01/6Rare herbs of India

After studying the Himalayan regions of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir for about 4 years, a team of researchers found that the rare Ashtavarg herbs are only found in the Uttarkashi region of Uttarakhand. In Ayurveda, it is believed that Ashtavarga is a combination of eight herbs that are known for vitality enhancing, reviving youthful condition, body nourishing, and antioxidant properties. Traditionally, these herbs were used to prepare the original Chyavanprash, which helped Chyavan Rishi in curing his ailing frail old body, which in turn regained youthful vitality and vigour. Ashtavarg is not the only rare herb found in India, there are several others as well which help treat serious health problems. Here are some of the rare herbs that one can only find in India. (Images courtesy: iStock)

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02/6Sarpgandha

Also known as black snakeroot or Indian snakeroot and devil pepper, it is an evergreen plant which has been in use for 4000 years in Ayurveda. An erect under-shrub, it is a species of flowering plant known for its medicinal properties. Apart from reducing blood pressure, this shrub has the ability to reduce heart rate and is also often used for treating diseases like Schizophrenia. With more than 50 different alkaloids, sarpgandha works as an anti-depressant and can help treat even snake bites.

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03/6Kali Haldi

Commonly known as black turmeric or black zedoary, it is a perennial herb with a bluish-black rhizome and is often found in North-East and Central India. In West Bengal, the rhizome of the plant is used in Kali Puja, and hence the plant is called Kali haldi. This species has been regarded as endangered by the central forest department of India due to biopiracy. The rhizomes are claimed to have the property of acting against leukoderma, epilepsy, and cancer. It is for these reasons that this herb is often used by tribal communities for the treatment of pneumonia, cough, and cold in children, and for fever and asthma in adults. Fresh rhizomes are crushed and applied as a paste on the forehead for relief from migraine or applied on the body for sprains and bruises. (Image courtesy: Instagram/@daughtersoftheredsunset)

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04/6Shyonak

Commonly known as Sonapatha, this herbal plant has been mentioned in the Ayurvedic text such as Sushrut & Charak Samhita and grows in evergreen forests. This plant has long leaves with a long stalk and is known for antiseptic, astringent, anti-arthritic and anti-fungal properties. Its leaves are emollient and contain anthraquinone and aloe-emodin. This plant is often used for treating non-healing ulcers, infantile, erythema, female disorders and dysentery. It can also be used for increasing appetite while treating constipation. (Image courtesy: Instagram/@nahar_organics)

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05/6Jivanti

Jivanti is a herb that has been mentioned in various Ayurvedic literature for enhancing life, vigour and fertility. It grows in moist places and has pale green flowers and is known for emetic, diaphoretic and diuretic properties. This herb can help treat weakness, difficulty breathing, and fertility issues. This herb is known to have a sweet taste with aphrodisiac, light-to-digest and rejuvenating properties. Not just leaf and root, but the whole plant is used in medicinal preparations. The bark of the plant is also used to stimulate heat levels in the body. (Image courtesy: Instagram/@dr_paras_dayma)

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06/6Hathikana

Literally meaning having elephant ears, this is an erect shrub with switchy branches and perennial tuberous roots. The leaves of this plant are simple, ovate-cordate, conspicuously large – lower leaves up to 60 cm in diameter. The large leaves lend it many of its common names. With anti-inflammatory properties present in it, this shrub can help in birth control while treating cancer, and sexual debility in males and guinea worms. (Image courtesy: Instagram/@miss.aventura23)

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