History reveals how great ancient India was in power, wealth, its magnificent culture and glorious tradition. But, how then did their deterioration come about? We nowadays swear by modern science and argue that something, which cannot be scientifically established, is superstitious, but it is also not scientific to ignore our altogether great past. Why don’t we care to know what good it contained and what has sustained us as a nation for last thousands of years?
Like a deluded musk deer which does not know that the scent it is in search of , emanates from a gland in its own body : and also like an ignorant person who does not believe that one uncared for plant in the backyard of his own house is the medicine he is need of.
We should not fail to realize that key to good health and happiness is within our own surroundings. Let us know and review about certain trees and plants which have their vital role in the lifestyles and tradition of our own citizens.
ASWATHA PEPUL TREE : One of the most auspicious and accepted as ‘Divine Tree’, is being worshipped all over the country. Lord Krishna had rightly said, ‘Among trees I am ASWATHA’. Scientists also have the common consensus and view point that oxygen produced by Pepul tree is very strong , heavy and concentrate below the branches when compared with other trees. The tree is considered very healthy. According to Indian tradition, it is a must to grow the tree rear to every temple. These sacred trees have very long life and have survived for centuries.
TULSI BASIL : Tulsi plants are grown in abundance for offering God in every house and in temples. Without tulsi the daily prayers or any religious ceremony cannot be performed. It bears an inspiring fragrance and is believed to have cured many disorders and ailments. With potent scientific, medicinal and spiritual significance, Tulsi contains more than thirty minerals and is used in the preparation of more than three-hundred Ayurvedic medicines. With scientific proven in treatment of common cold, bronchial asthma, respiratory disorders, tuberculosis, leprosy etc, it also improves digestive system and purifies blood.
Varities of Tulsi plant in our surroundings include Shyama tulsi, Shree tulsi, Rama tulsi, white tulsi and so on.
COCONUT: This tree is also known as ‘Kalpavriksha’ and is considered as sacred as ‘Aswatha’. With a long span of life of more than hundred years, every part of tree is beneficial for humans. With itsreadily availability throughout the years, coconut occupies the central place in offering to God and also in ‘Kalasha’.
Tender coconut water is mainly used for Rudraabhishek of deity. Tender coconut water has beneficial properties and rejuvenates the bodily systems. Coconut oil can be extracted from the fruit and its shell can be used as a high-grade firewood.
NEEM: This tree has great medicinal value and also acts as a pesticide. Neem oil has prime importance in physiotherapy and aromatherapy. Its leaves are very bitter in taste and seed in powdered form purifies water. A mixture of neem flowers and jiggery is offered on ceremonial occasions as a symbolic representation to share the joys and sorrows of life with equanimity.
MANGO : ‘King of Fruits’ also has medicinal values. Mango fruits are very delicious and good for health. Varieties of pickles can be prepared out of mangoes. Its seeds are used for curing many diseases. Mango leaves are often used for as decorations on entrance doors during spiritual festivals and adorn the sacred ‘Kalasha’ during puja. Wooden planks from its tree trunks are used for various purposes. Mango trees too have a very long life and there are trees surviving more than five hundred years and still yielding fruits.
BANANA: Banana leaves and plants are used in decoration of entrance of pandals etc during functions as a symbol of prosperity and wealth. Its leaves are widely used for eating food since it is considered as hygienic. Plantains are used as a vegetable when unripe and as a fruit when ripe. In many of temples flowers tied with the yarn of these plants bring good charm and is considered auspicious.
SANDALWOOD: Used in numerous handicrafts, sandal wood oil has a great commercial value. Widely used in Aromatherapy and naturopathy, its incense sticks and fragrant sandal paste are a must in religious ceremony.
TURMERIC: Curcumin (turmeric / haldi) extensively used in cooking because of its digestive power and has rich antioxidant properties, widely used in treatment of many potentially oral malignant disorders like oral submucous fibrosis. With extensive research on turmeric these days, its potential benefits ranges from treatment of throat disorders. A mixture of coconut oil and turmeric powder applied over body before bath prevents many skin diseases.
To sum up, Indian Ayurveda is a significant natural key to health and happiness. We must realize the medicinal and traditional benefits of these trees or plants and nurture them in our environment to secure our present and future generations.