Child Seized By Pitru And Shakuni Graha – Symptoms, Treatment

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S

Graha is a name given to the planets or unseen organisms. It was believed that some unknown and invisible entities would produce a few diseases and they were called Graha’s. When compared with the modern day diseases the Graha’s can be compared to the micro-organisms  like viruses, bacteria etc. Graha’s were said to bother the children more than the adults

Pitru Graha – Signs and symptoms

Sanskrit Verses

Modern Correlation

Pitru Graha has been correlated with dehydration caused due to cholera in children since there is resemblance of symptoms of both these conditions.

Cholera is a bacterial disease, caused by cholera bacterium Vibrio cholera, usually spread through contaminated water. It causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. It can be fatal when not promptly treated.(Read more)

Symptoms –

  • Diarrhea – comes over suddenly, quickly causes dangerous fluid loss, has milky appearance resembling rice rinsed water
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dehydration – usually develops within hours after cholera symptoms start. Loss of 10% or more of body weight indicates severe dehydration.
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dry and shriveled skin
  • Less urination or absence of urination
  • Low blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
    Read – 37 Ayurveda Home Remedies For Diarrhea And Dysentery

Electrolyte imbalance caused by dehydration can cause serious signs and symptoms like muscle cramps and shock.

Complications – Cholera can quickly become fatal. The rapid loss of fluids and electrolytes can lead to death. In less extreme cases, people who are not treated can die of dehydration and shock. Other complications include –

  • Low blood sugar
  • Low potassium levels
  • Kidney failure

Prevention –

Never let your child to eat or drink foods or beverages from unknown sources.

If you are travelling with your child to an area where cholera is common, use boiled or chemically disinfected water for all purposes including drinking, brushing, washing face, hands, fruits and vegetables, washing utensils and preparing food. (Read more)

Treatment options –

Treatment depends on your child’s symptoms, age and general health. It also depends on the severity of the condition. The symptoms should not be managed at home. Your child may need to be rehydrated with fluids. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to enable faster recovery.
Read – Traditional Ayurvedic Diet Recipes For Dysentery And Diarrhea

Ayurveda treatment

1. Internal medication

Triphaladi Ghrita Sevana

Ghee processed with the below mentioned herbs shall be used for internal consumption –

  • Triphala – three fruits of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica and Emblica officinalis
  • Shalaparni kalka – paste of Desmodium gangeticum
  • Prishniparni kalka – paste of Uraria picta
  • Payasya kalka – paste of Impomoea paniculata
  • Madhuka kalka – paste of Glyzyrrhiza glabra
  • Dashamula Kwatha – decoction of ten roots
  • Milk

2. External measures

a. Anointment

Gavakshyadi Lepa

The paste / powder of the below mentioned ingredients mixed together should be used for anointment –

  • Gavakshi – Citrullus colocynthis
  • Brihati – Solanum indicum
  • Kantakari – Solanum xanthocarpum
  • Sariva – Hemidesmus indicus
  • Hribera – Pavonia odorata
  • Kushta – Saussurea lappa
  • Bhumi Kadamba – Anthocephalus indicus
  • Surasa Manjari – Inflorescence of Ocimum sanctum
    Read – Which Ayurvedic Medicines Are Not Safe For Children? How To Know?

Vachadi Lepa

Paste prepared from the below mentioned ingredients should be applied on the body of the afflicted child –

  • Vacha – Acorus calamus
  • Amalaki – Emblica officinalis
  • Jivanti – Leptadenia reticulate
  • Dhataki – Woodfordia fruticosa
  • Priyangu – Callicarpa macrophylla
  • Guggulu – Commiphora mukul
  • Rasna – Pluchea lanceolata
  • Manashila – Realgar
  • Hartala – orpiment

b. Massage

Vachadi Taila Abhyanga

Oil prepared with the ingredients mentioned above in ‘Vachadi Lepa’ should be used to provide massage to the afflicted child.
Read – Oil Massage To Baby: Precautions, Method, Ayurvedic Oil Combinations

c. Parishechana / Snana – Bath

Bilwadi Patra Kwatha Parishechana / Snana

Showering and bath should be given to the child with decoction prepared using the below mentioned ingredients –

  • Bilwa – Aegle marmelos
  • Kapittha – Limonia acidissima
  • Karanja – Pongamia pinnata
  • Agnimantha – Clerodendrum phlomidis
  • Tulasi – Ocimum sanctum
  • Patala – Stereospermum suaveolens
  • Varuna – Crataeva nurvala
  • Nimba – Azadirachta indica
  • Parijata – Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
  • Bijapura – Citrus medica

d. Fumigation

Fumigation should be given to the child with the below mentioned ingredients –

  • Feces or hairs of vulture
  • Feces or hairs of owl
  • Feces or body hairs of monkey
  • Ghee

3. Treatment

Nasal instillation of drops should be done with oil processed with the below mentioned ingredients –

  • Shami – Prosopis cineraria
  • Guggulu – Commiphora mukul
  • Kushta – Saussurea lappa
  • Durva – Cynodon dactylon
  • Jaamansi – Nardostochys jatamansi
  • Vacha – Acorus calamus

Shakuni Graha

Signs and symptoms of Shakuni Graha affliction in a child

  • Looseness of the body parts
  • Diarrhea
  • Ulcers in the tongue and root of palate
  • Boils / eruptions associated with burning sensation, pain and suppuration repeatedly occurring in the joints
  • The wounds / boils erupt in the night and disappear in the morning
  • Suppuration in the mouth and anal region
  • Fear
  • Smell of vulture or hen-sparrow from the body of the afflicted child

Symptoms as enumerated by Master Sushruta

  • Looseness of the body parts
  • Child frightened, alarmed and taken aback
  • Smell of water bird emanated from the body of the afflicted child
  • Diarrhea
  • Ulcers manifest in tongue, palate etc
  • Boil / swelling associated with burning sensation and suppuration manifest in the entire body

Sanskrit Verses

Modern Correlation

There are three major clinical manifestations in the child afflicted by Shakuni Graha. They are – diarrhea, swelling in the joints and boils all over the body. Seeing most symptoms mentioned in Shakuni Graha, this condition can be closely correlated to – stomatitis, bacillary dysentery and pellagra. Even among these, the condition closely resembles Pellagra. This condition also appears like an explanation of inflammation of the buccal cavity and gastro-intestinal tract.


Low levels of Vitamin B-3 i.e. niacin cause a disease called Pellagra. It is marked by 3 D’s i.e. dementia, diarrhea and dermatitis. Pellagra may be fatal if left untreated. (Read more)

Dermatitis – Dermatitis presents with rash on face, lips, hands or feet. In some people Casal necklace i.e. dermatitis around the neck is seen.

Other symptoms

  • Red, flaky skin
  • Red or brown areas of discoloration
  • The skin is thick, scaly, crusty or cracked
  • Patches on skin associated with burning sensation and itching

Dementia – Neurological signs

These signs appear early on but are hard to identify. The possible symptoms of dementia seen with progression of the disease are –

  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Confusion, irritability or mood changes
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Delusions or disorientation

Other possible symptoms


Primary pellagra is treated with dietary changes and a niacin or nicotinamide supplement. With early treatment, many people make a full recovery and start feeling better within few days. It takes several months to see improvement in skin.

Secondary pellagra is treated focusing on the underlying cause. They too respond to niacin or nicotinamide. It is important to keep any rashes moisturized and protected with sunscreen.

Bacillary dysentery in children

Dysentery is an infectious disorder of gastrointestinal tract. This is characterized by inflammation of intestines, mainly colon. It is defined as any episode of diarrhea in which there is loose and watery stool mixed with blood. Many bacteria like Shigella, Salmonella, and Campylobacter and E. coli cause dysentery. It is a major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality in developing countries. Antimicrobial treatment forms the mainstay of handling this disorder. WHO recommends that all the dysentery episodes should be treated with antibiotics, especially in younger children and aged people and also in anyone having immunodeficiency syndrome.(Read more)

Diarrhea is mentioned among the symptoms of Shakuni Graha.

Stomatitis in children

Stomatitis is a condition in which open sores or redness and swelling occurs inside the mouth and is painful. It occurs on the inside of the cheeks or on the tongue or gums. It is more common in children but may occur at any age.

The main causes of stomatitis in children are – injury or irritation of the inside of the mouth, infections, irritating foods, deficiency of vitamins B and C and lowered immunity.

Symptoms include redness and sores inside the mouth, pain or burning sensation, fever and swelling.
Read more – Mouth Ulcers Ayurvedic Treatment, Medicines, Remedies, Tips


If there is a viral infection, only symptomatic treatment is done. Antibiotics are not recommended. A local numbing solution is applied on the sore. Older children may rinse their mouth with warm salt water. The child should be fed with soft diet along with plenty of fluids to combat dehydration. Cool drinks and frozen treats are soothing. Avoid citrus juices and salty or spicy foods. Acetaminophen is prescribed to reduce fever, fussiness or pain. In older children ibuprofen may be used.

Ayurveda explains sores and boils occurring in the mouth, on the tongue and palate which resembles to be the symptoms of stomatitis. Therefore some experts have correlated Shakuni Graha symptoms with stomatitis.(Read more)

Ayurveda Treatment

1. Treatment principle and internal medication, diet

Master Sushruta tells that the child afflicted by Shakuni Graha shall be treated with the same herbal powders, dietetic regimen, fumigation etc mentioned in the context of treating vrana i.e. wounds and ulcers. These principles shall be applied after having considered the age and strength of the child.

2. Internal measures

Skandapasmarokta ghrita – the ghee mentioned in the context of Skandapasmara Graha should be given for oral consumption.

  1. Kshiri vriksha kwatha and Jivaniya Kalka Sadhita Ghrita Pana

Ghee prepared with the decoction of latex yielding trees or paste of Jeevaniya group of herbs should be given for oral consumption.

  • Kakolyadi Gana Siddha Ghrita Pana

Ghee prepared with decoction of Kakolyadi group of herbs and milk explained by master Sushruta should be given for oral consumption.
Read more – Ayurvedic Care Of The Neonate: Initial Four Weeks

3. External measures

a. Anointment

Madhukadi Lepam

The paste of the below mentioned ingredients should be applied on the afflicted parts of the body, especially wherever there are lesions associated with burning sensation and other uncomfortable symptoms / dermatitis –

  • Licoice – Glyzyrrhiza glabra
  • Ushira – Vetiveria zizanioides
  • Hrivera – Pavonia odorata
  • Sariva – Hemidesmus indicus
  • Nilotpala – Nymphaea stellata
  • Padhmaka – Prunus cerasoides
  • Lodhra – Symplocos racemosa
  • Priyangu – Callicarpa macrophylla
  • Manjishta – Rubia cordifolia
  • Gairika – red ochre

Arjunadi Lepa

This paste is especially used as application for painful ulcers / stomatitis in the oral cavity. The paste is prepared with the below mentioned ingredients and applied to the mouth ulcers mixing it with honey –

  • Arjuna – Terminalia arjuna
  • Lodhra – Symplocos racemosa
  • Yashtimadhu – Glyzyrrhiza glabra
  • Udumbara – Ficus racemosa
  • Vacha – Acorus calamus

b. Parishechana – showering

Vetasadi Kwatha Parishechana

The decoction of the below mentioned herbs is used for showering the child –

c. Massage

Massage should be given to the afflicted child with the oils prepared with decoction of astringent tasting herbs like Patadi Kwatha or with paste of sweet tasting herbs like Kakolyadi gana group of herbs.
Read – Infant Care As Per Ayurveda: Initial 6 Months

d. Fumigation

The Sarshapadi Dhupa fumigation mentioned in treatment of Skanda Graha affliction shall be used in this context too –

Sarshapadi Dhupa

Fumigation with the powder of the below mentioned ingredients should be given –

  • Mustard seeds
  • Rala – Shorea robusta
  • Kushta – Saussurea lappa
  • Hingu – Asafetida
  • Guggulu – Commiphora mukul

e. Vranaropana – wound healing

Shuktikadi Taila – The oil prepared with eh below mentioned ingredients should be applied on the wounds and ulcers / dermatitis lesions of the child to enable healing –

  • Shukti bhasma – ash of pearl oyster shell
  • Shankha bhasma – ash of conch
  • Shambuka bhasma – ash of snail shell
  • Manjishta – Rubia cordifolia
  • Haritaki – Terminalia chebula
  • Yashtimadhu – Glycyrrhiza glabra

4. Ritualistic measures

a. Bheshaja Dharana – wearing / tying medicaments

One or more of the below mentioned herbs should be tied on the arm, around the neck or head of the child afflicted by Shakuni Graha –

  • Shatavari – Asparagus racemosus
  • Mrugaadani / Indravaruni – Citrullus colocynthis
  • Ervaru – Cucumis melo
  • Nagadanti – Croton oblongifolius
  • Nidagdhika – Solanum xanthocarpum
  • Lakshmana – Ipomoea sepiaria
  • Sahadevi – Vernonia cinerea
  • Brihati – Solanum indicum

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