Friday, October 21, 2016

Medicinal Herbs - losing its importance

Manchhhilu (Aconitum patulam)
Amartsala
As a child I lived in a remote place called Bhangtar under Samdrup Jongkhar Dzongkhag. In those days when we had a cut on our body parts, our parents and elders would collect plants called lanyiru (a term in tshangla, a widely spoken dialect in East Bhutan) (botanical name: Rubia cordifolia.) The plant leaves were rubbed and squeezed to stop the bleeding. It would heal the wound. A plant named Juung in tshangla (botanical name: Curcuma longa) heals stomach ache and diarrhoea. People in the villages make use of these herbs to cure illnesses before the advent of modern medical service (though some people still have confidence in local medicine).  Today some elder people continue to use herbal medicine and cure others as well; one of them is meme Karchung, resident of Bangtsho village in Dewathang. He is known as a local doctor and the people of Dewathang go to him to treat certain illness such as stomach pain, fracture, wound, etc. There are few such people left and it has become very crucial for us to preserve this knowledge. LME students study about local herbal medicines with the help of meme Karchung. They have made field trips in the forest to study and recognize local herbs and also collect them.  
The following are some herbs collected by the students:


Botanical name
Local name
Uses
Adhatoda Vasica
Khatsirmo
 Leaves are mixed and boiled together with Artemisia to cure wounds.
Rubia cordifolia
Lanyiru
Leaves are beaten and used to cure wounds.
Aconitum patulam
 Manchhilu
Leaves to be boiled to wash the body to heal the wounds.
Enteda gigantea
Kolokpo Ru

Cures wound.
Phytolacca acinoso
 Zalamathangru
Cures stomach-ache. We soak the tip of the creeper in the hot water and drink it.
Curcuma longa
Juung
 Cures diarrhoea and stomach ache.
 -----
Amartsala
Leaves are squeezed to stop the blood oozing and also to cure wounds.
----- 
 Kiling sey
Cures the cracks of the heel. Used as soap in the past and  also anti-leech.

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