Home Remedies from south India: Eye care

This is a continuation of the series which started with Hair Care.  The other posts include information about Colds, Coughs, Foot problems and Headaches. The information in this series is the knowledge of my grandmother, which I documented as part of a project on medicinal plants and home remedies.

  1. Kadukka’s (Terminalia chebula) skin is removed and made into a paste with water. This is flattened into a thin layer on a copper plate. Ginger oil or Castor oil is lit in a clay lamp (Ahal vellakku) in a dark place (with no exposure to dust or wind) in such a way that the tip of the flame just touches the plate. A layer of black oxide of the copper forms with the heated layer and oil residue. This is scraped off carefully and mixed with either pasuvennai (butter of cow’s milk) or vellakannai (castor oil). This is the process of making Mai, also known as Kajal. This is generally good for the eyes and is also used to enhance the iris’s colour.
  2. Vetthellai (betel leaves), is heated on a dosa karandi (flat spatula usually used to flip Doasas) over a lamp. The burnt residue obtained is also used to make short-term Mai.
  3. Chandanam (sandal wood) paste can also be used to make Mai.

All processes for making Mai are referred to as ‘Mai Kootradu’

  1. Castor oil is good for puffiness of the eyes.
  2. Gopichandanam or Naamakatti (types of solid clay) or both are made into pastes with water and applied on eyelids overnight and washed the next morning.
  3. A white piece of cloth is soaked in turmeric powder water and kept on eyes.


The pictures used in this series are inserted from other websites. I have used them only to illustrate the ingredients used and the use of the remedies.

See also