Growing health

A village in India, apparently too poor to afford medicine, has been encouraged by a local NGO to cultivate plants in their gardens that can be used for herbal remedies. Six months after the project was begun, medical visits for common ailments have been drastically reduced.

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Villagers now ‘cultivate’ natural remedies

visitors are thronging the remote village of Asurmunda under Agalpur
block of the district. Their object of interest is a project, which the
villagers have taken up for community development – a home herbal
garden project.

DFID officials too had also recently visited the village to inquire about the project.

Located at the foothills of two small hillock, Asurmunda has 73
families living in it, out of which 50 have taken up the project.

The project, promoted by Sabuja Biplab, a local NGO envisages
cultivation of 12 different medicinal plants at one’s back-yard. This
means natural remedies are available right at the doorstep.

The 12 varieties of medicinal trees being cultivated are gheekuanr,
akarkara, rukana haatpocha, sunamukhi, pudina, paan ainrai, patragaja,
buccha, gugul, thalkudi, (brahmi), gangashiuali, bishalyakarani,
prasaruni, antamula, gulachi, keu and koiletha.

Last year, the Action Research Group of Sabuja Biplab had conducted a
survey on the kind of diseases, which the villagers mostly suffered
from. It was found that the culprits were mostly fever, respiratory
infection, worm infection and acidity. The villagers’ expenses on
treatment stood at about Rs. 4.5 lakh.

‘‘As the villagers were found to be well-versed with medicinal plants,
use and efficacy, we took up this project which would provide them with
natural and effective remedies’’, says S.K. Das of Sabuja Biplab.

In fact, six months after the project started, the frequency of visits to PHCs has come down drastically, Das pointed out.

‘‘Gheekuanr gives relief from burn injuries, headache and diarrhoea
while rukunahaatpocha leaves can get rid of acidity ’’, explained Kanhu
Pradhan, a villager when the Director of Indian Medicine and
Homeopathy, Orissa, B.S. Panda had visited the village with a team of
doctors recently.