The beauty of Rhododendrons

The usual brownish trekking path slowly gets converted into a red coloured path due to the presence of those beautiful mountain flowers, which seems to be welcoming the exhausted trekker into the majestic world of marvelous nature by spreading it’s petals along the visitor’s path. These beloved red coloured himalayan flowers are known as Rhododendrons. They rule the flora kingdom with their variety of colourful relatives. The national flower of Nepal which is ‘Lali Guran’ or ‘Red rhododendrons’; the state flower of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, has earned loads of reputation for it’s medicinal properties, uses in religious purose as well as for it’s capitvating beauty.

Rhododendrons are blessed with over 1000 natural species, including many bushy species and a number of trees that grow to heights of up to 30 meters. But the Himalayas are the home to the largest variety of their species. Of all these species the most renowned one is ‘Rhododendron arboreum’ known as Gurans or Burans in different pahadi languages. The tree is found in Himalayan hills ranging in India, Bhutan and Nepal. It has also flourished in Nilgiri hills of South India. It is also found in mountains of Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar.

Now as in humans one starts to lose physical strength at the peak of age, the colour of these flowers start to fade as one goes to the peak of its homeland, just saying.As for the facts, Starting at elevations of around 1400m the flowers are a vibrant red. However, as altitude increases, the colour begins shifting to pink, gradually becoming pure white at elevations of 3600m.

I thinks that is the beauty of nature, ultimately everything at the highest point becomes pure white which is mixture of all the colours; signifying peaceful blending of all the elements of nature together. How beautiful it is!.

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White Rhododendrons

The scarlet red bell-shaped Lali Gurans finds a place in all the spheres of life for a person living in mountains, starting from the menu card to the make-up kit. Use it for a simple family lunch or in a wedding party or just simply admire its beauty standing below the tree!. Let’s see some most of it’s most useful and admirable qualities.

Tangy Sweet petals.

The juice extracted from the flower petals is a treat for the tongue. Treating guests with burans flower juice is a traditional practice in Uttarakhand, India as it is believed to be a refreshing appetizer and relieves mountain sickness. Locals prefer to use it as chutney also to eat with rice. One can have buran pakora and buran paratha as well, which is best served with hot tea in the chilling winters. So, next time you go to Himalayas don’t forget to bring a bottle of rhodo juice for your friends.

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‘Rhododendron arboreum’

Medicinal properties.

Vitamins like flavonoid Quercetin is responsible for the bright red colour of these beauties. Three biologically active compounds – quercetin, rutin and coumaric acid have been found in this flower. Interestingly these are the three compounds found in apple which is responsible for its health benefits. Latest research confirms them acting as anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory as well as leaves are used as pain-killer treating headache. A paste made from tree leaves is applied to the forehead to relieve a headache. Drinking burans flower juice is a good way to enjoy its benefits to your skin. Applying burans juice to your skin can help reduce wrinkles, itching and other skin inflammation. The powder of the dried flowers can be mixed with honey and applied on face, leave it for 30 minutes and then wash it with cold water. It will result in a glowing wrinkle free clear skin.

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Pink Rhododendrons

Not Always good although

Nothing is perfect in nature and so are these flowers, as they come with their own side effects. Even if you love the tangy juice, avoid drinking it in large quantities as it may interfere with the action of heart and they are also not very good for diabetic patients.

These are the trees which accompany every trekker in the Himalayan trekking routes. The silent jingling of its bells is a melody for ears for the ‘listener’ and soothing sight for the eyes. We are all aware of the impact of global climate change on the biodiversity everywhere present around us.  When Himalayan biodiversity is concerned these flowers hold a strong position in the list, so obviously they are also not left unaffected by the constantly changing environment. So, it’s always better to go green!

Hope you enjoyed the article. Thank you! 🙂

Photo source: Google

                                          |    Ramyani Biswas ( Riya )    |

 

 

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