For a safe Holi

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Artificial agents, added to materials to gain colour, have been found to have an impact on health


Holi ke din dil khil jaate hain, Rangon mein ran mil jaate hain

Another sign of spring being heralded is the festival of colours, Holi. As far as the celebration of festivals in our country is concerned there is never any doubt as to the fervour and spirit and so goes with Holi too. Burning of wood, sprinkling of colours is a part and parcel of the festival. It can be very safe if certain precautions are taken.

Green, silver, blue and red are the predominant colours which are used to celebrate this social festival. But for materials that are not natural and for them to gain this colour some artificial agents have always been used. Alas they also have been found to have an impact on personal health, which is far from desirable.

The green colour imparted to the powdered form comes from Copper sulphate that is known to cause allergies of the eye, puffiness of the face or the areas of touch and also in certain cases temporary blindness. Silver colour comes from a chemical aluminium bromide that has been found to be carcinogenic or cancerous if it remains for too long a time to cause an irritation of the skin.

Allergy of the skin with irritation can be caused by the blue colour originating from the Prussian blue chemical. Red colour comes from Mercury sulphite and is known to cause skin irritation and cause cancer.

Black comes from lead oxide and if ingested accidentally and quite common in children can be the cause of temporary depression of kidney function. The dry form of chemical sprinkled around when inhaled by allergic individuals has been known to cause symptoms of the respiratory tract like nasal catarrh and breathlessness.

Some helpful measures are: applying emollients such as vaseline, paraffin before embarking to play Holi; best is to avoid over exposure to colours; do not retain them for a long time and washing them as soon as possible after play; mild shampoo to be used for the hair to clear the colour; moisturising soaps to be used to scrub away the pigments on the body and applying glycerine or paraffin after a bath would keep the infections at bay; long sleeved clothing will minimise the amount of exposed parts of the body for the colour to reach.

Usage of herbal colours with sandalwood, marigold paste, mehandi, turmeric can afford the same effect sans most of the side effects of chemicals should be encouraged.

Homoeopathic medicines can be used to minimize the irritant effects of the colours. If there is a burning sensation on the areas, Cantharis is of help. Urtica urens applied also has been known to give a soothing sensation. Rhus tox will keep the itching at bay.

If there any rawness of the area, Mercurius and Sulphur have been found to be of help. If there is found to be any puffiness of face Apis mel relieves. Carbo veg and Ipecac would relieve the breathlessness if any due to allergic reactions of the respiratory tract.

The varying temperatures when playing with water under the hot sun can cause certain symptoms that can be kept at bay by Bryonia. Arsenic alb when taken before is found to reduce the symptomatology of the ones under exposure to colours.

If there is no change in any of the symptoms within a couple of hours of onset medical help should be sought.

Ankle pain

I am an osteo-arthritis patient and have developed pain in the right big toe, ankle with swelling and am unable to move for the past couple of days. Painkillers are of no use. I am a 63 years and also have high blood pressure. Can homoeopathy help?


You need to undergo test to check the level of uric acid in the blood. Once that is ascertained a treatment is done. Arnica, Bryonia, Rhus tox, Rhododendron are a few remedies which can relieve the pain while Colchicum, Urtica urens are a few remedies known to correct the uric acid levels if found to be high. Consult a homoeopath.


I feel giddy when I wake up or turn in the bed. Sometimes I have pain in the neck that is relieved by some exercises only to trouble again. I am a 37-year-old computer professional working for about eight to 10 hours a day. Can homoeopathy help?


One of the usual causes for pain in the nape of the neck, radiating into the shoulders and giddiness or vertigo is Cervical spondylosis. An X-ray of the Cervical spine would give us an idea about the condition. Gelsemium, Arnica, Conium are a few remedies which would relieve you of vertigo and if the background of the disease is confirmed, Calcarea flour, Guiacum, Sanguinaria can have been found to be of help. Consult a homoeopath.

Skin allergy

Whenever I go out I develop a reaction on the face and the forearms with itching. Gradually it has lead to the discoloration of the areas, which makes me less confident in social situations. I am 27-year-old girl and seek a remedy in homoeopathy.

Natrum mur, Apis mel, Secale cor are a few remedies which have been found to be of help in such conditions where is there is allergic reaction with itching and discoloration on exposure to sun. A sunscreen lotion applied before you venture out would be of definite help too. I am sure homeopathic medicine would be of help to you.

Inguinal hernia

I have developed a small swelling in the lower abdomen that disappears on lying down. It was diagnosed as Inguinal hernia by a surgeon. Can homoeopathy help?


There is a protrusion of the abdominal contents sometimes through the thin fascia covering underneath the skin. It is a mechanical problem and cannot be corrected with medication. Surgery is the means to get rid of it.


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