NEW DELHI: Uttarakhand will soon begin a Rs. 25 crore search in the Himalayas for the herb Sanjeevani Booti, the state’s minister for alternative medicine said. The mythical plant is credited in the ancient Hindu text Ramayana with restoring life to Lord Rama’s brother, Lakshman.
“We have set an initial budget of 250 million rupees ($37 million) for the project,” Surendra Singh Negi, the state’s minister for alternative medicine, told AFP.
India’s 5,000-year-old medicine system Ayurveda uses herbs to cure ailments and has seen a revival under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. However, Negi told AFP the central government had refused to fund the project. It is the the state of Uttarakhand which will bear the expenses.
“We have to try and it will never go to waste. If we are determined we will certainly find it,” the minister said.
Negi also said scientists would start work in August, and that the search would focus on the Dronagiri range of Himalayas near the Chinese border. The Ramayana mentions one of the mountains in the range as being the site where the magical herb grows.
However, while many wild plants with medicinal properties grow in the Himalayas, there is scant evidence that the plant ever existed. Sages and modern researchers have failed for centuries to find it.
Ancient texts say the plant has life-restoring properties, grows in the high mountains of the Himalayas and glows in the dark.
According to the Ramayana, Lord Hanuman was tasked by Lord Rama with fetching the herb after a healer said it would cure his dying brother Laxman.
But Lord Hanuman failed to identify the plant, instead uprooting the entire mountain and carrying it thousands of miles to treat the mortally injured prince during a war with demons in what is now Sri Lanka.