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Platform for local healers

Shillong, Dec. 1: A group has come forward to provide a platform to people who are engaged in curing ailments through traditional practices in the state, which is known for the presence of diverse medicinal herbs and traditional healers.

The group, Meghalaya Awareness Society for Communication (MASCOM), will hold an exhibition on traditional healing on December 6 and 7 at Jowai in West Jaintia Hills to showcase traditional knowledge on medicine and medicinal plants.

The exhibition is being organised with the support of the office of the West Jaintia Hills deputy commissioner.

“We aim to highlight traditional knowledge of medicine and medicinal plants of Meghalaya in general and Jaintia Hills in particular. It will also serve as a platform for the local traditional practitioners not only to showcase their services and products but also to learn from interactions with government agencies and the public,” the group’s president H.H. Mohrmen said.

He also said government departments and agencies like the state bio-diversity board, state medicinal plants board and the forest department have been invited to participate in the exhibition.

The public can take advantage of this opportunity not just to merely “see” the exhibits, but also consult the local traditional healers regarding their ailments and avail of medicines and other products that the participants will exhibit, Mohrmen said.

Renowned traditional medicinal practitioners and local practitioners are expected to be available during the two days.

The exhibition will be the first of its kind programme in Jaintia Hills where opportunity for interaction and consultation for both the traditional medicinal practitioners and the local residents will be available.

Official statistics show that Meghalaya has 850 species of medicinal plants, 377 of which are used by 70-80 per cent of the state’s population for primary healthcare needs.

Species like Nepenthes khasiana and Piper peepuloides, which are endemic in Meghalaya, are globally threatened.

However, over the years, traditional healers have expressed concern over the gradual disappearance of precious medicinal herbs in view of forest fires and deforestation.