Tribals make case for use of herbal medicine

HerbalMaharashtra, January 09, 2012: A few days before Christmas, a group comprising 150 tribal women wound its way around Byculla. Drawn from mofussil parts of the state, the participants confidently

hit the streets of Mumbai to make a case for return to traditional roots in primary health care. They have been using herbal remedies to cure minor ailments in their villages, thereby avoiding the side effects of allopathy.

The women are members of a special initiative by the Catholic church’s archdiocese of Mumbai that seeks to promote natural therapy among tribals. The health promotion trust (HPT) programme is the brainchild of Fr Rocky Banz, parish priest of Gloria Church in Byculla. “Although native tribals were once the repository of natural remedies, they are gradually losing this knowledge with the advent of modern medicine,” Fr Rocky says.

He points out that traditional Indian systems of medicine reigned supreme until the 19th century when the British introduced allopathy. “However, allopathy has its side effects. People have begun to realise it is better to revert to simple home remedies for minor ailments like the common cold, diarrhoea as well as aches and pains.

“The HPT staff is working in 15 centres across the archdiocese to reintroduce ayurveda, yoga, unani, homoeopathy and naturopathy,” Fr Rocky said. Dr Maitrayee Bhattacharya is helping to implement this initiative. “We are handing simple tips on diet and health to women health workers in tribal areas while keeping in mind that they belong to the low income group,” she says. “Already, the outreach has expanded to Tembhipada in Bhandup, Powai, Gorai and Dongri Uttan as far as Kalyan, Karjat, Panvel and Kolad.” HPT has tied up with Ayush, an initiative by the Centre’s health and family welfare department.

– timesofindia

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