SHOWCASING A unique combination of religion, art and medicine, a former businessman from a village in Shahdol district prepared a ‘Shivlinga’ using seeds of shivlingi creeper (botanical name Bryony) as part of his ethno-botanical work to promote the seed and bead — similar to rudraksha — prepared and known to have therapeutic qualities.
“Ayurveda has ample references with regard to the medicinal properties of the seed and the creeper as a whole. Because the seeds resemble a ‘shivlinga’, the creeper is called a ‘Shivlingi’ in common usage.
I believe, because I am a Shiva devotee, I got an intuition to take up the cause of promoting this seed with so much of ancient knowledge behind it,” says Jagjit Singh Chhabra, who has displayed the shivlinga at a religious programme in the City.
Chhabra says it was in 1994 that he was attracted to this plant and started promoting the seed’s medicinal value. Shivlingi finds mention in many ancient texts on medicinal herbs apart from the fact that the tribal people in Mandla, Dindori and Shahdol districts in Madhya Pradesh and large areas of Chhattisgarh still regularly use the herb as a medicine for several ailments.
Giving reference from a book ‘Abhinav Buti Darpan’ by Rooplal Vaidya of Varanasi, an expert on medicinal herbs, Chhabra says, “The seeds can be used for treating dysentery, infertility in females, memory enhancing and for any blood related ailments. The book also prescribes the way the seeds have to be used.”
The most effective use — and one that is most prevalent and popular in tribal areas – has been in treating female infertility.
“The women are advised a simple dose for a particular duration depending on their condition.” “There are certain dos and don’ts and we have evidence that females have benefited from this,” claims Chhabra.
The seeds also help in controlling sugar levels and cure stomach ailments, white spots etc among other problems. Although villagers and tribal people are aware about its medicinal values, not many in urban areas know about this plant.
Hence, Chhabra has prepared beads using 27 seeds each, which resemble a rudraksha and has qualities similar to the latter.
“Wearing this bead can regulate blood pressure. The creeper is amply found in villages, particularly on fences and mostly neglected by those who are not aware of its qualities.
The creeper grows as the rains arrive. It bears fruits from November to February. Chhabra has plans to employ about 5,000 persons for the preparation of more beads, its marketing and launch in Mumbai.