In Hinduism all living things are considered sacred in a way. But there are certain plants that have a significant importance in Hinduism. Some of these plants have a lot of medicinal values and that’s why they were given religious important so that people would save them and take care of them. Others have gained importance because of being linked to a god or goddess in Hindu mythology. Here are just a few plants that are religiously important to Hindus.
The most common example of a sacred plant in Hinduism is the Tulsi. It is a form of Basil and is sometimes called the Holy Basil. It is very important in Hindu mythology as the goddess consort of Lord Vishnu. There is a complete festival in which Tulsi is married to Lord Vishnu which also proclaims the start of the marriage season. Apart from being a goddess, Tulsi is also important because of its amazing medicinal properties. It can be used to cure insect bites, gout, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, bronchitis, coughs, sinusitis, flatulence, nausea, cramps, colds, fever, flu and other infectious diseases.
The Peepal tree is another highly significant tree in Hinduism. It is also called the Sacred Fig or the Bodhi Tree. It was a peepal tree under which Buddha had meditated and gained enlightenment. It is considered the king of the trees in Hinduism and is obviously very important in Buddhism too. It is also very useful in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It can be used to treat asthma, diabetes, diarrhea, epilepsy, gastric problems, inflammation, infections and sexual disorders. It is also very good for Jaundice.
Banyan tree is the third most significant plant in Hindu religion. There is usually a temple or shrine below every banyan tree. Or you’ll find banyan trees near temples. The tree is worshipped on its own too. It is said to be the abode of Lord Krishna as he mentions the banyan tree in the Gita. It was also important because it provided a large area of shade to weary travelers and villagers in the summers of India. It is so significant that it is also the national tree of India. The name “Banyan” comes from the Gujarati word “Baniya” for merchants who would trade with the Portuguese under the shade of these trees.
3. Ashoka Tree:
The Ashoka tree is a small evergreen rain-forest tree that has beautiful and fragrant red and yellow flowers. It is considered to be a sacred tree in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The tree used to be a centre piece in every palatial garden in India. Also a lot of temples and Buddhist monasteries have the symbol of the Yakshi, a female deity standing with her foot on the trunk and her hand holding the branch of an Ashoka tree. It is found naturally in Central and Easter Himalayas and in the Western Ghats.
2. Parijaat Tree, Kintoor:
This is a unique addition in this list as the Parijaat tree is not the name of a whole species but one specific tree in Kintoor in Uttar Pradesh. It is a unique male tree of the baobab genus. These trees are found in some arid parts of Africa and Australia and are very rare unique and antique trees. The one in Kintoor is believed to be 1000 to 5000 years old, which is possible for a baobab tree. It is related to Mahabharata as it is said to have been brought from heaven by either Arjun or Krishna and is said to be growing out of Kunti’s ashes. It is also considered to be a Kalpavriksha or wish fulfilling tree and many people visit it every year.
The Sandalwood is another plant that is considered holy and is used in worship rituals all over India. It is related to Lord Dharukavaneshwara. The tree itself is not worshipped but its wood, which is very fragrant, is used in worship which gives it a lot of religious significance. The wood is turned into a paste and then used to decorate the idols and mark foreheads of the devotees.