After all old is gold. Grandmother’s recipe is back to boost the body’s immunity. After masks, and hand sanitisers, the next big thing in the market to ward off the coronoavirus is ‘Kashayam’. 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 at nights. There are, of course, minor variations depending on the region or State one hails from.
In Vizag, 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. Allipuram, which was the first corona hotspot in the Vizag, after over a dozen Covid-19 cases, were detected, 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.
Vishnu Prabakhar of BMR traders, the biggest wholesale shop for spices in the Poorna Market told Hello Vizag that earlier he used to sell 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 Shankarmatam road says the demand for spices has 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 GMVC Zone IV office at Saraswati Park, 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 70 to 90 cups a day.
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