Note: This article is for informational purposes only. This is not an attempt to suggest any kind of cure and medication. This information in this article is based on the experience and traditional medicinal knowledge of Adivasis. Please consult your doctor before consuming these medicines.
Translated from Kokborok by Manisha Debbarma.
To stay fit and healthy, we not only need a balanced diet and regular movement and exercise but also good medicines to help nurse us back to health when we aren’t feeling well. In Tripura, tribals have been consuming medicines from the forest for generations and our ancestors had intensive knowledge of the herbs and remedies sourced from the forest.
One of the most common ailments people suffer from is cough. To heal this cough, my community has been using this traditional medicine from the forest.
To prepare the medicine for cough, four main ingredients are required- Tulsi leaves, Black Vasaka leaves, Indian Spurge tree leaves, and honey.
Leaves of the black holy basil are one of the common medicines we use to help heal cough. Many tribals grow basil near their homes due to its many benefits. Basil is known to reduce inflammation, reduce anxiety and stress, and is also known for its antioxidant properties. It is also used to make herbal teas and essential oil due to these medicinal qualities. Holy basil is used as a remedy, but it also has religious significance and is used during pujas, too.
Black Vasaka or Malabar is also a plant grown near homes, and the leaves are used for preparing medicine that heals cough. In Ayurveda, it is also used to help cure malaria, fever, asthma, skin diseases and the plant is known for its antimicrobial properties.The flower of the plant is also used to make curries in tribal communities in Tripura.
Abundant in forests in Tripura, this thorny tree has leaves which are beneficial for healing cough. The leaves of these trees are collected and heated in a fire or with charcoal to bring out the juice.The plantis also used to heal skin diseases, ear pain, etc.
Honey is a very popular remedy for cough, and the tribal communities in Tripura also use it. Some tribals collect their honey from the forest, while some buy it from the market. Either way, honey is available in almost every home. Honey is always stored in glass bottles, as that helps keep it fresh.
To prepare the cough medicine, the leaves of black holy basil and black vasak are mixed, crushed and made into a paste and the juice of this paste is collected in a container. After that, the juice of this paste and the juice of the leaves of Indian spurge tree are mixed and heated in charcoal. All the juice and honey are mixed and the medicine is ready for consumption.
This medicine has been a go-to remedy for cough in my community. I hope more people try herbal and organic remedies for ailments that can be cured this way. These remedies from the forest are the reason indigenous communities are so hale and hearty and healthy.
This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.