All of us would have played the game – Chinese whispers where a word or message is secretly whispered from one-person to another. It’s often funny to know how the word or message has transformed by the end. Same is true in the case of old age rituals or traditions. Most of them were started with proper scientific research or logical reasoning. But during the course of time the scientific explanation has been forgotten or conveniently ignored and became accepted mostly as a religious custom, with sometimes a funny story or explanation associated with them. The new generation rebels on their part happily dumped these practices as old fashioned and foolish. Though few of the customs have lost the relevance with modern developments, few still hold good. Let’s look into few such customs and the science behind traditional myths in detail.
Exploring Science Behind Traditional Myths
As part of tradition grown up girls are forced to pierce their nose. Though believed purely for a cosmetic uplift this has an underlying scientific reason. As per Ayurvedic Medicine nostril’s piercing location is associated with female reproductive organs. If pierced at the correct location it would lessen the pain during childbirth and during menstrual cycle. Hence, extreme care should be taken during this procedure so that the position is identified correctly and no nerves is disturbed or wounded. In medical field Mr. Wilhelm Fliess (1858-1928 AD),who was a friend and associate of Dr. Sigmund Freud, established a connection between the nose and the female sexual apparatus, and said that certain gynecological complaints could be cured by cauterizing the appropriate parts of the nose. Also, science has proved that carbon is released during sexual union and a gold or silver ornament in nose can minimize this emission. For more info read.
Rangoli in front of House
Rangoli is a common sight in front of most Indian houses. It is believed to keep away negative vibes from the residents of house and also marks welcome to Goddess Lakshmi-God of Wealth. Most of the rangoli designs are symmetric around x and y axis and have mostly round corners. It is made of few simple designs one on top of another. The underlying science is that the geometric pattern drawn as part of Rangoli designs manifests into vibrations inside the mind of the observer which in turn eases the mind. In this way rangoli produces a calming affect to the mind of people entering the house and makes them cheerful and happy. Cymatics is the field of science which deals with the relationship between vibrations and geometric patterns. Just like patterns, colors also stimulate the brain and thus colored rangolis affect emotions.
During olden days Mehandi was applied in hands and legs of women by grinding the leaves of henna (Lawsonia inermis) also known as mignonette tree and Egyptian privet. This was a tradition which was followed on the eve of any festival or wedding. This paste leaves a dark orange colour which lasts for 2-3 weeks on the place where its applied. Many tattoo forms have evolved over time making mehandi a fashion statement. Science reveals that Mehandi is a medicinal plant and applying as well as intake of it has many health benefits like cooling the body, regulating the menstrual cycle in women, anti-fungal effects, improves nails, protects skin and reduce inflammation and many more. Towards southern sates of India its a ritual to apply Mehandi during rainy season. During this time skin and nail infections are common and hence mehandi being a natural healer protects the skin and nail from infections.
Jasmine Garland to decorate hair
It’s a common practice among women to decorate hair with jasmine flower. Though mostly done for the aroma of the flower, what we need to comprehend is the health benefits it has to offer. Jasmine scent is considered to be very effective in treating depression and also uplifts the mood. It also aids in cooling the body. Due to benefits of Jasmine it is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a cure for many ailments.
Applying sandalwood paste on forehead
It is a religious ritual among Hindus to apply sandalwood paste on their forehead. The Science behind traditional myth is that sandalwood being a natural coolant, brings down the body temperature and cools our body aiding in clarity of thoughts and improves concentration. It also relieves headaches, stress, insomnia and a good remedy for various skin ailments. Sandalwood benefits are now widely accepted and hence is now the main ingredient in most of the cosmetic products.
Above mentioned are just a small glimpse of the Science behind traditional myths or age old rituals. There are many more such rituals that we have been following, without being aware of the great wisdom behind them. And it is a wonder how our ancestors were aware of these benefits !