ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on June 4, 2011


One of the reasons why the South Indian state of Kerala, became renowned for ayurveda was due to the availability of a large variety of medicinal herbs in the Malabar Coast. Malabar coast incidentally was usually known then as to extend from Goa to Kanyakumnari ( Cape Comorin) a distance of about 900, which was rich with tropical foliage.

It was this which motivated Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Draakenstein a Dutch naturalist and explorer who embarked on compiling it while he was the Governor of the Dutch administered Cochin. Van Rheede was basically a soldier with hardly any grounding in botany, but hew was fascinated by the flora and fauna of this exotic place. In the preface to Vol.3, Van Rheede writes “...on the way I observed large, lofty and dense forests it was often very pleasant to behold on one tree, leaves, flowers and fruits of ten or twelve different kinds displayed. And yet they did not harm this tree in any way so that the trunks of such trees were very close to each other and very thick, or at all events they lifted their heads in air to an elegant height of as much as eighty feet… and thus these forests resembled a house of a very elegant structure rather than virgin forests. Since I perceived all this repeatedly, this had led me believe that I judged not without reason that this part of India was truly and rightly the most fertile part of the whole world….’

He embarked on the project of identifying and documenting this vast treasure trove of herbs with the active support of an ayurvedic medical practitioner called Itty Achudan . He had employed over 200 local collectors to bring whole plants or twigs and with the help of about 15 local physicians and botanists he compiled it curative properties. About four Dutch soldiers meticulously illustrated these plants and herbs. It was Achudan who helped him extract information from palm leaf manuscripts and have it compiled as an encyclopedia of ayurvedic herbs. HORTUS MALABARICUS was the outcome of recording the rich flora and fauna of medicinal plants found in the Malabar coast which extended from Goa to Kanyakumar i ( Cape Comorin).. This work comprises of 12 volumes of about 500 pages each. The first of the 12 volumes was published in 1678, and the last in 1703. It was an elaborate project which comprised of a team of nearly a hundred physicians, professors of medicine and amateur botanists carried out with the patronage of the King of Cochin and the Zamorin of Calicut. The major Indian contributors were Itty Achudan, Ranga Bhat, Vinayak Bhat, and Appu Bhat.

Over 742 different plants and their indigenous uses were meticulously recorded in these books, and the classification system used was those adopted by traditional ayurvedic practitioners. .

A description of each plant was written in Malayalam which was translated into Portuguese by Emmanuel Carneiro., who was a resident at Cochin, and later into Latin, by, Herman Van Douep who was the Secretary to Government at that time. A modern English edition of this great work was done by Mr. K.S.Manilal which has been published by the University of Kerala which took him 35 year to complete.

Van Rheede
Van Rheede
Itty Achudan
Itty Achudan

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)