HERBS OF THE HIMALAYAS
The market for herbal, fruit flavored and decaffeinated teas has been growing since the 1900s. (Hicks, 1998).
The largest market share for these products exists in the Asia Pacific area. India contributes to this market share as one of the major tea producing countries. (MarketWatch, 2019).
India’s advantage? Among other things, it is its rich landscape and unique weather that makes it the perfect place to grow a range of aromatic and fresh herbs. One such landscape that contributes to this would be the Himalayan ranges in Uttarakhand.
- For natural herbal infusions visit The Swinging Leaf – Herbal tea & Herbal Infusion Collection
Here’s a bit of trivia for you based on my research, to understand the area better!
- The Himalayan forest vegetation ranges from tropical dry deciduous forests in the foothills to dry alpine meadows above timberline.
- The climate In Uttarakhand is influenced by monsoon part of rainfall. Average rainfall is known to be 200 cm to 250 cm and about three fourth of this is in July- September during the monsoon season.
- Its soil is mainly sedimentary in nature, along with some low grade metamorphosed and igneous soil (Jeet, Kumar, & Bhatt, 2004)
- The Indian Himalayan region alone supports about 18,440 species of plants (Uttarakhand Forest Department, 2019)
The Herbs and Their Uses
The Himalayas have a diversity of vegetation paralleled by no other and so it comes as no surprise that it is home to a variety of herbs. In a study done in this region, the land was divided into 6 forest types. Of the surplus of herbs here; about 67 of them were analyzed and it was found that across the forest types, there was a herb richness of 82 per 1-meter square (Jeet, Kumar, & Bhatt, 2004).
There is also a great amount of research done on the medicinal properties of some of these herbs- stemming from Ayurvedic practices which are a deeply rooted part of the Indian subcontinent. (Rawat & Vashishtha, 2011)
Some common plants grown are turmeric which is transported and used in large quantities all over the country of India as a spice for our foods. It is also used in teas, in milk as well due to its beneficial properties as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant.
Other widely used plants in Indian cooking are cinnamon, cumin, cardamom and coriander which are also grown in Uttarakhand along with ginger- which also has some incredible benefits medically in addition to being used in food and beverages that are consumed daily. Ginger helps to reduce nausea and aids digestion as well.
Another common herb used is Dill which is used for the treatment of fever and colds, cough, bronchitis, hemorrhoids, infections, spasms, nerve pain, genital ulcers, menstrual cramps, and sleep disorders
There is a special place in Indian houses as well as in Indian cooking for the Indian basil or tulsi. Its unique composition of its essential oil contains eugenol, camphor, flavonoids, nerol, and various terpenes help relieve acne, asthma, inflammation, respiratory issues, and lower your chances of heart diseases
One of the most common herbs used for its great medicinal properties is the aloe Vera. This is a common plant used in food, cosmetics, herbal remedies, etc for constipation, to heal ulcers, wounds, and scars as only some of the few benefits.
Some of the few herbs that are lesser known but used commonly in Ayurveda are Yarrow, Ativisha, Brahmi and the green chiretta.
Yarrow, a herb grown in the Himalayas is ingested or used as essential oils to help with indigestion, stomach cramps, etc. Similar uses are found from the herb, Ativisha which is found in the alpine regions of Uttarakhand. Despite its toxic properties, this plant is considered one of the best medicinal herbs in Ayurveda and is highly effective against digestive problems in children. The green chiretta, which is also used in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages helps with constipation, upset stomach, skin diseases, and even cancer. Brahmi, another herb which is gaining popularity fast all over the world as a wonderful antioxidant.
However, these are just a few of the noteworthy herbs that are a part of the ecosystem in Uttarakhand.
What we do know is that the Himalayas is a mega-diversity of herbs, shrubs, plants, and trees- and India owes the roots of its unique flavors, culture, and livelihood to this very landscape.
Explore our collection of Herbal Infusions – From our Herbal Tea and Herbal Infusion Collection.