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Medicinal Plants and Jainism: Plants

Published: 23.12.2015
Updated: 23.12.2015

Plants In Jain Scriptures

  • In Ayar Suttam, the most canonical Jain scripture, there is very sensitive description of injury to plant and its parts equating it with same as injury to human body and any of its parts or organs.
  • Plants experience and feel pain in the same way as the humans do.
  • There is very elaborate and comprehensive description of various plant species and their products in Jain scriptures notably Tiloyapannati and Jambudweep Prajnapti.

Jain Tradition

  • Devoted Jains do not take modern allopathic medicines as violence is involved in their research and manufacture.
  • Jains depend on medicines of plant origin.
  • Jains do not take even Ayurvedic medicines in which honey is used as an ingredient.

Revelations Of My Surveys Of Medicinal Plants

  • My surveys of medicinal plants in sanctuaries and National Parks under U.G.C. Project have revealed discrepancies which are not compatible with Jainism.
  • Discrepancies are given below.

Availability Of Medicinal Plants

  • It has been observed that availability of many medicinal plants is dwindling fast even in areas, claimed to be best protected in National Parks.
  • Growing pressure of exploding population and industry on shrinking forests is accentuating the shortage of medicinal plants.
  • Many medicinal plants have become extinct.
  • Many more are on the verge of extinction because of their overexploitation.

Collection Of Medicinal Plants

  • By and large medicinal plants are collected by tribals.
  • Because of abject poverty tribals start collecting prematurely.
  • There are elaborated instructions in Ayurvedic scriptures about the season, month and even fortnight as well as stages of flowering, fruiting etc. when any medicinal plant should be collected. These instructions are certainly not at all followed.

Storage Of Medicinal Plants

  • Medicinal plants collected from forests are eventually sold to big traders in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad etc.
  • Traders store them in dingy, dark and moist godowns susceptible to be infected by bacteria and fungi. Using such medicines is against Jainism.

Preparation Of Medicines

  • Most pharmaceutical manufacturers of Ayurvedic medicines purchase their requirements from traders in cities.
  • Traders continue mixing fresh and old time-barred medicinal plant parts.
  • No pharmaceutical manufacturer has its own expertise and organized system of collecting medicinal plants according to prescribed method.
  • This adversely affects quality of Ayurvedic medicines.

Cultivation Of Medicinal Plants

  • Many important medicinal plants are being cultivated in agricultural fields.
  •  These are not as effective as those collected from natural sites. The proportion of active constituent is lower.
  • In natural forests medicinal plants grow under a specific edapho-climatic ecosystem in association of other trees and plants.
  • Medicinal plants if to be cultivated, it should be done by first creating the specific ecosystems in which they grow naturally.
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  1. Ahmedabad
  2. Ayurvedic
  3. Body
  4. Delhi
  5. Jainism
  6. Mumbai
  7. Violence
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