Plants and Herbs in Vedic Literature: A Modern Perspective
Vedas are the earliest Sanskrit texts of India`s classical spiritual culture and caries the essence of its civilization. They are four in number. Rig-Veda, Yajurveda and Samveda are collectively known as Vedatrayi. Atharva Veda is considered as a later addition. Vedic literature is spiritual as well as scientific in its nature and tends to reflect the worldview, preoccupations and social values of the people of ancient India.
Since 20th century the world has witnessed advanced researches and development in the field of natural sciences in its various forms and fields. This obviously involves a scientific study of herbs and plants which have extended manifold discourse and productive conclusions. It also adds value to scientific temper of today’s world. The scholars of this area of study have been endeavoring to investigate the classical Indian contributions to different aspects of scientific knowledge, and again this involves investigation of India’s contributions to a special branch of science namely herbs and plants. In the Vedic literature, there are references to many plants including Artu, Asvattha, Apamarga, Amula, Soma etc. The water plants and weeds like lotus, lily, pundarika, puskara etc. The Herbs and grasses like isika, ulapa, darbha, satamba etc., along with their medicinal features and properties.
The present paper tends to investigate and examine the minutest aspects of the classical Indian knowledge of the science of ‘Herbs and Plants’. As far as this topic is concerned, there is an often-repeated question and argument whether this science of ‘Herbs and Plants’ existed in any form in ancient India. This paper limits to examine and high-light the science of ‘Herbs and Plants’ as reflected in the texts of Vedic literature. It also looks into the efforts to encounter the detailed references and descriptions of herbal and plant-lives, and their usage in the lives of human being today.