Thursday, March 5, 2009

Smoke of medicinal plants can kill harmful bacteria.

Smoke of medicinal plants can kill harmful bacteria.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

Today the air we breathe in is loaded with harmful gases like NO2, CO, SPM and RSPM, which are all above the standards prescribed by the Government and are extremely harmful for human health. There are also new species of bacteria and virus coming up which cause new diseases and are resistant to old drugs. The wastes from the industries as well as the city is being dumped into the rivers, thereby causing severe water pollution. The indiscriminate use of pesticides and synthetic chemical fertilizers has resulted in poisoning of underground water reserves and also resulted into loss of soil fertility. And to top it all the lack of empathy of the people to these problems has made it worse.

All the new scientific methods or chemicals being used today to kill bacteria have the side effects on environment and human health. Best example is the use of DDT, one of the best known synthetic pesticides. DDT has now been declared toxic for humans and environment. Even chlorination of water has the side effects if used regularly and in large amounts. Liquids used in mosquito repellent are also harmful to human health to some extent.

With the development of the modern science we are getting more dependent on synthetic chemicals to kill bacteria or remove pollution other than the use of natural sources like medicinal plants or energy like Sun. In our ancient days people used the natural sources to fight the bacteria and pollution.

From time immemorial, human beings have used smoke of medicinal plants for curing disorders. Smoke produced from natural substances has been used extensively in many cultures and famous ancient physicians have described and recommended such use. According to old concept in Hinduism the basis of life has been said to be food. The basis of food is earth. The basis of earth is water and the basis of water is air. If air will be pure, all elements of the chain will become pure, thus purifying and cleansing life itself. For the environmental problem, the Hidus in the earlier days used the vedic science of ‘Yagya’ or ‘Havan’.
Havan is the term for a sacred purifying ritual (yajna) in Hinduism that involves a fire ceremony. It is a ritual of sacrifice made to the fire god Agni. After lighting a Havan Kund (sacrificial fire), objects such as fruits, honey, or wooden goods are put into the sacred fire. The main purpose of a Havan is for the purification of our surroundings. It is a person’s duty to thank Nature for balancing our surroundings and making them fit for human existence.
According to a report published in a web site, a scientist named Trelle of France did experiments on Havan. He found that Havan is mainly performed by using mango tree. When the wood is burnt then a gas, "formic aldehyde" comes out which destroys the harmful bacteria and makes the atmosphere purified. Then only, the scientists made "formalin" from "formic aldehyde" gas. He also did experiment on jaggery Gur (in Hindi raw sugar) and found that on burning the jaggery, jaggery also generates "formic aldehyde" gas. A scientist named Tautilk came to know that if we stay in a Havan and its smoke for half an hour then the germs of typhoid are destroyed and all these matters are used in Yajyen. Yajurveda says that four types of things mainly used to prepare offerings for a Havan- 1. Sweet Like honey, jaggery, raw sugar etc., 2. Antibiotic herbs like gyol, etc., 3. Nutrition like pure ghee, dry fruits etc., 4. Fragrant materials like elaichi (cardamom) dried petals flowers etc.

Seeing the importance of Havan scientists of the National Botanical Research Institute in Lucknow, India decided to test whether havan smoke affected indoor air quality. They burned havan samagri —the mixture of aromatic medicinal herbs typically prescribed for Hindu rituals in a closed room. They found smoke from the material did kill germs. And it was not just any kind of smoke; they compared the effects of smoke from mango wood with those of havan material.Research claims that there was no reduction in the number of airborne bacteria when one kg of mango wood was burnt. But when half a kg of havan samagri was added to it, the bacterial count reduced by 94 per cent within one hour.

Report also claims that the bactericidal effect did not diminish as soon as the source of smoke was removed. The researchers sampled air quality over 24 hours, after which the room was opened. Even at the end of the duration, the bacteria count was 96 per cent lower. Repeated sampling showed the effect lingered for a month. The study was published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology (December 3, 2007).

Absence of pathogenic bacteria Corynebacterium urealyticum, Curtobacterium
flaccumfaciens, Enterobacter aerogenes (Klebsiella mobilis), Kocuria rosea, Pseudomonas syringae pv. persicae, Staphylococcus lentus, and Xanthomonas campestris pv. tardicrescens in the open room even after 30 days is indicative of the bactericidal potential of the medicinal smoke treatment. It was demonstrated that using medicinal smoke it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space, says the report.

Scientists warns that if the fumes of the Havan can kill bacteria it can also affect the human health. So detail chemical analysis of gradients used in the Havan should be done.


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