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 a doctor before consuming these medicines.
Translated from Kokborok by Manisha Debbarma
You will seldom enter a Tripuri rural household without noticing a flock of chickens pecking grains in the courtyard. Like many rural areas of India, Tripuri indigenous families, too, rear a variety of domesticated birds and animals, of which the chicken is the most common. It is a part of the local diet and is also served as one of the main dishes during festivals and functions. Chickens also act an additional source of income as the desi variety fetches a higher price in the market.
Rearing chicken, however, comes with its own set of challenges, one of which is the chicken flu or bird flu that can make the fowls dangerously sick and even prove fatal.
Fortunately, in Tripura, the indigenous people have come up with their own herbal medicine for countering the virus. It is said that the flu affects the fowl around the first week of April and once again in the first week of December. Sometimes, the feed is given in advance as a preventive measure.
The first ingredient required to prepare the medicine is mulberry. In Tripura, people either plant it in their home gardens or cultivate it in the agricultural fields. Both the leaves and the berries of mulberry are required in making the herbal paste but in case the plant has not started flowering, just the leaves will do.
The second ingredient is rice. The quantity depends on the number of chickens in the household. If the number is few, only a handful of rice is required. Chicken don’t eat only mulberry, therefore rice is given with the mulberry.
The mulberry leaves are mixed with the fruits to prepare a paste, and then the rice is mixed with the paste to prepare the medicine.
Once the herbal medicine is ready, spread it in the courtyard and feed the chickens. Every indigenous community has its own unique calls for animals and birds. In Tripura, the local folks make a “kur kur” sound to call the fowl. The herbal feed has been known to cure the chickens of the virus and prevent further occurrence.
Note: The above information about the indigenous cure for bird flu has been prescribed by Anjana Debbarma. Anjana is a resident of Lefunga in West Tripura.
This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.