| A traditional healer talks to a patient at the Kalinga Herbal Fair in Balangir. Telegraph picture |
Balangir, April 11: Around 50 traditional healers from across the state took part in the ongoing Kalinga Herbal Fair-2012 here at Koshal Kalamandal ground.
The State Medicinal Plant Board and the Balangir forest division fair are organising the fair, which not only offered a market for this alternative medicine, but also provided a platform for the traditional healers to interact with patients and experts. The four-day event will come to an end tomorrow.
The Gandhamardan at Harishankar near Balangir is home to at least 800 rare varieties of medicinal plants. The recent initiative by the forest department ensures that these rare plants found at Harishankar is maintained, plucked in scientific ways and processed in the manufacturing unit for their supply to medicine manufacturer.
The board is expected to provide the necessary infrastructure and ensure that the primary collectors of the herbs are benefited.
Jagannath Baba, head of the Parvati Banaoushadhi Swasthya Sevashram, a traditional healing centre near Balangir, said it was good that the government had come forward to boost the traditional healing method.
“It is a welcome initiative by the government to make the best use of herbal plants that are abundant in Balangir. This will benefit the traditional healers of the region as a whole,” said Jagannath, who took part in the fair. The herbal wealth of the Gandhamardan has been a boon for around 25,000 people living within 20km radius of the Gandhamardan foothills at Harishankar. These herbs are doing miracle to heal both common and complicated illness.
Recently a study team, led by ethno-biologist Goutam Shankar, found that around 80 per cent forest dwellers entirely depend upon medicinal herbs for treatment. The forest dwellers near Harishankar, who have formed different Vana Surakshya Samitis, will benefit from the initiative.
Out of around 800 species of medicinal herbs, identified in the Gandhamardan, the forest department has grown some 130 rare species to distribute them to the local vaidyas. Species such as Patala Garuda (Rauphia Serpentina) and Karanja (Pangamia Pinata) are grown in the herbal garden. “Herbs available in plains of jungle, foothills of the Jal Mahadev near Harishankar are of high quality and have great medicinal value.