Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Herbal plant Sri Lanka

Many of the herbal plant s growing in Sri Lanka are used to control and heal Since ancient times , these herbal plants have been used to produce many Ayurvedic madicines.

Beauticulture, Curing of cancers, Controlling Diabetes ,Reducing Hypertension ,Control of Blood pressure ,Prevention of constipation are some of the important use of these herbal plants .Apart from these many ointment and medicines have been produced by ancient Sri Lankans using herbal plants for the diseases. That’ s being seen in day to day life. They haven’t also forgotten to write and conserve their knowledge on Ayuravedic medicine and herbal plants in Scriptures.

In addition, Sri Lankans since ancient times is used to consume many different parts of herbal plant such as barks, roots flowers, leaves, and fruits as food. So they have a resistance to some diseases within body itself .

Artificial drinks are unfavorable to the body. The flavor of these drinks are carcinogenic. Ancient Sri Lankans have made different drinks from these herbal plants or dried them to preserve for a long time . Then they boiled it when necessary and drink it just like tea. But today , people are used to soft drinks for their convenience . There ‘s also high publicity given for such artificial beverages through a advertisements. We should avoid these. Then , diseases such as high blood pressure, cancers and hypertension can be minimized.

Plant for health and beauty

Pimples are problem of youth.Apply a paste of Cumin seeds over the pimples.It gives wonderful relief. A paste of Nutmeg made with milk is an efficacious remedy for removing pimples on the face.A paste of red sandalwood and turmeric made with milk is a useful local application.A 
mixture made of one part sandalwood oil and two part mustard oil is also a very effective application.The powder of sandalwood used as a dust all over the body is effective in giving relief in cases of prickly heat.The past of Pinijambu (Rose apple) applied over the body clean the body skin and relieves the itching.

Ringworm is a skin disease which leaves round marks on the skin. It is very irritating and sometimes the patches are moist. It is also highly contagious.
 A past of Ehala (Cassia fistula))is applied over the parts affected by ringworm. A paste  of the root of the Aththora (Cassia alanta L)mixed with honey or a paste of the roots made with sandalwood or the seeds mixed with butter milk is very effective.

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     Herbal plant are also used forthe making of perfumery extracts and even as cosmetics. In most eastern countries women care a great deal about long healthy hair .In  ancient Sri Lanka seeing long-haired women was considered a lucky women. Taking care of the hair was not only a part of general beauty care but slso a traditional event among the women folk. The hair oil, shampoo and perfume were made out of herbs.
The shampoo was made out of the plant around the house such as Veralu(Ceylon Olive)or (Elaeocartus serratus),Welbebila(Siba cordifolia) lime and many other plants. Smashed Veralu leaves rubbed on the head before a bath gives a smoothness and a gloss to hair. It also oils the head and removes the dandruff while giving a healthy growth.Babila leaves boiled with uluhal( dhill seeds)is used as  shampoo to clean the hair. This not only acts as shampoo but also relieves headaches. Unripe lime cut in slices boiled in coconut milk with few dill seeds removes lice and dandruff.

Kohamba (Margosa) leaves are used as a pot herb as an insect repellant.
The refined oil issued in the manufacture of soap, cosmetics and disinfectants.Kohomba seeds well ground and rubbed on ahead are used as a cure for an infected scalp.
We find Na tree (Mesua ferrea) in our country. People use this tree mainly for it is timber. But the oil extracted from the seed is used is used for the making of perfumed soap.

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Penela (Sapindus emarginatus) is a large tree known among the villagers as a plant used in domestic medicine. The juice of the bark and fruit is applied into the nose in case of lockjaw. The seeds contain a semi-solid mass ehich is used a substitute for soap. Clothes washed with this kernel give a fragrant smell and remove dirt completely. The seed kernel made into a plaster eiyh vinegar is applied externally for reptile bites.

Domba (Calophyllum irophyllum) is a tree in many parts of Sri Lanka . Next to coconut oil, domba oil is used to light lamps. It has a ritual value too. Domba oil is used as a medicine for rheumatic pains and is also one of the five kinds of oil kinds of oil known as" Pas-tal". Domba seeds are smashed, made into a small bundle and steamed and used for fermenting the swollen joints of rheumatic patients. The oil of this seed is very effective medicine for scabies. The seeds burnt and ground with gingelly oil is applied on the scalp for skin eruptions and caused by lice.

     Ancient people always used local herb as hair dye. Using such herbs protected their hair and preserved its natural colour.The Pomegranate (Delum) tree has a similar valuable dye which many people are unaware of. The flower contains a tan and a flooting dye .The root bark is used for making a jet black ink., tnis together with the rind and the fruit are used in manufacture of hair dye.If these natural herbal product are brought to light and used instead of synthetic products, most of the mysterious illnesses caused by them could be lessened.

 Readmore:Delum(Pomegranate )

Plant for health and beauty

Herbal plant are not only used as medicines, they are also used as aids for health and beauty. 
Karavila(Momordica charantia linn) is not only used vegetable, but it is also a herb for skin diseases. Nursing mothers are fed with Karavila to increase the flow milk.The leaves are used externally for skin affection of parasitic origin. Karavila is very effective beauty aid. The leaves are crushed and the juice is massaged into the skull. It encourages the growth of hair. Loss of hair or bald heads are a common worry for many people. 
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                 Olinda (avrus precatorius) is a kind of herb used a great deal in local medicine. It is very effective in increasing the growth of hair. An oil 
prepared withOlinda seed , together with sesame seed and coconut milk is a very useful remedy for premature greyingof hair and also increase the growth of hair.
In ancient Sri Lanka both men and women had long hair. They cared a great deal about the growth of their hair and the need for a healthy head.Hair washes and tonic were not imported. The herbal plants around us gave us all the aids to beauty. Nelli juice mixed eith Lime juice is an instant shampoo for the hair. It makes the hair lustrous. Tumeric or Kaha ground to past was used to wash long hair. The herbal plant is a well-known disinfectant . It cleans the skull and remove dandruff.  

Read more:Olinda(Abutilon indicum (indian mallow) 
There are many decoction used as washes and tonics.The decoction of Seenidda(Acacia Concinna) is an excellent hair wash. Instead of Seenidda,Lunuvilla could be used. This decoction promotes  the growth of hair, kills lice and removes dandruff.The pod of jasminum prepared in decoction is very effective for cleaning the hair.Not only does it clean the hair but also give a fragrant smell.The oil prepared from this plant is very famous perfume .Jasminum leaves are considered useful in skin diseases. 
Keekirindiya(Eclipta postrata) is a herb very frequently used in indigenous 

practice.It is an ingredient used in many decoctions for various disease. In Sanskrit it is known as Kasaraja which refers to the growth of hair.This herb prevents the hair becoming prematurely grey .It cures diseases of skin as well as those on skin .This herb is used both internally and externally.The juice of the leaves contains a dark bluish coloring matter and is used for tattooing as it leaves an indelible mark on skin .A very useful hair oil is made from Eclipta alba or Ranwan Kikirindiya as a base .

Hathawariya (Asperagus racemosus) juice ,king coconut milk and kikirindiya are all mixed together and exposed to the sun until the oil separates from the mixture. This oil is very useful for preventing premature graying of hair.

  Care of the skin was an important part of beauty. Various of herbal plants barks ,roots and flowers have been used as natural cosmatics instead of luxury creams .Sandalwoodpowder and saffron powder were used instead of soap.The bark of Kekun tree was ground and rubbed on skin for better complexion .Kalanduru yams ground into thin paste with lime juice and mixed with bees’ honey was a very effective facial cream to remove black heads .Margosa leaves ground with turmeric is a good remedy to remove black heads ,when it is applied as a paste on the face at night.

The eyes are the mirrors of health. Brightness in the eyes shows how healthy you are and adds to one’s beauty. Cucumber is not only a vegetable used as a salad but it is also a herb that helps kidneys. It cools the system. Cucumber seeds roasted and powdered and poured as coffee is administered to patients suffering from colic due to kidney infection .Thin slices of cucumber placed on tired eyes make them sparkle and shine. Thin slices of ladies fingers also used for same purpose.
Over- ripe tomatoes are sliced and used to give a gentle tap on the skin round the eyes. Wrinkles near the eye are indications of age. Sometimes extra weariness creates these wrinkles .

 Afew drops of bees honey applied on the skin, and gentle tapping of the skin with tomatoes helps to ease these wrinkles.Bauty-conscious women 
in harem used Sapu flowers dipped overnight in water to wash their faces Sepalika flowers fall in large numbers under the trees. They are not regarded as a useful herb, but these flowers dipped overnight in water are an effective deodorant. The common shoe flower leaves are ground and used as a lotion before a bath. Eating shoe flowers in salad form helps to enrich the complexion.
Herbal plants also did much for the care of the teeth. A shrubby plant known as Pila (Tephrosin purpurea) is used to brush teeth. The roots of this plant whitens the teeth and the makes the gums stronger.The Pila leaves given in the form of cangee is very effective in cases of Jaundice.
The Wata erandu plant is a common plant used in the villages for the marking of fences.The leaves are used to ferment rheumatic patients. The leaves are boiled and the infusion is used to wash the skin afflicted with scabies. The twigs are used to brush the teeth. It has milky secretion which helps to harden shaky teeth check bleeding gums. Roasted paddy chaff well powdered is also used to clean the teeth.
Katurumurunga leaves are usful remedy for sore mouths.Gingly oil should also be applied round the lips every morning and evening. The soles of the feet crack during the cold season. This is mainly mainly due to a heaty constitution. It is also caused by dry skin.Heated cow ghee rubbed daily on the soles helps to heal them.  If it is an acute problem stale rice ground with Rathmal pods and Komarica ground with cold water helps to heal the soles.The cleanliness of the people during the past was looked after by the use of herbal plant found at our door steps. If we pay little more attention to these plant we sall be doing a great service by contributing our natural remedies to the vast herbal research work that is going on in other contries. 

Read more:Komarica, Komarika(Aloe vera - littiralis)




     Man’s first medicine was herbal. Herbs grow all round us both in the town and the country. Few of us realise how valuable are the properties of these common weeds. If one look more closely in the garden , field or forest one could see the richness that our country possesses in her natural vegetation. Ayurveda pays a great deal of attention to man’s Daly diet. Almost everyone who lived in ancient Sri Lanka knew something about the curative value of herbs. At least one item of diet was a herb.
 Long before tea was introduced into Sri Lanka , people were used to drinking herbal tea. Even today, we still find herbal plant boiled and brewed and taken as a drink. Some of most common are polpala(Aerva lanata) Ranawara-(Cassea Auriculata),and Beli flowers(Agle marmelos)Gotukola(Centella asiatica) dried and cut in to 

small pieces can be poured like tea.This is a very popular drink among many. It is remedy for worm diseases in children. It is very common plant which could be grown in pots as an indoor plant.This drink enriches the appetite in children. It is a very effective herbal tea for those who suffer from hay fever and Catarrh.Mugunuwenna (Alternanthera sessilis) is a common weed used in curry form.This weed is also used as a drink, 
prepared in the same form as Gotukola.This is a herbal tea that cool the system and clears urinary complaints.
 Aswanna(Alysicarpus Vaginalis) is another herb which is used often in Ayurveda . Prepared as a tea, this helps the balance of unbalanced watha, and helps to reduce rheumatic pain.

Kola Kanda

 Kola Kanda is a kind of porridge made of cereals mainly raw rice and coconut milk as the liquid, with leafy vegetable. It is not generally prescribed as a healing medicine, but it is considered an important part of the morning meal.

In ancient Sri Lanka it was the special food taken before solids were taken for breakfast. The rice and the coconut supplied the carbohydrates while the leaves supplied the vitamins and minerals. Generally more than one kind of leaf was not added to the Kola Kanda.

 Today we consume many kinds of food for their taste rather than their nutritious value. Sometime these foods are actually harmful to the body. Ancient food habits on the other hand emphasised the importance of taking a balanced ,nutritious  diet.

         Much of the knowledge of our forefathers, of the right kind of food to eat was derived from their study of Ayurveda. The main theme in Ayurveda is keeping the body healthy, and preventing the onset of diseases by sane and rational living. This is something we have forgotten In the modern world.

        One of the methods chosen by our ancestors to keep healthy was in the choice of food. The selection of food was naturally dependent on seasonal and environmental changes, and the requirements of individual constitutions.

        In Ayurveda  cangee or rice water has an important place. Herbal kanda is Prepared with appropriate herbs in order to cure certain illnesses,this Kanda is Kola kanda called Beth Kanda or medicinal Kanda.

Kola KandaHow to prepare Kola Kanda?

Boil raw rice. Grind together some scraped coconut and the green leaves. Squeeze out the milk and leaf juice. Add to  the rice and keep stirring the Kanda when it is on the fire and add salt to taste.

Kinds of Kola Kanda


      Gotu kola (Centella- Asiatica) leaf is used frequently in indigenous medicine and it is a diuretic and alternative.Gotu kola is said to improve the power of the memory.It is general tonic and relies mental fatigue. It induces sound sleep. It can be taken regularly when person suffer from sinitis, Catarrh, Bronchitis, Diabetes,

Epilepsy. It is also a healing agent for eczema and other skin conditions, when it can be used both externally and internally.
 Read more:Gotu kola(Centella asiatica)

It is given as a home remedy to children they have bowel problems and when there is vomiting due to the presence of intestinal worms. It cures hoarseness, gives relief in urinary and rheumatic complaints. It is a plant which has a cooling effect on the body when taken regularly.

Polpala- Aerva lanata(Balipoovu)

Polpala is the common leaf used in Kola Kanda, which is botanically named Aerva lanata. It is small plant , and generally it has an erect stem,its branches are covered with cottony hairs. Polpala is effective in the treatment of cough and indigestion and is specially used in the treatment of diabetes and urinary troubles. It is a diuretic and is used as an antidote in case of arsenic poisoning. Polpala is used either by itself or in combination with other herbs to treat snake bites. Polpala can also be made in to paste  with cold water and used as an application for skin eruptions. It can be cooked as vegetable. It could be dried and preserved and used to make herbal tea.  

Penela wel (Cardiospermum  halicacabum) is a cheap and well known plant. It is very common in the law country and generally in the tropics.

It is delicate smooth wiry climber. The roots and leaves are commonly used in medicine.A decoction made of the roots is given in cases of bleeding piles.

The leaves are used as an infusion for rheumatism, nervous diseases, hemorrhoids, and chronic bronchitis. The juice of the leaves is put into the ear ache .Welpenela leaves are used externally for pain full  swellings. Ayurvedic physician treating fractures make use of the plant in their remedies.It relieves pain caused by sprains and contusion.

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Iramusu -Hemidesmus indicus (Indian sarsprilla)

 This herb is a diuretic. A fermentation with its leaves relieves rheumatic pains and it cures boils since it is a blood purifier. Its effect on the human system is cooling, so it can be taken as a cool drink. 



Hatawariya is  cooling ,a diuretic, a tonic and an aphrodisiac. Apart from its use in Ayurvedic  medicine , its roots can be used a preservative. It is effective in the treatment of menstrual disorders and is said to help in overcoming barrenness in women. It is used in remedies for urinary complaints.


Mugunuwanna (Alternanthera sessilis) is a leafy vegetable which is eaten very often in Sri Lanka people.It is used often in the preparation of medicinal oils. It can be made in to hair wash. In the treatment of mental patients a plaster of Mugunuwanna leaves is applied on the head for its cooling effect .It is very highly recommended for eye diseases.

      Kola kanda keeps the system cool and it promotes energy.It helps to balance the imbalance in the threeforces vata,pita kappa.Kola kanda is usually taken with a piece of jiggery. 

Herbal plant Sri Lanka

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Let's conserve herbal plants

Sri Lanka is a tropical country full of herbal plants. We have an indigenous practice of medicine since ancient times. In this indigenous methods of medicine, different types of herbs are used to cure diseases. There had been special gardens for herbal plants in ancient times . This practice of medicine was passed from generation to generation.
But, the concern of the present society towards these practices is very less. Previous herbal plants are under risk of extinction. There are many reasons affecting this.
Main reason is the lack of knowledge on types of medicine and their properties.
There’s no special necessity among present society to protect the plant types. To get rid of this situation, school children should be taught of the conservation, cultivation and identification of herbal plants. These facts should be added to the school syllabuses.
If not, the destruction of important medicinal plants will be unavoidable. People should also be encouraged to cultivate these herbal plants.
At present, weedicides are added not only to cultivation , but also for the home gardens. Therefore important types of plants are destroyed unknowingly. And also toxic chemicals are added to soil and water. As a result many uncurable diseases like cancers have become common in the society.
Thus, people must pay attention to natural methods instead of weedicides and insecticides.
Lighting lamps is done in ancient times to chase away insects. And also growing plants with a odour is also done. Insecticides had been prepared using Margosa leaves and tobacco “ Maduruthala”(Ocimum sanctum) Amukkra(Withania somnifera) plants had also been used for this. These methods should be closely and further examined.
Deforestation is done for building constructions merely thinking of economical profits and without concerning about the adverse effects towards the environment. Due t0 clearance of forests, trees and vines of herbal value that are thousands of years old, are destroyed .Laws and legislation should be imposed on such matter.
Many herbal plants are destroyed due to droughts , too. Therefore herbal plant gardens should be established for conservation of medicinal plants. It’s our responsibility to protect these valuable medicinal plants.