Ganish Somasondaram

The traditional herbs widely used in the ancient Indian tradition had found their way into Ganish Somasondaram’s farming practices. Being the son of an experienced traditional farmer, Ganish combined his father’s agricultural knowledge with his own creativity to design herbal frankincense, an age-old air purifier.

The use and popularity of herbal frankincense have declined over time. It is made with cow dung as the main ingredient, followed by Vetiveria zizanioides, camphor laurel, resin (Shorea robusta), pancakavya, rice husk and civet perfume (Tamil: Javvathu). All these herbs are loaded with components that help to purify the air. One could customise its preparation by adding a lot more traditional herbs.

“These were discovered by our ancestors not only to get rid of mosquitoes and other harmful insects but also to purify the air, thereby strengthening our respiratory system,” stressed Ganish. The main raw materials needed for this preparation, such as cow dung and pancakavya are derived from his father’s farm.

“We could see different brands of air purifiers on the market, but sadly, all of them are tainted with chemicals that affect health.” Due to the difficulty in procuring pure cow dung, many manufacturers replace it with sawdust, which actually releases health-impairing chemicals when burned. “In the end, the very purpose of the air purifier is defeated,” revealed Ganish.

Ganish rears four cows for this purpose alone. These cows graze on organically grown grass and plants. The pancakavya preparation, which he learned from his father, comes in handy in preparing this air purifier.