Hosagunda, India joins Sacred Seeds


Nonprofit organization builds strength in preserving therapeutic and sustainable plant species


(ST. LOUIS, MO. USA): Sacred Seeds, a non-profit organization committed to preserving both sacred medicinal plant species and the ancient wisdom about their therapeutic and sustainable use, is pleased to announce that Sri Uma Maheshwara Seva Trust ("Hosagunda"), in the state of Karnataka, India, has become a foundational garden in the international Sacred Seeds movement. Developed to help stem the loss of biodiversity and health practices that depend on biodiversity, Sacred Seeds is helping local communities and institutions create gardens around the world that contain plants traditionally used for primary health care as well as nutritionally important species to improve local diets. These gardens serve as living genetic repositories helping to preserve the diversity of healing plants used by humankind. Sacred Seeds foundational gardens serve as vanguards of integrative ethnobotanical conservation and models for other communities across the globe.

It was also announced that Semillas Sagradas at Finca Luna Nueva in Costa Rica and Hosagunda have become "sister" gardens in the family of Sacred Seeds Sanctuaries. They, along with all of the Sacred Seeds gardens, are united in a shared devotion to the highest principles of plant conservation and traditional botanical wisdom.

Tom Newmark, chairman of Sacred Seeds and co-founder of Semillas Sagradas in Costa Rica, welcomed Hosagunda to "our international family of medicinal plant sanctuaries." He further noted that "the great Ayurvedic and Sidha medical systems of India have brilliantly appreciated the healing power of medicinal plants for thousands of years, and Sacred Seeds is delighted that Hosagunda will represent those healing traditions in our family of plant sanctuaries."

CMN Shastry, managing trustee of Hosagunda, expressed his hope that Hosagunda's programs will inspire similar projects around the world. "Hosagunda," he observed, "is a Sacred Forest rich with archeological relics of religious and cultural significance. We are reintroducing native herbal species of sacred and medicinal uses to create a living expression of ancient traditional medicine. By joining the international Sacred Seeds movement, we will study best practices from other sanctuaries and we hope inspire other cultures to integrate medicinal gardens with archeological restoration."

The Sacred Seeds Project is administered by the William L. Brown Center at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Dr. Rainer Bussmann, director and William L. Brown Curator of Economic Botany, expressed his enthusiasm about the addition of Hosagunda to the Sacred Seeds Project. "Hosagunda is one of the few remaining fragments of forest in the densely populated agricultural landscape of Karnataka. With its 600 acres of sacred forest and temples, Hosagunda forms a real Eco-Spiritual Center, and is a wonderful example of conservation by revitalizing local traditions. We are thrilled to have it as part of Sacred Seeds."

"Conventional biodiversity conservation seeks to "circle the wagons" so to speak around critically important but endangered wilderness habitats," notes ethnobotanist Dr. Michael J. Balick, vice president and director of The New York Botanical Garden Institute of Economic Botany. "However, by identifying local communities that are enthusiastic about ethnomedicine and healing plants, and fostering the development of the Sacred Seeds network, the 'wagons' are being loaded with healing species and spreading and safeguarding their treasures around the world. Thankfully, the world's people now recognize the importance of conserving the biosphere—Sacred Seeds builds on this awareness to preserve and foster traditional practices critical to primary health care delivery, part of the endangered 'ethnosphere' – the collective total of human wisdom so essential to our survival."

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