Kohila reduces unnecessary toxins in the intestines

by Namini Wijedasa
Kohila (Lasia spinosa) is a spinous marshy herb which grows abundantly in Sri Lankan marshlands. It is cultivated as a vegetable in certain areas. There are five varieties: kiri kohila, guru kohila, wel kohila, kalu kohila and goda kohila.

The tubers, roots and leaves are used as medicine. The tubers and leaves contain a lot of fibres. Kohila tends to be cooling. The leaves contain calcium and vitamin C.

The tuber of the kiri kohila is tastier also boils easily, says Dr. Lakshmi Senaratne, chief scientist (Ayurveda) at the Bandaranaike Memorial Ayurveda Research Institute. Guru kohila, by contrast, is less tasty, larger than the others and takes longer to boil. Wel kohila is a climber and grows in water. In kalu kohila, the leaves and tuber are large while the stem and leaves are blackish in colour. Dr. Senaratne explained that it has more medicinal properties and is sharper in taste but rarer than the other varieties, being rather difficult to come by. All varieties favour hot and wet climates.

Kohila is eaten widely in Sri Lanka as a vegetable. Senaratne recommended that the tubers be slightly crushed in order to expedite the process of boiling. It is used widely, both as a food and a medicine, by those suffering from piles.

Kohila reduces vatha and kapha but some Ayurveda writings says that it reduces all three humours. It is suitable for liver conditions. Due to the high prevalence of fibre, it gives a good motion.

Taken as a vegetable, kohila reduces unnecessary toxins in the intestines and is effective for other disorders in the intestines. The tuber reduces bleeding and is given after indigestion and diarrhoea (not during). Eaten as a food, it increases appetite and body weight, reduces urine output and burning sensation in the body. It also expels worms.

The tuber and leaves are used to prepare cunjee. The leaves of the wel kohila are eaten as a curry. According to Senaratne, anyone suffering from haemorrhoids can take wel kohila. "It will initially cause the haemmrrhoids to burst and bleed but will subsequently cure them," she explained.

For bleeding or non-bleeding plies, take raw kohila tuber, cut into small pieces, mix with red onions and boil slightly in a bundle. Extract juice and drink. Kohila cunjee with red onions is also recommended. The tuber is also used in decoctions for bleeding and non-bleeding piles. It is suitable for patients with chronic consumption, even children. "Crush the tuber and cook," Senaratne advised. Kohila is given for those suffering from measles and fever accompanied with rashes.

Kohila is also good for diabetic sufferers and those with high cholesterol because of its tendency to reduce absorption of sugar and fats.

Boiled tubers are given to cattle for curing all internal disease. It also acts as a tonic. For indigestion in cattle, grind 50 grams of tuber into a paste and feed.