Cultivating wild varieties of medicinal plants makes tribal communities self-reliant: Increased demand for Ayurveda medicines – Kerala

Giji K. Raman, The Hindu, KATTAPPANA, August 26, 2014 | To view more photos and read the full article, click here >>

Murugan, a native of Kammalankudy in the Marayur sandal division, is a happy man.

He was selected the best farmer in the forest division for cultivating the largest quantity of ‘kattupadavalam’ (a wild variety of trichosanthes cucumerina) last year.

He is not alone in the cultivation of the herb in the tribal belt. Cultivation of the plant has caught up among the tribal people of Karpoorakudy, Periyakudy, Nellipettykudy, Kuthukallukudy, Vengaparakudy, and Kavakudy. The plant, including its root, is in demand in preparation of ayurveda medicines. […]

“The herb has got another benefit as the bitter taste of the plant and its seed keeps wild elephants at bay. Now, the elephants no longer enter our settlements,” he said.

The harvesting season of the mature herb with seed is from January to April. M.G. Vinodkumar, range officer of the Marayur range, said the department was providing guidance to the tribal people to cultivate the herb. Ayurveda medicine manufacturers purchased the herb from Vana Samrakshana Samithies, which coordinate cultivation and allied activities. The tribal people had grown the herb for long and supplied it to middlemen for a paltry sum or for a small quantity of tobacco or betel leaves. From 2011, Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala and Oushadhi had been directly purchasing the herb.

“This year, we expect a harvest of 50 tonnes and an agreement had been signed for the said quantity with firms, including Coimbatore Arya Vaidya Sala,” said Mr. Vinodkumar.

“The tribes earlier used to cultivate only a minor quantity and collected the herb mostly from the forest. Now, there is zero collection from the forest and the entire quantity is being cultivated by the local people themselves. The cultivation of the herb had made the tribal people self-reliant,” he said. […]

Source: Money grows on herbs at Marayur – The Hindu
Date Visited: Thu Mar 12 2015 20:37:08 GMT+0100 (CET)

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