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
In this world, to stay safe and alive, everyone needs medical intervention from time to time. The tribals of Tripura traditionally depended on making their own medicines from the plants and roots found in forests and gardens. These herbal potions helped protect them against diseases and illness. In Kokborok, the system of herbal medicine is known as“Bonoji” and is practised by the shamans of the villages.
One of the most common ailments faced by people is a severe headache. It can be caused by fever, changes in diet or just being out in the sun, among many other reasons. In cities, usually, people resort to an allopathic pill or tablet to cure it. However, in villages, people still prefer to use herbal balms. In Tripura, there are primarily two ingredients required to make the balm.
The peacock ginger plant is found in many indigenous homes. The plant is grown in the yards and gardens as it produces very beautiful flowers. The leaves are patterned and beautiful, making it a great addition to the collection of decorative plants. It is also well-known for its medicinal properties.
Billygoat-weed is the other ingredient needed to prepare the medicine to cure headaches. The leaves of billygoat-weed are used in making the medicine. The plant is available in the gardens, jungles, and even grows on the roadside. The flower of billygoat-weed is white in colour and it blooms during its season. It is known for its medicinal benefits for treating colds, headaches, burns, etc.
To make the balm, the roots of the peacock ginger plant are dug out and the leaves of the billy-goat weed are collected. The leaves are washed thoroughly and grind into a paste using mortar and pestle.
This medicine is applied directly to the forehead of the affected person. It is applied before going to bed at night. After applying this medicine regularly before sleep, the headache heals in three days.
Using herbal medicines not only saves money but also ensures that there are no side-effects. Even today, the indigenous tribes of Tripura rely on plants and herbs for every-day ailments. Unfortunately, ‘Bonoji’or the knowledge of herbal medicine is now known to very few people. In order to keep this knowledge alive, writers, reporters, and the media need to record and highlight the procedure and the efficacy of these cures.
Note: The details of preparing the balm for headaches have been provided by Suma Debbarma from Lefunga, Agaratala, West Tripura.
This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.