Asian Agri-History Foundation
Asian Agri-History

Asian Agri-History Foundation (Volume 10)

No. 1, January-March 2006


Ayurveda, the Indian science of life was theorized before a few thousand years and was practiced since then up to this day. Although in theory the science relates to all forms of life, in actual practice, its efficacy only in the case of human beings is widely known. It is not commonly known that since the ancient time the science was also made applicable to lower forms of life like animals and plants. There are ancient Sanskrit texts independently devoted to diseases and treatment of elephants, horses, and cattle to vouchsafe the same. The Ayurvedic base of these sciences is evident there although it is not expressly stated. The application of Ayurveda to plants and trees too, was known all along but in the absence of works independently dealing with plant life its validation was lacking. After the discovery and publication of surapala’s Vrikshayurveda it became quite evident that surapala too, had ingeniously used the basic principals of Ayurveda like the tridosha theory for the diagnosis and treatment of preparations for curing their ailments. Being himself a noted physician, he could apply the principles and practices of Ayurveda to the plant kingdom with authority and ease giving rise to this branch of Ayurveda. This article is a study of Vrikshayurveda in this context of Ayurveda.

Vrikshayurveda in the context of Ayurveda – Nalini Sadhale and Shakuntala Dave


Black bean, a variety of soybean (Glycine max), is cultivated as a food crop in the kumaon region (Uttaranchal state, northern India), and in the bordering states and countries in the Himalayas. The yellow variety, cultivated throughout the world for the Soya oil, is a genetically improved variety obtained form USA. There is not much difference in the chemical constituents of the black and yellow varieties, except that the latter contains more oil. The article deals with the origin, distribution, and introduction of Glycine max, the ethno-dietary recipes, the proverbs and sayings on black bean in kumaon, its chemoprofile, pharmacology, and clinical uses, and the status of the bean in the world and in India. In the kumaon region, the black bean is an important crop because of its high nutritional and medicinal value. The seeds area a rich source of vegetable protein and oil. They are cholesterol-free, but contain linolenic acid, which has been found to prevent heart disease. Soybean contains isoflavones such as genistein and diadzein that have been found to have antioxidant, antitumor, and estrogenic activity. These isoflavones have also had been found to be potential therapeutic agents for benign prostrate hypertrophy, and for prostrate and ovarian cancers. The compounds are also believed to have pharmacological effects on osteoporosis. With additional hepato-protective and antilipid properties. In India, the seed meal obtained after oil extraction is available in plenty and is commonly marketed as ‘Nutri-Nuggets’. It is a good source of vegetable protein, and people need to be educated about its nutritional and medicinal value. Adding some Soya flour to wheat flour helps prevent a number of aliments and diseases. In Kumaon, the cultivation of the crop is dwindling by the day, which is matter of great concern. Efforts must be made to conserve this important crop.

Black Soybean: an Ignored Nutritious and Medical Food Crop from the kumaon Region of India – N C Shah
Success if Soybean in India : the Early Challenges and Pioneer Promoters – B B Singh
Boerhaavia Diffusa – aA Wild Herb With Potent Biological and Antimicrobial Properties– L P Awasthi and H N Verma


Indigenous knowledge is extensively prevalent in the traditional Indian lifestyle. Indigenous materials are routinely used for preventive, protective, and curative purposes in material healthcare practices. This paper attempts to present a rich variety of indigenous maternal health practices for pre- and post-delivery care. The areas surveyed included the rural areas of six agro climatic zones of northern Karnataka in India. Data was validated by referencing with Ayurvedic texts and through consultations with experts. The findings revealed the use of various plant material and food sources for maintaining the health of women during the vulnerable period. The validity of the practices as confirmed by the experts would call for merging this knowledge with the modern scientific mainstream. The documentation would also preserve for posterity the age-old practices which would otherwise disappear, as most indigenous practices remain UN –recovered and un-documented. Since many rural women still have poor access to modern medial facilities, this indigenous knowledge – if popularized- would go a long way in protecting the health of these disadvantages women.

Indigenous Pre-and Post-delivery Care Practices of Rural women – Shobha Nagnur, N Channamma , and Geeta Channal


Rural women constitute a storehouse of indigenous knowledge by virtue of their accumulated experience and practices. This knowledge is unique to their culture and ecosystem, and it largely gets dispersed in a social system through interpersonal communication. It is, therefore, necessary for the scientific community to adequately document and validates this knowledge so that is merges with the scientific stream of knowledge. This paper attempts to document and scientifically validate the ethno-veterinary practices used by rural women for dairy herd management in Himachal Pradesh, in northern India. These practices were primarily applied in the treatment of digestive disorders, reproductive disorders, oilments, and other miscellaneous diseases. Most of the practices were based on plant sources for which the scientific validation was carried out on the basis of their pharmacological and pharmaceutical status. Some of the scientifically validated practices were found to be worth recommending for curing the commonly occurring ailments in the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh.

Ethno- Veterinary Practices: An Appraisal of Rural Women's Wisdom in Himachal Pradesh – Promila Kanwar, Anju Rekha and Sumitha Roy
Storehouse of Indigenous Knowledge: Rural Women in Management of Livestock Diseases – Shobha Nagnur, Geeta Channal, and N Channamma
No. 2, April-June 2006
Water Harvesting and Conservation in Ancient Agricultural Texts – Nalini Sadhale


The subject matter of agricultural history performs a unique function. It brings ancient knowledge and practices of Indian agriculture in public domain and in this manner. Parents relating to Indian knowledge and practices granted outside India can be easily challenged. In this paper, the manner in which documentation of agriculture history can contribute to the prevention of privacy of knowledge and practices from India and at the same time ensure their protection, has been discussed in detail. Parents on neem, Basmati rice, kerala, and turmeric granted in the US have created anxiety about Intellectual Property Rights(IPRs) in India. What is an Intelectual property? What are IPRs? How are they seen in developed countries? These aspects have been discussed in this paper. The Government of India had initiated a number of steps. New acts, viz., Acts for the protection of Geographical indication, Plant varieties and farmers rights, and Biological Diversity have been streamlined and comprise three aspects: (i) novelty (ii) evidence of inventive step; and (iii) Industrial applicability, with such modification of the criteria for patentability, it is easy to obtain patents on the existing knowledge and practices of India outside the country.

IPRs and Role of Agricaltural History in Their Protection – J P Mishra
Veterinary Medicine and Animal Keeping in Ancient India – R Somvanshi


The traditional wise-sayings, known as “Darkor Boson” (the sayings of Duk), are popular verses among the rural masses of Assam in India. Dak’s verses are considered as truthful as the reaching of the Vedas, the great Hindu religious treatise. In various practical aspects of human life the sayings act as common guiding advice for the common people and seem to have scientific basis. In this article, some of Dak’s verses related to varietals selection, planting, fertilization, and intercultural operations of a few horticultural crops of Assam have been discussed.

Horticultire in Traditional Wise-sayings of Assam – R R Bhagowati and M Neog
Rediscovering Tapovan Basmati – U S Singh, Neelam Singh, and R K Singh
Mushika Kunapa – Valmiki Sreenivasa Ayangarya
Application of Gunapajalam(kunapajala) as a Liquid Bio-Fertilizer in Organic Farms – R S Narayanan
Cowper:An organic fungicidal paste – Valmiki Sreenivasa Ayangarya
No. 3, July-September 2006
Indian Pulses through the Millennia – Y.L. Nene


Northeast India is a lesser known and poorly represented area for archaeological research. The prehistoric Neolithic culture of Northeast India is examined here in relation to the early plant and animal domestication processes. The presence of various domestic varieties of flora and fauna with their wild counterparts suggests a correlation with their possible early domestication process. Rice, the staple food of the people of Northeast India, is cultivated in different ecosystems and processes in different areas with primitive technological strategies. The lowland rice cultivation system and its various steps is examined ethnographically to understand the early domestication and agricultural systems, and finally, to bring out the potential of the area for archaeological research.

Understanding the Process of Plant and Animal Domestication in Northeast India : A Hypothetical Approach – Manjil Hazarika


The traditional Indian Lifestyles are well acquainted with herbal medicines. One of the significant features of local health practices is that they use locally available and quite often readily accessible resources. Plant sources form the majority of these resources. In this context, the project "Indigenous knowledge of rural women for health security" was envisaged. The data was collected from rural women and local folk healers of seven agroclimatic zones of Andhra Pradesh, India with the help of a structured schedule by using techniques like focus group discussions and other participatory techniques. The information collected was scientifically validated with the help of experts and scientific literature. This paper presents the indigenous knowledge of rural women on plant-based medicinal practices used for different respiratory disorders, i.e., name of the plant in different languages, the part of the plant used, properties, dosage, and method of preparation.

Indigenous Knowledge of Rural Women on Plant-based Medicinal Practices for Respiratory Disorders – A Mary Swarnalatha and Mangasri


The state of Kashmir in North India has a rich written source material in the form of translated books and treatises about its past history dating back to more than 2000 BC and as such many references about vegetables as sustainable food items and their cultural practices are very well documented. Some wild herbs upon which Kashmiri saints used to live and sustain in this hilly terrain during harsh winter are often referred in local parlays. Over 70 different types of vegetables are cultivated in Kashmir. It also abounds in many other edible seasonal herbs growing wildly. Art of vegetable growing around water bodies, swamps, and in floating gardens perfected over centuries with a cropping intensity of over 600 percent without use of any inorganic input continues to provide different vegetables free from toxic residues. Hack, the king of green leafy vegetables, rules every kitchen even now. Hak (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) and wustahak (Atriplex sativa) seeds are in great demand from places outside the state wherever a Kashmiri has settled in the recent past. Shallot (pran) has a unique place in famous wazwan for imparting fragrance and aroma to non-vegetarian dishes in particular. Vegetable seed production technology especially of cole crops including cauliflower cv. Snowball-16 has been perfected with the passage of time since World War 1. Indigenous methods of raising cucurbit seedlings indoors in pokhur (mud pot) and planting outside in field for an early crop, use of night soil as manure for bumper yields, and cultivation of nadur (Nelumbo nucifera) in shallow waters of lakes for commerce are in itself innovative. Sundrying of different vegetables, storing tuber and root vegetables in underground trenches, and vegetable pickle-making are by far the real answer to face and sustain life during prolonged severe winters in mountain and hilly areas.

Olericulture in Ancient Kashmir – B L Puttoo


Today, man has become more health conscious and as resources are becoming scarce, he has left no stone unturned to derive the best from nature. Mushrooms provide the natural way to good health and in a place like Assam in India, with maximum biodiversity, there is no dearth of such fungi. Many of these wild mushrooms are edible; some are mild to deadly poisonous. With the indigenous culture and knowledge of the natives to identify the edible ones by traditional methods, mushrooms have become a lucrative food item for them. Thus, a good number of potential mushroom species have been exploited from nature, till date and have been in use since ages by the tribal communities of Assam.

Unconventional Food Item of Assam - The Mushroom – T R Borah and Robin Gogoi
The Origin of Soma - Another Theory – A B Damania
Tepor-tenga - A Fruit with Rich Food and Medicinal Value – M Neog, R R Bhagowati, S Saikia and N N Begum
Shifting Cultivation in Hilly Areas of Manipur – M. Sumarjit Singh, Edwin Luikham, M. Kunjaraj Singh and N Ram Singh
Nipping of Pea - An Indigenous Agrotechnique in Manipur – M Sumarjit Singh, A K Kumar Singh and Kh. Sophia Devi
No. 4, October-December 2006


The disappearance of ethnic traditions, beliefs, rituals, and culture and the crop and other plant life associated with the same has been the focus of several international conferences in recent years, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity. Examples of maintenance of agrobiodiversity through cultivation of landraces and the continued utilization of traditional cultural practices by some of the farming and tribal communities, particularly of South Asia , has been presented and discussed. Farming community-based conservation of biodiversity includes buffer-zone protection of parks and reserves and the use of natural resources. Community-based conservation shifts the focus from center-driven activities to the people who bear the costs. What is most needed is recognition of a neglected set of participants in this endeavor and the acknowledgment by a more economically favored urban community of the rural contribution to conservation of biodiversity.

Tribal Communities in India Practice Biodiversity ConservationThrough Indigenous Innovations of their Farming Systems - A B Damania


In This study, indigenous crop storage practices were documented in two districts ofthe Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, viz., Kangra and Una. Participatory rural appraisal techniques like observation, focused group discussion, and interview were used to collect information from 120 farmwomen belonging to twelve villages on storage of local crop and its seed. It was observed that most of the indigenous storage practices were based on locally available plants (such as Vitex negundo, Murraya koenigii, and Lantana camara) and materials like ash or sand. As per the opinion of the experts and available literature, some of the practices were found to have scientific rationale for recommendation and were environmental friendly.

Indigenous Crop Storage Practices Prevalent Among Rural People for Food Security in Himachal Pradesh - Promila Kanwar and Neetu Sharma


In India , the use of different parts of several medicinal plants to cure specific ailments has been practiced since ancient times. The indigenous systems of medicine – Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani – have been in existence for several centuries. However, such knowledge of medicinal plants is not confined to doctors alone, but is commonly known in several households. This is borne out by the fact that there exist innumerable traditional village-based carriers of herbal medicine traditions in the form of traditional birth attendants, visha vaidyas (doctors treating cases of poisoning), bone-setters, herbal healers, and wandering monks and hakims. Apart from these specialized carriers, almost every family in India has an elder who is a veritable repository of traditional knowledge of herbal home remedies and of food and nutrition. Traditional knowledge not only utilizes spices and condiments, but also a wide range of locally available plants and plant products. The present study was conducted in the Haveri district of Karnataka state in India . Data were collected in two stages: (a) documentation of the remedies, and (b) study of the awareness and usage of the documented remedies. Remedies were documented for three common ailments – cold, cough, and fever – and were validated through books and research papers.

Taditional Knowledge for Rural.Health Security - Shobha Nagnur,Geeta Channal, and R A Bharathi


Ancient literature and cultural evidences clearly establish the fact that saffron has been growing in Kashmir since over 5,000 years, much before its documented cultivation in Spain by the Arabs around 961 AD. In India , it is known by many names – kesar, kong, kumkuma, zafran, etc. The use and prominence of saffron in ancient Indian customs, rituals, and religious traditions has been revealed through the translations of ancient manuscripts painstakingly executed by the Asian Agri-History Foundation (AAHF). This article outlines the ecological relations of the saffron plant, myths prevalent in the olden days, important areas of cultivation, botanical description, cultivation practices, art of picking flowers and extraction of stigmas of commerce prevalent during the past and the present, grade specifications, and chemical constituents. The pharmaceutical, culinary, and other uses of dry saffron are discussed. The article also highlights the keyposters offers over 50000 movie posters to customers. go to online shopping to get happy! get top online casino information. view the web hosting reviews to list! computer slow registry cleaner to fast it! current selection of the most popular online casino review! (i) successful experimental cultivation of saffron in other hill states of India in the past; (ii) causes of decline in productivity over the last three decades in Kashmir; (iii) incidence of dry rot (in saffron corms), fungi, nematodes, and mites encountered in saffron fields; (iv) problems faced by saffron growers; and (v) government efforts to mitigate the problems.

Saffron - The Golden Condiment of India - B L Puttoo
Kunapajala-A Liquid Organuc Nanure of Antiquity – Y.L. Nene
Bamboo - A Friend of the Poor - Promila Kanwar and Anju Rekha
Practice of Medicine in Ramayana Age - Suman Singh and Seema Dwivedi
Shukta-griha Kunapajala - Valmiki Sreenivasa Ayangarya
Ayurveda will Survive till Bharat Breathes - Ashok K Tiwari
Book Review: Organic Rice Cultivation - Y L Nene
ASIAN Agri-History

The opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily of the Asian Agri-History Foundation (AAHF). The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this journal do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of AAHF concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city, or area...

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Asian Agri-History Foundation (AAHF)
College of Agriculture
GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar-263145
U S Nagar, Uttarakhand, INDIA

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