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Vedic Plants (Medicinal and Other Uses)
Vedic Plants (Medicinal and Other Uses)
Description
Forward

All the plants on this earth are important in one way or the other and have a function and a definite place in the scheme of things of this universe. The plants mentioned in the Vedas are significant not only because of their use in various systems of medicine but also due to their relevance to the situations and context in which they have been mentioned. Studying plants from this point of view is beyond the scope of the present work undertaken by the authors. However it is to their credit that in spite of various problems in correctly identifying the plants, they have done their best to record as many as seventy plants and have highlighted and discussed a few such problems in detail in a separate section.

Though several authors have written papers and books on this subject, none have recorded the relevant Vedic verses along with each plant. Not only that, where ever plant identification is doubtful, or there are other problems, a note has been added giving the opinion and views of other authors under the section of mythological profile.

With the exception of pharmacological information, almost every aspect of each plant has been recorded. In my opinion this is the most comprehensive work on the subject of Vedic Plants, presented along in an excellent manner.

Preface

Vedas which are thousands of years old constitute the main religious literature of the Hindus even during the present time. There are several drugs mentioned in the Vedas and especially in Atharvaveda for the treatment of various diseases.

Bheshaja means drug and Atharvaveda is also known as Bhaishajyaveda. It provides foundation for Ayurvedic system of medicine.

Because of the rapidly growing interest in herbal medicine in the western world and their attempts in the past to patent plants and plant products, it is being felt that there is an urgent need to bring to lime light the effectiveness of those herbs and related preparations which are being used in different Indian systems of medicine for thousands of years. The authors of this book have done their best to identify plants in Vedas and have recorded medicinal properties assigned to them in Ayurvedic, Unani, Chinese, Tibetan and Folk medicine. Further therapeutic evaluation of plants from our ancient repository of knowledge should be carried out and the results should be brought to the notice of both the common folks and the scientific community.

This work will definitely extend help to students, scientists and other interested persons in Vedic literature and may also serve as an excellent source for future research work to further evaluate the potential of Vedic plants.

Introduction

From time immemorial man has been in close contact with the flora around him. With the passage o time as his mental faculties developed he began to use them to abate the pangs of hunger and slowly his instincts also directed him to use different plants to treat various ailments. This trial and error method to identify’ plants for various purposes could possibly went on for thousands of years. Then came a time in the history of human civilization when plant-human relationship got well established. It then grew out of its utilitarian mandate and took various forms and manifested itself in symbolism, rituals both social and religious, permeated into folklore, folksongs, and folk medicine. From the primitive cultures in the early part of the evolution of civilization to the enlightened and highly scientific societies of present age, plants have occupied a prominent place in mythology, magic, medicine, and poisons. Old and New Testaments record various aspects of different civilizations and societies and in them are found references to medicinal, aromatic and nutritive plants.

Possibly the oldest religious books to record different aspects of a number of plants are Vedas. Veda is a Sanskrit word which is derived from the root word “Vid”, which means to know. So the word Veda means knowledge. It also denotes the source of knowledge. This significant source of knowledge is classified into four parts by saint Veda Vyasa which are called Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda. These are a collection of spiritual experiences and revelations of many sages from time immemorial covering different aspects of life and have been subjected to various interpretations. It needs to be emphasized that no single commentary can cover all aspects of Vedas and do justice with them. Sayana a prominent Vedic scholar has interpreted them in terms of Dharma and Adharma. Jagadguru Sankaracarya of Pun worked on the concept of mathematics in Vedas and published a book on Vedic Mathematics. Others have explored the subjects of Solar Sciences, Cosmology, Gynecology, Botany, Photochemistry, Pharmacology, etc.

Let us consider about the plants in Vedic literature. If this subject is investigated from an ethno botanist’s point of view then the focus will shift towards the study of interactions between the inhabitants of the corresponding period and the plants which coexisted there with. If those Vedic plants with hallucinogenic properties are considered, the investigation will offer insight into the origin and character of complex religious beliefs, practices and customs of the inhabitants of those times.

In this work, an attempt has been made to identify various Vedic plants providing relevant references and wherever there is a difference of opinion regarding the botanical name of a Vedic plant view points of different authors are presented.

The present study of Vedic plants has been restricted to the realm of utilitarian mandate exposing investigations made iii the faculty of photo chemistry, pharmacology, etc., to bring out new therapeutic properties and to present the known medicinal properties which have been tried and tested in the Ayurvedic, Unani, Chinese and Tibetan systems of medicine for centuries. Their use in Folk Medicine and other non medicinal uses have also been recorded.

Mythological profile has been included to make the reader acquaint himself with the context in which various plant names have been given without going into detailed commentaries about their references. Instances of attributing divine powers to plants are found both in Rig Veda and Atherva Veda. The medicinal properties of various plants are extolled in these ancient texts, and in certain instances the names of ailments to be treated by specific plants are also mentioned.

The translations of classical religious text of Vedas were consulted to find out the mythological significance of plants mentioned therein. Interviews were conducted and discussions held with the scholars of these religious texts at various levels to get a better understanding of the subject of sacred plants. Considering the magnanimity of Vedic and post-Vedic literature and the problems of understanding and identifying the plants with the Sanskrit names, only those plants which are mentioned in the Vedas are being dealt with in this work. It has been found that many of these plants are also mentioned in the post Vedic literature and it is to be noted that in certain cases a new myth or a quality has been added to them. The most difficult and crucial problem encountered in researching this subject is to determine the correct botanical name for a given Sanskrit name. Over a period of time, a number of Sanskrit names have been identified and botanical names given. However, a number of anomalies still exist. There are neither preserved plant specimens of Vedic period nor is there an accurate account of their morphological characteristics that can be of help in identifying and providing correct botanical names.

All the plants are listed with their botanical names in alphabetical order. Sanskrit name and the family name have also been indicated. Mythological profile of each plant has been recorded for two reasons, firstly it provides an opportunity to study the use of plants by a culture that existed thousands of years ago and secondly it is found to contain references to the curative properties of certain plants.

Some of the Vedic plants could not be identified and have therefore not been included in this work.

Contents

Introduction 1
Plants (from A to Z) 3
Discussion209
Literature listed212
Index of plant names223

Vedic Plants (Medicinal and Other Uses)

Item Code:
NAD470
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2009
ISBN:
9788176371612
Size:
9.5 inch X 7.0 inch
Pages:
224
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 362 gms
Price:
$30.00   Shipping Free
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Forward

All the plants on this earth are important in one way or the other and have a function and a definite place in the scheme of things of this universe. The plants mentioned in the Vedas are significant not only because of their use in various systems of medicine but also due to their relevance to the situations and context in which they have been mentioned. Studying plants from this point of view is beyond the scope of the present work undertaken by the authors. However it is to their credit that in spite of various problems in correctly identifying the plants, they have done their best to record as many as seventy plants and have highlighted and discussed a few such problems in detail in a separate section.

Though several authors have written papers and books on this subject, none have recorded the relevant Vedic verses along with each plant. Not only that, where ever plant identification is doubtful, or there are other problems, a note has been added giving the opinion and views of other authors under the section of mythological profile.

With the exception of pharmacological information, almost every aspect of each plant has been recorded. In my opinion this is the most comprehensive work on the subject of Vedic Plants, presented along in an excellent manner.

Preface

Vedas which are thousands of years old constitute the main religious literature of the Hindus even during the present time. There are several drugs mentioned in the Vedas and especially in Atharvaveda for the treatment of various diseases.

Bheshaja means drug and Atharvaveda is also known as Bhaishajyaveda. It provides foundation for Ayurvedic system of medicine.

Because of the rapidly growing interest in herbal medicine in the western world and their attempts in the past to patent plants and plant products, it is being felt that there is an urgent need to bring to lime light the effectiveness of those herbs and related preparations which are being used in different Indian systems of medicine for thousands of years. The authors of this book have done their best to identify plants in Vedas and have recorded medicinal properties assigned to them in Ayurvedic, Unani, Chinese, Tibetan and Folk medicine. Further therapeutic evaluation of plants from our ancient repository of knowledge should be carried out and the results should be brought to the notice of both the common folks and the scientific community.

This work will definitely extend help to students, scientists and other interested persons in Vedic literature and may also serve as an excellent source for future research work to further evaluate the potential of Vedic plants.

Introduction

From time immemorial man has been in close contact with the flora around him. With the passage o time as his mental faculties developed he began to use them to abate the pangs of hunger and slowly his instincts also directed him to use different plants to treat various ailments. This trial and error method to identify’ plants for various purposes could possibly went on for thousands of years. Then came a time in the history of human civilization when plant-human relationship got well established. It then grew out of its utilitarian mandate and took various forms and manifested itself in symbolism, rituals both social and religious, permeated into folklore, folksongs, and folk medicine. From the primitive cultures in the early part of the evolution of civilization to the enlightened and highly scientific societies of present age, plants have occupied a prominent place in mythology, magic, medicine, and poisons. Old and New Testaments record various aspects of different civilizations and societies and in them are found references to medicinal, aromatic and nutritive plants.

Possibly the oldest religious books to record different aspects of a number of plants are Vedas. Veda is a Sanskrit word which is derived from the root word “Vid”, which means to know. So the word Veda means knowledge. It also denotes the source of knowledge. This significant source of knowledge is classified into four parts by saint Veda Vyasa which are called Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda. These are a collection of spiritual experiences and revelations of many sages from time immemorial covering different aspects of life and have been subjected to various interpretations. It needs to be emphasized that no single commentary can cover all aspects of Vedas and do justice with them. Sayana a prominent Vedic scholar has interpreted them in terms of Dharma and Adharma. Jagadguru Sankaracarya of Pun worked on the concept of mathematics in Vedas and published a book on Vedic Mathematics. Others have explored the subjects of Solar Sciences, Cosmology, Gynecology, Botany, Photochemistry, Pharmacology, etc.

Let us consider about the plants in Vedic literature. If this subject is investigated from an ethno botanist’s point of view then the focus will shift towards the study of interactions between the inhabitants of the corresponding period and the plants which coexisted there with. If those Vedic plants with hallucinogenic properties are considered, the investigation will offer insight into the origin and character of complex religious beliefs, practices and customs of the inhabitants of those times.

In this work, an attempt has been made to identify various Vedic plants providing relevant references and wherever there is a difference of opinion regarding the botanical name of a Vedic plant view points of different authors are presented.

The present study of Vedic plants has been restricted to the realm of utilitarian mandate exposing investigations made iii the faculty of photo chemistry, pharmacology, etc., to bring out new therapeutic properties and to present the known medicinal properties which have been tried and tested in the Ayurvedic, Unani, Chinese and Tibetan systems of medicine for centuries. Their use in Folk Medicine and other non medicinal uses have also been recorded.

Mythological profile has been included to make the reader acquaint himself with the context in which various plant names have been given without going into detailed commentaries about their references. Instances of attributing divine powers to plants are found both in Rig Veda and Atherva Veda. The medicinal properties of various plants are extolled in these ancient texts, and in certain instances the names of ailments to be treated by specific plants are also mentioned.

The translations of classical religious text of Vedas were consulted to find out the mythological significance of plants mentioned therein. Interviews were conducted and discussions held with the scholars of these religious texts at various levels to get a better understanding of the subject of sacred plants. Considering the magnanimity of Vedic and post-Vedic literature and the problems of understanding and identifying the plants with the Sanskrit names, only those plants which are mentioned in the Vedas are being dealt with in this work. It has been found that many of these plants are also mentioned in the post Vedic literature and it is to be noted that in certain cases a new myth or a quality has been added to them. The most difficult and crucial problem encountered in researching this subject is to determine the correct botanical name for a given Sanskrit name. Over a period of time, a number of Sanskrit names have been identified and botanical names given. However, a number of anomalies still exist. There are neither preserved plant specimens of Vedic period nor is there an accurate account of their morphological characteristics that can be of help in identifying and providing correct botanical names.

All the plants are listed with their botanical names in alphabetical order. Sanskrit name and the family name have also been indicated. Mythological profile of each plant has been recorded for two reasons, firstly it provides an opportunity to study the use of plants by a culture that existed thousands of years ago and secondly it is found to contain references to the curative properties of certain plants.

Some of the Vedic plants could not be identified and have therefore not been included in this work.

Contents

Introduction 1
Plants (from A to Z) 3
Discussion209
Literature listed212
Index of plant names223
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