Modern-day Ayurveda specialists will try to find what Hindu god Hanuman moved a mountain for — the mythical and elusive, all-curing Sanjeevani Booti herb.
The department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (Ayush) in Uttarakhand has formed a committee for the purpose.
The Himalayan state will fund the herb hunt after the Centre refused money for the venture.
“We will work on the research project on our own … Globally, the herbs market is booming, and we intend to identify the epic plant having life-saving qualities,” said Surendra Singh Negi, the state’s Ayush minister, on Wednesday.
The panel, comprising four Ayurveda experts, will begin work from August and submit a report thereafter.
The mission could face difficulties of epic proportions as the mythical herb has eluded sages and scientists since ancient times, so much so that even the wise and fearless Hanuman could not identify it when he was tasked with fetching the life-saver from the Himalayas for a mortally wounded Laxman in the clinching battle of the Ramayana.
The confused god uprooted the Dronagiri mountain and carried it all the way to Ravan’s Lanka.
The contemporary Dronagiri range, some 400km from Dehradun, is named after a village in Chamoli district. Ayush minister Negi said the researchers will scour this mountain range for the herb.
The ancient Indian science of healing, Ayurveda, classifies Sanjeevani Booti into four categories — the most potent being the Mrit Sanjeevani, the one that gives life. According to the Ramayana, Laxman was revived with a dose of that super-plant.
The search for the herb continues, notwithstanding yoga guru Ramdev disciple Acharya Balkrishna’s announcement in 2008 of his team identifying Mrit Sanjeevani in Uttarakhand.
He argued that the team from Ramdev’s yogic and Ayurvedic centre, Patanjali in Haridwar, has done enough research and genomic profiling of a plant to support the claim.
“We have filed for its patent recently after identifying the plant,” he said.
Balkrishna contended that the state government is welcome to discover other than what Patanjali’s researchers had found.
Uttarakhand is said to be a treasure trove of herbs, and the forest department has recorded more than 100 plants having medicinal values in the Himalayas.