Workshop highlights effectiveness of traditional medicines

Five-day national workshop, exhibition on tribal medicine begins

 A five-day national-level tribal healers and tribal medicines workshop and exhibition commenced at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS), a national museum of mankind, here on Saturday.

Director of IGRMS, Bhopal, Sarit Kumar Chaudhuri inaugurated the event in which more than 60 tribal healers from eight states displayed rare tribal medicines, and demonstrated tribal healing practices.

A variety of traditional medicines, traditional Kerala massage and steam bath among others were the major attractions. Professional healers of Dravida Herbal Medicines from Waynad in Kerala, offered steam bath and massage. Participants from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand took part in the event.

Former director of Tribal Research Centre, Ooty, Jakka Parthasarathy, who brought Kotas and Kurumba tribal people to the event from Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu, told DH that tribal medicines are gaining popularity in recent days as they have significant benefits. “Two tribal communities are considered healers for the remaining four tribal communities in the district. Tribal healers offer medicines for jaundice, anaemia, a few sexual problems, piles, joint pain, bone fracture among others. Tribal treatment is coupled with religious beliefs, and is most effective if taken in the early hours of the day,” he said.

Arun K Mirashe, a tribal healer from Haliyal in Uttara Kannada district said that it is high time we protect and conserve medicinal plants in forests. Mirashe has been cultivating a few medicinal plants on his farmland. “Traditional medicines have their own significance and a majority of them are free from side-effects. He said the exhibition is a good platform for tribal healers from parts of the country to update their knowledge and also exchange ideas,” Mirahse said.

After inaugurating the event, Chaudhuri said the motto of IGRMS and the event is to reflect the strength of tribals, their knowledge and practices. IGRMS has been organising several events to encourage participation of communities, he said.
President of the Anthropological Association, Mysuru, P K Misra said knowledge about traditional medicines needs to be protected and propagated. “There is a need for more efforts to protect them for the benefit of future generations,” he said.

The workshop aims at bringing all tribal healers on a single platform to display rare tribal medicines and to demonstrate tribal healing practices.

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