In Hindu mythology, sanjeevani is a magical herb which has the power to cure serious nervous system problems. It was believed that medicines prepared from this herb could revive situations where death is almost certain. The herb is mentioned in the Ramayana when Ravana's son Indrajit (Meghnad) hurls a powerful weapon at Lakshmana. Lakshmana is badly wounded and is nearly killed by Indrajit. Hanuman was called upon to fetch this herb from the mount Dronagiri (Mahodaya) in the Himalayas. Upon reaching Dronagiri Parvat, Hanuman could not identify the herb and lifted the whole mountain and brought it to the battlefield.
Several plants have been proposed as possible candidates for the sanjeevani plant, including: Selaginella bryopteris, Dendrobium plicatile (synonym Desmotrichum fimbriatum), Cressa cretica, and others. A search of ancient texts at CSIR laboratories did not reveal any plant that can be definitively confirmed as sanjeevani. In certain texts it is written that sanjeevani glows in the dark.
The herb, believed in Ayurvedic medicine to have medicinal properties, has been searched for unsuccessfully for centuries, up to modern times. The Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in northern India committed an initial 250m rupees (£2.8m) of state money to search for sanjeevani booti starting in August 2016. The search was focused on the Dronagiri range of the Himalayas near the Chinese border. The Ramayana mentions a mountain believed to refer to the Dronagiri range, where the magical herb is supposed to grow. Uttarakhand established a Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (Ayush) in November 2014.
- D. Balasubramaniam (11 September 2009). "In search of the Sanjeevani plant of Ramayana". The Hindu. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
- Telegraph India
- In search of Sanjeevani, Current Science, Vol. 97, No. 4, 25 August 2009
- Agence France-Presse (29 July 2016). "Indian state steps up hunt for mythical glow-in-the dark plant". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 July 2016.