The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 30 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Herbal way to heal ailments

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 29: Pratibha Panda, a film and television personality from the state, was seen getting a check-up done by Jugal Behera, a vaidya (traditional healer) from Sonepur.

There were many like Pratibha who visited the 6th Kalinga Herbal Fair to find a remedy to their ailment.

Organised with the aim to promote traditional methods of curing diseases using Indian herbs, the five-day fair held on Exhibition Ground concluded on Tuesday.

The state Medicinal Plants Board, under the aegis of the state forest and environment department, hosted the herbal fair. Vaidyas and dealers in medicinal plant products congregated at the fair from almost all districts of the state. Apart from Odisha, traders from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra also came to display their products.

About 120 kiosks were put up and nearly 200 participants offered medicines for a wide range of health disorders such as skin problems, digestion issues, hair fall, arthritis, rheumatism and so on.

While some kiosks sold loose different parts of medicinal plants, including roots, seeds and leaves, others offered packets of paste, powder and tablets made of these plant parts.

Tonics and lotions of the medicines were also found. Women also thronged the place as it sold face packs that promised rejuvenated skin.

“Ayurvedic treatment demands patience. People always look for easy options. If these age-old techniques can cure a problem, who wants to spend thousands of rupees on hi-tech methodologies? You need to believe in the process,” said Pratibha. Behera, her examiner, said that the perception was changing. “I used to distribute leaflets two decades ago, now people come looking for me,” said Behera.

The fair tried its best to highlight the utility of medicinal plants in the health sector.

It also provided a platform for direct interaction between medicinal plant collectors, traders, exporters, Ayurvedic pharmacies, herbal product manufacturers and consumers.

“The exhibition becomes an opportunity for such traditional healers, who hardly get noticed in this era. But belief of people in these ancient methods can be estimated by the fact that each kiosk has approximately done a business of Rs 50,000,” said an official.