Monday, March 16, 2015

Bhang, an Ancient Cannabis Drink from India

Cannabis Use in India

The ancient use of cannabis in India dates back to the Vedic period. This age was during the formation of the oldest Hinduism scriptures dating back to 2000-1400 BC. Consumption generally is in the form of a beverage that uses the leaves and flowers of marijuana called bhang.

The Vedas during this time period considered cannabis as a sacred plant. They wrote about how cannabis had a gardian angel living in it's leaves. The god Shiva is also known as the Lord of Bhang. The story in the scriptures tell of Shiva leaving the family after a disagreement and sleeping under a cannabis plant. When Shiva awoke it drank bhang and made it became the god's favorite food.(Source)

Bhang in northern India and Nepal is widely found in Hindu festivals. Spiritual Indian wanderers called Sadhus and an ancient islamic religion Sufis use bhang for meditation. In rural India it is used more for medicinal properties. They use cannabis to treat grogginess, fever, dysentery, sunstroke, digestion, appetite, clearing phlegm, lisping and speech problems.

Men typically prepare bhang in India. They use mortar and pestle to crush the buds and leaves to make a paste. They ad milk, spices and ghee (butter) to make a thick drink. Sometimes it is mixed with another popular drink called Thandai to make “Bhang Ki Thandai”. Another popular preparation is to mix bhang with sugar and ghee to make chewy balls called “golee” (candy\pills).

Cannabis is deemed illegal in most of India but not enforced. Selling can be found openly as well as cannabis plantations in rural areas. Many Indians categorize bhang as an alternative to alcohol. Tourists have been known to be searched with the goal of a bribe tip.(Source)


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