Most historians believe Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion, and it is widely practiced in countries around the world. Hindu temple gardens are places of worship, designed to connect people with gods, and the gardens are filled with symbolism that reflects Hindu values. The garden should be informal and cater to your personal serenity goals, spirituality, healing and meditation needs.

In Hinduism, plants and trees have always been significant and revered. In sacred Hindu texts, there are many references signifying growing trees, creating gardens and woodlands. The customary plantings encourage positivity, and are also widely used for medicinal and ornamental purposes. Plants to include in an Ayurvedic Healing Garden are listed here-->

This garden can be valuable not only for meditation and reflection, but it can also accommodate a space for your yoga practice.
Before you sure to visit the specific design plan for a Yoga and Meditation Garden here--->

My attraction to Hindu gardens is based upon my love of bright color pops in a garden and in my favorite Indian artwork. You wouldn't think of lots of color as conducive to meditation and serenity. But serenity is as serenity does... My spirit is brighter in those colorful and artistic spaces. I am also a big fan of Zen and Asian Gardening. I react to the symbolism of the flowers and garden sculptures, as well.

Ideas for creating your Hindu garden

Hindu gardens are not necessarily a religious design statement. Sacred gardens can be designed to reflect your religious beliefs, but many times, the gardens we create reflect our reverence for the ideals or ideas common to the religion, along with our reverence for Mother Nature. Design, thy name is "authenticity". My garden decor contains works of art and sculpture that represent holy beings like angels, Blessed Virgin, St. Francis, Buddha, and other sacred representations. We can be a different religion or no religion at all in relation to our garden's styles. 

Many Zen gardens reflect the religious aspect of Buddhism and Hinduism, but they are designed around the concepts of serenity, peace, goodwill and ethnic art appreciation. Biblical Gardens are not necessarily a religious statement - it's about historical use of sacred, culinary and symbolic plants available and grown in Biblical times. Our spaces reflect our inner selves and interests. Culinary and herbal areas in a garden reflect our food choices and healing practices, and the garden in its entirety usually reflects a design style particular to certain regions and the beliefs or styles that dominate. If I had enough land, I'd grow a United Nations Garden containing "rooms" reflecting the natural beauty of all regions. I love the art of all nations and ethnicities, and they all have a place in my serenity and love of Nature. I am also a shameless foodie and hobby herbalist, so my garden designs usually contain plantings of herbs, spices, and other culinary ingredients.

On to the design ideas.....

Include A Bird and Pollinator Habitat

Hindu gardens often include refuge for birds and other wildlife. Hindu garden designs are based upon the principal that everything in the universe is sacred. You can easily incorporate water features in these habitats - like fountains and birdbaths, bird feeders, chimes and butterfly bushes to create a fragrant buffet for butterflies and birds, and to provide amazing fragrances while you meditate or sit in the garden in the evening. Many garden plants and vines attract hummingbirds, as well. Most flowers and vines with tubular-shaped flowers will attract hummers and butterflies. Trumpet vines, honeysuckle and agastache are the plants that are hummingbird magnets in my gardens. Birds will like the shelter and food, and will probably raise their young in a safe and quiet environment. Daily birdsong and a garden just about bug-free will be the gifts you will receive in return. 

There are solar fountain disks that will float in birdbaths with little spray nozzle attachments available at a reasonable price. Birds love the moving water and sprays. A pot of Milkweed somewhere is not only very pretty, but it  will attract and feed the endangered Monarch Butterfly and larvae. This garden area doesn't need to be large - you can fit this garden into just about any nook.

Symbolism, garden sculptures and ornament

The Buddha
Buddha is revered by Hindus who consider Buddhism to be another form of Hinduism.
There are many artistic representations of Buddha that will fit in well in the Hindu, Zen garden and Japanese Garden desi

Incorporate simple Mandalas 

Use this symbolism as an aid in design or planting, use a small garden flag, or a wall-hanging as part of the garden decor. Your garden's design and backdrop can be created in simple geometric-shaped beds (circles, squares, triangle) that fit together into a simple mandala design that can aid you in meditation.

A mandala is a representation of the cosmos, with the god and his palace at the center.  Hindu temples are 3-dimensional mandalas. They are rectangular enclosures with a sanctuary at the center, a tall structure to represent Mount Meru (the center of the universe). 

A traditional mandala is a geometric configuration of symbols. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. In the Eastern religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Shintoism it is used as a map representing deities, paradises, or actual shrines.  

The mandala generally represents the spiritual journey, starting from outside to the inner core, through layers. In spiritual or religious process, a mandala is a period of approximately 40 days in which time the human system completes one physiological cycle.

In Hinduism, a basic mandala, also called a yantra, takes the form of a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the general shape of a T. Mandalas often have radial balance. "A yantra is similar to a mandala, usually smaller and using a more limited color palette. It may be a two- or three-dimensional geometric composition used in  meditative rituals, and may incorporate a mantra into its design. It is considered to represent the abode of the deity. Each yantra is unique and calls the deity into the presence of the practitioner through the elaborate symbolic geometric designs. According to one scholar, "Yantras function as revelatory symbols of cosmic truths and as instructional charts of the spiritual aspect of human experience" - Wikipedia

Om Symbol
There are many stone and metal garden sculptures available for your garden -  lotus flower, mandalas and om symbols for use in decor and meditation. These can be hung from flowering and fruiting trees or attached to ornamental fences, as well as gateways, pergolas, gazebos and arches. This imagery is helpful if you will be practicing yoga within the garden space.

"OM" is symbolic of the Universe and the ultimate reality. 
It is believed in Hinduism and other religions chiefly of India, that at the dawn of creation, out of emptiness, there first emerged a syllable, Om. It is a sacred syllable that is considered to be the greatest of all the mantras, or sacred formulas. The syllable om is composed of the three sounds a-u-m ( In Sanskrit, the vowels a and u coalesce to become o), which represent several important triads: the three worlds of earth, atmosphere, and heaven; thought, speech, and action; the three qualities of matter (goodness, passion, and darkness); and the three sacred Vedic scriptures (Rigveda, Yajurveda, and Samaveda). Om mystically embodies the essence of the entire universe. It is uttered at the beginning and end of Hindu prayers, chants, and meditation and is also freely used in Buddhist and Jain rituals. Since the 6th century, the written symbol designating the sound has been used to mark the beginning of a text in a manuscript or an inscription.

Meditation Stones, Backless Garden Benches
Include a large stone with a flat surface. Place it where hanging branches of trees or a spot surrounded with fragrant vines will give you a comforting feel of nature, Bamboos and tall plants act as a privacy screen, as you sit on the stone and meditate. These quiet spots help you to relax and become one with nature. Backless folding bamboo branches are wonderful additions as seating areas in a nook, among flowering shrubs, and for those who would rather not sit on the ground.

Rain Chains, Asian-theme hanging Bells and Musical Wind chimes

Solar Lanterns, Lamps and small Warm White String Lights
You can place solar hanging lanterns, light strings and illuminating path lights in your garden. Lamps have always had a importance in Hindu culture. I fill jars with warm white, small solar light strings placed in a bunch, and hanging from tree branches and fencing. It costs nothing to illuminate your serenity areas, and adds a subtle glow and ambience to the garden. Solar lids with hangers are sold in sets for you to turn plain Mason jars into a lovely lantern. They look like jars of fireflies. White solar light strings on dwarf, weeping, ornamental trees looks amazing, especially when the trees are in flower. They can be used on potted dwarf trees, as well. They're cordless and portable.

Use warm white solar lighting. Avoid using color or blue white lights. The bright blue white lights are too glaring and don't emit a soft glow. You want an understated and lovely glow to fit in with the serenity and harmony atmosphere you wish to create. Use a steady glow setting - blinking lights are for Christmas trees, and can annoy, rather than soothe. There's a reason why romantic cafe and restaurant patio gardens have little trees with and plants with white lights that don't blink. Small mason jars filled with little solar light strings can have the slow and subtle twinkle setting if they are hung far apart along a garden walkway or amid mass plantings and aren't too obvious.

Water Features 
Adding a water fountain, birdbaths or a little pond is not only beautiful,  it also attracts wildlife to your retreat and your garden (think birds, bees, butterflies, dragonflies and hummingbirds). You can plant water lilies and water irises in the pond, as well as most reeds and ornamental aquatic plants, along with adding some colorful stone or glass pebbles or gravel. You can make a water pond or a cluster of water features by using a big decorative container or small pond forms as well. There are realistic-looking lotuses on lily pads made from foam that are designed to float in ponds and fountains for those of us who cannot grow the real thing. Lotus is difficult to grow and a pond full of them is high maintenance. They require lots of space, so the pond would have to be big enough to accommodate their spread. There are many realistic and natural-looking solar cascading fountains that appear to be stone, cement, bamboo and clay. Powered by the sun, no wiring or electricity needed. Solar fountain fittings are available as well, with choices of nozzles for type of water spray. Small ones are available for birdbaths, pails and bowls. Large are available for floating in pools and ponds.

Incorporate a small and ornamental Ayurvedic herbal garden
Ayurveda can have positive effects when used as a complementary therapy in combination with standard, conventional medical care. Ayurvedic holistic medical treatment starts with an internal purification process, followed by a special diet, herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga, and meditation. These medicinal and ornamental plants fit perfectly within a Hindu Garden or Herbalist's Garden design. Click here for a list of Ayurvedic plants you can grow in your Hindu Serenity and Meditation Garden.

Sacred and Temple Plants In Hindu Gardens

Hinduism is a nature-loving faith. There are references to gardens in Hindu literature, including lotus-shaped baths and lakes, and creeper pavilions. Stories about Krishna appear to be set in a garden context. Many groves or forests were sacred in ancient India, and they continue to be sacred in modern Hindu worship.

A mandala is a representation of the cosmos, with the god and his palace at the center.  Hindu temples are 3-dimensional mandalas. They are rectangular enclosures with a sanctuary at the center, a tall structure to represent Mount Meru (the centre of the universe). Temples are built in relation to rivers and groves. They are places of pilgrimage, not places meant for congregational worship. Although associated with Buddhism, the mandala is actually Hindu in origin.

Hindu Monastery Garden, Kauai, Hawaii

It is traditional for Hindu temples to cultivate beautiful garden grounds, filled with flowers to be offered in holy ceremony, as well as fruits and even medicinal resources. The surrounding groves, gardens and ponds display hundreds of blossoming trees, exotic tropical flowers, and bamboos soaring to 100 feet. Pilgrims may sit and meditate by the 180-foot-wide natural-rock river pond.

These gardens in Hawaii are filled with plumeria, konrai groves, hibiscus fields, fruit orchids, palm groves, tree ferns, breadfruit, taro, fragrant vines, native species, mosses and ferns, waterfalls, massive banyans and redwood pavilions. Sacred and ayurvedic plants from India and Sri Lanka—bilva, neem, amla, curry leaf, rudraksha, betel, champaka and areca nut—have been brought to the island.

The Kauai monastery features beautiful ponds, waterfalls and secluded marshes, providing refuge for birds, and a habitat for water lilies and sacred lotuses. Tropical flowers include 300 varieties of heliconia and ginger, 250 kinds of ti plants, hundreds of exotic palms, bromeliads and an arid garden with cacti, agaves and desert succulents.

Suggested Plantings for A Hindu Serenity Garden

n Hinduism, Aranyani is a goddess of the forests 
and the animals that dwell within them.

In a hymn, Aranyani Suktam is described as being elusive, fond of quiet glades in the jungle, and fearless of remote places. 

She is asked to explain how she wanders so far from the fringe of civilization without becoming afraid or lonely. She wears anklets with bells, and though seldom seen, she can be heard by the tinkling of her anklets. 

She is also described as a dancer. Her ability to feed both man and animals though she 'tills no lands' is what the supplicant finds most marvelous. 

Aranyani bears resemblance to latter day forest deities in parts of South India.  There is a temple dedicated to her known as the Aranya Devi Temple.

Divine Flowers Representing Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Lord Ganesha – Marigold, Hibiscus
Lord Vishnu – Jasmine
Lord Shiva – Datura
Goddess Kali – Red Hibiscus
Goddess Lakshmi – Sacred Lotus
Goddess Saraswati – Indian Magnolias

If certain plants listed below aren't hardy in your region, feel free to substitute a similar-looking hardy plant, or grow these in containers that can be brought indoors in winter. Bamboo (clumping, not running) is awesome all around the garden for a Zen and Hindu look - and there are so many clumping and well-behaved varieties, they can be planted in-ground and in containers, indoors and outdoors. I have lots of them..... along with my potted jade trees, in all of my Zen and Asian garden designs. Potted plants are mobile, easy to care for, allow twice as much or more space in the garden, and the pots can be awesome, too.

Pots - You can choose from beautiful Asian style pots and contemporary pots with clean lines and primary colors. They all look great. Use big plastic pots with drainage holes. Much lighter to move around with the plant in it. I am addicted to clay and stone pots - so I sometimes have to drill a small hole in those that don't have them, if they will winter outdoors.

***Some of these ornamental and medicinal plants are toxic to pets and children if ingested - do not grow these unless you can keep them away from each other. There are many types of Hindu Garden plants and there are probably several substitutes available for them, in terms of design, intent, and symbolism. If you are unsure, look up the plant variety and it's characteristics.

Many plants in traditional Indian/Hindu gardens will have names you are not at all familiar with, and you might have difficulty finding them. There are substitutes you can use for the symbolism, and there might be nurseries online that sell exotic or rare plants. This is where container gardening comes in handy. You can move these hot weather plants indoors and use them as houseplants in winter, and those that go dormant can live in a shed or unheated basement until breaking dormancy and being placed back into the garden in warm spring weather.

I found the listings interesting, because most of the plants evoke a strong and exotic fragrance that can feel hypnotic.

Jasmine Vine
A must-have plant in a Hindu Garden Design. Star Jasmine is an essential part of the marriage ceremony, where the flowers are used as garlands. The Hindu deity Lord Vishnu deeply loved it. My favorite Jasmine vine is the Pink Jasmine. It's very pretty, and the one most happy to spend any or all of it's time indoors in cold regions, and all summer outdoors. It's hardy in the hot south. 

I grow Jasmine outdoors in pots, and bring them in for our cold winter, where they continue to offer blooms and incredible fragrance. Great in hanging baskets indoors and out, or planted around a trellis, arbors or stakes. It is either deciduous or evergreen, blooming in summer and springs, depending upon variety and your hardiness zone. It releases a beautiful and exotic fragrance, especially in the night. It's easy to care for, if you keep up with pruning the vines and keeping them bushy, neat and tidy, confine their space, and keep them tied to or climbing something specific.

Tuberose flowers used in perfumes, and are also grown as an ornamental plant in India. Tuberoses are used in making flower garlands, along with Marigolds and are offered to the Hindu gods and goddess in temples.

Periwinkle Vines
Easy to grow vine is used as a cure for problems like diabetes, nose bleed, sore throat. An fast-growing evergreen vine, Its flowers are pinks and purples, with dark pink pollen. Periwinkles will grow in dry and nutrient-deficient soils. I used it as a ground cover on an unsightly slope. It has the ability to strangle or hide weeds.

Datura (Datura stramonium)
An ornamental, but toxic plant, and one of the most commonly found divine flowers in India, offered to Lord Shiva. It is also used in rituals and in Ayurveda as a medicine.

Ficus Religiosa - Bodhi Tree
Symbolic, but not very appropriate in small space and urban gardens - the tree is gigantic. The peepal tree is sacred because Buddha received his enlightenment when sitting under it. In Atharv Veda, it is considered home to the trinity of Hindu gods – Bramha, Vishnu, and Mahesh. If you wish to grow a Bodhi tree, then make sure you have a large backyard or garden. It is a fast-growing tree, with wide-spreading branches and heart-shaped leaves. You can substitute a bonsai Bodhi Tree or something similar to it. Ficus is fig - I would just use my collection of potted fig trees for the symbolism, and enjoy the fruit.

Ashoka Tree
A sacred plant, and Buddha was born under this tree. Ashoka is a tall, erect, and an evergreen tree that grows green leaves in dense clusters. It does well in sunny areas. It is also used in medicine to cure acne, asthma, and kidney stones. Ashoka has beautiful and fragrant flowers. The ashoka tree is considered sacred by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. In hinduism, this tree is associated with the God of Love.

Banyan tree
Always found either near a temple, or there is a shrine beneath the tree. It is also the national tree of India.

Sandalwood Tree
The fragrant wood of the tree is made into a paste, which is then used in worshipping Lord Vishnu and Shiva. The paste of the tree is considered pure and holy.

Holy Basil - Tulsi
This plant has become more readily available to American gardeners and herbalists. You can find Tulsi supplements in many forms in most health food stores. According to Hindu mythology, Tulsi is considered as an earthly manifestation of deity Vrinda. Mainly, three types of Basils are popular among Hindu gardeners – Rama, Krishna, and Vana Tulsi. It is called an elixir of life in Ayurvedic medicine because this herbaceous plant is said to cure or relieve headaches, inflammation, and the common cold. Yogis wear tulsi beads to purify their minds, body and souls.

Aegle Marmelos (Baelpatra)
In the Hindu religion, Bael Leaf is offered to lord shiva. It has many medicinal and healing properties. It produces orange-pulp fruit, which is beneficial for curing many digestive and ulcer problems. The Bael tree can withstand drought, and even if all its leaves fall during summers, its thick green foliage emerges again in the next rainy season.

Hardy Giant Hibiscus/Tropical Hibiscus (you can grow Tropical Hibiscus if you live in hot regions, or grow them in containers and pots and bring indoors in winter in cold regions). Hardy Giant Hibiscus has a limited color palette. Tropical Hibiscus has many colors and hues in the warm palette.
Hindu devotees offer these flowers to the Deity Kali. Hibiscus grows best under full sunlight. I have rows of them in my front garden along the fence. They bloom for a few months, and need no care other than staking the tall stalks against a fence or tying them to stakes.  I grow the cold hardy giant perennial type (not the tropical types, be sure to check) that die down to the ground in fall and return every summer. Blooms on mature plants are 8-12 inches in diameter. They serve many purposes and fit in many styles of gardens, and they have a very exotic look.

An easy-to-find and grow annual plant can be grown in-ground, in pots, and grown from seeds. In Hinduism, Marigold symbolizes auspiciousness. The yellows and oranges of Marigold flowers signify renunciation, and devotees offer it to God as a symbol of surrender. Its flowers are used in making garlands in India. This plant will create a cheerful atmosphere and good Karma to your Zen and Hindu garden designs. It's also a wonderful insect repelling plant that protects your ornamental and vegetable gardens from harmful pests. I never use marigolds because I personally find the fragrance to be downright repulsive. I like to see them in a garden, though.

Plumeria (Frangipani)
Plumeria is a sacred and important plant in many religious ceremonies, and it symbolizes eternal life. This beautiful flower has an exotic scent. This plant is tropical, so in colder regions, it’s better to grow it in containers, with potting or cactus mix soil, and move indoors for the winter. Plumeria grows best in full sun, with moderate humidity.

The flowers have a very strong fragrance, and the trees are planted as ornamental trees in the temples of India, and is used in making garlands.

**A common poisonous plant.

Used for religious purposes and yellow oleander is offered to the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva.

The leaves and fruits of the sacred mango tree are used in many religious ceremonies.  The fruit of the mango tree is an emblem of purity, love and fertility.

The neem tree is one of the most respected trees in India, due to its numerous health benefits. Neem has medicinal properties, and is used to treat many diseases. It is associated with goddess Durga, and many people believe that neem trees help in keeping evil spirits at bay. If it sounds familiar to you, Neem oil is a very popular and effective natural garden fungicide and insecticide.

Banana Tree
There are many varieties of banana tree that are dwarf, and can be grown in containers. Very decorative plants, and the fruit is an offering to God. The trunk of the banana tree is important  in decorations for various ceremonies.

Prosopis Cineraria (Shami)
This tree is said to cleanse all sins of humanity. Shami is a small tree. It is drought resistant and grows well in hot and arid areas and in xeriscaped gardens.

Jimson Weed (Dhatura)
- Caution: this plant is poisonous if ingested.
Use as an ornamental in a pot and keep children and pets away from it. Best to grow this in an area inaccessible to pets and children, or grow in a garden that is off-limits to them.

Although Dhatura is poisonous, the application of its juice on hair and scalp is said to  prevent hair loss and dandruff. It flowers at night in shades of purple, cream, and white. The plant thrives in a warm climate and moist soil, and in full sun.

The lotus is sacred, and in Hindu mythology Vishnu, Bramha, and Saraswati are depicted sitting or standing on it. Growing lotus is not easy and you will need a dedicated water pond or pool in which to grow them.

The Rose
Roses hold a special place in all Hindu ceremonies and are a favorite of Lord Vishnu. There are so many types and sizes of roses, that you can have several in-ground and in pots. You can have ground cover, shrub and climbing roses. Your can decorate arches, gazebos, gates and fences. Choose colors you love, in a size you wish for your garden, and one that also complements the blooms of other plants. Choose fragrant varieties. Many will perfume your garden in the evenings. Paired with Jasmine, you'll want to spend many evenings in the garden. Grow enough to fill vases indoors. You can find varieties that are thornless. Those are a gardener's blessing. I donate a pint of blood every time I prune.

I have a special place in my Zen gardens where I grow re-blooming white irises - A Buddha garden sculpture sits among them and it looks gorgeous and feels healing. Subtle solar lights glow and illuminate a very beautiful and restful vignette. White irises planted en mass are my favorite serenity and Asian garden flowers. They look very clean and pure among the long sword-shaped leaves when in bloom. When a lot of them are grouped together as a backdrop to garden sculptures or around fountains and ponds, the fan shape that the closely growing leaves provide is breathtaking. I choose the shorter varieties that re-bloom, do not have to be staked and tied, and have larger and more flowers than tall iris. Iris is also a fragrant flower, and along with roses, jasmine and plumeria, this flower adds to the evening enjoyment of your garden.


In Southern India, the coconut tree is considered the most sacred tree. Most of the people there have planted a coconut tree in their houses. Coconut is used many religious ceremonies of the hindus.

Additional ornamental plants grown in India that will feel right at home in a Hindu Serenity Garden design. Most do very 
well as potted plants in small and urban gardens, as well as indoors. Many ornamental tree varieties can be found in dwarf sizes.

Golden Rain Tree
Pride of India
Flame Tree
Devil Tree (Alstonia)
Potted Palm Trees
Trumpet Vines (can become invasive if not contained. 
Attach to trellises in designated areas and keep them pruned)
Dwarf Clumping Bamboo (Dwarf Fargesias and Rubras)
Ornamental grasses (dwarf fountain grass, pond and bog plants)

Weeping Fig
Tulip Tree

Queen of the Night

Bougainvillea Vine
Bird of Paradise
Guava Papaya

Ayurvedic Plants For A Hindu Herbal Garden

Know and grow these science and research-backed medicinal plants that are an integral part 
of Ayurvedic medicine, and make a valuable addition to your Hindu Serenity Garden theme.

Ayurveda is an ancient form of medicinal practice originating in India. The plants listed below are easy to grow, and practitioners or devotees of Ayurvedic medicine may consider these plants useful tools in the holistic healing toolboxes.

Many of these plants are well-known to gardeners as ornamentals or used in culinary recipes. These plants are suggested as part of a traditional ornamental medicinal plant garden within your Hindu Garden design.

For any plant recommendations or mention of ingesting medicinal herbals,  I am required to make this disclaimer: 
"This information is not meant to be a recommendation for either the practice, diagnosis, treatment plan, or use of any of these herbs to treat or cure illness." 

Qualified practitioners of holistic medicine, herbalists and Ayurveda can lead you down the right path. Toxicity of any plant is something you will need to research before ingesting. Different plants have different parts that are used in medicine, and some parts of plants can be toxic (e.g. many types of fruits, nuts and berries).

Best advice I can offer Don't use plants as medicine if you don't know what you're doing. Consult with a qualified holistic or ayurvedic practitioner. - "Despite the fact that ayurvedic medicines are based on natural herbal materials, their safety depends on their method of administration, taking account of individuals’ needs and their specific disease conditions. The unguided consumption of ayurvedic preparations, in the mistaken belief that spices and herbs will necessarily be safe, may lead to serious health issues. A thorough awareness of these plants’ actions is needed for their safe selection and consumption." - US National Institute of Health

Ayurvedic practice is approximately 3000 years old, with a long history of managing disease. The 3 basic principles, called doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha), are derived from 5 elements of Indian philosophy. Approximately 90% of ayurvedic preparations are plant based. Ayurvedic plants have a stronger action on the body than either food or spices, and should be used with caution. Treatment starts with an internal purification process, followed by a special diet, herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga, and meditation.

Traditional ayurvedic texts note that quality-assured ayurvedic compounds are strong and potent enough to combat disease. The parts of the plants chosen for use are also important. Depending on the plants used, and the medical combinations involved, the leaves, flowers, seeds, bark, roots, or skin of the plant may be chosen. The particular combination chosen by the practitioner results from extensive practical experience of the constituents needed to achieve the maximal healing effect.

In ayurveda, most of the classical preparations are polyherbal, with a combination of 3 to 30 plants involved. These constituents are combined accurately, in such a way that the formula is balanced and reproducible. One or two of the plants in these combinations will be active and the others will play a supporting role. The supporting herbs will each have different actions, acting as catalysts to help proper absorption, transportation, and to reduce toxicity. If an ideal combination is delivered, then the result can be excellent, but such outcomes are based on thorough plant knowledge.

Popular Ayurvedic Herbs and Medicines

Several of these herbs are also culinary spice and seasoning favorites. Those, I gladly recommend as an addition to your ornamental and edible gardens. I use many of them myself in Asian style cooking. Ornamentals like Hibiscus, Feverfew, chamomile, lavender, etc., have earned a spot in any ornamental and culinary herbal garden design.

*= I've successfully grown these plants in my zones 5, 6b and 8 gardens, and indoors as houseplants. As always, check the USDA Cold Hardiness Zone Map for plants that will grow in your region, or treat as annuals and bring/grow them indoors. Many of these plants have desirable ornamental value, as well.

Be sure to check toxicity and aggressive growth (invasiveness) characteristics before planting and ingesting them.  Do not diagnose or treat yourself. These are suggestions for a garden theme's visual beauty and accuracy. They are not medicinal use recommendations.

Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Licorice Root
curry leaves
Indian Ginseng

*Aloe Vera
Gotu Kola

I always wondered about the symbolism and I now have the answer.... Hindu gods are generally depicted with multiple arms in order to visually represent their supreme powers and superiority over humankind.


Article ©2020 Mary Hyland
All rights reserved.

U.S.National Library of Medicine/National Institute of Health
India Gardening
Kauai Hindu Monastery
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Garden Visit

Detailed Site Directory-->

Quick Links

Content, graphics, photos and design ©2020
All rights reserved.