Traditional knowledge of Vedic grasses - Their significance and medicinal uses

CDTK 2023 Special Issue


  • Raghava Boddupalli Retired Scientist



Grasses, Vedas, Ritual, Medicinal, Traditional knowledge


Grasses have originated and evolved even before origin of human beings. The grass species are revealed in the Vedic texts with a specific purpose. From the Vedic age, grasses are upheld to be the most sacred as they have been used for different purposes in various rituals. These grasses are used in various sacraments and also used as medicinal herbs that are detailed in the Veda Saṃhitas, Brāhmaṇās, Āraṇyakas, Upaniṣhads, Epics, Purāṇas and also in later Sanskrit texts. The darbha grass or the sacrificial grass is used to spread the Yajñavēdi (Yajña altar), to make a seat, used as amulets or charms, for sacred ceremonies and so on. The grasses revealed in the Vedic texts can be classified into wild grasses, cereal and millet crops. Grasses play a major role in the life and development of mankind. The cereal and millet crops revealed in the Vedic texts are still being cultivated by our farmers for the utilization by mankind and cattle on day to day basis as food and fodder, respectively. The grass, ikṣu, sugarcane is used to produce sugar and ethanol. They occupy a significant position in many traditional medicines including Ayurveda. There are several potential grasses that produce grass oil which are used in Indian medical systems. The present article elucidates the descriptions of these grasses, their ritualistic and medicinal significances as revealed in the Vedic texts are discussed.