The Telegraph
Wednesday , February 20 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Herbal garden stroll for healthy living

Health freaks in the city can now learn yoga from experts while taking a stroll in the garden of Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences by availing of a package offered by the hospital.

Launched a fortnight back, the health package has already found 20 takers. They are allowed to walk in the garden of the health hub, which has more than 135 kinds of medicinal plants such as neem, bhringraj and asafoetida in the morning, and can learn yoga and pranayam from experts.

“Taking a walk in a herbal garden is like taking a walk in any other garden,” Dr Arun Kumar, director, IGIMS, told The Telegraph. “But the reason for starting the package is to let people know about different herbs and plants and their medicinal values.”

He added: “In our garden, every tree and plant is identified by boards with their local and botanical names. Information about the medicinal values of the plants has also been provided. Those who come for a morning stroll or to learn yoga would see the herbal plants and learn about their properties.” At present, visitors to the garden do not have to pay anything.

“But we plan to charge a nominal fee shortly. The yoga instructor, Mathura Prasad, wants to provide voluntary service but we have planned to give him an honorarium. So, after a few days, those who avail of the service would be charged a nominal fee.”

Asked about the benefits of herbal medicine, he said: “People mostly depend on allopathic medicines nowadays. I, too, am a student of allopathy. But I believe that herbal medicines can be used to treat a number of ailments. The best part of herbal medicines is that they are inexpensive.”

He added that extracts of herbal plants would soon be used to treat patients at the IGIMS.

Kumar said: “There is a need to generate more awareness about herbal plants and their usage. At IGIMS, we are planning to use medicinal plants to treat our patients. We would also conduct clinical trials with the herbal extracts. Patients would be given the extracts and improvements in their condition would be noted.”

Sources said former BJP state president Dr C.P. Thakur visited the garden and was so impressed that he promised Rs 10 lakh to develop it. “The money would be used to carry our levelling work,” said a source.