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Power of First Rains & Ancient Indian Healing Traditions

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Traditional medicinal knowledge about first rain water in

Chhattisgarh, India

Research Note - Pankaj Oudhia

© 2001,2002,2003 Pankaj Oudhia -


'Jal Hi Jivan Hai' (Water is Life), we all are aware of this fact.

The purity of Ganga Jal (Water collected from Ganga river) is world

famous. For the natives and traditional healers of Chhattisgarh the

water of first monsoon rains is valuable and important. For the first

time, I got the information on therapeutic value of rain water

through Shri Vishal Bharat, an eminent herb expert of Chhattisgarh.

He was my Guru and specialized in treatment of different types of

cancer. He never missed to collect the rain water in enough quantity

during rainy season. During treatment of cancer patients, he always

instruct the patients to drink more and more rain water. In case of

non-availability, he was suggesting the spring water. The well water

was third preference. For his patients, he was collecting more and

more water for its use round the year.


In reference literatures, related to different systems of

medicine in India the use of rain water for cancer patients has not

been reported. This was new information for me. Later when I

conducted detailed ethnobotanical surveys, in different parts of

Chhattisgarh, I got information that almost all healers specialized

in treatment of cancer recommend this use. The healers prefer the

water from first rains, but in case of poor collection, they collect

water from subsequent rains. For collection of rain water, they

prefer Tamra Patra (Copper vessels). The traditional healers at

interior regions having not enough purchasing capacity to buy Tamra

Patra, use earthen pots (Ghada) to collect rain water. According to

them, the water before reaching to ground surface must be collected.

The rain water coming down through plants are also collected but they

have their specific list of plants that can be used for this purpose.

My grandfather was aware of miracle healing properties of rain water.

My father still remember that during his childhood the grand father

never misses the chance to collect the water from first rain. The

natives take bath with this water. According to them, this water

removes the extra heat from the body and treats the small boils

common in hot summer days in Chhattisgarh. It is common belief in

Chhattisgarh Plains that the hairs should be protected from rain

water as it loosens the hairs.


Last week when I informed Dr. Shinji Takara, an expert from Japan

about traditional medicinal knowledge about first rain water in

Chhattisgarh, he replied that it is not possible in his country,

because due to heavy atmospheric pollution, the first rain falls as

acid rain and no one want to collect this acid. We are fortunate that

in our part of the world, the atmospheric pollution is not a problem

and the natives and traditional healers are getting pure rain water.

During my surveys in Amarkantak region, my field worker informed me

that the first rain water is given in this region, as treatment of

stomach troubles. It is recommended as two to three spoonful daily

empty stomach. The natives of Chhattisgarh Plains are also aware of

this use. During my surveys in Mungeli region, the natives informed

that it should not be given to pregnant woman. They are not aware of

the scientific reason for this restriction. During my surveys in

Bastar region, the healers informed that they use the first rain

water collected from specific herbs, herbal combinations in place of

water. I am explaining it more clearly. When the healers prepare

herbal combinations using Bramhi herb, for instance, and the addition

of water is must, in such cases they use the first rain water

collected from Bramhi herb in place of normal water.


The traditional healers are aware of valuable medicinal

properties of first rain water but the collection in maximum quantity

is the main problem for them. They keep this collection as precious

asset and due to less quantity, they use it in serious troubles only.

In name of first rain water, many local herb shops sell bottled water

but the traditional healers have little faith in this and they use it

only in case of urgency. The healers have no traditional water

testing method to differentiate all types of water, but many healers

claim that by seeing the reaction of patients taking different types

of water, they can simply tell the sources. I have yet not seen it

practically but I have no doubt on their in-depth traditional

knowledge. In my laboratory, I have tried the first rain water on

germination of common seeds. Although all selected species failed to

show the same response. But many species showed significantly higher

germination and vigour. The detailed studies are in progress. Through

my visits to different parts of India, I have collected a lot of

information on medicinal uses of rain water but this is really

surprising that I have yet not found these informations in reference



I personally feel that this is an important aspect on which there

is a need for detailed research without any delay. After herbs and

insects, this is a new field for me. This article is the first

written document on the traditional medicinal knowledge about first

rain water in Chhattisgarh, India. I am confident that through my

surveys I will be able to collect more information on this

traditional knowledge.


Thank you very much for reading the article.


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