Antique Cultivation and Conservative Techniques of Vegetation w.s.r. to Vrikshayurveda
Ravi Kumar Gupta* Rambabu T* Sandhya B* Pushpawati Chaudhari* and Vidyanath R**
Dr. B.R.K.R. Government Ayurvedic College, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
November 2013
Full Text

abstract :
The risks with the chemical fertilizers and pesticides draw attention of the scientists towards organic farming. In the present study an attempt has been made to provide holistic information on technical knowledge about all aspects of cultivation, caring and protection of plants and in turn human beings.

Keywords :
Vrikshayurveda, Organic farming, Chemical fertilizers, health hazards

Abstract :
In the prehistoric period, man used to wander and live by hunting animals and birds. Gradually the man changed his lifestyle and developed close association with the animals and birds and many of them becomes pets. In due course man made use of the animals in agriculture. As plants have life, they also experience happiness and misery. For increasing productivity, man turns towards chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This results in to many health hazards. To protect the plants from pests the plant science was developed during 6th century A.D. known as Vrikshayurveda which provides the knowledge of physiology, pathology, horticulture and treatment of the plants. The risks with the chemical fertilizers and pesticides draw attention of the scientists towards organic farming. In the present study an attempt has been made to provide holistic information on technical knowledge about all aspects of cultivation, caring and protection of plants and in turn human beings.

Keywords :
Vrikshayurveda, Organic farming, Chemical fertilizers, health hazards

Problem :
The indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides results in serious environmental and health hazards. The risks with the chemical fertilizers and pesticides draw attention of the scientists towards antique cultivation techniques viz. Organic farming or gardening to combat health threats. It is fascinating to know that ancient India not only had a medical science for the humans and animals but also for plants, called Vrikshayurveda, ‘The science of plant life.’ It was written by Surapala, a royal physician in the court of king Bhimapala during 10th century A.D.1 and was awarded with a title "Vaidyavidyavarenya", for his multifaceted talent. Though a vast literature is available in a scattered form, Surapala’s Vrikshayurveda can be considered as a comprehensive compendium on plant-life. The present study has been taken up to reveal the cultivation and conservation of vegetation embedded in ancient literature for the benefit of mankind.

Aims & objectives :
  1. To enlighten the mankind about the serious health hazards caused due to chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  2. To draw attention of the present generation towards antique cultivation techniques.
  3. To adopt the ancient methods of cultivation and conservation of vegetation mentioned in the literature of Ayurveda w.s.r. to Vrikshayurveda.

Material & methods :
The relevant matter related to plant science available in the ancient literature such as Vrikshayurveda, Brihatsamhita, Sharngadharapaddhati, Arthashastra, Krishisutra etc. has been compiled and exposed the advantages of the ancient methods of cultivation and conservation of vegetation over modern chemical fertilizers and pesticides

Observations :
History of the world reveals that evolutionary processes always have minimum side effects because they are based on analysis, while revolutionary processes have possibility of more side effects as they are based on synthesis. The best example can be cited in evolution of traditional agriculture and green revolution in agriculture. Green revolution encouraged hybrid seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, large scale irrigation and heavy mechanization of agriculture. Over use of inorganic material in agriculture has led to problems like soil erosion, salination, desertification, and toxicity of food material, deterioration of food quality resulting in malnutrition and causing serious health hazards 2. Though pesticides are usually used to kill a particular target pest, they will also kill or harm species that are not targeting. The Pesticides applied to crops might be washed into streams or lakes and harm fish, beneficial insects, birds or even find their way into drinking water sources3

Chemical Fertilizers :
Advantages Disadvantages
Rich equally in three essential nutrients that are needed for crops (NPK) Have high acid content
Readily available Ability to burn the skin
  Changes soil fertility.
Readily available Short life span
Formula variety Doesn’t build up the soil
Fast acting Doesn’t build up the soil
Ease of application Absorbs moisture easily in storage
Multiple forms Nitrogen is volatile

Health Hazards Caused due to Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides :
In the recent past, scientists opined that chemical fertilizers and pesticides have destructive effects on environment and human beings. Severe allergies, digestive ailments, cancer, physical and mental deformities, and weakened immunity are some of the health hazards affecting due to green revolution techniques5.
The solution suggested to this problem is the use of organic matters, like composts and manures, and crop rotation to control & prevent pests etc. Along with it if techniques suggested in Vrikshayurveda are introduced to it, organic farming will provide superior quality product with good taste, flavor with more nutrient value and most importantly free from harmful chemicals.

Antique Cultivation Techniques :
The earliest references to the science of plant life are available in Rig-veda and Atharva-veda. Brhatsamhita of Varahamihira of the 6th century AD contains a chapter titled Vrikshayurveda, provides information about divining groundwater, productivity and non-productivity of land as indicated by natural vegetation, etc6. Sharngadharapaddhati of Sharangdhara of 13th century AD is yet another ancient text which in its chapter "Upavanavinoda" deals with planting, soil, nourishment of plants, plant diseases and remedies, groundwater resources etc. The other books that provide valuable information are Kautilya’s Artha-shastra, Amarsimha’s Amarkosha, Parashara’s Krishi-parashara etc7.

Ayurveda Grafted on Plants :
The primary purpose of Ayurveda is to restore or maintain proper balance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. In Surapala’s work, these concepts are grafted on to the plants as well. According to him, the plant condition, health-sickness, cause-remedies etc. are to be viewed through the prism of Ayurveda.
Surapala advocates a holistic crop management system. He stresses the use of suitable soils, use of good seeds, pre-sowing treatment of seeds, growing intercrops, having optimum plant population, balanced nutrition, optimum use of water, timely weeding, protection from disorders by use of herbal products or dead animal wastes, harvest at the right stage and seed drying & storage8.

On Soil :
  1. Soil is classified under 3 heads viz. Arid, Marshy, and Ordinary types. It is further subdivided into six types by color (black, white, pale, dark, red, and yellow) and savors (Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter and Astringent).
  2. Soil with poisonous components, stones, gravel, ant hills, holes and having no accessibility to water is not suitable for farming. Land, which is even, has accessibility to water and is covered with green grass, is good for growing all kinds of trees10.
  3. Plants that are grown in different types of land are clearly mentioned for the benefit of farmers11.
On Propagation :
Propagation is of many types as viz. Seed, Stalk or Bulb etc.

Methods of Propagation of Various Plants 12
Seed Stalk Bulbs Seeds & Stalks Seeds & Bulbs
Jambu Tambuli Kumkuma Patala Ela
Champaka Sinduvara Ardraka Dadima Padma
Punnaga Rasona Tagara etc. Plaksa Utpala etc
Nagakesara   Alukanda etc. Karavira
Tamarind     Vata
Kapittha     Mallika
Badari     Udumbara
Bilva   Kunda etc.
Karamarda etc  

  1. Seed is extracted from dried fruits, which become ripe in the natural course and season. It is then sprinkled13.
  2. After the ash is naturally cooled and removed, Kunapa water (Liquid manure) should be sprinkled and the pits should be filled with good earth14.
  3. Large seeds should be sown singly but smaller ones should be sown in multiples. The seed of Naranga should be sown in a slanting position with hand15.
  4. The stalk should be 18 Angulas, neither too tender nor too hard. Half of it should be smeared with plenty of cow dung and then (it) should be planted with three-fourth part in the pit and should be sprinkled with water mixed with soft sandy mud.16
  5. Bulbs should be planted in pits measuring one forearm-length, breadth, and depth-and filled with mud mixed with thick sand.17

Diseases of Plants; Ayurvedic Perspective :
Cold climate, wind and sun (high temperature) are the cause of diseases .18
  1. When the plant are diseased, the leaves become yellow(etiolated),buds do not develop, or their growth arrested, branches become dry and sap exudes.19
  2. Kashyapa- another authority, says, “Those plants that have yellow leaves, that are fruitless and denuded of leaves,- and these caused by coldness, excessive heat, too much rain, dry wind, and by the intermingling of roots of different plants, are to known as diseased, and are to be treated accordingly”.20

S. No. Disease Management
1 Kapha2
  • Bitter, strong and astringent decoctions made out of Panchamula
  • Deposit the paste of white mustard at the root and watered with mixture of sesame and ashes
  • Remove the soil around the roots and fresh, dry earth should be replaced
  • 2 Pitta22
  • Treat with cool and sweet substances
  • Watered by the decoction of milk, honey, Yastimadhu and Madhuka or with decoctions of fruits Triphala, ghee and honey
  • 3 Vata23
  • Sprinkling Kunapa-jala
  • Fumigation with animal fat, ghee, hemp and cow’s horn
  • 4 Worms24
  • Paste of milk, Kunapa water and cow dung mixed with water
  • Smearing the roots with the mixture of white mustard, Vacha, Kusta and Ativisa
  • Fumigation with mustard, Ramatha, Vidanga, Vacha, Usana and water
  • 5 Broken trees25
  • Besmear with the paste of the bark of Plaksa and Udumbara mixed with ghee, honey, wine and milk and the broken parts should be firmly tied together with the rope of a rice stalk. Fresh soil should then be filled in the basin around the trees, sprinkled immediately with the milk of buffalo and flooded with water.etc

  • Special Techniquese: :
    Many a number of cultivation techniques were given by our Acharyas for healthy progeny of plants as under:
    1. For increased production of Flowers & Fruits26:-
    1. Sprinkle ghee with cold milk.
    2. Mixture of sesame, excreta of goats and sheep’s, barley powder and beef- thrown into water and kept for 7 nights should be poured round the roots of the plants.
    3. Pouring of cold fish washing is beneficial for mango.
    4. Pouring of cold water cooked together with Kuluttha, Masha, Mudga, Yava, Tila

    For curing plant diseases caused by worms and insects27:
    1. Vidanga mixed with rice, fish and flesh
    2. Prepare paste by pounding the barks of Karanja, Aragwadha, Arishta, Saptaparna, Vidanga and Musta with Gomutra and apply to the roots of the infected plants.
    Breeding of Plants28
    1. Thorn less and spineless edible cactus
    2. The primus berry , a union of rasp-berry and blackberry
    3. Driven out of unpleasant odor of Dahlia
    4. Chestnut tree yields within 18 months of planting

    Kunapa Jala; 29 :
    Flesh of deer, fish, sheep, goat and some insects are boiled in water. After cooling, powder of black gram and Sesame seeds is mixed. There after milk, honey and water is added. The whole mixture is put in Sunlight for 15 days. The liquid manure thus prepared is called Kunapa-jala, enhances growth and development of plants.
    Specific types of Kunapa-Jala:
    1. Powder of sandal wood mixed in water makes liquid manure-suitable for Jasmine growth.
    2. Highly suitable liquid manure can be prepared by mixing cow and goat dung in boiling water.
    3. Goat meat- Boiled in water-cooled-kept in sunlight for 7 days-enhances the growth of coconut and bamboo.
    4. Special Kunapa-jala for better growth of cereals- powder of Barley, black Gram, Sesames seeds and green gram-each in equal quantity mixed with boiling water and allowed to cool.

    Discussion & Conclusion :
    1. As the use of pesticides increased rapidly since 1940’s, health hazards are also increasing.
    2. Delhi’s Centre for Science and Environment, which exposed the high pesticides content in aerated drinks and mineral water, has also verified the health hazards of long term chemicals usages in farming.30
    3. It is observed that cotton has driven many farmers to end their life in Punjab and in Andhra-Pradesh due to attraction towards farming cotton against chemicals31.
    4. The helplessness in refunding the loans taken to buy costly pesticides and fertilizers used for cultivating commercial crops also leads to problems in many a number of families of farmers in India32.
    5. Keeping the above factors in view entire world is looking towards organic farming and ancient cultivation & conservative techniques of vegetation.
    6. On a critical study, it is identified that Ayurveda deals the health of not only the humans and animals but also for plants, called Vrikshayurveda.
    7. ‘The science of plant life’ reveals that it is entirely based on analytical methods with minimum disturbance to nature and harmonious living as guiding principle. Topics related to soil, water, irrigation, farm implements, land preparation, propagation, plant nutrients, and plant protection from diseases, harvesting and storage etc. employees practices which has been completely eco friendly.
    8. Vrikshayurveda has always tried to adopt preventive measures rather the curative and also suggests lots of measures to maintain biodiversity.
    9. Surapala explains importance of trees and by taking advantage of common man’s religious attitude, superstitions and beliefs urged them to plant trees.
    10. It is believed that like healthy man healthy plant can face any problem or calamity. Important aspect about all these techniques is that, no where it suggests cutting tree or kill animal, but suggests using whatever available.
    11. Many a number of recipes related to organic manures and pests are identified in the ancient Ayurvedic literature and are reporting maximum beneficial results with their use by the modern agricultural scientists as well as research institutions.

  • Dr. Cho’s Natural Farming Techniques: Since 1965 in South Korea, Dr. Cho is working in developing Organic farming by using of natural resources, not only for more growth of herbs, their treatment as well as on livestock propagation. He is using IMO (Indigenous Micro Organism) technique (Use of nature’s tillers aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, fungi, mole crickets, earthworms and moles etc with herbal and animal origin products) which is also adopted by many countries nowadays.33

  • The Center of Indian Knowledge Systems (CIKS),Chennai- has worked for several years experimented and analyzed, that using the ancient techniques mentioned in the treatise of Surapala, the Vrikshayurveda, has the capacity to revitalize the present day agriculture. E.g. Leaf Webber disease with the Nimba and Karanja oil associated with fumigation of Daruharidra and Vidanga.34

  • C.S.A. (Community Supported Agriculture, Secunderabad, A.P.), I.A.R.I.(Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi); I.N.O.R.A (Institute of Natural Organic Agriculture, Pune) etc. are some of the institutes working on natural farming.

  • Thus, key to happy, healthy and peaceful life of human beings of 21st century lies, in farming based on Vrikshayurvedic principle. The Government must adopt an organic environment and health-friendly policies while initiating another green revolution. Solution for health hazards of chemical fertilizers and pesticides is nothing but the use of composts and manures only. Surapala’s Vrikshayurveda can be considered as a comprehensive compendium on plant-life as it provides holistic information on technical knowledge about all aspects of cultivation, caring and protecting plants and in turn human beings.

  • *P.G. Scholars, **P.G. Professor & H.O.D. ** P.G. Dept of Ayurveda Samhita, Dr. B.R.K.R. Government Ayurvedic College, Hyderabad,Andhra Pradesh

    References :
    1. http://www.allempires.com/article/index.php?q=indian_medicinal_system
    2. http://www.psenthilraja.worpress.com/2007/12/21
    3. http://www.psenthilraja.worpress.com/2007/12/21
    4. http://www.compasnet.org/afbeeldingen/Magazines/CM4/cm4_12.PDF
    5. http://www.compasnet.org/afbeeldingen/Magazines/CM4/cm4_12.PDF
    6. Surapala's Vrikshayurveda (The Science of Plant Life by Surapala). Sadhale, Nalini (Tr.). 1996 Agri-History Bulletin No.1. Asian Agri-History Foundation, Secunderabad 500 009, India.
    7. Surapala's Vrikshayurveda (The Science of Plant Life by Surapala). Sadhale, Nalini (Tr.). 1996 Agri-History Bulletin No.1. Asian Agri-History Foundation, Secunderabad 500 009, India.
    8. http://www.allempires.com/article/index.php?q=indian_medicinal_system
    9. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.35,36,37-Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    10. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.38,39-Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    11. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.41,42,43-Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    12. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.48,49,50,51 -Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    13. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.52-Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    14. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.68-Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    15. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.72-Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    16. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.76-Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    17. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.81-Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    18. Upavan Vinoda-xiii.Treatment of trees & viii.Protection of trees -Majumdar G.P.
    19. Upavan Vinoda-xiii.Treatment of trees & viii.Protection of trees -Majumdar G.P.
    20. Upavan Vinoda-xiii.Treatment of trees & viii.Protection of trees -Majumdar G.P.
    21. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.187-Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    22. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.190-Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    23. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.185-Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    24. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.194-Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    25. Vrikshayurveda of Surpala- Sloke no.200-Pandey Gyanendra-2010
    26. Upavan Vinoda-xiii.Treatment of trees -Majumdar G.P.
    27. Upavan Vinoda-xiii.Treatment of trees & viii.Protection of trees -Majumdar G.P.
    28. Upavan Vinoda-xiv.Botanical Marvels -Majumdar G.P.
    29. Upavan Vinoda-xi.Nourishment & xii.Kunapa Water -Majumdar G.P.
    30. http://www.psenthilraja.worpress.com/2007/12/21
    31. http://www.psenthilraja.worpress.com/2007/12/21
    32. http://www.psenthilraja.worpress.com/2007/12/21
    33. Dr.Cho’s Global natural Farming-Rohini Reddy-SARRA,Tirupati
    34. www.ciks.org
    Download Article
    Rasamruta © 2014 | All Rights Reserved.
    Website By Arinoz Technologies