Monday, 30th October 2017

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Tribal cures suffer from lack of trust

Sales of medicinal herbs fail to take off at Samvaad

By Antara Bose in Jamshedpur
  • Published 19.11.19, 2:05 AM
  • Updated 19.11.19, 2:05 AM
  • a min read
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Traditional healers at Samvaad in Gopal Maidan, Jamshedpur, on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

The Tinospora cordifolia, commonly known as guduchi, is said to help in weight loss, diabetes and anaemia, but very few know about its importance in the modern world.

Tribal healers, who rely on ayurvedic medicines, are propagating the effectiveness of herbal cures for almost all common ailments at Samvaad, the tribal conclave by Tata Steel, which entered its fourth day on Monday.

Although 18 stalls of ayurvedic medicines and ethno-medicinal plants have been set up at Gopal Maidan as part of the conclave, tribal healers complain that people still don’t trust them and therefore the sales are not up to the mark.

“People still don’t trust ayurveda and tribal medicines though they are the basis of science of medicine. We bring a lot of herbs, leaves, seeds, bark, roots and husks that have proved to be the cure for many chronic diseases. For example, Curculigo orchioides, commonly known as the golden eye grass, can heal wounds and dissolves blood clots,” said Devilal Hiler, a 60-year-old guni (traditional health practitioner) from Udaipur in Rajasthan.

Devilal said he was a third generation traditional healer and had been growing medicinal plants in his garden to cure gynaecological problems.

“Consuming medicinal plants and herbs is a bit harder than popping pills. Therefore, a lot of people avoid them. People are okay with tablets and capsules and don’t care about their side-effects," said Hiler.

His contemporary Baidya Lomas Kumar Bachch from Korba, Chhattisgarh, agrees.

Baidya’s one of the popular products is trifala made with three herbs and is said to be a boon for arthritis, sciatica and diabetes.

“It doesn’t cost much, but still doesn’t sell because people don’t trust these ancient remedies. We have got a very good opportunity to market our products at Samvaad, the sales are very low,” Bachch said.

The stalls also offer herbal cures that are said to cure problems such as gastroenteritis, cough, diabetes, high blood pressure and hypothyroidism.

On Monday, botanists and professional healers discussed topics ranging from bridging the gap between traditional and modern healthcare to tribal medicinal system, capacity building for tribal healthcare and tribals and their relationship with forests.