S. K. M. BASHA*, E. RAJYALAKSHMI, P. UMA MAHESHWARI drskmbasha@gmail. com, swathisayani@yahoo. co. in, mahepm@yahoo. com Assocate Professor and Research scholars, NBKR Medicinal Plant Research Centre, Vidyanagar – 524413, SPSR Nellore Dist, Andhra Pradesh, India. Key words – Ayurveda – Astavarga – Orchids Ayurveda is one of the ancient system of medicine practiced through out the world since time immemorial. “Materia Medica” dealing with Ayurveda assigned many medicinal properties to Astavarga.
. The present communication aims at the significance of orchids in Astavarga which is helpful in their Identification, Culturing and Conservation. Asta means Eight and Varga means Group i. e. “a group of eight medicinal herbs” used by Chayavan Rishi in the preparation of medicine for Vitality Strengthening and Rejuvenating process. These drugs have Jeevaniya and Vayasthapana properties comparable to nutritive, anti-aging and anti-oxidant properties of the Modern Pharmacology. The Sanskrit names of these plants are Jeevaka Rishbaka, Riddhi, Vriddhi, Meda, Mahameda, Kakoli and Kshira–kakoli..
Among these eight plants Jeevaka, Rishbaka, Riddhi and Vriddhi belong to Orchidaceae family . Four plants, i. e. 50% of Astavarga include only Orchids.
Jeevaka-Malaxis acuminta D. Don syn Rishbaka-Malaxis muscifera Ridley Riddhi-Habenaria intermedia Vriddhi-Habenaria edgeworthii Four species including two genera of orchids namely Malaxis and Habenaria form the astavarga which helps in making an excellent drug called Chayavan Prasha to restore health immediately and strengthen the immunity system of the body. Orchids are among the most highly prized ornamental plants along with medicinal values.
They grow in High altitudes ranging from 600m to 4000m along with shrubberies and grass slopes. There are several reasons for the drastic decline of Astavarga Orchid Population like changes in Natural habitat, temperature, forest fire, cutting at immature seed stage for animal feed etc. Hence there is a need for both in-situ and in-vitro cultivation and propagation of these medicinal orchids.
The research needs have been presented to carry forward the botanical, phytochemical and pharmacological work on these plants. It may help in reviving the astavarga therapy for the benefit of mankind.