Reducing the impact of the corona virus in Kanyakumari District: Physicians in favour of indigenous medicine and food habits – Tamil Nadu

West Ghats near Kanyakumari in the Tamil Nadu – Kerala border region
Photo © Davidson Sargunam >>

Citizens have become aware of the causes just as the impact, curative, quarantine, rehabilitative aspects of the virus and even become COVID literates by wearing masks, sanitizing and keeping social distance. Another noticeable change concerns food habits and a trend one may call ‘Back to Nature’: growing one’s own vegetables or else, preferring locally grown, fresh or organic fruit and vegetables to packaged and frozen supplies.

Kanyakumari District largely consists of hills and forests. Such an environment is conducive to indigenous medicine known as Siddha and Ayurveda. It is being practiced by over 4,000 physicians and has long been trusted by a majority of the local population. But due to globalization and the rapid spread of communication technology this cultural acceptance is on the decline.

At the same time, many practitioners of modern (allopathic) medicine seek to strengthen immunity among those exposed to the corona virus by also recommending herbal medicine with extracts from betel leaves (peper betle), ginger (zinzinber officinale), cinnamon (cinnamomum zeylanicum), lime (citrus aurantifolia), andrographis paniculata, ociiumum violaceum, pepper (piper nigrum), drum stick (moringa pterygosperma) and turmeric (curcuma domestica).

Source: summary of a report by Davidson Sargunam (emailed 24 December 2020)

The London Missionary Society was engaged in missionary service from 1806 in the Southernmost tip of India and later established a hospital, which bears the name of CSI Multi-specialty Hospital in Neyyoor, Tamil Nadu, India with 420 beds. It has a Nursing College with BSC and MSc Nursing degree courses. In India, total lockdown was announced form March 24 and later it was gradually lifted. India recorded only two cases of corona infection on March 2 and later it gained great momentum, having 764 thousand cases in Tamil Nadu with more than 11 thousand fatalities by mid-November, 2020. The Neyyoor hospital has a Covid -19 ward with doctors and health workers. The hospital manages bio-medical waste disposal according to the guidelines of the Indian and state governments. The hospital acts as per the government direction in dead body management of the infected persons and handles them to the relatives for the last rites. Consequent to the constant propagation of the awareness programs people have become Covid literates and a dip is noted in the virus infection. Behavioural modifications are noted in the in the people to live in consonance with Nature. As Kanyakumari district is with hills and forests people usually resort to indigenous forms of healthcare, but thrown away to the background owing to the modern sophistications. Presently, medical concoctions of herbs are recommended by physicians to augment the immunity power of the people to combat the impact of the corona virus.

Keywords: Awareness, bio-medical waste, nursing, lockdown, corona, virus

Source: “Results” in the conference paper by Davidson Sargunam titled “A case study of Environmental Management for COID-19 with reference to the CSI Multi-specialty Hospital, Neyyoor, Tamil Nadu, India”

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Image © PARI People’s Archive of Rural India reporting on Covid-19 >>
Related posts: how India’s tribal communities cope with the pandemic >>

Covering the human cost of Covid-19
The nationwide Covid-19 lockdown that started on March 25 [2020] has triggered distress for millions of ordinary Indians – stranded migrant workers, farmers, sugarcane cutters, Adivasis, Dalits, sanitation workers, construction labourers, cancer patients staying on city pavements, brick kiln labourers, pastoral nomads, and others. While many are on the brink with no work, income or food, several continue to work amid extremely hazardous conditions | Read about them in these PARI reports from across the country >>

Learn from M S Swaminathan – a world renowned scientist – how biological diversity contributes to public health, people’s livelihood and environmental security in addition to food security: his call on fellow citizens to use and share resources in a more sustainable and equitable manner; outlining the long journey from the 1992 Earth Summit to a commitment to foster inherited knowledge through India’s Biodiversity Act and Genome Saviour Award; an award intended to reward those who are “primary conservers” – guardians of biological diversity!

More about the work of his foundation which “aims to accelerate use of modern science and technology for agricultural and rural development to improve lives and livelihoods of communities.” – | Regarding the issues of food security raised above, and the nutritional value of indigenous grains, seeds and millets, read an in-depth report that concludes that “the tribal food basket has always been ­diverse and nutritious” >>

Research the above issues with the help of Shodhganga: A reservoir of theses from universities all over India, made available under Open Access >>

Related posts

About website administrator

Secretary of the foundation
This entry was posted in Ethnobotany & ethnomedicine, Figures, census and other statistics, Health and nutrition, Modernity, Organizations, Quotes, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Success story, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology. Bookmark the permalink.