Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Omiwa Shrine Medicine Trail


Omiwa Shrine in Nara prefecture (near JR Miwa station) is a huge and ancient shrine which has a long history and many unique features.

One unique feature is the Medicine Trail.

The complex has a large shrine dedicated to Okuninushi, the god of medicine.
Next to the shrine there is a path leading up the mountain that connects to a long pilgrimage trail (the Yamanobe-no-michi). The nearest section of the trail is lined with herbal plants and sign designates this area as "kusuri no michi," or "the medicine trail." 
The signs on the trail indicate the Latin names of the plants, the use (youto, 用途) of the herb, the classification (you-bu, 用部) and "Kanpo" use (or "kampo" / 漢方 is traditional Chinese medicine) and active ingredient (seibun, 成分).

Below is a collection of photos from the medicine trail as part of a photo journal series from a expedition to the shrine during the Spring Festival.

A shrine to Okuninushi, the god of meducine.
There is special curtain bearing the imperial crest, kikumon, during the Omiwa Spring Festival.
Note the photo-op board in front displaying the date and a rabbit.

The rabbit is the companion animal of Okuninushi as told of in the tale of the Rabbit of Inaba.
This statue is a "nade usagi," or "rubbing rabbit" which people touch rub for good luck; which is why the statue is so brightly polished.
The nade usagi is similar to the nade ushi seen at Tenjin shrines.

An unusual torii that is has no horizontal lintel but simply a shimanawa rope.
This shimanawa seems to be in the "daikonshime" (大根注連) style as there are shidate papers and thick ropes hanging from the main rope strand.

A sign marking the Medicine Trail.
The sign indicates that the trail was planted (perhaps the most recent replanting?) in 2016 by Tamura Medical Industry Company from the Tamura Herbal Garden.

Lindera strychnifolia F. Vill.
Tendai uyaku
Relative of the camphor tree
Classification: Root cypress medicine (uyaku)
Use: Aromatic stomach medicine
Kanpo: Used as fragrance, also used to treated menstrual pain.

Chaenormeles spaciosa Nakai (Japanese Quince)
Classification: from the rose family
Use: for stomach pain, digestion and as an anti-inflammatory
Kanpo: ?

Eucommia eulmoides Oliv.
From the tochuu family
Use: tonic, diuretic, and pain reliever. 

Gardenia jasminoides Ellis (Cape Jasmine)
kuchinashi (gardenia)
from the Akane (rubiceae) family
Classification: Sanshishi
Use: analgesia (pain releiver), hemostatis (stops bleeding), clothing dye

Angelica acutiloba Kitagawa
Use: pain reliever, blood purification, blood supplement, tonic

Lonicera japonica Thunb.
Use: antispasmodic, tea, diuretic, insecticide, anti-bacterial...

Cinnamomum sieboldii Meisn
From the camphor tree family
Use: stomach pain, sweating, ?

Mallotus japnicus Mueller Arg.
Use: Acid reflex, stomach ulcers

Berberis thunbergii DC
Use: burn treatment, stomach ailments, ?

Cornus officianlis Sieb. et Zucc.
Use: tonic, stops bleeding, astigmatism treatment
Active ingredient: loganin

Chaenomeles sinensis Koehne
From the rose family
Use: pain reliever, diuretic, astigmatism treatment, tonic

Fritillaria vericillata Willd var. thundergil Baker
Use: pain reliever

Cinmomum sieboldii Meisn.

Eucommia ulmoides Oliver
Use: tonic, diuretic, pain reliever

Arisaema sp.
Satoimo family
Use: pain reliever, burn treatment, cough drop 

Nandina domestica Thunb.
From the megi family
Use: Pain reliever, tonic, gargle