Useful Medicinal Plants

• India, home of Ayurvedic system of medicine, has taught the world the medicinal value of plants since Vedic times. For every ailment there is a plant derived cure. Plants give us shelter, clothes, food, medicine, fuel, timber and tools to work and live. Our sages lived amidst nature, and discovered and isolated plants by there use. Ayurvedic system is a continuous distillation and accumulation of knowledge by experience. Plants derive support from man by virtue of their utility. Every individual should know plants as companions in the nature around. Some medicinal plants have become our companions at home and are often grown in the home gardens regularly in India. Medicinally useful plants should invariably find a place as a part of practical learning experience in the school curricula and textbooks.

K. Ramachandrachar

Useful Medicinal Plants

1

Amrutha Valli
Tinospora Cordifolia

Amrutha Valli or Guduchi (in Sanskrit) is botonically known as Tinospora Cordifolia. It is a creeper with heartshaped soft green leaves. It is found in forests of Karnataka (India). Its stalk when cut gives sticky liquid. The creeper is bitter to taste. It gives greenish flowers and small red fruits in February. Cut stalk pieces when planted grow into a creeper on moist soil. As it climbs, sends roots down in the air, it is a fancy to grow as a decorative creeper along the fence or to allow creep on the compound walls turning the entire wall green with its heart shaped leaves and on to roof structures for shade and good air. Amruth Valli or Guduchi’s stalk powder in honey, ghee, or as decoction, if taken regularly, improves memory, dissolves bladder stones, and controlling effect on diabetes.

K. Ramachandrachar

Useful Medicinal Plants

2

Garlic – A Great Digestor and a Well Known Home Medicine
• Bellulli (in Kannada) or Garlic (Allium Sativum Linn) is a well known home remedy for a number of ailments and a popular and regular food ingredient. Regular use of garlic in food reduces and keeps cholesterol under control. Garlic can suppress the growth of tumors, and is a potent antioxidant good for cardiovascular health. Garlic with its repellant smell tied with health friendly properties has been dubbed The Stinking Rose. Garlic is rich in protein and vitamins. It contains with vitamins A, B, B2, and C. It has a number of elements essential for the body., viz. phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, selenium, germanium, aluminum, chlorine, manganese, zinc, copper, and iron. When broken down by the enzyme alliinase, alliin becomes the active ingredient allicin, an amino acid. When garlic cells are ruptured by crushing or chopping or pressing, they release an enzyme called allinaise. This enzyme chemically changes the inherent alliin into allicin, a sulphur-containing molecule, releasing that characteristic heady, pungent garlic smell. The sulphur molecules are absorbed into the bloodstream and lungs, escaping through exhaled air and perspiration. This results in garlic breath and garlicky bodily odour. Garlic is a bulb formed by modified leaves staying together. Unlike onion which is formed with leaves emerging concentrically from the hidden stem, garlic lets out leaves all around the hidden stem. As the leaves get modified due to food storage near the stem, all leaves together look like a single bulb. Extra length of leaves dries away leaving the bulb in tact attached to stem near the roots. Its pungent smell and hot taste and great medicinal qualities have made it a regular add-on like other condiments in food preparations in most households India. It promotes digestion. Garlic Oil – Garlic fried oil is germicidal, antiseptic, and enables faster curing of wounds •

K. Ramachandrachar

Useful Medicinal Plants

3

Shankhapushpi
Activator of Intellect
• Shankhapushpi (in Hindi), or vishnugandhi or vishnukranti (in Sanskrit) and botonically known as Convolvulus pluricaulis is a perennial herb, 6-12 inches high growing in dry sandy soil in partial shade or partial sun to full sun. It is grown all over India. Its stems are sparsely tufted erect. Leaves are flat, liner green with prominent nerves and scabrous. Flowers are coloured blue. It is a continuous daily bloomer and hence makes the garden look fresh and beautiful. Fruit is a Nut oblong, trigonous, stramineous and stiptate. It is helpful in reducing nervous exhaustion, memory loss, nootropic agent, general weakness, and loss of memory. It is used as rasayan. Shankhpushpi extract of the herb is known to relieve problems of stress. It relieves the individual from headache, anxiety, uneasiness, and irritability and helps to feel relaxed. Therefore it improves concentration, and enables undivided attention on items one is working with at any moment like the moment when children solve problems or answer in an examination. It is a sovereign remedy in bowel complaints especially dysentery. Shankhapushpi is a psycho-stimulant and tranquilizer. It is also known to reduce cholesterol, and triglycerides. With a memory booster, like Brahmi, the extract together Shankhapushpi is an effective activator of intellect.
[The species goes by the samskrit name vishnugandhi or vishnukranti, but its hindi name shankhapushpi created confusion with another species Clitoria ternatea from a totally unrelated family, the Fabaceae. The controversy is raised on and off. Ref: Kameshwar Rao,C. Database of Medicinal Plants, Department of Forests, Environments and Ecology, Government of Karnataka, Bangalore, India]

K. Ramachandrachar

Useful Medicinal Plants

4

Grow Tulsi to Keep Air Clean

Tulsi

Every Hindu home knows, grows and worships Tulsi. Others grow it as a medicinal plant.
Why do We Grow Tulsi in Front of Our Home?

Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum or holy basil) leaves have pleasantly corrosive smell. Growing tulsi at the main door purifies air at the entrance and keeps it free from harmful bacteria. Watering and worshipping Tulsi every morning is a good practice. It enables inhaling of aroma around the plant. This keeps respiratory system clean. Tulsi is a strong natural antiseptic and germicidal. Tulsi possesses the anti-stress, anti-bacterial, anti viral, anti fungal, anti protozoal, anti oxidant and anti carcinogenic properties. Chemically, Tulsi contains alkaloids, carbohydrates, proteins, glycosides, phenols, tannins and terrene, and also minerals and vitamins.
Attitudes apart, growing tulsi at home, not only in front of front door, but also around at three or four strategic points like near the windows is good to keep the entering air clean. Indians chose to induce attitudes at home, as it automatically makes the entire town covered with medicinal plants like tulsi.

Various formulations with tulsi as the main ingredient to cure different ailments are available in ayurvedic medical shops in India.

K. Ramachandrachar

Useful Medicinal Plants

5

Tulsi – Germicidal and Disinfectant.
Oral consumption of Tulsi leaves, leaf-juice, tulsi decoction or tulsi tea, relieves indigestion, retards vomiting, purifies blood, cures mouth ulcers, and reduces bad smell. It also relieves bile and phlegm. Application of Tulsi paste cures skin infections and improves skin quality. Its great curative qualities, have madeTulsi invariably used in puja. Abhishekha water used to bathe idols as a part of worship contains tulsi. By tradition, in Indian homes of Hindu tradition consume 1 to 3 spoonful abhishekha water as thirtha everyday as a mark of devotion. Other ingredients of thirtha are also highly germicidal and medicinal. No wonder Tulsi itself is worshipped for 12 days in lunar month of Karthika every year. On Uththana Dwaadashi ( 12 th day of full moon phase of the month). Hindus culminate the worship with a symbolic wedding of Tulsi plant with a branch of Nellikai or Amalaki. Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis in Latin) is Indian gooseberry. It is rich with Vitamin C and minerals and is considered to be a rejuvenator. Tulsi is antiseptic and germicidal. The wedding of the two is thus ideal! Plant worship marks our respect, our devotion and our concern for the plants.

K. Ramachandrachar

Useful Medicinal Plants

6

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