Thursday, May 28, 2015

Datun-wali (neem-twig seller) in Varanasi

- by Deepa Krishnan

Varanasi is a city which wakes up really early. Many people visit the temples at dawn. Naturally the city's vendors also begin early. I photographed this datun-wali at 6 am.
Neem seller with cutting implements
Datun is made of neem twigs. The twigs are harvested from trees, then cut into shape (she is using a wooden board and sickle, which you can see in the photo above). Then they are bundled and sold. Datun is the traditional method of cleaning teeth. Chewing on the end of the twig releases the medicinal properties of neem.

Azadirachta indica (neem) has a wide range of medicinal properties and is extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani and Homoeopathic medicine. More than 140 compounds have been isolated from different parts of neem. All parts of the neem tree- leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots and bark have been used traditionally for the treatment of inflammation, infections, fever, skin diseases and dental disorders.
Neem leaves being smoked over charcoal fire to keep away mosquitoes and insects

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