In the fierce battle that happened between Ravana’s son Meghnad and ram’s brother Lakshmana, a deadly arrow could have changed the course of the war. Lakshmana lost consciousness and Rama wailed in despair. In that desperate hour, Hanuman approached the Lankan Royal Physician Sushena for guidance. Sushena asked Hanuman to rush to Dronagiri Hills and fetch four divine herbs – Mrutha Sanjeevani (For life), Vishalyakarani (For arrows), Sandhanakarani (For skin) and Savarnyakarani (For skin colour).
On reaching Dronagiri, Hanuman was confused because of the infinite herbs available on that mountain. Not able to pick the four from the multitude, he brought back the entire hill. Lakshmana was revived from near death back to life. The big question here is that – Is the Sanjeevani Booti just a fictional part of this mythological tale? Or does it actually exist? If Yes, where is it found? Let’s find out…
In Hindu mythology, Sanjeevani is a magical herb which has the power to cure any problem. It was believed that medicines prepared from this herb could restore life in a dead person. While some references in scientific literature list Selaginella bryopteris as the Sanjeevani mentioned in Hindu mythology, a search of ancient texts has so far not revealed any plant that can be definitively confirmed as Sanjeevani. In certain texts it is written that Sanjeevani glows in the dark.
All of us know that plants with medicinal properties exist in nature. From Holy Basil (Tulsi) to coriander, a lot of plants have amazing remedial effects. A quick search over the Internet will tell you that Sanjeevani Booti is commonly known as Selaginella bryopteris. Since ages, people have been talking about the magical effects of this plant. Truly, it is a plant of great importance to the society as a whole and it should be studied thoroughly.
Some people have claimed that they were able to locate two groups of plants in the Dronagiri Hills that could be the ancient miracle plant. This hill is in Joshimath, Garhwal and it reaches up to a height of 15,000 feet. The truth behind the discovery still needs to be verified. Agricultural scientists at Indian National Botanical Research Institute are working rigorously on Sanjeevani Booti to unearth more hidden facts about it.
It is a very important question for the biologists, medical practitioners, enthusiasts and research scholars as to which medicinal plant is Mrita Sanjeevani. The name suggests that this plant has the capacity to bring back life in a dead person. There is hardly any plant that has been determined to be of this rank among various medicinal plants – Not even Selaginella bryopteris. And wasn’t it supposed to emit light?
When Hanuman saluted in his feet, Lankan Royal Physician Sushena mentioned, “On the Himalayas, between Kailas and rishabh mountain there lies a mountain of life giving herbs. The herbs are of four categories: mritsanjivani, vishalyakarni, suvarnkarni, and sandhani. They always emit light. You have to come with those herbs at the earliest.
Various studies conducted on this plant revealed a special feature of resistance to drought in this plant. This feature makes Sanjeevani Booti capable of standing drought conditions for long years. Agricultural scientists are planning to insert this gene from the plant to various other crops. As a result, the crops would become resistant to drought conditions. Such transgenic plants would help in preventing loss of crops even when sufficient water is not present.
Since ancient times, Sanjeevani Booti is renowned for its medicinal properties. The scientists in the present world have conducted wide array of studies and concluded the areas where the herb can be used effectively for treating diseases.As per Wikipedia, the current scenario Selaginella bryopteris can be used for treating heat strokes, irregular menstrual cycles, minimizing the labor pains, treating Jaundice etc. – Not that impressive! So is there some other plant that can be classified as the divine Sanjeevani?
The botanical names of the medicinal plants which were recognized as Mrita Sanjeevani is Saussurea Ggossypiphora, which are known as ‘Phena Kamal’ and ‘Kasturi Kamal’ in the local language.
Both the above-mentioned herbs were used to cure unconsciousness, cerebral disorders, respiratory problems, bodily pains and other problems. The tribal people, villages, ascetics having knowledge of Himalayan traditions, never revealed about these plants with the fear of exploitation and extinction.
These two divine herbal plants were used for the worship of mountain god and houses of rural folk living in the valleys of Dronagiri. However, lotus is offered to the gods and goddesses in almost all the religious places situated in Uttarakhand.
The divine herb
The most interesting fact is that both these plants are worshipped like god and is an important aspect from research point of view. Secondly, when these herbal plants grow, they have the maximum aroma when compared to other medicinal plants growing in that region.
It is also surprising to note that the plants lose all their fragrance in dry state. Probably this would have been the reason why lord hanuman carried the whole mountain to save Lakshman. He did not want to lose the medicinal qualities of the plants.
It is said that lord hanuman went and placed the mountain back in its position after Lakshman gained consciousness. This is the best example to show about the conservation of medicinal plants. This is the discovery of Mrita Sanjeevani out of the four mentioned in the first part of Ramayana.
Vishlayakarani (the plant with the power to relieve pain), Suvarna karani (heal wounds and improve complexion) and Sandhankarani (joining bones) are yet to be discovered. The scientists are testing the medicinal herbs recognized for Mrita Sanjeevani at different levels.
Saussurea gossypiphora commonly known as snowball plant is a perennial herbaceous plant. It is reputed to have medicinal properties according to traditional Chinese medicine.
Locally called ‘Solo’ in Ladakh, the qualities of Rhodiola were largely unknown so far. The leafy parts of the plant were used as vegetable by locals. However, research by the Leh-based Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) is exploring the therapeutic values of the herb.
“Rhodiola is a wonder plant that has immunomodulatory [enhancing immune], adaptogenic [adapting to difficult climatic condition] and radio-protecting abilities due to presence of secondary metabolites and phytoactive compounds unique to the plant,” R.B. Srivastava, Director, DIHAR. Mr. Srivastava said the herb can mitigate the effects of gamma radiation used in bombs in biochemical warfare.
In this blog I have listed down three researches that claim to have founded the divine Sanjeevani Booti. Which on to accept and which one to believe, I have no idea! I guess we will have to wait till science gives us a more explicit answer. What do you think?