Ahimsa Garden

Dr. Daisy Kuchinad and her husband Chet Kuchinad founded Ahimsa Ayurvedic Garden in 2013 to preserve nearly 400 species of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants, including rare and endangered species.

A personal statement from the founder of Ahimsa, Dr. Daisy Kuchinad MD:

My story began on March 23, 1978 when my family and I arrived in the United States, trading in the sun burnt heartlands of India for the deep, freezing winters of Chicago. For the next 10 years I created my new life thousands of miles away from my home. I went to college in Milwaukee, WI, met my husband and eventually finished medical school in 1987.

That same year, I said goodbye to my father after he suffered a fatal heart attack. Over the years, he dreamed and hoped to eventually give back to his ancestral village in India. Providence had it that I was surrounded by opportunities and people who helped me achieve this goal. By 2000, my husband and I bought a property in our ancestral village in southern India with the idea of creating a clinic that could serve those who did not have access to health care. By Sept 2001, Hope Charities was born. Over the next ten years, the project expanded with respect to the needs of the community. We soon added a Women’s Vocational Center and a Children’s Tutoring Center. Slowly, Hope Charities was becoming an indelible part of this small community.

In 2008, Hope Charities faced a monumental threat. Attempts were being made to turn the adjacent property into a quarry, a decision that would pose an ecological disaster to the pristine environment and destabilize the property on which Hope Charities stood. The local population fought this threat for over two years, in fear that I might shut down the clinic. Finally, in 2010, my husband and I decided to purchase the 2.5 acres of land that was in dispute.

Due to my deep interest in medicinal plants, and my passion to preserve them from the deadly effects of global warming, I was inspired to start a sustainability project to provide a sanctuary for endangered medicinal plants. Ahimsa Gardens were planted in 2012 with the help of Dr. Sashidharan from the Kerala Forestry Service. Ahimsa holds over 400 species of medicinal plants including sixty rare and endangered trees.

In the meantime, in 2008 I sought out Ayurveda for the first time for an immediate family member after he had received Chemotherapy for a serious illness. This is when I started delving into the benefits and the limitations of Western Scientific Medicine. The chemotherapy, even though it had saved an immediate family member’s life, had also left behind life threatening poisons within him. The effects were making him sick in many ways and left a threat of increased probability of a malignancy in the future.

We had treated the symptom and left out any inquiry or treatment of the cause.

founder of Ahimsa retreatsAfter twenty years of practicing as a western physician in America it dawned on me that we had still not answered the question as to what specifically created the conditions that were ripe to cause the disease. I started looking into alternative holistic therapies including the ancient Medical Science of India; Ayurveda.

The more I studied Ayurveda the more I became convinced that we needed to wed the inventions of modern mechanistic medicine with the ancient holistic “systems” based medicine like Ayurveda, as it sought to correct imbalances to make “systems” in the “whole being” work together to achieve meaningful cures and improvements in quality of life. For example, holistic therapies that balanced and kept the immune “system”, healthy and balanced, prevented diseases including infections, cancer, and numerous autoimmune diseases. “Systems” got out of balance by other factors including, environment, diet and body-mind-spirit factors such as chronic stress, lack of fulfillment and meaning.

Modern mechanistic medicine excelled in treating diseases after it manifested and ancient Ayurveda aimed to eradicate the causes before diseases became physically manifested. Now I understood why I had indirectly become the steward of endangered Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants!

To make the project financially sustainable, in 2013 Ahimsa Gardens became Ahimsa Garden Retreats.

At Ahimsa we offer our guests Ayurvedic Panchakarma Treatments tailored to each one’s unique constitution (Prakruti) and imbalances (doshas or Vikruti), administered by our a unique Practitioner Unnikrishnan Gurukkal, who was handpicked by by me after over several years of research, personal treatments and observation. He is a Kalari Master (Ancient Kerala Martial Arts) who practices Ayurveda/Panchakarma based in Marma Chikitsa and Traditional Ayurveda.

Additionally, guests will enjoy ample quiet time; organically homegrown food; opportunities for yoga and meditation; the magic and healing of the Ahimsa Ayurvedic garden; and immersion in an inspiring ancient culture by means of performances of traditional dance and music.  We hope our guests will leave with a sense of enhanced well being, health, and optimism, making themselves better stewards of their own health and that of our Earth.