Kerala news: Why Arali flower offerings, also known as oleander, is banned in temple

kerala news: why arali flower offerings, also known as oleander, is banned in temple

Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and Malabar Devaswom Board have banned the use of ‘arali’ flower in the offerings.

The temples in Kerala have banned offerings of Arali flowers (oleander) in sacred rituals after a decision by two major Devaswom Boards, following a death of a woman in Alappuzha.

In Kerala, oleander is known as arali and kanaveeram, and grows in different colour and varieties.

Decision by two boards

The decision to ban oleander flower was taken by Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which is entrusted with the task of administrating 1,248 temples and Malabar Devaswom Board with over 1,400 temples under its jurisdiction.

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Why oleander banned

According to PTI report, the decisions was taken after incidents reported in Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta. In Alappuzha, a woman allegedly died after consuming Arali flowers and leaves. Whereas, a cow and calf reportedly died in Pathanamthitta two days ago after eating oleander leaves.

Death of Nurse

According to Indian Express, Surya Surendran (24), a nurse who was set to depart to UK on April 28, died prima facie due to accidental oleander poisoning.

On April 28, she chewed some leaves of the oleander plant which grew outside her house in Alappuzha's Pallipad. After that, she developed uneasiness, and vomited a few times. Later that day, she collapsed at the Kochi airport, and died a couple of days later at a hospital, said report.

Substitute to oleander

Flowers like tulsi, thechi (Ixora), jasmine, jamanti (hibiscus), and rose will be used instead of oleander.

Travancore Devaswom Board said:

It has been decided to completely avoid using Arali flowers in the naivedya and prasad offerings in temples under the TDB, PTI quoted P S Prasanth, the president of the TDB, as saying.

Malabar Devaswom Board said

Although the Arali flower is not widely used in rituals in temples, its use is banned considering the safety of devotees. Studies have found that the flower contains toxic substances, M R Murali, Malabar Devaswom Board President told PTI.

The Indian Express report said that according to Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, an oil prepared from the root bark can be used to treat skin diseases.

Toxic nature

According to some studies, oleander, a tough and pretty shrub, grows well in tropical and subtropical areas. The studies suggest that inside their leaves and flowers, oleanders have cardenolides, which can affect the heart of animals and humans, making it beat stronger, PTI reported.

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