Solo - Wonder Herb of Ladakh (E)
In the high and hostile peaks of the Himalayas where sustaining life is a challenge in itself, Indian scientists say they have found a "wonder herb" which can regulate the immune system, help adapt to the mountain environment and, above all, protect from radioactivity. Rhodiola, a herb found in the cold and highland climate, has led India's leading scientists to wonder if it is the end to the quest for "sanjeevani", the mythical herb that gave renewed life to Ram's brother Lakshman in the epic Ramayana. Locally called "solo" in Ladakh, the qualities of Rhodiola were largely unknown so far. The leafy parts of the plant were used as vegetable by locals. However, research by the Leh-based Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) is exploring the therapeutic values of the herb that shows it can do wonders for the troops posted in difficult high altitude areas like the 5,400mhigh Siachen glacier. Solo (Rhodiola) is also known as arctic root or golden root, and its scientific name is Rhodiola rosea.