Rudraksha are seeds that are believed by Hindus to be the eyes of Lord Shiva. Rudra is the alternative name of "Shiva" and "Raksha" are eyes in Sanskrit. The scientific name of the tree from which rudraksha comes from are called "Elaeocarpus sphaericus". The species are regularly found in Java of which approximately 70% are found there, 25% in Nepal and 5% in India. Of these Nepali rudraksha are thought to be the most auspicious and advantageous; most probably due to its large size and weight.
Success stories from wearing of rudraksha in the form of pendants and necklaces have been reported. Many have claimed to achieve good health, happiness and prosperity in their lives. It has brought educational success and divine upliftment to many. The "Puranas" or the holy books of the Hindus have state that one who wears a rudraksha becomes Rudra himself i.e. free from the recycle of bith. Up to 14 types of rudraksha have been written in the holy books each one having special properties and providing various benefits. One who wears all 14 is considered highly spiritual and achieves Rudra-hood and free from reincarnation.
The holy men that wrote the Puranas must have known about the properties of these rudraksha. They must have known that there are health benefits to be derived from wearing the divine rudraksha. Today pilot pharmacological and biochemical research have shown that rudraksha do have great medicinal and pharmacological properties. Such a novel work indicated that the rudraksha effects on the stability of mast cells. Mast cells are protective cells known for their role in allergy and helping during wound healing and defense against pathogens. These positive results show that indeed extracts from the rudraksha make them more stable indicating a case for improving bronchial asthma. Likewise, another study showed that extracts from dried "Elaeocarpus sphaericus" fruits (rudraksha) show signs of anti-inflammatory properties in animal models of bronchitis. Moreover, these extracts where able to manifest antimicrobial action including Salmonella and a host of other pathogens. These results indicate potential pharmacological properties of rudraksha that require further investigation.
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