On the occasion of World Environment Day, 5th June, we are hereby enlisting few medicinal plants and trees which are commonly used in various Ayurvedic Medicinal preparations. Let’s have a look at all of these and plant at least one of them. Plant a tree, get healthy life free
- Tulasi / Holy basil/ Ocimum sanctum , Lamiaceae
Sacred plant with high medicinal value, it is worshiped in India as holy plant.
How to grow
Holy basil grows well in containers or in pots in sunny window, seeds can be planted , press seeds into ¼ inch deep in soil and cover seeds with soil and water the soil , keep them moist but avoid excess irrigation .when leaves become plenty remove some leaves to encourage other leaves to grow. Prefers 5-6 hours sunlight per day.
Part used: whole plant
- Acne , pimples , rashes
Medicinal properties :
- Tulasi is taken as the herbal tea for mouth wash in sore throat or in fever internally
- Tulasi oil is used as ear drop,
- Fresh leaf juice or chewing fresh leaf juice useful in cough, flu
- As bath soak, as juice, as topical ointment or decoction of leaf for bath is used in several skin diseases
- Regular use of Tulasi juice to prevent signs of skin aging, diabetes,
- Crushed leaf applied for ring worm
- Dried leaf powder is used for brushing the teeth
- Dried root powder is used in fever
- Fresh root paste is applied to areas of insect bite
- Chakramuni / Multivitamin plant/ Star gooseberry/Sauropus androgynus
It is a shrub grown in tropical regions as a leafy vegetable, it is a good source of Vitamin A carotenoids, Vit B1 , Vit C, Protien, Minerals calcium ,iron , phosphorus etc.
How to grow:
It is a plant that grows with minimal effort, can be grown in acidic soil, heavy clay soil, it is easily propagated with cuttings of older wood stems which can be directly planted in moist soil they root easily, it may require rich compost for rapid growth it is best to plant under the moist shady area, needs plenty of water.
- Freshly plucked mature leaves.
- Wound healing
- Inducing lactation
- food poisoning
- Leaves are used to prepare infusion given internally to improve the breast milk
- Consumed raw in salad, stir fried, used in Curry, tambuli, or cooked in soups
- Must be used with precautions
- Kumari /Aloe Vera, Lilliaceae
Wonder plant with medicinal value, it can grown under normal conditions.
How to grow:
Aloe Vera is typically propagated by detaching younger clone plants from base of adult plant. Aloe Vera plants prefer 8-10 hours of sunlight a day. Grow best in warm or hot temperature, if no hot climates cover the surface of the soil with pebbles warmth from the sun to the base of the plant. Plant them in well draining soil.
- Skin diseases
- Wound and cuts
- Ulcerative colitis
- Aphthos ulcer
- Chronic constipation
- Anti aging effect
- Immunomodulating effect
- leaf pulp can be applied directly in minor skin burns, cut wounds
- Juice is used for oral consumption in case of gastrointestinal complaints
- Used as skin mask for preventing sunburn
- Juice can be applied on scalp for preventing dandruff and to enhance the hair growth.
- Asthisrinkala/ Pirandai/ Hadjod/ Cissus quadrangularis, Vitaceae
It is a plant with high nutritional value. Contains Carotenoids , Triterpenoids and ascorbic acid and Is a good source of calcium
Useful part: Stem, Leaves
How to grow:
Can be easily grown in home .It is mainly propagated through by cuttings, suitable for growing in containers, with light shade and little water.
- Bone Fractures
- Useful in weight reduction
- Wound healing, peptic ulcer
- Relieves constipation
- High cholesterol
- Cramping and discomfort during menstruation
- Stem fried in ghee and administered with milk for fractures and osteoarthritis (Ref. Chakradatta)
- Traditional healers use its paste for external application over fractured site.
- In some parts of India Chutney is prepared with leaves/ stem of plant with coconut and served as side dish, used for improving immunity.
- Stem is also used in preparation of Dosa and Idlies for strengthening bones
- Sadapa / Rue/ Ruta graveolence
Herb of grace grown as an ornamental plant, it is cultivated as a medicinal herb,used as a condiment and also a good insect repellent .
How to grow:
Easily propagated with seeds and root cuttings or stem cuttings. Ruta will grow best in well drained soil, rocky dry soil; it needs full sun to grow well.
Part used: Whole plant – leaves, seeds
- Colic pain
- Worm infestation
- Eye strain
- Head ache
- Spasmolytic effect
- Anthelmintic properties
- Dried leaves cloth bag are used as mosquito repellant.
- Leaf paste is applied on head for head ache
- Infusion prepared with leaves is used as eye wash for eye strains
- Oil prepared with leaves is used in joint pains.
- Neem /Azadirachta indica[i]
A plant which is used widely in ecological, medicinal and agriculture sectors.
How to grow:
Best grown in a tropical to subtropical region, propagated from seed. Requires hot climate, Neem trees grows well in sandy, rocky, dark or saline soil.
Useful part: Whole plant, Leaves are rich in fiber, carbohydrate, essential amino acids, calcium etc
- Skin disorders
- Eruptions of Smallpox
- Epiphora ( Watering of the eyes)
- Gum diseases
- Decoction prepared with bark of Neem tree is used for washing wound, ulcers.
- Decoction or infusion of Neem leaves is beneficial in Malaria
- Washing hair with neem dection prevents hair loss
- Brushing the teeth with a Neem twig prevents gum disorder.
- Neem seed oil best for hair growth and lice in hair
- Drumstick /Sajana/Moringa oleifera[ii]
Moringa oleifera tree with high nutritional value and medicinal uses. Cultivated for pods, flower tops, and leaves which are rich in micro and macro nutrients[iii], commonly called as power house of minerals.
How to grow:
This tree can be propagated through seeds and heart wood cuttings, it requires a semiarid, subtropical areas[iv], light sandy soil. Moringa trees do not need much water.
Useful part: whole plant
- Intestinal worms
- Bronchitis, Asthma, Tuberculosis
- Urinary calculus
- Liver fibrosis
- Chemo protective
- Moringa leaves are used internally to improve eye sight
- In India leaves, pods, flowers are commonly used for food preparations like leaf tea,sabji, sambar, gravy,cutlets,flower chutney, salads etc
- Soup of flower is said to be aphrodisiac[v]
- Used for powder massage in Pruritis, acne, and urticaria[vi]
- Root paste is applied over swellings
- Mature dried Moringa seed powder is used for water purification [vii]
- Lemon/ citrus lemon , Rutaceae
Citrus lemon with refreshing fruit used extensively in foods , beverages and also in medicinal preparations. Lemons are a great source of Vitamin C,vit B6, potassium, carbohydrates, fiber , and contains many micronutrients and essential oils.
How to grow:
Lemon tree can be cultivated easily at gardens, it requires adequate sunlight , well drained soil with sufficient water.[viii]
Part used: Fruit, leaves
- Heart diseases
- Kidney stones
- Sinusitis, tonsillitis
- Arthritis, osteoporosis[ix]
- Anti spasmodic
- Juice for external application on face, have cleansing action and helps in improving complexion[x]
- Lemon rind boiled with water is used in lack of appetite, fever.
- Fresh lemon juice internally is a common diet to prevent scurvy as it is a rich source of Vitamin C.
- Lemon juice with a pinch of asafetida is useful in relieving abdominal cramps, dysmenorrhea.
- Fresh lemon juice is used as root canal medicament due to its antibacterial potency.
- Oil of lemon is topically used for the treatment of Stomatitis [xi]
Disclaimer: All the information given in this article is for general information purpose only. If you are sick and need medical assistance then please consult a qualified health care professional. Do not indulge in self prescription, it may harm your body.
References: [i] http://www.nap.edu/read/1924/chapter/8#61 [ii] http://www.nutrition-healing.com/Drumstick.htm [iii] http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/students/MagicalMoringa [iv] http://miracletrees.org/growing_moringa.html [v] http://siddham.in/medicinal-uses-or-health-benefits-of-moringa-oleifera-drumstick [vi]Charka samhita sootrasthana 3rd chapter [vii]https://www.researchgate.net/publication/224775430_Effectiveness_of_Moringa_oleifera_seed_as_coagulant_for_water_purification [viii] http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/lemons/how-to-grow-a-lemon-tree.htm [ix] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2090989614000071 [x] rajanighantu [xi] http://www.kau.edu.sa/Files/165/Researches/19240_Comparative%20Study%20On.pdf