Significance of Medicinal Herbs and Traditional Healers in Tripura

ARTICLE / Nature:

By Poulami Saha and Pawan K Kaushik

Herbs can be broadly defined as the plants which have lots of medicinal benefits for specific purposes other than nourishment. These plants have an important role in human life as they are beneficial for getting healthy body.

The herbal gardens maintained by the traditional healers in Kanchanpur area of North Tripura district were developed to facilitate easy accessibility of medicinal plants. These traditional healers have established “Kaviraj Herbal Gardens” to help themselves and the local patients for curing the most common diseases, like Anemia and Skin problems Stomach disorder, Bone fracture, Jaundice, Fistula and Piles, Heart disease, Arthritis, General weakness, Gynecological disorder etc.

The purpose of these “Kaviraj Herbal Gardens” is to promote traditional medicines and help preserve the traditional knowledge as well as generate forest-based livelihood to growers and practitioners. The members of the society, with some financial and technical support from Centre for Forest-based Livelihoods and Extension (CFLE) Agartala, have collected many rare species of herbs from far flung areas and conserving them in these herbal gardens of the motivated group of 55 traditional healers from different tribes of Tripura. They have been collected and grown over 100 species of rare and endangered medicinal plants and conserving them for the valuable plant parts. These plant parts are used for preparation of traditional medicines to cure different chronic and fatal diseases. Some of the popular herbal plants used by the practitioners for different  traditional formulations are Ginger, Gol morich, Loung/Cloves Hetranga, Kulekhara, Khejur, Kaju, Alkoshi, Ashwagandha, Thankuni, Jaba, Jangle Ullo, Tunkadana, Apamargo, Daultpata, Karalapata, Halud, Neem, Guggul, Basak, Anantamul, Til Manjshla, Chalmugra, Guruchi, Tulsi, Aloe vera, Dhutura,  Gandhaki, Sohaga, Hati sur, Biskadalir pata etc. Different parts of these plants are used for prevention and cure of different diseases and all of them have different process of preparation.

In Tripura, a large proportion of the population in rural areas relies on traditional healers and their armamentarium of medicinal plants in order to meet traditional health care needs.