Article published in Basha Poshini magazine 2010. The original article can be found here.
English translation of a article/ interview with Dr. Nishikanth Padoor is hereby translated below:-
Natural remedy for Infertility
When a human being is not married, he is not considered by anyone as medically ill or lower person. But if he has been married for some time and has not had any children, then people find faults with such humans. For men and women who are suffering from infertility, this attitude of ‘other’ towards them is sufficient to torture them both mentally and emotionally.
In Palakkad district (in Kerala), while traveling via road to Pazhayannur from Alathur lies a small town called Padoor  (approx. 11 kms from Alathur). There are very few people who have not heard of the famous Padoor Kalari  which has had many famous astrologers in the past. But Padoor has another famous institution to it’s credit. The Ponnan Poosari Infertility Treatment Clinic (family/hereditary/natural medicine) which treats childless couples is located in this Palakkad town. This is a nine generations old family hereditary fertility treatment institution started by Ponnan Poosari (nine generations ago) and currently run by Dr. Nishikanth Padoor.
Dr. Nishikanth Padoor currently dispenses the knowledge and experiences regarding the medical treatment and procedures that has been handed down to him by his ancestors.
> What is the history of this hereditary infertility treatment?
“This hereditary infertility treatment had it’s beginning nine generations ago in this family because of Ponnan Poosari. Ponnan Poosari was my forefather who was a childless man who got this medicine from a sanyasi who tried it on himself and was able to become a father. Also, he did not keep the knowledge of this divine medicine to himself. He gave this medicine to several childless couples who were benefitted. It is probably because of it’s success that this has been passed on from generation to generation and this medicine has reached me. This clinic is hence named after my forefather Ponnan Poosari” says Dr. Nishikanth Padoor
> How do you define infertility?
Infertility is a human situation rather than a disease. Infertility does not have any unique characteristics like most other diseases. If a human being is not married, he can lead a very normal life. He is not considered medically unwell or low. But once he is married for several years and has not had any children, then people find faults in this human being. Infertility is this situation which mentally and physically tortures them. This can even lead the man and woman showing hatred for each other because of this situation. Childless couples are the people (when compared to other people) who end up being exploited. To have a child is a very happy event for a couple. Who would not want to be a mother or father? Because of this, childless couples are willing to go to any extent to have a child. It is at this stage that most of the couples start to get exploited. Today in our state, there is a huge mafia that is ready to exploit this situation for a quick buck. The biggest challenge facing childless couples today is to avoid falling into the hands of these touts and to accept the right kind of infertility treatment.
> How can you determine if someone is suffering from infertility?
You can suspect that a couple is suffering from infertility if they have not been able to conceive even after being sexually active for one year. Obese people, old people, people having hereditary infertility problems in their family etc.., are found to have a higher chance of suffering from infertility. For such couples, it is advisable to take up a right kind of treatment at the earliest.
> What are the characteristics associated with infertility?
Unlike other diseases, infertility has very few characteristics. Low quantity of semen, change in color of the semen, motility and morphology of the sperm are signs of infertility in Men. In woman, irregular period, heavy pain during period, cysts of the ovaries, itching of the vaginal area, irregular vaginal discharge, fungal infection of the vaginal area etc.., are signs of infertility and care should be taken to investigate and cure such symptoms. In our treatment, firstly we provide medicine which cleanses the body for both men and women. It is only after this that the treatment really starts.
> Is there any relationship between human lifestyle and infertility?
Yes certainly. I feel that today’s lifestyle is to a fair extent responsible for cause of infertility amongst us. Take for example the food that we eat today. In the past, our forefathers only prescribed food that was based on our health benefits. Kanji, Payar, puttu, dosa are all things that provide nutrition to our body. But the fast food culture of malayalee’s these days has completely replaced the old traditional food habits. This change has affected our bodily function to a great extent. Another cause of infertility is the dress that we wear now days. For our weather conditions, the most ideal clothes are cotton clothes. These cotton clothes played a great role in regulating our body temperature. But the polyester, terri-cotton, synthetic based material we use today are causing harm to our body. Another villain is tight under garments we wear. The testes produces sperm in men. High temperature of the testes affects the health and production of the sperm. Hence under garments that increase the temperature of the testes are one of the causes of male infertility. For Women, such garments can cause infections in their vagina. Drinking and smoking are big challenges that the society is facing today. Even school children are becoming prey to these. Excessive drinking and smoking is known to cause damage to the ovaries. People who engage in such activities have a higher chance of suffering from infertility. Also, children born to such couples have a higher chance of suffering from physical deformities. Excessive intake of alcohol has been medically proven to cause erectile dysfunction in men.
> Have you observed anything unusual or peculiar about the patients who seeking your treatment?
I have observed that patients who seek our treatment are people who have tried Allopathy, Ayurveda and other treatments several times and failed. Most of the patients whom I have treated and cured are couples who have tried other treatments for more than 10 years and failed. Most of them have not only lost several good and productive years of their lives but incurred several lakhs in medical expenses. They have been a worried lot by the time they visit me. Five years ago, a Mustafa & Khadeeja couple from Thrithala town in Palakkad district visited me. They had been married for 15 years by that time. The husband used to work in Gulf. He would visit his home town once in a year and be on vacation for two months. For three years after marriage, they did not seek any medical help. They tried Allopathy for some time, but without any success. Then they tried homeopathy and Ayurveda many times and still on success. It was after all this that they visited me. I explained to them about our treatment procedures, methods and dietary restrictions. I told them that if they were willing to follow the strict dietary restrictions, medicine intake and with blessings from God, they will have a child. I told them that they might have to extend their treatment for up to six months. Their reply was that we are willing to wait for even six years as long as they can have a child. For them, they did not even have to wait for six months, after four months after starting the medicine, Khadeeja became pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. The boy is now four years old. Mustafa has gone back working in the gulf. His brother who was childless for over 10 years is taking treatment from us now. Belief and hope is what drives human beings forward. Is it not?
> Can you explain the infertility treatment procedure you follow in your clinic?
Dietary restriction and Treatment – The treatment we follow at “Ponnan Poosari Infertility Treatment Clinic” involves treating the man and woman with equal importance (does not matter who is suffering from infertility). The duration of the treatment is usually for 4 months. For the Man, for the first seven days, he will need to take medicines along with dietary restrictions. After the seven day medicine, from the 10 day onwards, he will have to take a teaspoon of powder medicine mixed in milk after dinner before going to bed. During these treatment, avoid smoking and drinking. For Woman, for the first 7 days, there is a Kashayam (oil based medicinal extract) and another medicine which needs to mixed with the kashayam and had. 75 ml Kashayam needs to be taken and heated. Then add 15 ml of another medicine to the kashayam and then it needs to be had in empty stomach in the morning. In the evening (around 4 pm), only the 15 ml medicine needs to be had (without adding the kashayam). During these seven days, the Women needs to follow strict and compulsory dietary and hygiene restrictions. Following all the restrictions will contribute heavily to the success of this treatment. From the 9th day onwards, for the next seven days there is a 15 ml medicine for early morning (empty stomach) and evening after dinner before going to bed. Then there is another medicine that needs to be taken by the women during her period (menses ). On the second day of the period, for the next four days, after dinner before going to bed, 15 ml of kashayam need to be taken. This needs to be followed for consecutive months. This is the description of the treatment here.
> What are the restrictions that the man and woman needs to follow?
For the man, during his first seven day medicine phase, in the morning and night he will have to take warm rice porridge or gruel  (kanji or Congee). In the afternoon, for lunch he can have warm rice. He can have raw banana (Kaya), Bitter gourd (Pavakka/kaipakka), Elephant Yam (Chena) along with pepper powder (no chilli or other ingredients) as thoran (side dish). For lunch, pepper rasam can be mixed with warm rice and had. During these seven days, the man can have bath in the afternoon. After the seven days, while having dinner, the man should avoid fish, meat, poultry and butter milk. Avoid smoking and drinking during this period. Regarding restrictions, the woman has larger number of restrictions than the man. During the first seven days, the women should not have bath. All three meals should be only warm rice porridge. Any of raw banana (Kaya), Bitter gourd (Pavakka/kaipakka), Elephant Yam (Chena) or Horse gram (mudhira) can be cooked with Induppu (potassium chloride used in Ayurveda and not to be confused with normal cooking salt) and pepper powder for thoran. Pappadam  can be burnt on stove and had (not oil fried). During these seven days, she should have complete rest. Since there will be frequent bowel movement these seven days you should use hot water for the bathroom. Tea, Congee water or Jeera water can be had hot. On the 8th day, hot water bath can be had in the afternoon. No need for medicine on the 8th day. Food should be the same as the last 7 days. On the 9th day, while having medicine, in the morning and night she can have hot porridge, and for lunch she can have hot rice. All other food restrictions mentioned above still needs to be followed. While taking medicines during the menses days (4 days), the dietary restriction followed during the first seven days should be followed. During the menses days, evening hot water baths are allowed (no morning baths, no cold water baths).
> Are there any restrictions as to when the treatment should start or stop?
No. There isn’t. But for people who come to us for treatment in the months of April and May, we request them to come back to us after the temperature had reduced a bit in a couple of month. This is because during these months (in Kerala) the temperatures are high and since during the first seven days of treatment for the woman, she cannot have bath. Lots of them have found it difficult to adhere to the restriction of not having bath for seven days and this could reduce the efficacy of the treatment. These are the only practical considerations that needs to be kept in mind. There is not time restrictions other than this as to when the treatment should be started.
> Does any particular type of work cause infertility or prevent couples from conceiving?
In men who work in environments where there is very high temperature, highly reduced mobility of sperms has been observed. Also, it’s been observed that there is lower quality of sperm that is produced in the testicles having higher than normal temperature. The temperature of the testicles are a few degrees lower than the body temperature. Hence people working in high temperature environments and gulf regions have been observed to take longer to conceive. Also, youngsters love riding bikes these days. But prolonged travel on bikes in high temperature climates could cause damage to sperm production in the testicles. This is also a problem with drivers. Continuous sitting in warm weather increased the temperature of the testicles and this causes damage to the sperms and caused delay in conception. I also see higher occurence of infertility in people who excessively handle pesticide chemicals and welding equipment. I have been able to determine these when I ask people about their work environment to people who come to me for treatment. One and half years ago, a couple came to me from Thalikulam, Trissur district. Husband Das works in a bus and wife Beena. It had been twelve years since they had been married and still did not have any children. Two years after they marriage, they started taking Allopathy medicine repeatedly from different doctors. But still they did not conceive. During the twelve years they even tried ICSI  twice but still did not have a child. They spend about 4 lakh rupees for their different forms of treatment and still remained childless. This is when on the recommendation of their friend, they came to meet me during 2008 December. According to their report, the husband’s sperm count was zero. I recommended medicine after giving them medicines for cleansing their body and reproductory system along with exact instructions for dietary and other restrictions. Beena became pregnant two months after they started their treatment. Now their girl child is six months old and completely healthy. Their complete expense for this treatment was about five thousand rupees. And they did not have to use all the medicines either. We see several similar cases in our clinic currently. On Das’s success, they sent along three of their childless couple aquintance’s to us for treatment. Those three couples have undergone treatment here as well and have been successful. This according to us speaks volumes about our charitable nature and at the same time is proud achievement for us. For generations, the medicines that we are giving to couples and at the same time trying our best to maintain the standard of our medicine while continuing our commitment to provide support and help to childless couples is one strong reason we believe that has continued to provide successful outcomes to childless couples.
> Are you seeing higher infertility problems in men or in women?
We are seeing fertility problems in both men and women. In our culture, the onus is on men to go out, work and provide for the family. Hence he might be forced to work in several un-conducive work environments. Especially men working in the gulf region being exposed to very high temperature working conditions have led to lots of infertility problems in these men. Drug usage have led to supporting infertility in women especially the hormone related medicines. Very rich and unhealthy fast food culture etc.., also contribute to infertility in women. However, we are seeing a lot more infertility problem in men than in women. The environment in which we live including food, water and air have become highly polluted and have been a contributing factor causing infertility in us. In the past, infertility problem were not easily shared on discussed. But now a days, both men and women are comfortable discussion their infertility problems.
> Do you treat only men or only women in your infertility clinic?
No. We treat both men and women as one and provide the treatment here. You get completeness only by joining of both of them. It is not sufficient to keep only the vessels used for cooking to be clean. The utensils used to stir the food and serve the food and the ingredients etc.., all of them should be clean in order to cook a healthy meal. I can think of ‘Ardhanarishwara’ as an appropriate explanation for this. One half of the human body is considered Shiva and the other half is considered shakti form of Parvathi Devi is the Ardhanarishwara roopam. Meaning human life is created and sustained by equal contribution of man and woman. Our treatment methodology involves treating both man and wife to achieve successful results.
> Is infertility congenital (condition existing at birth) Do you have treatments for such conditions?
Yes, we have seen congenital infertility cases. But finding the actual cause for such conditions are often very difficult. My personal belief is that science and scientific medicine has only limited success in curing such congenital infertility problems. We do try our best to cure such problems but it does not always lead to successful outcomes. For example, I have seen so many cases where women 20 year or older never having had her period even once in their life time. Under normal conditions, it should happen when a girl reaches her puberty at age 13-14 years. In such cases, we give them medicine to induce the menses. If the patient gets regular menses, only then do we recommend further treatment. If not, then we don’t recommend further treatment because giving false hope is equivalent to cheating is it not?
> Other than treatment for infertility, do you provide any other medicines for begetting good children?
Immediately after conception till birth, we recommend Milk Kashayam (paal kashayam) for the mother. This medicine is a mixture of many medicines including Kurunthotti is very beneficial to the woman. We also recommend the woman to have ‘Mahakalyana gritham’ starting from her 6 month of her pregnancy. This ghee has magical effects and the child born to a woman who takes this medicine regularly is found to have good memory and brain power. That is because these medicines are made up of excellent medicinal plants. We also see that the child whose mother has had these medicines to have excellent resistance to several diseases. We don’t make these medicines here. It is better for each of you to make the paal kashayam at your own home. The couples who come to us are usually people who have spent several years trying out other forms of treatment and hence would have lost several good years of their life.
> Is there a recommended age limit up to which men and women can be treated for infertility?
Normally, sperm production is boys and menses in girls happens by age 15. For girls some times, it might take another year or two for the periods to become regular. After that for the next 20 years, woman have regular egg production. For women, this is the best and most productive time to conceive. Beyond 35 years, the quality of eggs produced in women reduces. Beyond that, changes in period can happen. So for women, this is the most productive time to become a mother. Some women have their period beyond 50 years and hence also long as there is period, there could be success in conception if treated until there is period. As age increases, we might have to increase the duration of the treatment as well because for conception, the best age group for woman is 20-35 years. Amongst the couples who visit me, most of them have been married for several years. Among them there have been people who have been married for 22 years and still been successful in achieving pregnancy. The treatment here is to cleanse the body and make way for the body to conceive. For men, it’s not easy to say what is the best age for becoming a father. It depends on each individual. But generally, up to 40 years is a good age for conception. Taking treatment for higher age is not a problem, but as age progresses, the quality and quantity of the sperm gradually reduces and we have to accept that fact.
>> Natural Medicine Section
> Can you provide details regarding the medicines used in the infertility treatment here? Is it based on any ancient scriptures or books?
This is a hereditary infertility treatment clinic. My forefather Ponnan Poosari who started this form of treatment nine generations ago had no written scriptures. That is a fact. For over two centuries now, from generation to generation, this treatment, it’s medicine and methodology have been passed on from generation to generation via word of mouth. We do not follow any of the written scriptures like ‘Astanghahridayam’, ‘Kriyakoumodi’, ‘Joltshyanika’ etc.., Our responsibility as torch bearers of this ancient tradition is to safe guard this sacred and secret treatment from generation to generation and to continue using it for the benefit of humans. For men, there is a specially prepared medicine in powder form and for women in kashayam form. This is the treatment here. For women, there is one medicine for first seven days, and another medicine for seven days starting on the 9th day. Both are kashayam. During menses, another kashayam needs to be had by the women for 4 days starting from the second day of her menses. This needs to be had for 4 consecutive menses. If conception happens during the treatment, there is no need for further ingestion of medicine. The medicines are made using extracts from 148 different medicinal herbs. The herbs are scientifically collected, cleaned and mixed in the correct proportions to make the final medicine. About 80 of those medicinal herbs are grown with care in our garden. The remaining herbs are procured from outside. We generally procure the remaining herbs from Nilambur hills and Attapadi hills. As you can understand, we are not creating a medicine to cure an ordinary ailment. People come to us with some much hope, trust and faith. Because of that reason, the medicines that we produce here with utmost honesty and sincerity and we are bound by that sense of responsibility.
> How do you acquire the medicinal herbs need for making your medicines?
In our establishment, we have a garden where we grow several medicinal herbs. The rest are acquired from outside. Mostly, those are acquired from the Nelliampathy and Nilambur hill regions. Close to our clinic there is a colony of Adivasi (tribal or ethnic groups). They have traditionally supplied us with medicinal herbs in the past. This is a main source of income for these families. They have indigenous knowledge about the medicines we use regarding their medicinal value and use. The reason for this is because even as a child he will be exposed to searching, finding and using there medicinal plants while being part of these tribal family. Some of their journey into the forest for finding these medicinal plants lasts more than a week. I accompany them in their quest in the forest very often. Such journeys are very enjoyable and educative opportunities for me. Where else do you get such opportunities to observe nature at such close quarters? Mountains, hills, streams, deep jungle etc.., are familiar to us. Such journeys are also a small but great opportunity to relax a bit from the hustle and bustle of city life. They have been very beneficial for me. The ethnic groups/families of Attappady, Agali hills regions are also very helpful in our quest for getting medicinal herbs, leaves, shoot, bark and roots. They play a big part in acquiring the ingredients for our medicines. For generations, this has been their profession. It is amazing to know how even the smallest members of such tribal families have very intimate and advanced knowledge of these ingenious herbs and their medicinal value because they very often accompany their elders into the forest in search of these medicinal plants. Their life, nature, teacher everything are these forest.
> How do you ascertain the authenticity of the herbs you get?
As I told you earlier, this is a treatment system that has been handed down from generation to generation. Information regarding the medicines and it’s associated information had been handed down for generations. Before me, the treatment was done by my mother. Since my birth, I have grown up seeing, touching and feeling these medicines. Since I was 10 years old I have gone on expeditions in search of these medicinal herbs. I know them from sight, smell and touch because of the training from my guru who is my Mother. There are some plants which are difficult to identify, but by looking closer at other characteristics, I am able to identify them. Because of this, if we receive any illegal herbs, I have had no difficulty in identifying those. The main reason being the education and training I received when I was young.
> Are you facing any challenges in acquiring herbs for your medicines?
Yes. There are a great many number of challenges. The availability of the medicinal herbs are one of the biggest challenges we are facing today. In earlier days, in the land surrounding the house, there will be many plants. Some good and some which we don’t know about. But we still let them be. But now days, we weed out everything except that we think are the good plants. Humans have become very destructive in nature. He does not allow any plant for which he has no immediate use (or knowledge) to live. While we flatten out mountains containing many plants and herbs to make way for rubber plantations, yes we generate revenue, but we are at the same time causing unbridled destruction of several of these medicinal plants. The destruction of hills and rivers are causing the disappearance of these medicinal plants. One example is the medicinal plant called ‘Kanjunni’ and ‘Tavzhiamma’ which has several medicinal qualities and generally found near steams. The destruction of these lakes have affected the availability of these plants. The destruction is complete by the pollution of plastic waste in the earth. In olden days, each house had a place of worship called ‘Sarpa Kavu’  which served many functions like regulating the temperature around the house, growing of medicinal herbs, prevent heavy winds, soil and water conservation etc.., it’s only when we begin to learn about the benefits of such things that we realize how cruel some of our actions can be and the affects it has on our health and future generations.
> Are there any really magical plants that you use in your medicine?
My belief is that each and every plant living in this world has atleast one magical and medicinal quality. There is no need to say that one has better quality than the other. When I was young, I remember learning the story of a guru asking his disciple to go fetch a plant which does not have a good quality. The disciple went searching in all areas and came back empty handed not having found a single plant which did not have any beneficial quality. This is a very instructional story for each of us. You know that the Adivasis work in the forest where there are poisonous snakes. But rarely you hear of them dying of snake bites. The reason is because they have powerful medicines that can resist the effect of the snake poisons. (List of several medicinal plants and their use has been omitted). So there are so many plants that have medicinal qualities around us. It is our duty to find and use them for our benefit.
> You mentioned that you grow about 80 of the medicinal plants here. can you provide more details?
Yes, we grow about 80 of the medicinal plants here. The total number of plants that we use for the medicine is 148. Unless the plants are given a lot of care, they tend to die. (list of medicinal plants omitted) have been grown here in about 2 acre garden. Another 3 acres have been earmarked for growing these plants because the need for medicines are increasing. Our aim is to provide the purest medicine possible for the people who come to us.
> How was your training? Who was your guru?
Since this is a generation/hereditary medicinal system, since birth I have been exposed to these medicines and plants. Since 10 years, I have spent time with my mother in seeking, finding, cleaning and preparing these medicinal plants. As I grew older, I started traveling with the people who came to us with some of the herbs. Even then my mother is my Guru. The production procedures for making of the kashayam, the measures of the ingredients, their characteristics, the cleansing of these herbs etc.., including everything regarding this enterprise has been given to me via my mother. When the patients used to come to my mother, I used to sit with her and learn many things. We also spent time discussing the patient and their history. Moreover, when I had questions or doubts regarding something, it was my mother who satisfied my hunger for knowledge. Even now, my mother treats patients. One of us (either me or my mother) will be present at all times in our house. This is because as per instructions passed on to us from our forefather, we should give importance to patients first before dealing with anything else. We have been trying to follow that to the word. It is probably because I was born into this family that I am in love with nature, hills, streams etc.., In my spare time, I try to spend them amidst nature. This has helped me study plants. The problem with this love is that even if the place surrounding the house is filled with grass, I find it very difficult to cut or trim them.
> Amongst the patients you have treated, which is the one example that stands out?
The couples who come to me for treatment are the face of disappointment and sadness. They would have been childless even after several years of marriage and would have spent a lot of money trying out various treatments. They would come to us as an experiment, that could be one of the reasons they start out being so sceptical about our treatment. There are several faces in my mind. But the one that comes immediately to my mind is Shahida and her husband from Meppayur. They had been married for several years and spend all their life earnings and savings on medical treatment (allopathy, Ayurveda) and medical tests. But were still childless. They had been heartbroken when they visited me and one of the first things that they asked me was the cost of our treatment because of past experiences. The cost of further treatment was a big burden on them. They said to me “they did not have any more money for treatment because they also had the right to live”. These words still remain etched in my memory. Anyways, after three months of our treatment, she became pregnant and gave birth to a healthy child. That sight of the joy that they got is sufficient for me to remember for the rest of my life. Another couple that comes to my mind is Sajitha and her husband from Palakkad. They also tried several different types of treatment and never succeeded in having a child. At one point, the husband felt if the wife’s mental health would suffer. When I told him that the treatment here lasts for 4 months, he said doctor, please don’t say that it’s only for 4 months. Please treat us further so that we can live on hope of having a child. This incident is one which has touched me deeply. Because of divine intervention during the treatment itself, she became pregnant. This was in the recent past.
> In the nine generations of this family treatment, has there been any famous physicians?
My grandfather Kumaran vaidyar (physician) was a very famous and successful physician in this field. He was also an expert in toxicology. In 1936 he got a special award from the Maharaja of Kochi (Cochin, Kerala). Apart from that, he has learnt Ayurveda and has spent time treating patients who came here using Ayurveda, Visha vaidya (treatment for poison), he used to receive patients from different parts of the state even when there were no form of media like how it exists today. My grandfather Kumaran vaidyar is the person who not only made this field famous but also Ayurveda and other forms.
> What are the challenges that Ayurveda is facing today?
We Indians have the pervilege of having Ayurveda. This is also a field which has the ability to provide best healthcare benefits to people. But we should take care to prevent over commercialization of Ayurveda by companies and prevent people who study Ayurveda just to get a doctors degree. Companies take wrong ingredients and use in them disproportionate ratio’s which is the main cause of the destruction of Ayurveda. These not only cause harm to humans, but also is a threat to this age old tradition. In the earlier days, Ayurveda was taught in the guru-shishya parampara. But these days, in colleges it’s taught by a teacher. I am amazed by how students after 4 years of collage training becomes arrogant and shows disrespect to their teachers. If this field has to continue to grow and benefit mankind, it needs to be approached with respect, reverence and a sense of responsibility. For this, both the scientific community and general public needs to work together with heightened awareness.