Pollution in the country, particularly in most of the metropolitan cities has, in recent years, assumed alarming proportions. According to a WHO report, over two million premature deaths occur in India annually due to air pollution. Water and soil pollution compound the problem, accounting for a whopping share of casualties.
Ayurveda details about various plants and measures in combating environmental impurities and sanitizing the environment. The ubiquitous and sacred Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum L.) plays a vital role in absorbing pollutants. Neem (Azadirachta indica A.Juss.) leaves boiled in water have detoxification properties beneficial for skin and hair. Turmeric having an anti-inflammatory property protects lungs from the toxic effects of pollutants. Haritaki (Terminalia chebula Retz.) and ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) too are beneficial for respiratory ailments. Triphala, with honey, reinforces immunity, restoring balance to the system. The herb Pippali (Piper longum L.), with honey, purifies lungs and facilitates easy breathing. Likewise, the smoke emitted from burning drugs like Laksha (Laccifer lacca), Haridra (Curcma longa L.), Ativisha (Aconitum heterophyllum Wall) and Haritaki is known to purify toxic air. Shobhanjan mooladi agad may be used for treating those affected by such pollution. Incidentally, in the past, many of these Ayurvedic drugs were part of grandmother’s vast repertoire of home remedies that fortified households against various ailments.