Who does not love a garden around the house? And most of us just drool over the fragrant, colourful visage of a garden. It is not just trendy, it also speaks volumes about the taste of the person who plans, grows and nurtures the garden.
Sudhanshu Sekhar Satpathy is, however, different. He prefers a garden which does not just look splendid but is splendid indeed. Home to 250 medicinal plants, this garden tells the story of how India spread the ancient knowledge of medicine as a gift of nature.
Part of Talent Research Centre, this is the biggest and oldest medicinal garden seen in the city. It is a combination of some rare and less known medicinal plants which are kept under special care and only organic wastage is used as supplements for the plants.
Developed in 1989 by Satpathy, this place is in the heart of the city as part of the Talent Research Centre, a Vedic institution where many activities like yoga, paintings and wellness are encouraged and practised.
The quest for the garden started when Satpathy was working on Vedic mantras and developed interest in Vedic teaching and education methods. Since medicinal plants were required as part of Vedic teaching, he was initiated into the project which has now become the biggest medicinal garden of Bhubaneswar. As per the Vedic system, a student learns under a guru various aspects of life and identification of medicinal plants is one of them. The same is followed here.
While many commonly available medicinal plants are available in the garden, some collections of medicinal trees are maintained too. To enhance the medicinal effect of these plants, Satpathy ensures that chemical manure or fertiliser are out of bounds in the garden. Instead, they use organic compost and most of it is generated through a natural structured process by depositing all the kitchen waste and dry leaves in a hole. The waste is allowed to deteriorate and emerge as compost and used with cow dung for the plants.
The garden’s catalouge includes more than 50 big medicinal trees, 120 meditational plants, 50 kinds of creepers and 30 grass plants. Some parts of the trees, like their bark and leaves, are used for medicine these days.
According to Satpathy, who is also the founder of the Talent Research Centre, “All the plants and trees have medicinal effect but it depends on our knowledge about them. Nature’s law is such that before a new disease occurs, it provides for prevention or treatment through a plant which is always around in our environment. But we have to recognise these plants.”
There are many such plants available in the surroundings, but people have no idea about their medicinal value. This prompted Satpathy to grow and nurture such trees and plants in the garden and he educates people about them so that treatment for diseases can be available at hand.
Satpathy also points at some plants which are known to be poisonous but actually possess medicinal value. One such plant is Nox-vomica (Kochila Khai in Odia) which is locally available but most perceive it to be poisonous. This tree has great medicinal elements to cure diseases. Its seed can be used after processing to remove black spots from face and its juice is effective for joint pains.
Those who have visited Talent Research Centre vouch for it. Talking to MCL, Suhri Sangeeta Mohanty says she had no idea about the garden before she visited it for the first time. Then, she fell in love with the garden.
“Now I come here regularly on different occasions and have become aware about the medicinal plants. During my meetings with Satpathy, I discussed about my gynecology issues and he prescribed me a simple herbal solution. I used it and got immediate relief and there has been no recurrence of my problem ever since,” she sums up.