Some three week back while inspecting the Chikoo plants (I have five of them) I found that the new leafs have been ravaged by pests. I tried locating them but could not find them. As usual I clicked some pictures with my mobile and sent it to my horticulturist friend. He wrote back saying that the plants have been attacked by nocturnal pests and suggested names of the pesticides which could save them.
Interestingly I had found tiny nests on two of the shoulder-high plants. If I followed his advice it would surely save the plants but harm the inhabitants of the nest. Realising the likely loss of birds I abandoned the idea.
My belief that if Nature has afflicted a plant with a malady it should have a cure for it too. In fact, the human species have found cures to scores of ailments in Nature or plant kingdom. Initially it was Ayurveda and now Western science has validated this belief. I zeroed on three things: Neem leaves, garlic pods and cow urine.
- Neem elaborates a vast array of biologically active compounds that are chemically diverse and structurally complex. More than 140 compounds have been isolated from different parts of neem. All parts of the neem tree- leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots and bark have been used traditionally for the treatment of inflammation, infections, fever, skin diseases and dental disorders. Neem leaf and its constituents have been demonstrated to exhibit immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antihyperglycaemic, antiulcer, antimalarial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic properties. In Sanskrit Neem is called “sarva roga nivarini”, meaning ‘the curer of all ailments’. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approves Neem extracts for use on food crops. It has been proven in various research studies that Neem is non-toxic to birds, beneficial insects or humans and protects crops from over 200 of the most costly pests.
- Garlic is absolutely essential to boost your natural immunity (why not plants?). After all, your immune system is responsible for crushing biological threats before it turns into a manifested form of sickness. Rich in vitamin C and potassium, garlic aid your digestive processes. Washington State University has confirmed that garlic is actually more effective than pharmaceutical antibiotics in fighting the highly common bacteria known as campylobacter bacterium. This bacteria currently infects around 2.4 million Americans per year with stomach-related illnesses. Garlic has the ability to fight off cancer both effectively and without any side effects. This is believed to be due to the fact that garlic enhances the production of what is known as hydrogen sulfide. This increased production is thought by scientists to be effective in preventing the development of cancer — particularly prostate, breast, and colon cancer. (Well, if it can fight cancer, it surely can kill the nocturnal pests). Containing multiple sulfur-containing compounds, garlic is able to stimulate liver enzymes responsible for removing toxins from the body.
- Cow (Bos indicus) urine/gomutra has been elaborately explained in Ayurveda and described in “Sushruta Samhita”, “Ashtanga Sangraha” and other Ayurvedic texts as an effective medicinal substance/secretion of animal origin with innumerable therapeutic properties. Gomutra is called “Sanjivani” and “Amrita” in Ayurveda. In addition, it has applications as a biopesticide in organic farming along with cow dung, cow’s milk and other herbal ingredients. Cow urine has been granted US Patents (No. 6,896,907 and 6,410,059) for its medicinal properties, particularly as a bioenhancer and as an antibiotic, antifungal and anticancer agent. With regard to the latter, it has been observed to increase the potency of “Taxol” (paclitaxel) against MCF-7, a human breast cancer cell line, in in vitro assays (US Patent No. 6,410,059).
Two weeks have passed since the concoction (of neem leaf and garlic extract diluted with cow urine) was sprayed on the five Chikoo plants. This Sunday when I checked the plants I found new leaves emerging. The plants were back in health, and yes the nests are still intact. I found tiny eggs too.
The moral of the story: If Nature has given a malady it surely has a cure too. You just need to find it.
If neem and garlic can be beneficial to human beings why not plants?