Barberyn Ayurveda Resorts and their Institute of Ayurveda and Alternative Medicine, in conjunction with the University of Ruhuna, Department of Botany, initiated the ‘Ayurveda Medicinal Plant Website’ which describes in detail the most commonly used Medicinal Plants of Sri Lanka used in the practice of Ayurveda . The main purpose of this was to disseminate information to the Ayurveda medical profession, the academia, students of Ayurveda / Botany/Biology, and the public in general.
This has been the first attempt made 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 medical systems in Sri Lanka including Siddha, Unani and those others which 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. No doubt it will also raise awareness of their medicinal value, and thereby encourage the public to protect the plants, thus ensuring their continuity through propagation and careful management. This database will also assist in numerous ways, the conservation of bio-diversity of medicinal plants not only in Sri Lanka but also on a global scale.
The website is part of Barberyn’s on-going initiatives to preserve the medicinal plants that form the foundation for Ayurveda medicine. In line with this objective, we at Barberyn grow medicinal plants in several locations throughout Sri Lanka, some of which are listed below:
The information contained herein is work in progress and, as of 11th May, 2017, lists 1344 plants in total. The data is updated continuously with information and images compiled by the project team that is engaged in research and identification of plants from all over Sri Lanka, investigation into their taxonomy, documentation of their Ayurveda usages and in compilation of photos of 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 project and we hope to continue to learn and share ideas and knowledge about the amazing botanical treasures we have on this island.
The initial project team comprised of:
Professor L.P. Jayatissa, Chief Consultant in Botanical Aspects, Senior Professor, Department of Botany, University of Ruhuna, Matara and Consultant to Barberyn Ayurveda Resorts, Mr. Dilipa Narada Sripal, Assistant Taxonomist, Department of Botany, University of Ruhuna, Matara; Dr Mangala Kumara, Ayurveda Physician – Researcher – Lecturer, Institute of Ayurveda and Alternative Medicine by Barberyn; Ms Kumarini Samarasuriya, Consultant on Botany, Barberyn Ayurveda Resort; Project Coordinator.
While Professor Jayatissa continues to provide the main botanical input and Kumarini coordinates the project, the physicians and researches of Barberyn and its Institute of Ayurveda and Alternative Medicine continue with the on going research, particularly the Ayurveda aspects of the project. The Barberyn web team which developed the web site maintain it. The project also benefits from the on going direction and support of Mr Manick Rodrigo, Managing Director and Geetha Karandawala, Director, of Barberyn and the IAAM. The entire cost of the project is borne by Barberyn.
The project is a labour 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 thriving abundantly in Sri Lanka, but are now deemed to be threatened for various reasons.
The steps in preparing the website involved the following tasks:
1. Making 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 (local) 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.
- Keeping up with changes as this will be an on-going project evolving with time.
- Arranging the list of plants in alphabetical order according to the families they belong to.
3. Checking the edible nature of plants
- Giving each species of plants a ‘status’, [i.e., endemic, native, naturalized exotic, only under cultivation]
- Checking with great care, the information already available on medicinal plants in Sri Lanka.
4. Taking photographs of medicinal plants
- On completion of the above, we checked on the edible nature [or species with edible parts] for each species of these plants.
- Senior Professor L.P. Jayatissa from the Department of Botany, University of Ruhuna, based it on his knowledge of ‘ethnobotany’ in Sri Lanka. The project team also contributed their empirical knowledge.
5. Writing the botanical description
- Our main objective for this task was to show the key features of 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 showing three of the taxonomically most important features pertaining to each species; these being:
- The nature of the plants
- The flowers
- The fruits
- This involved taking around fifteen photographs for each species of which three of the best can be chosen to satisfy each of the above criteria.
- • A thorough knowledge of these plants with regard to their natural habitat and their flowering seasons was required for this task as they are found in various parts of the country and their flowering patterns vary considerably. Another important fact is that, plants are identified by people by different ‘Common Sinhala names’ (common local names)according to the geographical locations where they are found growing naturally.
6. Writing down the Ayurveda Usage
- In order to ensure the accuracy of our research, several publications had to be referred to in respect of each individual plant. More specifically, the key features described had to compare well with the photographs taken for each plant respectively.
- 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 designated was the equivalent for that particular plant's English name and the Sinhala (local) name.
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 professionals was supplemented by traditional physicians each of whom has worked in this field for over fifty years and continue to support this project.
- The Ayurveda usage and the parts of plants used in medication have been documented alongside the morphological descriptions of the plants in the website.
- This 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, not only for its botanical value, but also in preservation of bio-diversity and eco-systems, and in the teaching and practicing Ayurveda medicine.
The website has been constructed and is managed by Ayurveda Resorts of Barberyn.
We’re hoping this will be a valuable resource for Ayurveda practitioners, academics and people interested in health as well as eco conservation from 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 Sanjeevani and Dr. Indaka and Dr Dahanayake respectively. Dr Chaturanga Ranasingha physician and researcher at IAAM currently works full time on the project.
- • Assoc. Professor Piyal A. Marasinghe, Formerly Scientific Officer in Charge of the Medicinal Plant Research institute., Haldummulla for his on going contribution 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 Tunthasuwatana and Natty Mendhaka for their expertise and implementation, and Pradeep Wijayapala for his technical support