Learning about herbs through touch and smell

Chennai: Just one touch or the aroma of the herbs was enough. Whether it was curry leaves, betel leaves, omavalli, aloe vera or tulasi, a group of visually challenged students got their answers right.

Along with it, they learned the benefits of the common herbal plants.

In an effort to allow visually challenged students to learn the benefits of common herbs, Parampara, an organisation that is involved in creating awareness on traditional practices, conducted an awareness programme on July 25; 2019.

A group of visually challenged college students, who reside in a hostel of Lotus Blind Welfare Trust of India, learned about the common aromatic herbal plants by touching, smelling and even tasting about 12 to 13 of them. It was for the first time that G. Thamizharasi, who is pursuing B.Ed, came across a plant without leaves. “I have not heard of the plant ‘Somavalli’ until now. It has no leaves, and I touched it for the first time. Learning about these herbs and its health benefits was very useful,” she said.

Isai Deepa D, a final year B.A. English Literature student, has ‘Tulasi’ leaves for cold. “Today, I learned to identify ‘thippili’ leaves by touching and eating,” she said. C. Chitra, project head, BVKP Farm of the organisation, said the aim of the workshop was to take the benefits of the herbs to the visually challenged students and help them recognise the plants. The organisation has a farm in Guduvancheri where plants are grown without using chemicals.

M.V. Viswanathan, scientific advisor, Parampara, explained the health benefits of each herb to the students. ‘Pirandai’ resembled the hand, has calcium and is good for the bones, curry leaves are good for the eyes and brain, betel leaves help in digestion, aloe vera for skin, digestion and blood purification and ‘thiruneetru pachilai’ for cough, he said.

When the students requested them for herbal plants to grow on the hostel terrace, Roopa V, coordinator, Parampara, said that medicinal plants needed both shade and sun to grow.

Source: www.hindu.com

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