Photo courtesy-www.amruthanjali.comIndia has traditionally been a land of Ayurveda, the science of good health. The medicinal properties of various plants were known to ancient Indian Doctors and the knowledge was used to treat people.
There are plenty of plants in home gardens which are possessed with the ability to interact with our physiology in a positive manner; some are common knowledge, some not so.These household plants have traditionally formed a part of home remedies for e.g. the neem plant, botanically known as Azadirachta indica, has always been an integral part of traditional Indian medical practices. The tree can grow up to 35m in length and all the parts have found some use in medicine as a pesticide, an insect repellant, antimicrobial, for treatment of certain skin conditions etc. It is a long list and for that reason the tree had a god like status in ancient Indian psychology. Another common plant is the Turmeric or Curcuma longa. The usable portion is basically a rhizome which is cut boiled, dried and pounded to give an orange-yellow powder, used extensively in Indian foods and curries. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is believed to be responsible for its health benefits. Traditionally, turmeric was valued for its antiseptic properties but now an added attention is being focused for its role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. The incidence of this disease in India is remarkably low as compared to the western world and a possible reason is the consumption of turmeric throughout the country. Nature is benevolent to have provided miracle cures in one's backyard. Medicinal plants form an exhaustive list and there must be so many more waiting to be discovered for their potential use. I wonder, if all the local systems of medicine like Ayurveda in India, herbal medicine in China, naturopathy etc, can be combined together to evolve a scientific discipline like allopathy, which will be cheaper, natural and relatively side effect free.