Kerala resident Ezekiel Poulose collects rare and well-known medicinal plants from wherever he travels and grows them at home.
A systems architect by profession, Kerala’s Ezekiel picked up collecting herbs as a hobby nearly 15 years ago. He calls himself a “collector of herbs”.
His 4-acre farm in Chottanikkara has both well-known as well as the rarest of rare herbs — from chakkarakolli (gurmar), which can be used to reduce sweet cravings to anali vegam (poison devil tree), which is used as an antidote for viper bites, shimshapa (Indian rosewood), parijatham (night jasmine), lakshmi taru (paradise tree), and betadine plant.
During his work trips, he would collect and buy saplings of various medicinal plants from fellow hobbyists. He started off by planting nutmeg. Seeing its yield inspired him to plant more varieties. Over time, he became increasingly dedicated to conserving rare plants for their incredible medicinal properties.
“Dad was into herbs. He had grown the usual herbs. That became an inspiration. Family-wise, for three generations, we have been in agriculture. Our livelihood was through agriculture,” the 40-year-old tells The Professional Times.
While working in Bengaluru, he would visit his home in Ernakulam every weekend to ensure the plants were okay. Since the lockdown and the subsequent work-from-home orders, he now finds time to look after the plants.
Ezekiel believes everyone should have a hobby that can calm the mind. For him, it is farming.