OLEANDER (Syllabus GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     13th May 2024        
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Context: Recently, two Kerala government-controlled temple boards prohibited the use of oleander flowers (locally known as arali) in temple offerings following the death of a 24-year-old woman who accidentally consumed oleander leaves.


  • About: Oleander, scientifically known as Nerium oleander, is a widely cultivated plant found across tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions.
  • Common Names: It goes by the common names of oleander or rosebay, reflecting its widespread recognition.
  • Ornamental Value: Known for its resilience to drought, it's frequently utilized in landscaping and ornamental gardening.
  • Oleander Used in Traditional Medicine

o Ayurvedic Recognition: The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India (API) acknowledges oleander, particularly its root bark, as medicinal.

o Therapeutic Usage: API suggests that an oil derived from the root bark can be effective in treating various skin ailments.

o Historical Significance: Oleander finds mention in classical Ayurvedic texts, including Brihattrayi and Nighantus, indicating its historical therapeutic usage.

  • Toxicity Concerns: Despite its medicinal properties, oleander's toxicity has been recognized historically, with documented cases of both therapeutic use and self-harm.

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