Nature ‘doctors’….

Viola serpens

A friend, once told me a story……

A long time ago, a young man was studying as an apprentice under an ‘ayurvedacharya’ (master of traditional Indian medicine) , in the Himalayas. After studying under the teacher for fifteen years, the young man once asked the teacher, how long would it take before he would know everything about herbs and their uses. The old master looked at him and smiled, then he bade him to go out in the mountains and bring him one herb which would be of no use to anyone…..

The young man left the master’s ashram to carry out the task…….

he searched… and he searched……

finally one day he returned to the master, after searching all over the Himalayas for twenty years, … empty-handed and downcast he touched the feet of the master and told him that he had failed the task and could not carry out the master’s instructions.. since he could not find even one herb which was of no use…. The master embraced him and congratulated him on passing his final examination.
Today, as I roam around these mountains admiring and trying to find out about the flowers and herbs in the Himalayas.. I often remember this story. On my pages for the ‘Wild flowers of Kalatope-Khajjiar Sanctuary’ I have put the relevant medicinal data about the various flowers that I have found…. And every new flower that I have found till now this year.. DOES have some use or the other… mostly they have a great medicinal value that we have overlooked or forgotten….

Whether it was among the  wild flowers of January Prinsepia utilis, Daphne bholua, or among those heralding the arrival of spring in February, like Viola serpens, Valeriana hardwickii, Berginia ciliata, Veronica persica, Stellaria media, Rubus ellipticus… etc. etc… they all have traditional medicinal uses… The plants which are being collected today in the mountains are mostly for utilisation by the large pharmaceutical companies… and very less quantity is used for naturopathy or holistic healing… but the awareness to these uses of plants is increasing especially in the west and hopefully these species will survive the ravages of development and people will again be able to use these herbs in these Himalayan backwaters…

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