Medicinal Plants of India- With Special Reference to Ayurveda
|C.K.N. Nair and N. Mohanan
|516 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Near about 700 species of important medicinal plants form the real back bone of Ayurveda? In addition to these plants that are commonly found in Kerala and many other states, the authors have also devoted some space to the medicinal plants of the Himalayan and the northern regions, to those that have been in use by the tribal’s and to medicinal mushrooms. It is for the first time a comprehensive compilation of this nature is appearing in India or any other country of the world, supported by color photographs of excellent quality.
Several books, large and small, on medicinal plants in different languages of the country, have appeared in recent years. Some of them have no more than a hundred separate entries of plants, and even so, with a number of errors of different kinds.
However, such Books may have their own limited usefulness. Even the major works in English on Medicinal Plants such as the Materia Medical by Nadkarni or Indian Medicinal Plants by Kirtikar and Basu, are not without errors. In a Book with color photographs of medicinal plants, the possibility of errors of identification could even be larger, unless the book has been written with meticulous care, particularly in relation.
to linking the photographs with changed Botanical names. When the Senior Author of this Book requested me to examine the manuscript with more than 750 entries and desired I should write a Foreword to it, I was hesitant for two reasons.
from time immemorial. The Unans and Sidha systems are believed to have come several centuries later. The germ plasm of herbal medicine came from the Vedas and the ancient sages of India studied the plant world in detail and wrote out their knowledge of the science of herbal remedies for human ailments. Later, this knowledge was codified in the famous work "Ashtanga Hridaya", which can now be said to be the soul of the science and practice of Ayurveda and all other branches of herbal medicine. The North Indian and South Indian systems of "Ayurveda" differ greatly from each other. The Sanskrit names and local names of plants do not often place them in the correct Botanical Natural Order. Identification errors have therefore arisen in numerous cases. In fact, utter confusion and wrong conclusions have resulted even in the case of well known medicinal trees like "Nenmeni Vaka" of Ayurveda. Some Ayurvedic Books describe it as Albizia lebbeck, (Linn.) Willd., while some other publications consider it as Albizia chinensis (Osb.) Merril. Some Books put it under Acacia, while many practising physicians of Ayurveda give the credit to Delonix regia, (Bojer) Ali (Popularly known as "Flame of the Forest", Poinciana regia (Bojer). If this be the situation concerning large trees, one can imagine the utter confusion and contradications that can prevail in the case of small plants, herbs and other annuals, which few have ever seen. Thus wrong information on medicinal plants may cause much damage, and easier methods of identification, preferably visual, have to be thought about. It is hoped that the numerous color photographs of medicinal plants and trees, including those of some of the most important and rare herbs and annuals given in this Book, will go a long way to make the work of identification easier.
The Southern State of Kerala is considered to be the most advanced State in. respect of the practice of Ayurveda in India. About 700 speces of important medicina plants that grow in Kerala are the real backbone of Ayurveda.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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