Our country is abundant with rich species that is sufficient to sustain life on Earth. Today, in the field of health care medicinal plants and the folk knowledge associated with it plays an important. The World Health Organisation has stated that 80 percent of the population depends upon the medicinal plants for their health care and around 8000 medicinal plants are used for healing ailments around the world. The majority of the people using these medicinal plants are the traditional healers. The knowledge of various plants and their uses has been passed on to them through generations by word of mouth and this has not been recorded anywhere in written form and hence at the verge of knowledge extinction. Moreover these medicinal plants are know by different names and used for different treatment among the traditional healers.
In this regard a two day workshop on 26th and 27th September was conducted in MSSRF exclusively for traditional healers. The workshop aimed at providing training on how to identify the medicinal plants scientifically, how to collect and conserve them as well as to share their knowledge and concerns with the traditional healing practices. Total 51 traditional healers participated in the workshop out of which 17 healers were from Wayanad, 10 healers each from Kasargode and Kannur, 9 healers where from Malappuram and 6 healers from Kozhikode. Training for 26th September was handled by the eminent Professor Dr. Jomy Augustine a specialist in plant taxonomy. He dealt with the topic“ Identification of medicinal plants”. He familiarized the medicinal plants used by traditional healing community in the Malabar region as well enriched the healers knowledge to differentiate between the fake and useful medicinal plants. The participants along with the resource person and taxonomy experts of MSSRF visited the Botanical garden to identify the plants having medicinal property. Later after their visit the participants were formed in to 3 groups and each group was entrusted to discuss on the topics Traditional healing practices in the light of existing law(Group 1), Problems and prospects of traditional healing practices in Malabar region (Group 2) and Identification, availability, conservation of medicinal plants (Group 3). Based on their group discussion, leaders from each group presented the main points of the topic they discussed in front of the whole participants.
On 27th September a class on “IPR issue related to Traditional knowledge and healing practices” was lead by Ms. Chaithanya, a Ph. D. Scholar from CUSAT. She covered issues related to IPR pertinent to traditional healing practices and concern raised by traditional healer. She mentioned that 4 acts has been passed by GOI influencing the healing practices such as Patent Act, Biodiversity Act, PPVFR Act and Forest Rights Act. Ms. Chaithanya sensitized the traditional healers on how to patent their products as well as the precautions to be taken before sharing their knowledge for patenting. Later she replied the queries of the participants regarding the class taken.
During the final session a few participants shared their two day experience on how the workshop will be useful for them in the coming future and thanked the organization for conducting such a programme. The programme was concluded with the remarks of Dr. V. Balakrishnan,Head CAbC where he pointed out that the workshop is only a beginning and MSSRF is proposed to conduct state level workshop and also aims to prepare a policy document for further discussion in this regard. Programme concluded with the certificate distribution to the participants. Mr. V. V. Sivan, Senior Scientist, officially delivered the vote of thanks.
The preparation of data base on the traditional healer is under process.