Prof Jyoti Marwah is promoting wellness at The Himalayan Plant Science Living Museum and Mussoorie Fragrance and Flavours Institute …
Q: What is your enterprise all about?
The Himalayan Plant Science Living Museum and Mussoorie Fragrance and Flavours Institute (Himsurabhi) endeavour to showcase nature’s benevolence in the all-encompassing wellness secrets encapsulated in medicinal and aromatic plants that give physiological, psychological, and physical comfort. Both institutions are an integral part of Dr Om Prakash Duggal Charitable Society promoting efforts to seek goodness in nature’s bounties. The human skin, body, and soul benefit from simple processes of consuming nature's gifts as opposed to complex and heavily synthesized products. This is because the breakdown and absorption of simple substances permit easy absorption by the human body with minimum stress on the faculties. The simple dialogue that we engage the visitors in at our facility is to spare a moment for these gifts of nature, love them for being there year after year, learn more about them, appreciate the reason for their being there, and make an effort to consume them by simple value addition techniques cosmetically or for ingestion. The plethora of ethnobotanical data is made available to the masses by tremendous research and it should reach out to them through such efforts as we are making at our end.
Q: How did you come across an idea for such a venture?
The year 1958 was the year when the beautiful Ilbert Lodge estate at Library, Mussoorie was purchased by my father Dr Om Prakash Duggal from Rani Lakshami of Shivgarh Estate. I cherish the memory of spiritual reprieve and freedom to blend in nature’s world of wild flora and fauna, which I missed dearly after living in Mumbai, a city bursting at its seams, while pursuing my career and raising my family there. I yearned to return and mingle with these habitats of buransh (Rhododendrons), wood sorrel, wild strawberries, stinging nettle, Mansur berries, time (Indian toothache tree), wring (Himalayan bamboo), barbets, brain fever bird and the winter visitor Baghera (panther). This was always my first love and it nudged me into more academic pursuits my passion resulted in my doing PhD in “History of the usages of Essential Oils since Ancient times” from the University of Mumbai. I plunged into the practice of Aromatherapy to get the true feel of what I was writing about. My passion was unstoppable and I enjoyed writing more than 100 research papers for publication and presentations at national and international journals and platforms. Major projects for SAARC, UGC, and the University of Mumbai were completed on the enchanting world of Aromatics and Traditional Indian Perfumery Practices namely ‘Attar’. Retiring from Mumbai University in 2015, I was back in Mussoorie with this vision and mission to get started on growing my own flowers and managing the forests for their goodness in promoting wellness through the above-mentioned Institutions. I also practiced Aromatherapy In Mumbai at my center in Vashi Navi Mumbai for 35 years.
Q: What is your message to those wanting to follow suit?
The world needs more natural healing as the medical world too has understood the importance and role of the limbic region and the benefits of the glymphatic system on the central nervous system, keeping it well-charged and refreshed for a healthy and happy life. Additionally, business with medicinal and aromatic plants needs a world of people participation as skilled entrepreneurs, scientists, and progressive farmers to make available agricultural produce to those doing value addition at various levels to those churning out end products in the food and beverages industry, pharmaceuticals, perfumes and fragrances, cosmetics, products for rituals that please the Gods and natural home fresheners, cleansers and closet perfumes to much more.