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Herbs Indian Mythology Series of Seven

Seven sacred plants and trees for Hindus

Seven Sacred plants and trees and their importance

We all know that we are dependent on plants and trees for our survival, or in other words we can’t survive without them. Though modern man makes strident effort to conquer nature, but this is well known that Hinduism has always given importance to nature. These days, we can find people campaigning for animal rights and environmental care.  Hindus have harbored these caring sentiments since millennium. Hindus respect most flora and fauna. Hinduism also preaches to regard some trees and plants sacred, and to use as much part of trees and plants as is required and to apologize or pray to them before plucking flowers, fruits or leaves.

To name a few, certain plants and trees like tulsi, pipal, banyan, coconut, etc.have a special spiritual significance due to their association with deities, and they are worshipped or offered to God.

 Tulsi

For Hindus, Tulsi is considered as one of the most sacred plant.Tulsi or Basil is considered to be very dear to Bhagvan Vishnu and it is also known as Haripriya. One can find a tulsi plant in every Hindu house. The lady of the house daily worships, light a lamp, water the plant and circumambulate it. The leaves of the plant are offered to lord in pujas. Offerings are considered incomplete if these leaves are not used in worship. Tulsi also symbolizes goddess Laxmi, hence known as Vishnupriya. Tulsi is also a very important herbal plant used in ayurvedic medicine. It is no coincidence that this plant has got so many medicinal values and it is considered as a pious herb.

Tulsi – A sacred plant

 

Banyan tree

Banyan tree is an important tree and  also called ‘Kalpavriksha’, meaning ‘wish fulfilling divine tree. Married women worship banyan tree annually in June on Vat-savitri Purnima, with flowers, rice grains, milk and by winding thread around the trunk. Hindu women worship banyan tree for happiness and long life of husband.

Bael tree

The leaves of the plants, bael patra are considered to be very sacred. The leaves of this tree are very dear to Lord Shiva and they are used in worshipping the Lord Shiva. Inthe holy month of Shravan, [July or August], devotees of Lord  Shiva offer bael patra on Shivlinga while chanting , “Om Namah Shivaya”. It is said that  Lord Shiva is appeased by this and devotees receive his blessings.

Bael-Fruit-Plant – dear to Lord Shiva

Pipal tree

Pipal tree has got importance in various religions. Not only Hindus but Buddhists and Jains consider this pipal tree to be sacred. It is also known as Sacred Fig or Bodh-tree. Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment under the Bodh- tree. Thus the tree is also known as Bodhi tree. It is well known symbol of happiness, prosperity, longevity and good luck. Hindu sadhu meditate under Bo- tree. For certain Buddhists, this tree is often the site of Buddhist and animist shrines.

Pipal Tree

Ankol and akado plant

Ankol flowers are white and black in colour, whereas akado are either white or reddish. Flowers of the plant are dear to Lord Hanumana, thus garland of these flowers are offered to him.

Lotus flower

The lotus symbolizes truth (satyam), auspiciousness (shivam) and beauty (sundaram). Since God is attributed with same virtue of satyam, shivam and sundarm, many parts of his body are compared to lotus: lotus eyes, lotus feet, lotus hand, and he is described as lotus of our heart. Lotus grows in muddy water or ponds, yet remains beautiful, pure and unsoiled by the dirt.This means that even if one is born in an unholy family like Prahlad or in the lower caste, one can blossom to perfection. Inspite of living in a bad world a person can remain pure and be good.

Lotus plant – A symbol of purity

Mango tree

This tree is another auspicious tree in Hindu religion.Mango leaves are considered very sacred. Leaves are tied at the entrance (toran). It is said to absorb negative energy from entering your home. Mango also represent Kama, the God of Fertilty.  It is put in kalash to worship Varun, God of rain. Mango leaves are also used for pouring ghee in havan.

Apart from above sacred plants and trees, Banana leaves are also considered to be of great importance. Similarly, coconut trees also hold a significant place in Hindu mythology.

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Herbs

Herbs – Camomile

Important herbs – Camomile (Chamomile)

Chamomile is one of the oldest known medicinal herbs. There are two types of chamomile -German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis).

History

The Egyptians used chamomile as a cure for a condition called ‘agu’, which is a form of malaria. The Egyptians dedicated chamomile to their sun gods since the flower reminded them of the sun. It was associated with the god Ra for its healing powers.
The Romans also dedicated chamomile to their gods. Chamomile was also used by India’s ancient Ayurvedic physicians. The Vikings added chamomile to hair shampoos to aid the lightening of blond hair.
Chamomile was used by the ancient Egyptians and the Moors, and it was one of the Saxons’ nine sacred herbs, which they called ‘Maythen.’

Egyptians recorded the use of chamomile tea, in a papyrus that dates from 1550 BC. It was known to the Romans as well as the Celts and Egyptians, and is still regarded as one of the most basic herbal teas to have in a modern larder.

Why to have a herbal garden?

The idea of herbal garden is to have small plants or herbs, which have medicinal values. We do not require lots of spaces to nurture herbal plants and the advantage is twofold, we get some greenery around us, and are more likely to be benefited from these as these are readily available and we are not required to make extra effort to obtain these.  Best thing which I like about herbs is that they don’t have any expiration date like any other medicine and also they have no side effects. I will be detailing about more herbs later in my posts, following is some information on Camomile:

Properties and uses of Camomile

– It has a sweet fruity fragrance.
– It is widely used for aromatherapy because of its soothing and calming effect.
– It is used to end stress and aid sleep.
– It can also be used in toothache or ear ache.
– Effective in treatment of diarrhoea for children.
– It is used in cardiovascular conditions.
– Effective in Eczema.
A cup of chamomile tea can calm nervous tension and relieve stress. It soothes an upset stomach in adults and children, and its mild sweet taste and beneficial qualities make it ever popular. Also, this is found to be effective in common cold. This herb is traditionally used in over 100 conditions.
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Herbs

Important herbs – Lemon balm

Herbs of importance – Lemon Balm

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a member of the mint family, is considered a calming herb. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic).

Early herbalists and writers praised lemon balm for its medicinal and uplifting qualities. Eleventh century Persian physician and philosopher Avicenna was an early advocate for the use of lemon balm in treating depression/melancholy. According to an old Arabian proverb, “Balm makes the heart merry and joyful.

 

Medicinal uses of Lemon Balm

This plant has a very nice lemon minty scent. Crushed leaves can be used externally as well.
  • As a mosquito repellent.
  • Treating herpes.
  • To treat insect bites.
  • To treat soars.
Infusion of leaves with water are used to treat
  • cold.
  • fever.
  • indigestion due to nervous tension.
  • digestive upset in children.
  • headache.
  • mild insomnia.
  • hyperthyroidism.
Categories
Nature

wonder of nature – some photos

Malaysian Orchid Mantis

Leaf Fish

Stick Insect

Dead leaf butterfly

Leaf Moth

Leaf Frog

Uroplatus

Violen mantis


Leafy Sea horse
Leaf insect
Another photo of orchid mantis

Leaf Moth
Categories
Children stories Nature

Rainbow

Rainbow, a seven coloured arch, which is formed when sunlight passes through the droplets of moisture. A very natural phenomenon, but is a favourite component in mythology.
According to Greek mythology, rainbow is considered as a path made by messenger (iris) between earth and heaven. According to Hindu mythology, its called Indradhanush i.e. bow of God Indra (Indra is considered as a God of rain, thunder and lightning). Another mythology says it’s bow of God of love. Whereas according to Chinese mythology, a slit in sky which is sealed by a Goddess with different colours of stones. In Norse mythology it’s a bridge between home of God and humans.
Rainbows can be formed by other forms of water than rain, including dew, mist and spray. We confuse them with rainbow.
A Circumhorizontal arc, or fire rainbow, is ice-halo formed on cirrus clouds at higher altitude by ice crystals.
Circumhorizontal arc or fire rainbow
A Circumzenithal arc this is formed due to refraction of sunlight through horizontally-oriented ice crystals, generally in cirrus clouds.

Circumzenithal arc, high above the horizon

Fog bow often known as white rainbows or cloud bows because it is white in colour. This is similar to rainbow, but the small size of water droplet causes fog.

A Fog bow

Glory is much smaller than rainbow. Its a combine effect of reflection, refraction and diffraction, by the cloud of refracting water droplets towards its source. It can be seen only when the observer is in between sun and cloud of refracting water droplet.

Glory with aircraft shadow in center

Sun dog, is a kind of ice halo, a coloured patch of light on both right and left side of sun.
A bright Sun dog

Moonbow is also known as lunarbow or lunar rainbow , this is formed when the light is reflect from the surface of moon, These are faint as compared to rainbows.

Moonbow or Lunar rainbow
Categories
Herbs

Important herbs – Feverfew

Useful herbs – Feverfew

The word “feverfew” derives from the Latin word febrifugia, meaning “fever reducer.”  This herb is one of the useful herbs. The first use of this plant is documented as early as first century. Though the plant has been used as a herbal treatment to reduce fever and to treat headaches, arthritis and digestive problems, this is not supported by scientific findings.

Normally used parts of this herb are Bark, dried flowers, and leaves.

  • It is used in prevention of headache and migraine, it treats the cause of headache rather then simply the pain.
  • It is used in relieving the pain and inflammation in arthritis.
  • It helps to lessen stomach irritation.
  • It helps to ease menstrual cramps.
  • It can be applied externally as tincture, and is used to treat bruises.
  • It help to relieve fever.
  • It stimulate appetite.
  • Improves digestion and kidney function.

Legends and myths surrounding herbs – Feverfew

There is a legend about feverfew, that this herb saved the life of a person who fell off the famous temple in ancient Greece, the Parthenon. Hence, the name parthenium.

The Greek herbalist Dioscorides is believed to have treated arthritis with the herb feverfew.  In 1649, Culpeper recommended feverfew for headaches and to strengthen women’s wombs.  In 1772, another famous herbalist, John Hill, treated headaches. He also stated “this herb exceeds whatever else is known.”

In 1985, it was reported that extracts of feverfew inhibited the release of 2 inflammatory substances; serotonin from platelets and prostaglandin from white blood cells. Both are thought to contribute to the onset of migraine attacks and perhaps even to play a role in rheumatoid arthritis.

Nature has got a number of herbs, which help humans and animals. Feverfew is one of those herbs, which are useful to mankind.

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Children stories Nature Series of Seven Seven wonders of nature

Seven Amazing Trees

Seven amazing trees from all over the world.

Oak chapel

Oak chapel or Chêne chapelle is an oak tree, is a religious monument and object of pilgrimage.This is situated in AllouvilleBellefosse, France. The tree is between 800 to 1,200 years old. The hollow trunk has two chapel inside which were build in 1669. This religious monument is surrounded with spiral staircase for access.
Oak Chappel at allouville bellefosse
source : Old Trees in The Netherlands and Western Europe

 Circus Tree

Axel Erlandson, an American farmer has a hobby of giving unique shapes to trees. He opened a horticulture attraction in 1947, which was named The Tree Circus.
Circus tree
Basket Tree

Different shapes of Circus Tree

Chandelier Tree

Chandelier Tree is a 315 foot (96 metre) tall coast redwood tree in Leggett, California with a 6 foot (1.83m) wide by 9 foot (2.74m) high hole cut through its base to allow a car to drive through. The hole was carved in the 1930s.

 

Chandelier Tree in California – One of seven amazing trees

 Baobab

Also known as bottle tree, upside-down tree, and monkey bread tree, can grow up to grow up to nearly 100 feet (30 m) tall and 35 feet (11 m) wide. Baobabs store water inside the swollen trunk (up to 120,000 litres (32,000 US gal)) to endure the harsh drought conditions.

 

Baobab Tree at Limpopo Province, South Africa
One species, Limpopo Province, South Africa, often considered the largest example alive, has a circumference of 47 metres (150 ft) and an average diameter of 15 metres (49 ft). Carbon dating has been used to estimate the age of the specimens at approximately 6000 years.

Tea pot Baobob
 

Bristlecone pine

Bristlecone pine are considered as the oldest tree in the world, some living up to 5,000 years.
Methuselah, named tree is considered as the oldest tree and non-clonal organism still alive in the white mountains of eastern California, at the age of about 4,841 years, its exact location is currently undisclosed to the public as a protection against vandalism.
Bristlecone pine
Banyan tree
Banyan tree has a big canopy with ariel prop roots running from its branches to ground and covers several hectors of land, with age these roots become thick and woody and become
indistinguishable from main trunk. Buddha is believed to have achieved enlightenment under banyan tree (bodhi tree) in Bodhgaya in India.

This large banyan tree was planted in 1873,in Hawaii and now it has coveredtwo-third of an acre
Due to the complex structure of the roots and extensive branching, the banyan is extensively used for creating Bonsai.

Bonsai of Banyan Tree

Tule tree

In Spanish this tree is known as El Árbol del Tule, is located in Oaxaca a Mexican city.
This tree has the stoutest trunk in the world.This tree has the stoutest trunk in the world measuring trunk girth at 190 feet (58 m) and trunk diameter at 37 feet (11.3 m). Initially it was thought to be multiple trees, but DNA tests have proven that it is only one tree.
Arbor Del tule tree in Mexico

Closer view of tree

The tree is also known as “Tree of Life” from all the images of animals that are reputedly visible in the tree’s gnarled trunk.
Categories
Nature

Honeybees sterilise their hives

Scientists have discovered, honeybees sterilise their hives with antimicrobial resin. In doing so, they give the whole colony a form of “social immunity”.
Although honeybee resin is known to kill a range of pathogens, this is the first time that bees themselves have been shown to utilise its properties.
The team published details of their discovery in the journal Evolution.
Honeybees in the wild nest in tree cavities. When founding a new colony, they line the entire nest interior with a thin layer of resins that they mix with wax. This mixture is known as propolis. They also use propolis to smooth surfaces in the hive, close holes or cracks in the nest, reduce the size of the entrances to keep out intruders, and to embalm intruders that they’ve killed in the hive that are too big to remove.
Honeybees store propolis, which is a mixture of wax and resin, inside their hives. A number of studies have shown that propolis has a range of antimicrobial properties, but mostly in relation to human health.
Mike Simone, a PhD student from the University of Minnesota in St Paul, US, and his supervisor Professor Marla Spivak are doing research on propolis, they have already tested the effectiveness of honeybee propolis against the HIV-1 virus. Now they want to know what propolis is doing to the bees. for this experiment they took two hives, in one the walls were lined with the resin and other was without it. they created colonies of honeybees and housed them in each hive. After one week they collected the bees born in both the hives.
Genetic tests on these 7-day-old bees showed that those growing in the resin-rich colonies had less active immune systems. The resins likely inhibited bacterial growth. Therefore the bees did not have to activate their immune systems as much.
There is also some evidence that some mammals and birds coat themselves in naturally-occurring plant resin in a bid to reduce infestations with parasites.
Categories
Herbs

Herbal plant – Great Burdock

One of the important herbs from ancient times – Great Burdock

The herb Burdock’s root is a taproot of greater burdock plant, used as a vegetable and medicinal herb. The plant is a short biennial, which believed to be native to Northern Europe and Siberia. In Japan, popular as gobo, it is cultivated as a major root herb since ancient times. However, burdock grows as a wild, easy growing hardy plant almost in any parts of the planet.
This common weed was prized by the Celts, who cooked its roots for medicinal use. They considered burdock a detoxifying herb and consumed it freely to cleanse the internal system. They gave it to the elderly to treat ailments like arthritis and to teens to heal acne.

Folk herbalists consider dried burdock to be a diuretic, diaphoretic, and a blood purifying agent. Various parts are used to prevent baldness and to treat rheumatoid arthritis, skin infections, acne, boils, bites, eczema, herpes, impetigo, rashes, ringworm, sore throat, sciatica, poison ivy and poison oak, as a tonic, diuretic and mild laxative, to stimulate bile production and to induce sweating.
Once widely used in cleansing remedies, burdock is familiar for its hooked burrs, which readily attach themselves to clothing. This property is reflected in the herb’s botanical name, from the Greek arktos, or bear, suggesting rough-coated fruits, and lappa, to seize. Burdock was a traditional blood purifier, often combined in fold brews such as dandelion and burdock wine, and it was once popular for indigestion. In China, the seeds, niu bang zi, are used to dispel “wind and heat evils”; they also lower blood sugar levels.
Sometimes planted in Japan, where it has been improved by cultivation for its enlarged parsnip-like roots, which are eaten as a boiled vegetable. Burdock is a common European weed; was brought to America as a medicinal plant. It soon became widely scattered, because the burdock seeds attached themselves to colonists’ breeches, clothes and the fur of animals. Millspaugh wrote, “the herb is so rank that man, the jackass, and the caterpillar are the only animals that will eat it.”
-It grows well in fresh, worked soil rich in humus, and should be positioned in direct sunlight.
– Roots are used to treat throat infection.
– It is also used to treat skin infections like
-rashes
– boils
– bruises.
– burns.
– herpes.
– eczema
– acme
– ring worm
– insect bites
It’s leaves and seeds are crushed and used on
– bruises
– burns
– ulcer
– sores
Categories
Nature

Beauty of nature

Nothing is beautiful than nature. Animals, birds or flowers they don’t need any thing to enhance their beauty. They don’t need any costume designer, nor any cosmetics this is called natural beauty. Such is their beauty that they can’t be ignored. No matter, whatever your state of mind is, you are bound to appreciate the beauty provided to us by nature in form of birds, animals, insects and plants. Nature stimulated the creativity of artist and fashion industry.
I don’t have any words to say about the beauty of butterfly. But one thing I feel very sad about them is their short life span, many live just for a month.
One thing which surprises me about birds is that they don’t have hands, still are wonderful architects. Some birds are very good singers.
The best gift God has given, colours and fragrance can energize everyone.
Nature is amazing, the world which is hidden i.e, under water world is also so beautiful, wish to stay there……..
Nature has given a wonderful gift to animals, their beautiful exterior…..Fashion industry is also inspired by these creatures which we can see that they are always is trend. Its sad that these animals have to lose their life because of the beauty.