Anthill Soil (Valmika Mruttika): Ayurvedic Medicinal Uses

Anthill soil is used in Ayurveda and naturopathy therapies. It is commonly used for external application in the form of paste, to treat acne, stiffness of thigh, to relieve pain associated with insect bite, itching etc.

Anthill soil is called Valmeeka Mruttika
Valmika = anthill
Mruttika = mud or soil.

Thigh and calf pain, stiffness

Acharya Charaka explains a disease called Urustambha, associated with deep thigh pain. It is compared with many diseases including deep vein thrombosis and thigh spasticity.
It is a unique disorder where Panchakarma is contra indicated.
Urusthambha is explained my Acharya Charaka as –
Because of unctuousness, the Ama (a product of altered digestion, metabolism) along with fat causes obstruction to the movement of Vata.
Because of heaviness, it immediately reaches the thighs through the downward moving channels (blood vessels).
provoked by the powerful fat and Kapha, these morbid material fill up the lower limbs, especially in thighs and calves. It causes involuntary spasms, stiffness, and immobility in these parts.

In external therapies to treat Urustambha, anthill mud is used.
इत्याभ्यन्तरमुद्दिष्टमूरुस्तम्भस्य भेषजम्|
श्लेष्मणः क्षपणं त्वन्यद्बाह्यं शृणु चिकित्सितम्||४८||
वल्मीकमृत्तिका मूलं करञ्जस्य फलं त्वचम्|
इष्टकानां ततश्चूर्णैः कुर्यादुत्सादनं भृशम्||४९|| Charaka Chikitsa Sthana 27/49

  1. The mud of Anthill, the root, fruits and barks of Karanja (Pongamia pinnata), and powder of brick are taken together and ground to prepare a fine powder mix. it is used for Utsadana (dry rubbing) frequently.
  2. Alternatively, the physician should administer Utsadana therapy with the help of the root of Ashwagandha, Arka – Calotropis gigantea, Picumarda (Nimba – Neem (Azadirachta indica)) or Devadaru (Cedrus deodara). Any one of these herbs are mixed with honey, mustard and anthill soil. This mix is used for dry powder massage or to apply externally as a paste.
  3. Vatsakadi Pralepa:
    Vatsaka (Holarrhena antidysenterica Wall.), Surasa ( Cinnamonum zeylanica), Kushta – Saussurea lappa, aromatic drugs like agarwood, Tumburu (Zanthoxylum alatum), Moringa, Himsra – Nordastachys jatamamsi, Root of Arka – Calotropis gigantea, mud of anthill and Kutheraka (Parnasa – Ocimum basilicum) is made a paste by adding Yogurt and Rock salt.
    It is applied externally to treat Urustamba.

Ashtanga Hrudaya Chikitsa Sthana 21/51-54 also explains about Urustamba management with anthill soil.
Vata, associated with fat and invaded by strong Kapha dosha, in Urustambha gets mitigated by sweating treatment (local sudation) done by sprinkling / pouring of liquids in a stream (Seka), dry massage etc.
Paste of roots of Arka, neem, tarkārī – Clerodendrum phlomidis and Devadaru, mixed with honey, mustard, is used for fomentation.
Heated stone or anthill soil is also applied locally or used for powder massage. This decreases Kapha Dosha and pathological fat tissue accumulation in the thigh and calves.

Insect bite

Acharya Sushruta, in Sushruta Samhita KalpaSthana 8th chapter 53-56, explains
The insect bite is treated by applying a paste prepared with juice extract of Bhringaraja (Eclipta alba), black Valmika Mruttika (anthill soil).

In case of bee sting, ant bite, black anthill soil is mixed with cow urine and applied externally.
In case of injury by nails of insects, animals, Bhringaraja juice is good.

कण्डूमकाभिर्दष्टानां रात्रौ शीताः क्रिया हिताः |
दिवा ते नैव सिध्यन्ति सूर्यरश्मिबलार्दिताः ||५३||
वक्रं कुष्ठमपामार्गः शूकवृन्तविषेऽगदः |
भृङ्गस्वरसपिष्टा वा कृष्णवल्मीकमृत्तिका ||५४||
पिपीलिकाभिर्दष्टानां मक्षिकामशकैस्तथा |
गोमूत्रेण युतो लेपः कृष्णवल्मीकमृत्तिका ||५५||
नखावघृष्टसञ्जाते शोफे भृङ्गरसो हितः |५६|

Acne

An analytical study conducted to anthill soil, found out that, it is composed of proteins, phenols, flavonoids, tannins and saponins. Quantitative analysis of the organic component in the anthill soil found out presence of
Proteins 800 μg /g
Phenols 0.03 μg /g
Tannins 0.24 μg
The study also demonstrated that anthill soil is useful in the treatment of acne vulgaris.

Stiff joints, muscles

In naturopathy, to decongest and loosen muscle knots, stiff joints, anthill soil is used. It is applied externally.
It can be made into a paste with mustard seed powder, juice of Nirgundi (Vitex negundo) and castor roots and applied externally, to relieve pain and stiffness.

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