Hinduism, as we all know, is not exactly a religion but a way of wellness. Its culture, festivals, and traditions are all scientifically proven and have stood the test of time, only to show the world that they are not just mere superstitions or blind faith but are purposive facts. Each and every step, from morning till night and the whole year, according to the changing seasons are well-designed packages to combat the seasonal onset of diseases and allergies.

Our ancient sages and rishis are no less than the present day naturalists. They lived harmoniously with nature, blending our rituals in giving due respect in acknowledging nature as a whole (the five natural forces – earth, water, fire, air and space along with the plant and animal kingdoms) and in turn being protected, i.e., “Vruksho Rakshathi Rakshithaha”. Most of our festivals coincide with seasonal transitions, each festival being associated with a particular God or Goddess. And they in turn are associated with certain favourite leaves, flowers and fruits.

Ganesha Chathurthi is just round the corner and the very obvious changes in our surroundings can be noted in:

The change of season – summer to monsoon

The general landscape – lush green surroundings, seasonal blooms, overflowing ponds and lakes.

The weather – overcast skies, mild sunshine and sudden showers.

Though the weather be pleasant, it’s a harbinger of unwanted guests – cough, cold, throat infection, fever, breathing problems, swine flu, diarrhoea, malaria, skin infections, etc.

Has anyone wondered about the offerings made to Ganesha, the Vigna Vinaashaka, Budhi Kaaraka, and Arogya Pradaayaka? The offerings include 21 varieties of leaves along with specific mantras. Going by the season, there must be a good reason why these particular leaves are offered, apart from the reason that they are available aplenty during this time. Each of these is known to have an abundance of medicinal values that can combat all those troublesome illnesses mentioned earlier.

Let’s familiarise ourselves with the names and practical uses of some of these leaves.