Goddess Shakambhari is the Goddess of the forest and fruits and vegetables and vegetation including the healing herbs. Medicinal herbs, called "Oshadhi" in Sanskrit are sacred to her. We grow herbs to offer in puja and yajna ceremonies, to teach about the healing benefits of herbs, and to use in our line of Ayurvedic Herbal Teas. We encourage people to improve their health and happiness by learning the healing uses of herbs. It is a wonderful way to reconnect with nature to grow herbs in one's home garden for cooking and healing.
The Soma Matha is working to establish a beautiful botanical garden of tropical Indian Ayurvedic herbs and native Appalachian and European medicinal herbs to be at the Shakambari Devi Temple in Richmond, Virginia. The long term goal is to have a large greenhouse for the many Ayurvedic species along with a beautifully landscaped garden and arboretum along with hiking trails through the forest (Sacred to Goddess Shakambhari Devi). Visitors will be able to stroll the peaceful grounds to help them destress and reconnect with nature. Programs will be held in the garden to teach about Ayurveda, using and growing herbs, and about particular plants and their healing uses. The Matha already has collected hundreds of Ayurvedic and Native American herbal plants and trees. Medicinal herb plants are being sold in season through various local farmers markets and local stores.
Herbs have great power to heal. Western medicine did not stop using herbs in the 20th century because they were ineffective, but because pharmaceutical companies could not patent natural herbs and obtain exclusive selling rights. They instead began to create chemical pharmaceuticals in laboratories according to secret and patented techniques which allowed the pharmaceutical companies to own exclusive rights to profit from the sale of pharmaceuticals. Many believe that these chemical medicines are more effective, but this is not necessarily true. The pharmaceuticals are often somewhat toxic and have many unwanted side effects. Herbs have been used for thousands of years with good results by people around the world. In developing countries where access to Western medicine is limited, herbs are still used for medicine. There are scientific studies from countries like Germany which have lead to the approval of over 200 herbs for use by medical doctors for their scientifically proven therapeutic actions in that country. Yet these studies are not taken seriously in America. We encourage the use of natural herbs to help prevent and cure disease to be practiced along side Western medicine which has made great advancements in the last century which have undeniably improved the quality of health of people worldwide.
We have a collection of over 200 Ayurvedic, European, and Native American herb plants which we hope to again soon have on display for the public. We continue to teach about the healing properties of herbs. We sell plants and seeds to help encourage people to grow their own herbs for cooking and healing. We are working on a book about the traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulas which are not well known in the West.