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
Living in forests and hills has given the Tripuri community ample insight into the benefits of the plants and vegetation found in their forests. Since time immemorial, indigenous communities have been using their local herbs to cure everyday ailments such as stomach aches, fevers and body aches. Here, we shall look at three important herbs that aid in easing these three seasonal ailments.
Sweet-broom weed is the first important herb in making a concoction for sickness caused by season change. This sweet-broom weed is found near the house of tribal communities and in the vegetable farms. It is a small shrub with tiny leaves and flowers. For this balm, the leaves and roots of the plant are used. This plant is known for its medicinal benefits for ailments like stomach ache, diarrhoea, kidney problems, kidney stones and fever, among others.
Spreading Hogweed can be found in the gardens or fields near one’s home. Again, this is a small shrub but it has leaves bigger than the sweet-broom weed. While making the cure the leaves and roots of spreading hogweed are used. Spreading hogweed is the most important ingredient in making this balm. Spreading Hogweed is known for its benefits in helping with obesity, improving appetite, jaundice, and general fever.
The last thing needed while making the medicine for healing the seasonal ailments is the billygoat-weed. In Tripura, the billygoat-weed can be found around peoples’ homes. We use only the leaves and not the roots. The billygoat-weed plant is small and it sprouts white flowers when in season. It is known for its benefits in healing common colds, headaches, boils, eczema, bleeding wounds, burns, etc.
After collecting all the three ingredients, we need to wash them thoroughly in clean water using a bowl. The next step involves crushing all three ingredients into a paste. Separate the juice and the paste in two different containers.
The paste is to be applied to the aching parts of the body like joints and forehead. It can be applied to the whole body as well. It will relieve the pain. Earlier, people believed that applying this paste would force the pain to exit through the legs of the person.
The tribal communities in Tripura have been using this cure for stomach aches, body aches, and seasonal fevers. This knowledge is now limited to a few people but with adequate scientific research, it is possible to tap into the tribal medicinal resources and give its practitioners the respect and dignity they deserve. Just like Ayurveda, medicinal knowledge can be shared with the world and will provide an opportunity for people to learn from the treasure trove of knowledge about traditional medicine that indigenous people possess.
Note: The information related to the balm has been provided by Anjana Debbarma who lives in Lefunga, Agartala, West Tripura.
This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.