Barberyn Ayurveda Resorts and their Institute of Ayurveda and Alternative Medicine, in conjunction with the University of Ruhuna, Department of Botany, initiated the preparation of this ‘Ayurvedic Medicinal Plant Website’, containing details of the most commonly used Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants of Sri Lanka to disseminate information to the Ayurveda medical profession, the academia, students of Ayurveda and Botany, and the general public.
This is the first attempt to collate information on the precious Ayurvedic plants that grow in the diverse ecological environment of Sri Lanka. The catalogue covers medicinal plants used in all of the traditional medicine systems in Sri Lanka including Siddha, Unani and the traditional medicine systems that have been integrated with Ayurveda.
The website provides an opportunity to the relevant medical practitioners to correctly identify the plants used in the preparation of medicine. It will also raise awareness of the medicinal value and encourage the public to value and protect the plants, and ensure their continuity through propagation and careful management. This database will also assist in the conservation of bio-diversity of medicinal plants of Sri Lanka
The website is part of Barberyn’s on-going initiatives to preserve the medicinal plants that are the foundation of Ayurveda medicine. At Barberyn, we ourselves grow medicinal plants in several locations.
The information contained herein is work in progress and, as of March 1, 2013, lists 1373 plants. The data will be continuously updated with information and images compiled by the project team that is engaged in research and identification of plants from all over Sri Lanka, investigating the taxonomy, the Ayurveda usage and photos of all the plants.
- The extensive grounds of Barberyn Ayurveda Resorts – in the intermediate zone.
- Didduwa riverine island - in the wet zone.
- Batukandakale - in the wet zone
A search function is available for the following fields:
We welcome you to this exciting new project and we’ll continue to learn and share ideas about the amazing botanical treasures we have on this island.
Special thanks go to the core project team:
- Professor L.P. Jayatissa, Chief Consultant in Botanical aspects, Department of Botany, University of Ruhuna, Matara;
- Mr. Dilipa Narada Sripal, Assistant taxonomist, Department of Botany, University of Ruhuna, Matara;
- Dr Mangala Kumara, Ayurveda Physician – researcher – Lecturer, Institute of Ayurveda and Alliterative Medicine by Barberyn;
- Ms Kumarini Pathmanaban, Consultant on Botany, Barberyn Ayurveda Resort; project coordinator
The project has been a labor of love amongst a group of like-minded people with a deep interest in Ayurveda and Botany who saw the need and the opportunity to work together to preserve and nurture the medicinal plants that have been growing so abundantly in Sri Lanka, and are now threatened for various reasons.
The steps in preparing the website involved the following tasks:
1. Make a list of medicinal plants
2. Giving medicinal plants a “status”
- Choosing the most commonly used medicinal plants of Sri Lanka, and finding their scientific names, the families they belong to, and their common English names along with their Sinhala names from various books and databases.
- Finding the English names was a very time consuming task as most plants did not have English names designated to them, or they were not readily available in the standard texts.
- This will be an on-going project for a considerable time.
- The list of plants was arranged in alphabetical order according to the family names they belong to.
3. Checking the edible nature of plants
- Next step was to give these plants a ‘status’, [i.e., endemic, native, naturalized exotic, only under cultivation] for each species.
- For this purpose, the information on flowering plants in Sri Lanka had to be checked with great care.
4. Taking photographs of medicinal plants
- On completion of the above, we checked on the edible nature [or species with edible parts] of each species of these medicinal plants.
- As there is no written literature to get this information, Professor Jayatissa from Ruhuna University based it on his knowledge of ‘ethno botany’ in Sri Lanka to achieve this task.
5. Writing the botanical description
- Our main objective for this task was to show the key features in each plant which are used in the identification of any particular ‘species’ of plants, bearing in mind to show the artistic value of the photographs in relation to the natural beauty of the plants.
- Priority had to be given to the ‘habit’ of each plant by which we mean the nature of the whole plant.
- Concentrating on this fact meant that we needed to take photographs of the three most taxonomically important features of each species which are:
- The nature of the plants
- The flowers
- The fruits
- This involved taking about fifteen photographs for each species of which three good ones can be chosen to satisfy each of the above.
- A thorough knowledge of the plants and their natural habitat and their flowering seasons was required for this task as they are found in different parts of the country, their flowering seasons are varied and plants are recognized by people by different ‘Common Sinhala names’ according to the geographical areas where they are found.
6. Writing down the Ayurveda Usage
- For each plant, several publications had to be referred to, and more specifically, the key features described had to compare with the photographs to ensure accuracy of our research.
- The key objective for this task was to take great care in matching the photographs according to the morphology of the plant thereby making sure the correct scientific name was the equivalent for that particular English name and the Sinhala name of the same plant.
7. Construction of the database and website
- This information was researched by the team of Ayurveda Doctors working at Barberyn’s Institute of Ayurveda and Alternative Medicine. The knowledge of these university trained physicians gained was supplemented by traditional physicians who have each worked in this field for over 50 years and continue to support the project.
- The Ayurveda usage and the parts of plants used in medication have been documented alongside the morphological descriptions of the plants in the web.
- The completed website is the first of its kind to be produced in Sri Lanka and is bound to have infinite number of uses in different fields, including botanical value, preservation of bio-diversity and eco-systems, and in teaching and practicing Ayurveda medicine.
We’re hoping this will be a valuable resource for Ayurveda practitioners, academics and people interested in health from all around the world.
Our special thanks go to:
- Mrs K.S. S. Sugathadasa, Consultant in Botanical aspects and scientist (pharmacognosy), Bandaranayake Memorial Ayurveda Research Institute, Navinna, Maharagama, for her kind help in preparation of the list of medicinal pants.
- Dr P.M. Chandrasiri, Consultant Physician Barberyn Ayurveda Resorts.
- Physicians of Barberyn’s Institute of Ayurveda and Alternative Medicine and the physicians of Barberyn Ayurveda Resorts who worked on this project for several years. In particular Dr Athma Karunathilake, Dr Sudharma Umayangani, Dr Chathuranga Ranasinghe and Dr Sanjeevani and Dr Indaka
- Assoc. Professor Piyal A. Marasinghe, Scientific Officer in charge, Medicinal plant garden, Haldummulla for his cooperation in providing information on medicinal plants
- The internet team comprising of Dr Andreas Koestler for his guidance and input in structuring and preparing the website, to Keerati and Natty Thantasuwat for their expertise and implementation, and Pradeep Wijayapala for his technical support.