Kerala news: Toxicity concerns — why ‘Arali’ or oleander flowers are banned in temple offerings

The offerings of ‘Arali’ or oleander flowers have been banned in over 2,500 temples in Kerala after the death of a woman who reportedly consumed the poisonous flowers and leaves accidentally.

First Published13 May 2024
Travancore Devaswom Board and Malabar Devaswom Board have banned the use of ‘Arali’ or oleander flowers in the offerings.
Travancore Devaswom Board and Malabar Devaswom Board have banned the use of ‘Arali’ or oleander flowers in the offerings.

The temples in Kerala have banned offerings of ‘Arali’ flowers (oleander) in sacred rituals after a decision by two major temple administration boards following the death of a woman in Alappuzha district.

In Kerala, oleander is known as ‘Arali’ and ‘kanaveeram’, and grows in different colours and varieties.

Also Read: Northern lights spotted in Kerala? Netizens react to hilarious post on social media

Decision by two boards

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

Watch | Kerala Governor Arif Khan finds 'immense peace' at Ayodhya's Ram Mandir; ‘Feels great' in presence of Lord Ram

Why oleander is banned

According to a PTI report, the decision was made after incidents were reported in Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta. In Alappuzha, a woman allegedly died after consuming some Arali flowers and leaves by mistake. A cow and calf also reportedly died in Pathanamthitta last week after eating oleander leaves.

Nurse died due to accidental oleander poisoning

According to the Indian Express, Surya Surendran (24), a nurse who was set to leave for the 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, according to the report.

Also Read: Kerala West Nile fever cases: Health department on alert, issues directives to take mosquito control measures

Substitute for oleander

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

What Travancore Devaswom Board says

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

Malabar Devaswom Board follows suit

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, MR Murali, Malabar Devaswom Board President, told PTI.

Medicinal properties

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 functioning of the hearts of animals and humans, PTI reported.

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.MoreLess
HomeNewsIndiaKerala news: Toxicity concerns — why ‘Arali’ or oleander flowers are banned in temple offerings

Most Active Stocks

Bharat Electronics

07:52 AM | 18 JUN 2024
8.8 (2.84%)

ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company

07:45 AM | 18 JUN 2024
14.15 (0.82%)

Tata Steel

07:52 AM | 18 JUN 2024
-1.35 (-0.74%)

State Bank Of India

07:52 AM | 18 JUN 2024
7.9 (0.94%)
More Active Stocks

Market Snapshot

  • Top Gainers
  • Top Losers
  • 52 Week High

Avanti Feeds

07:38 AM | 18 JUN 2024
52.5 (8.82%)

Asahi India Glass

07:38 AM | 18 JUN 2024
49.55 (8%)

Canfin Homes

07:38 AM | 18 JUN 2024
60.05 (7.2%)

HBL Power Systems

07:38 AM | 18 JUN 2024
34.05 (7.13%)
More from Top Gainers

Recommended For You

    More Recommendations

    Gold Prices

    • 24K
    • 22K

    Fuel Price

    • Petrol
    • Diesel
    New Delhi
    HomeMarketsPremiumInstant LoanGet App