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Observations placeholder

Atharvaveda - I 24 Leprosy cured by a dark plant



Type of Spiritual Experience


J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Dec 2;158 Pt A:140-206. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.10.004. Epub 2014 Oct 14.  Ethnomedicinal plants used to treat skin diseases by Tharu community of district Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand, India.  Sharma J1, Gairola S2, Sharma YP3, Gaur RD4.

  • 1Department of Botany, University of Jammu, Jammu-Tawi 180006, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Electronic address: sharmajyotsana76@gmail.com.
  • 2Herbarium and Plant Systematics Section, Biodiversity and Applied Botany Division, CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu-Tawi 180001, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Electronic address: sumeetgairola@iiim.ac.in.
  • 3Department of Botany, University of Jammu, Jammu-Tawi 180006, Jammu and Kashmir, India.
  • 4Department of Botany, HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar Garhwal 246174, Uttarakhand, India.

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE:  Tharu community is the largest primitive indigenous community of the Uttarakhand, India. In this article we have scientifically enumerated medicinal plants and herbal preparations used by the Tharu community to treat various skin diseases, and discussed dermatological properties of these plants in the light of previous ethnomedicinal, microbiological, pharmacological, toxicological, phytochemical and clinical studies.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:  Ethnomedicinal survey was conducted in different villages of Tharu community located in district Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand, India. Ethnomedicinal information on plants used to treat various skin diseases was collected from 122 individuals (93 males and 29 females), including 35 experienced herbal practitioners and 87 local villagers. For each of the recorded plant species the use value (UV) and fidelity level (FL) was calculated. The informant consensus factor (Fic) was also calculated to find out the homogeneity in the information given by the informants.

RESULTS:  A total of 90 plant species belonging to 86 genera and 48 families were used by the Tharu community to treat various skin diseases viz., wounds (38 spp.), boils (32 spp.), cuts (18 spp.), leprosy (11 spp.), eczema (10 spp.), itching (7 spp.), ringworm (5 spp.), burns (4 spp.), leucoderma (4 spp.), cracked heels (2 spp.), dandruff (3 spp.), body infection (2 spp.), chilblains (2 spp.), hair fall (2 spp.) and toes infection (2 spp.). Information on botanical name, family, vernacular name, ailments treated, mode and dose of herbal preparations, UV and FL values are provided for each of the recorded species. According to UV value most preferred plant species used to treat skin diseases by Tharu community was Ricinus communis L. followed by Tridax procumbens (L.) L., Azadirachta indica A. Juss., Ageratum conyzoides and Allium cepa L.

CONCLUSIONS:  The present study has revealed significant information on various medicinal plants used to treat skin diseases by Tharu community. Literature review has confirmed most of the claims made by the Tharu community regarding treatment of various skin diseases by the reported plants. The literature review has also revealed that products from very few of the reported plants are available in market, while most of the reported plants are still under preclinical or clinical trials. There are various known phytochemicals, and antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents present in these plants. Some of the reported plants have shown promising results in preclinical trails and there is a need of clinical trials to see their safety and efficacy in treating various skin diseases. .... further toxicological, preclinical and clinical studies are needed to validate claims about little worked out plant species reported in the present study viz., Sida cordata (Burm. F.) Borss. Waalk., Millettia extensa (Benth.) Baker, Caesulia axillaris Roxb., Ehretia laevis Roxb., Vanda tessellate (Roxb.) Hook. Ex G.Don. and Eualaliopsis binata (Retz.) C.E. Hubb.

Further studies on these plants are recommended to assess their potential in development of new skin care products.

PMID:  25448505

A description of the experience

The Atharvaveda - translated by Maurice Bloomfield

The eagle that was born at first, his gall thou wast O plant
The Assuri having conquered tis gall gave it to the trees for their colour

The Asuri was the first to construct this remedy for leprosy, this destroyer of leprosy
She has destroyed the leprosy, has made the skin of even colour

Even colour is the name of thy mother
Even colour is the name of thy father
Thou, O plant, producest even colour
Render this spot of even colour

The black plant that produces even colour has been fetched out of the earth
Do thou now pray
Perfect this
Construct anew the colours

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Bacterial infection
Skin diseases