Hot-processed virgin coconut oil, which is called ‘ventha velichenna’ or ‘urukku velichenna’ in Malayalam, is Kerala’s own household secret. Yet, it holds a rare spot in the discussion of oils. Malayalis commonly use ventha velichana for babies and post-partum mothers, but it is slowly starting to make a name as a diet-friendly cooking ingredient too. Pūrvīṇa (traditional), a small business based out of Malappuram, is making this magic oil global.
The Brains Behind Pūrvīṇa
Jaya and her daughter Parvathy is at the helm of Pūrvīṇa. She shared, “My mother has been in multiple businesses as a partner in my father’s many entrepreneurial ventures. In addition to that, she has her own packaging business. During the first lockdown in 2020, my parents had nothing to do. My father had his agricultural land that was incurring major losses every year. So my mother communicated the idea of using these lands to make turmeric powder. I knew it was interesting so I decided to make use of my digital marketing skills and add value to whatever we produced. We first started with turmeric powder and peppercorns and thought it would sell like hot buns, but it didn’t. So, we had to find another way out.”
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Further following her mother’s enterprising footsteps, Parvathy knew there was potential in ventha velichana. She shared, “My grandfather had Alzheimer’s. I recall a doctor suggesting he drink 15 ml of ventha velichana twice a day to help with his recovery. My mother decided to make it even though she had no clue how to. But the one thing I noticed was that our older generation would use it frequently, especially on newborn babies. We also learned that Dr PK Warrier, managing trustee of Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, used to have ventha velichana every day. Even at the age of 100, his memory was sharp. That’s how we decided to start producing ventha velichana, the miracle oil that’s been passed on from one generation to another.”
While they are proud of their turmeric powder and peppercorn range owing to its pristine quality, it isn’t one of their best-sellers. The lack of ingredient knowledge among customers is one of the reasons. However, when they started to receive orders for Pūrvīṇa, they were rather surprised. She shared, “We even get repeat orders from people living in Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Telangana, and even Andaman & Nicobar Islands. We grow it on our own farm, source locally, and manufacture 100% natural and organic products. Ventha velichana is rich in lauric acid and has no chemicals or preservatives. I have a child who is 11 months old, and I have been giving this to her since she was eight days old.”
The Making Process
The age-old way of making ventha velichana and its historical health significance intrigued them to start Pūrvīṇa. It was a turning point for the mother-daughter business. More than selling the product, they’re keen on educating today’s generation about the benefits of ventha velichana. The recipe has been passed on through generations in Kerala households. Our great grandmothers and grandmothers would have made it at home too.
The women at Pūrvīṇa prepare it in a bronze uruli by boiling coconut milk at a consistent temperature, with constant stirring. True to its name, they stick to the traditional way of making the oil.
Their Ventha Velichana Range
Their best-sellers are baby massage oil and anti-wrinkle moisturising oil. They are also planning to launch nipple crack oil. Parvathy shared, “As a breastfeeding mother, I have never had sore or cracked nipples only because I apply ventha velichana after a feed. It is very difficult when you get nipple cracks and it’s something that every new mother goes through. The regular nipple crack cream that you get in the market isn’t safe for newborns so it is usually wiped away before feeding. But with ventha velichana, you don’t have to.” They also have a diaper rash protection oil coming soon.
Pūrvīṇa is making ventha velichana accessible. This small venture from Kerala is creating an impact by giving contemporary solutions using traditional ingredients. As a business that’s invested in putting Kerala on the global map, let’s support and give them an opportunity to thrive.