Turkey Berry commonly known in Kerala as "Chunda belongs to the family of well known vegetable Brinjol". The botanical name of the plant is Solanum Tarvum. Botanically there are many verities of this plant. Of these the most commonly seen one Kerala are two verities. (1) "Punyaha Chunda" Solanum Indica with light violet flowers and (2) "Puthiri Chunda" with white flowers. The flowers of the Punyaha Chunda are are used to redden the eyes in Art form like Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Krishnanattom, Mudiyettu etc.
Pluck the fully blossomed flower with its stem. Separate the portion where the seeds are grown (ovary) and the greenish portion just below the ovary. Clean the hands well and keep this on the palm one hand and massage it gently with the first finger of the other hand. After some time it becomes very tender. Finally it changes the colour to black and gets pressed without breaking. The greenish portion of the flower is added to prevent breaking while massaging. By chance if it breaks. It cannot be used and has to be thrown away. At this point if the eyes are touched with the finger (the finger used for pressing) the eyes slowly becomes reddish. This can be used immediately or can be preserved for long, casing it in dry white cotton cloth. For long preservation it can be stored in cow-ghee in clean vessels tightly closed.
For the purpose reddening the eyes, even though a small perform of the flower is used it is called "Chunda Poovu". This is smeared in the eyes after all other facial makeup's are over. If the prepared flower big it can be cut and used. Only a small portion of the flower is required if the same is well processed. The quantity required for both the eyes are to be taken in palm and pressed. Ghee or water in small quantity can be added while pressing. This for softening the pressed flower. The pressed flower kept in the white portion of the eyes and drawn slowly after looking down and pulling out the eye lids. After this closed eyes and rotate the pupils. The eyes will be redden slowly and by the time the full makeup is over the eyes will be reddish.
It is establish by the various researchers that the family of Turkey Berry contains lot of alkaloids and this alkaloids help for better flow of blood through the blood vessels.
In a reason basic study conducted by Dr. C.P. Unnikrishnan and Dr. Sasi Kumar (Chaithanya Hospital, Ravipuram, Ernakulam) some more vital information are made available. The outer eyes contain lot of capillaries which cannot be seen by necked eyes. By applying Chunda Poovu the blood flow in these capillaries become more active and it causes the reddening of eyes.
According the biochemical theory the chemical "atropin" contained in the Chunda Poovu helps to widen the pupils which allows more light tender and then at least temporarily blocks the ability to see the minute objects through eyes (ie focusing accommodation will be reduced). Then it takes few days to normalize the sight. But non of the artists who are using Chunda Poovu have complained about a situation like this. This is because it is established that the pupils does not enlarge or the eye pressure does not change by the use of Chunda Poovu. Materialistic and scientific studies on this are in process.
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