Brahma Kamal, (Scientific Name: Saussurea obvallata) is a flower which is indigenous to the Himalayas, Himachal, and Uttrakhand in India.
It is commonly known as Night Blooming Cereus, Queen of the Night, Lady of the evening as its beautiful Lotus like flower blooms late night. In India, it is called as Brahma Kamal ( ब्रह्मकमल ) and is treated as a sacred plant.
This God’s lotus is used as offering in the hill temples of Uttarakhand, like the shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, and Tunganath.
In September–October, during the festival of ‘Nanda Asthami’, Brahma Kamal is offered in temples and is also distributed as prasad.
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Wish fulling powers of Brahma Kamal-
- It is said that Lord Brahma created this auspicious flower on the bequest of Goddess Parvathi when Lord Shiva, in a fit of jealous rage, cut off their son’s Lord Ganesha’s head. Feeling remorse, Lord Shiva, with Lord Brahma’s Help, placed an elephant’s head onto the body of Lord Ganesha’s and bathed it with water sprinkled from a Brahma Kamal, and thus Lord Ganesha was reborn. This is why Brahma Kamal is given the status of a life-restoring flower of the gods.
- Brahma Kamal has been long thought to have wish fulling powers as it was said that anyone who caught a glimpse of this flower would get his/her wish fulfilled.
- They have large pure white star-like flowers with lovely fragrance to help their pollinators locate the blossoms by the moon or starlight. The flower starts blooming after sunset from 7 pm onwards and takes about two hours to full bloom, about 8 inches in diameter and remains open throughout the night.
Growing Brahma Kamal-
Brahma Kamal (Saussurea obvallata) is a perennial plant with stout stem, 15–45 cm long. Leaves are oblong to blunt lanceolate in shape, and leaf margins are toothed. The lower part of the leaf is stalked, and the upper part is half-clasping with the Blade continuing in a wing down the stem.
- Several purple flower heads occur in a dense umbel-like cluster, each 1.5–2.5 cm long, 8A densely packed cluster of flowers or florets and is supplemented with involucral-bracts with black margins and tips. The entire flower head is covered by large, pale yellow, boat-shaped papery bracts from the apex of the stem, resembling the spokes of an umbrella.
- Flowers bloom usually in July– August, and the flowers can be seen till mid-October, after which the plant perishes, becoming visible again in April. Flowers look gorgeous but they smell awful, perhaps that explains why people do not bring them home.
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Magnificent benefits of Brahma Kamal-
- The Brahma Kamal is also known for its medicinal properties as well as its usage in traditional medicines to cure urogenital disorders, liver infections, sexually transmitted diseases, bone pains, and cold and cough.
- It is even considered a medicinal herb in Tibetan medicine, due to its bitter nature, it is an excellent liver tonic and a great appetizer.
- Soup made from this plant helps soothe liver inflammations and also increases blood volume in the body.
- Plant juice is useful to treat urinary tract disorders. It clears recurrent urinary tract infections and can be used as an excellent medicine for sexually transmitted diseases.
- Brahma Kamal is a helpful medicine to treat fevers. The flowers, rhizomes, and leaves are used for the treatment of bone ache, intestinal ailments, cough, and cold.
- The rhizomes, in particular, are used as antiseptic and for healing cuts and bruises.
The obstacle to conserve Brahma Kamal-
- Most of the natural populations of Brahma Kamal are either under destructive harvesting. The problem is more critical as well as decisive. A growing number of people are involved in the smuggling of Brahma Kamal.
- China is the biggest importer of these plants or their parts. The greater portion of China’s demand comes from India. The government has taken measures to conserve these plants, but it has failed to bar the illegal trade of these plants and their products strictly. Thus, these plants are highly prone to extinction and need immediate protection.