nutritional and medicinal values.

   Navara Rice “The Medicinal Rice of Kerala” 

Rice is a much revered oriental food and the most important tropical cereal. It is the staple food of abut half the human race and is often the main source of calories and the principal food of many millions of people. In addition to being the staple diet, rice has extensive curative properties and has always been considered a magical healer in the East. Rice has been cultivated in South East Asia since ancient times where it is one of the oldest of food crops. The date or places of its domestication are not known with certainty. It was grown in ancient India as far back in 3000 BC, when it appeared as a plant called ‘Newaree’. The general consensus of opinion is that rice was domesticated in India or Indochina and probably in Southern India. Enormous quantities or rice are now grown over 90 million hectares in Southern and Eastern Asia. 

In the array of land races and improved varieties of rice, Njavara variety has a special status, it being predominantly a medicinal rice. Njavara is a unique rice cultivar indigenous to Kerala, bestowed with extra short growth duration. It is a rice variety with widely proclaimed medicinal properties and mainly seen in Northern parts. Documents show that it has been under cultivation in Kerala for about 2500 years. The major uses of Njavara is in Ayurveda. Ayurveda the traditional medical system of India approaches the humanity with a comprehensive strategy to achieve complete health, living in harmony with the environment and nature.

  Njavara, a special cereal, having equal importantance in food and curative purposes. It is having properties to rectify the basic ills affecting the circulatory respiratory as well as digestive system. Njavara is mainly used for the preparation of Njavara kizhi, which is an effective remedy for rheumatic complaints, neuro muscular disorders and body rejuvenation. It is traditionally given as a supplementary diet to the under-weight and also consumed as a replenishing drink called ‘Karkada kakanji’ during the monsoon season along with certain other herbal medicines.

The medicinal and nutritive properties of Njavara have recently received wide recognition and have been increasingly capitalized upon in the corporate sector. Herbal healers say Njavara is like gold having aroma, very precious grain for the society. It is literally like gold for rice farmers, especially from the traditional class-readily marketable at any season. It fetches higher market price due to the increasing demand in Ayurvedic system of medicine. Therefore the farmers conserved it with great sanctity and care though the grain yield is low.

 Synonyms of Njavara in ayurveda

Shashtika, Shastihayana, Shashti Sali, Garbhapaki, Shashtija, asadvayodbhava, Snigdha tandula, Kakalakam, Shashtivasaraja

 Taxonomical order
Kingdom - Plantae – Plants
Sub kingdom - Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Super division - Supermatophyta – Seed plants
Division - Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class - Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Subclass - Commelinidae
Order - Cyperales
Family - Poaceae
Genus - Oryza L.
Species - Sativa
Botanical Name : Oryza sativa Linn.


    Based on glume (one of a pair of dry bracts at the base of and enclosing the spikelet of grasses) colour differences, two types of Njavara are recognized, the black and golden yellow glumed types. With in each ecotype there are two different forms – one with awn and other without awn. Thus in this variety there exists four morphologically distinguishable strains, but adapted to same kind of agro-ecological conditions.

Black glumed

The seed colour is red. This variety is hightly resistant to drought conditions. It matures in about 60-90 days and reaches about more than 1m height. This variety is generally resistant to disease. This is preferred in Northern districts of Kerala. The Biochemical parameters like total free amino acids is higher for the black glumed and has a special capacity to absorb manganese and translocate it to the grain.

Golden yellow glumed

Grains are golden yellow and the seed colour is red. Generally this variety is grown in the second cropping season. The plant will reach about 1m height. It is susceptible to drought. It requires 60-90 days to mature and on maturity the crop is susceptible to lodging and diseases. The Biochemical parameters like total soluble sugars was higher for the yellow glumed. The golden yellow glumed plant was superior in yield but did not have the manganese preference. This variety is characterized by good seed bearing, high threshability. This variety is popular in the southern districts of Kerala. This must be correspond to the white glumed Njavara mentioned in Ayurvedic literature. 

Pharmacological properties of Shashtika

Rasa : Madhura, Kashaya,
Guna : Laghu, Snigdha, Mridu
Veerya : Seetha
Vipaka : Madhura
Doshakarma : Tridosha samana
Nutiritional qualities of Njavara grain

Nutritional quality Njavara – Range

Ptb 10

Soluble Carbohydrate 1.38-2.93% 1.52%
Protein 0.090-0.190 mg/g 0.188
Free aminoacid 0.090-0.190 mg/g 0.188 mg/g
Fat 0.19-0.43% 2.16%
Amylose 16.99-23.27% 24.27%
Starch grain Multifaced & Compound Multifaced & Compound
Starch grain size 4.79-5.62m 5.73m
Amylase activity 16.33 mg-46.67 mg 23.33 mg

Uses of Shashtika
As a regular food: Charakacharya, Susruthacharya and Vagbhatacharya advise to take Shashtika regularly. During the administration of some rasayana yogas and some special yogas after the digestion of medicine Shashtika is advised to take, along with milk or milk and ghee or with meat soup, as food. They are

Brahma rasayana, Amalaka rasayana, Hareethaki rasayana, Amalaka ghrita, Nagabala rasayana, Bhallataka rasayana, Pippali vardhamana rasayana prayoga8
Indrokta rasayana sevana, Simhanada guggulu, Satapaka bala taila , Svetavalguja yoga, A special apupa made from roots of sarapunkha and dhattura along with tandula in the treatment of alarka visha Apatyakara swarasa Vrishya ghrita Vrishya pippali yoga Lasuna prayoga In sotha chikitsa, after licking of navayasachoorna with honey, yava and sashtika should eat either with soup of dry raddish or milk mixed with musta Shashtika is indicated as Pathya ahara in the following diseases.

They are:-

Karsya (emaciation), Kaphaja Siroroga (Diseases of head and neck especially the Kapha origin), Raktapitta (Bleeding disorders), Vata rakta (Rheumatoid arthritis), Arsho roga (Hemorrhoids), Kasha roga (Skin Diseases), Prameha (Diabetes), Udara (Ascitis), Jwara (fever), Kasa (Cough), Swasa and Hidhama (Asthma and Hiccup)
Rajayakshma (Tubeculosis), Chardi (Vomiting), Madatyaya (Insanity), Mada and Moorchaya (Delirium and Fainting), Gulma (Tumors), Visarpa (Inflamatory skin lesions), Visha 9Intoxication), Sukradosha (Vitiation of semen), Atisara (Diarrhoea)
Dooshita Sthanya and for the production of milk (Vitiated breast milk), Slaishmika rogas (Any diseases with kapha vitiation), Grahani roga (sprue), Aruchi (Anorexia)
Daha roga (Thirst), Vata rogas (Vata diseases), Sleepada (Phileriasis), Visphota (Carbuncles), Masuri (Small pox), After Sodhana therapy (As a diest afer the bod purification treatment), For healthy eye For Garbhini (Pregnant women) especially in the 3rd month and also for Soothika (after delivery), As a supplementary feed to the child, In decrease of feces, Insomnia,

Local uses of Njavara

As a Health Food

Regular consumption of Paal Kanji prepared with Njavara rice for one time a day (Rice gruel made in cow’s milk added with sugar) ensures longevity. It is believed that this was the food of those holy leaders of ancient India. The rice is better in its quality when used in raw, but recommended to use boiled rice. It also said to be ideal for anemic patients to increases the blood generation. 
Marunnu Kanji : Marunnu Kanji or Mukkudi Kanji is a Rice gruel made of Njavara along with few spices like fenugreek and medicinal herbs such as mukkutti (Biophytum sensitivum (Linn.) DC.), Kadaladi (Achyranthes aspera), karuka (Cynodon dactylon (Linn.) Pers.), vishnukranti (Evolvulus alsinoides Linn.), valli uzhinja (Cardiospermum halicacabum), nilappana (Curculigo orchioides) is considered as best dish to prevent various diseases during monsoon season. It is a traditional food item of Kerala, consumed in the month of Karkkidakam (July-August). This gruel is considered as health tonic and effective for removing general fatigue.

 As a Baby safe food

This rice is said to be safe food and thus recommended to feed newborn babies in the form of a dish locally called – ‘angri’ made of Njavara flour and dried powder made out of a banana variety called ‘kunnan’ much before their first feeding ritual. It is also advised for the people of all ages as a food to increase the vitality and as a natural energizer.

Njavara rice is use as a weight gainer in the treatment of low weight babies. Njavara rice gruel prepared in meat soup is reported to increase the body weight of foetus and the general health of the expectant mother.

Local healers claim with confidence that for acute complaints of haemorrhoides (piles), Njavara rice is a remedy. It is suggested to consume the rice (raw but wetted in milk or water for about 12 hrs.) roasted along with small onion (a cup full onion for half cup rice) in cow’s ghee for 21 days in empty stomach. It is better, if the rice is cooked separately in clay pots and then roasted it with onion. Another method known in some parts of North Malabar is consumption of the cooked rice mixed the curry leaf, sour butter-milk and pepper.
In Urinary complaints      

Njavara roots employed in the form of decoction is said to be useful in urinary complaints of children. In some parts of Thrissur, mothers follow this method. Roots are collected from live clumps from the field, wash it thoroughly and boil it in safe drinking water for about 2 hours. Allow it to cool and given in 1 glassful decoction 3-4 times a day sooths urinary problems.

As Aphrodisiac

Consumption of Njavara rice flakes, pounded with roots of Aswagandha and sugar increases vitality, vigour, body weight and acts as an aphrodisiac according to traditional healers. Roasted rice flour (one or two table-spoonful made from raw rice) in one glass of milk before go to bed gives the effect of an aphrodisiac. It is said that Njavara rice increases semen and fertility in male and recommended for childless couple.

As a Muscle builder

The most important feature of this rice is its property to stimulate muscle fibres of human body. Farmers and healers vouch that regular consumption of this rice increases body weight and recommended for youth and adolescents.

In skin diseases

Psoriasis can be effectively controlled by the lepam or application of Njavara rice paste. This rice paste is and excellent remedy to remove skin lesions. The potentioal use of this property in cosmetics industry is deplorable.

In Stomach ulcer

Local healers claim that regular consumption of dish made of Njavara rice flour along with that of banana for three months cures stomach ulcer completely. Eat regularly the Njavara bran mixed with jaggery (made out of toddy from Borassus flabellifer) to recover from peptic ulcer.

In Polio

The most interesting traditional knowledge documented was its use in fighting polio in children. Mothers of families in some part of Alappuzha prepare a special rub out of coconut and gingelly oil mixed together with pounded Njavara grain and herbals like Piper longum boiled in equal quantity of milk from cow and buffalo to combat polio in children. They claimed that regular application of this rub helps in building muscles in polio-affected organs.

In Snakebites

The healers of Parassinikkadavu Hospital for Snakebites in Kannur district of Kerala recommend Njavara rice for snake bitten patients. They said applying rice paste regularly in the pustules formed due to biting of Viper reduces pain. The pain is said to be very severe and the lesion normally do not cure easily by the modern medicine. They invariably recommend Njavara remedy to the ill-fated people. Njavara rice is a safe food for snake bitten patients.

Other minor uses

A number of other uses reported by people across the State. Some interesting ones are:Consuming Payasam – a seet dish made of this rice in jaggery and ghee increases mother’s milk. Application of warm rice paste for one or two times for a week cures burning sensation of foot. For swellings in foot, apply warm Njavara rice paste for one or two days for about 2 hrs. at a time. Regular cleansing of head with washed away water of Njavara rice 1 hour before bath is said to be useful to prevent premature hair fall. For severe cough, boil Njavara rice along with Moringa leaf, pound it and mix it with the flakes mae of Njavara and consume regularly for a week. Any kind of cough disappears according to Velu Vaidyar of Neelaswaram in Kasaragode. Consumption of “popped” Njavara rice, which had wet earlier in water or basil juice controls dysentery. For quick healing of small burns and cuts, apply the ash made from Njavara husk Folk knowledge

It is believed that the Njavara cultivated in upland areas are more active medicinally. Both black glumed and the golden yellow glumed is used in folk medicines. It is mainly used for curing Rheumatism. The rice with little sourness and sweetness is used for increasing immunity during the month of ‘Karkkidakam’. It is an energetic food for people of all age group. The rice is good if used without boiling.
Shashtika Pinda Sweda or Njavara kizhi

Shashtika Pinda Sweda also known as Njavara kizhi is a Kerala speciality of treatment based on the preparatory procedure (snehana and swedana) of Panchakarma therapy. We can find descriptions in classical works of Ayurveda, regarding pindasweda, a method of sankara sweda in which various items like wheat, black gram, gingelly seeds, horse gram etc are cooked and tied in cloth pieces as bolus bags for application over the body. Njavara kizhi is a modified form of pindasweda developed by renowned Ayurveda physicians of Kerala and extensively practiced now a days. In this treatment Njavara rice is cooked and used as per the special procedure not only as a purvakarma but also as a therapeutic measure for various degenerative conditions and rejuvenative (Rasayana therapy) purposes. The advantage of this therapy is that it produces snehana and swedana effect at the same time. The shashtikasali pindasweda is prescribed mainly in neuromuscular disorders like Hemiplegia, paraplegia, muscular dystrophy etc. It is to improve the muscle strength and to increase the bulk of muscles where there is wasting due to various reasons.


Contact Details

Dr. Lal Krishnan
Dhanvantari Ayurveda Academy
E-Mail : drlalkrishnan@gmail.com