LIFE

Healing plants

The World Ayurveda Congress has brought people from all over the world to the business capital of Kerala. It has its crop of professionals who have been studying various aspects of medicinal plants all over the world.

One such is John A. Parrotta, national program leader, international science issues in USDA forest services. His tome `Healing Plants of Peninsular India' has roused a lot of interest in the professional circle and has been praised by reviewers.

To the Western readers, of course, it might be an eye-opener because of the curative powers listed against the plants. Quantifying it, one of the reviews called it a `delight' and referred to the 11 mentions of treatment for hair loss, 66 plants useful as aphrodisiacs and 193 plants that cure fevers.

Published in 2001 after six years of research and field study, the `Healing Plants' is a compendium which will have wide use for students of ethnobotany, tropical botany, pharmacology, horticulture and ecology among others.

There is information on 545 species of plants used in traditional medicine in the volume with photographs and user-friendly indices based on scientific names and common names.

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