Karimnagar: After masks and hand sanitisers, the next big thing in the market to ward off coronavirus is ‘Kashayam,’ the grandmother’s recipe to boost the body’s immune system. This concoction, known as ‘Kadha’ in the north and other parts of the country, is essentially a mix of various spices including Tulsi leaves, dry ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, pepper and a small piece of jaggery that are crushed, boiled and then consumed lukewarm in the mornings and nights.
There are, of course, minor variations depending on the region or State one hails from.
In Telangana, this immunity booster is turning out to be quite a hit to combat corona, with not only families making it a daily routine to start the day with, but also tea stalls and eateries across the State offering them to customers.
Consequently, the demand for spices has shot up in the past few weeks. Shop owners say people are literally queueing up to buy spices, with even doctors recommending that people consume ‘kashayam’ to strengthen their immune system.
In Karimnagar, which was the first corona hot spot in the country after over a dozen Covid-19 cases were detected including 10 Indonesians, the sales of cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, dry ginger, ajwain, cumin and coriander seeds have zoomed along with those of dry fruits like almonds, cashewnut, pista, figs and walnut.
Sangem Prabhakar of Sri Rudra Merchants, the biggest wholesale shop for spices in the town, told Telangana Today, that earlier, he used to sell about about 25 kg each of the spices. “We are now selling about 35 kg of each spice, with most of them being inidividual customers. Our major clients in the pre-coronavirus days were hotels and caterers who accounted for 80 per cent of the sales, and small kirana shops across the district for the remaining 20 per cent,” he said. Prabhakar points out that the scenario had entirely changed now, with orders from hotels and caterers dropping drastically to 20 per cent. “Kirana shop owners and individual customers now account for 40 per cent each,” he said.
Bhupathi Prasad, who owns a small kirana store in Shankarapatnam mandal headquarters, says the demand for spices had gone up three-fold. “I used to sell a kg of these spices per day, but now my sales are at least three kgs a day,” he said, adding that sale of spices usually goes up during festivals or marriage seasons. “But now, I see customers buying it on a daily basis,” he said.
Kotte Venkatesh and Susheela, a couple running a small hotel near the bus stand in Gambhiraopet mandal of Rajanna-Sircilla district, have switched over to selling ‘kashayam chai’. “Our source of livelihood was all but gone with people avoiding tea after coronavirus made its appearance. We were wondering what to do when some friends said many people had taken to preparing and consuming ‘kashayam’ at home. That is when we decided to make ‘kashayam’ for our customers, and it has proved to be a big hit,” he said, adding that they sell about 125 cups a day.
Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.