Martuvam Healing Forest
Martuvam Healing Forest is a property of organically grown medicinal herbs, plants and trees located deep within the western periphery of Auroville, on the outskirts of the green belt, near the Tamil village of Annainagar. Since our inception in 2002, we have been committed to recover and preserve our indigenous medicinal knowledge, which is our natural, holistic ancestral way of living and healing.
Acreage: 4.6 | Steward: Sivaraj
Even though this tradition is very efficient, its knowledge has been slowly forgotten through our modern lifestyle and with the advent of modern medicine. As is the case in many parts of the world, the general population of Tami Nadu has fallen prey to a system that uses harmful chemicals and toxic substances that infiltrate our everyday lives in the form of fossil fuels, packaged foods, commonly used drugs and medications and even fluoride water.
Among the Indian healing systems that currently incorporate this ancient heritage are Ayurveda and Siddha.
Our main purpose is to grow, harvest, process the medicinal raw materials from the forest, prepare natural herbal remedies and products, offer preventive measures and alternative treatments, and share this knowledge with all, including Aurovilians, guests, visitors, the people in the local villages, the South-Indian region, the nation of India, and the whole world.
Martuvam Healing Forest is also the home of Shivaraj, his wife Malar and their three children Rajeshwari, Auroson, and Aarvind, who, together with many other friends of Auroville, have used traditional cultivation and harvesting techniques to lovingly transform the barren plot of land into a fertile and lush, natural forest. Friends from the Farm Group, Forest Group, Green Group and Pitchandikulam Bio Resource Centre in Auroville (where Sivaraj once worked) contributed enormously in terms of information, seedlings, and moral support.
During the Covid-19 pandemic we created various products, including the immunity boosting Kapasura herbal drink, Herbal Healing face masks, natural hand sanitisers (EMS proven), Triphala, herbal Kombucha and herbal snacks. (Link to video of Healing Masks)
We envision a multi-dimensional healing sanctuary and educational centre available to all, regardless of socioeconomic conditions. It will include a Siddha Plant Medicine Clinic that offers natural healthcare through individual consultations and group workshops. The Forest will provide the raw materials for the clinic’s herbal remedies.
The main purpose of the centre will be to educate on the significance of afforestation, the healing attributes of herbs and preservation of the indigenous medicine.
The centre also aims to recover, preserve and share the sacred techniques used by the Siddhas to purify the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of our being in order to activate our innate healing abilities. We will conduct ongoing research for herbal and plant medicine to study the relationship between certain sacred herbs and the human body and their nutritional advantages for cure of diseases and disabilities. We owe it to the future generations to protect this heritage entrusted to us by our ancestors to develop more ways of practicing a symbiotic bond between Nature and the Divine.
Furthermore, we seek to support Auroville, the local villages and the world to become sustainable by locally producing all the food and medicine we need.
There will also be lodging and work spaces where other healing arts practitioners can offer services aligned with our vision.
We also aspire to improve the livelihood of the people in the surrounding villages by providing jobs and skill building courses.
“Faith is the soul’s witness to something not yet manifested, achieved or realised, but which yet the Knower within us, even in the absence of all indications, feels to be true or supremely worth following or achieving.”
In 2009 Sivaraj received a Diploma in Herbal Siddha Medicine (DHMS), under the guidance of Dr. Salvarasu, a well-known practitioner in southern India. Siddha Medicine is a system that incorporates traditional South-Indian healing knowledge, similar to Ayurvedic herbal healing.
Using plants harvested from Martuvam and around Auroville, Sivaraj has been practicing ever since by providing consultations and treatments, and conducting workshops to educate people, including Aurovilians, guests, and women, young people, and students from the local villages, of the myriad benefits of herbalism and natural plant remedies, sharing herbal wellness practices and different alternative healing methods.
Malar is a qualified homeopath and runs a Herbal quilting studio on site. She offers assistance and clinical guidance to patients at the local clinic in collaboration with her mentor Ms. Sigrid.
Services are offered for free or for a low cost.
We welcome short and long-term volunteers who can help us in any of the following:
- Pruning trees
- Removing dead woods and debris
- Creating paths for educational and recreational herbal walks
- Creating and maintaining garden beds (collection, seedling, planting, pruning, weeding, watering, etc.)
- Identifying medicinal plants and researching their benefits
- Preparing sign boards with name, benefits, and medical usage
Re-start Preparation of Herbal Remedies
- Harvesting/collecting herbal plants
- Sun drying
- Mixing and packing
Re-start Production of herbal masks
- Collection of healing plants
- Production of herbal powder
- Packing of herbal refill packs
Re-start Production of Herbal Kombucha, Natural Hand sanitizer, herbal remedies and snacks, and other products
- Creating unique recipes
In addition, we require help in creating an indoor herbal garden or greenhouse, creating educational materials, manual and construction work, marketing and public relations work.
We have some budget accommodations available for long-term volunteers.