There are a lot of customs and traditions Indians follow out of faith and belief. But almost all of them root from a place of logic and science. Here are few such traditions and the science behind how they came to be.
1. Greeting with a namaste
As a form of respect, Indians greet people by joining their palms to form a ‘namaskaar’. The scientific reason behind this is that joining of hands will activate all the pressure points relating to eyes, ears and mind which are present on the tip of the fingers. This is known to help in remembering the person for a long time. As an added bonus, you can’t get germs because there’s no physical contact, unlike a handshake.
2. Throwing coins into the river
In a lot of countries, you see the tradition of people throwing coins into water bodies like rivers, lakes or wishing wells as a sign of good luck or when they wish for something. In ancient times, most of the coins were made out of copper, unlike today. Since people used to drink water out of rivers, the custom of throwing coins in it was a way of ensuring everyone got sufficient amount of copper intake because it is an essential mineral required by the human body.
3. Worshiping trees
A lot of us worship trees, seeing them as a form of God. Peepal tree, for example, is considered very sacred. It doesn’t provide us with any kind of fruits or flowers and its wood is not strong enough to make furniture but it has a super unique property of producing oxygen even at night. To make sure such trees were not cut down, it was made as a custom to worship them by our ancestors.
Tulsi is another plant that provides us with a lot of oxygen which is why they’re placed in every household.
4. Usage of cow dung
In a lot of villages, you can see cow dung smeared in front of the houses. When the methane is the cow dung is exposed to the sun’s ray, formaldehyde is formed which is a natural disinfectant. It will prevent harmful bacteria and germs from entering the house.
Dried cow dung is also used as a source of fuel for cooking which is super cost effective and also acts as a natural compost.
5. Women wearing a toe ring
Silver toe rings are worn on the second toe by married women in India. It is believed that a certain nerve from the second toe connects to the uterus and to the heart. This will help in maintaining a regular menstrual cycle by regulating the blood flow. Silver, in particular, is used because it absorbs energies from the ground and passes them to the body.
6. Sitting down on the floor while eating
Sitting in a cross-legged position will help in digestion because it increases the blood flow towards the abdominal region. When you’re sitting down, your upper part is naturally compressed, this will reduce the stomach space by almost half thereby ensuring you don’t eat too much.
7. Sleeping in a particular direction
We are usually told not to sleep with our head in the north direction. When our head is towards the north, our body’s magnetic field is repelled from the earth’s natural magnetic field. This is known to cause blood pressure related problems. The iron in the blood will start to gather around the brain leading to headaches, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
8. Applying kumkum on the forehead
Sindhoor/Kumkum is made with turmeric lime and metal mercury. Married women usually apply this on the forehead because it is not only known to regulate blood pressure but also increases sex drive. It also helps in reducing stress and tension.
9. Mehendi/henna on hands and feet
Mehendi not only gives a beautiful colour to your hands and feet but it actually has medicinal properties. It keeps the body cool and decreases strain. This is why it is used for brides as their wedding date nears to keep them tension-free. It is also known to keep your nails healthy and free of infection. But be careful though to use mehendi that is a pure extract of the plant and not artificial colouring agents that are available in the market.
10. Wearing bangles
The bangles worn by women provide constant friction against the wrist portion. This is known to increase the blood circulation levels and because of the ring shape of the bangles, the electricity that passes through the outer skin is sent back to one’s body.
During pregnancy, the sound of the bangles acts as acoustic stimuli to the baby and will help in an easy delivery.