Workshop explores traditional medicinal practices of Manipur

A one-day state level workshop on ‘exploring traditional medicinal practices of Manipur’ was organised at IBSD in Imphal on Wednesday.


(PHOTO: IFP)

Manipur has abundant medicinal plants as it is situated at the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot in India but there are many non-codified medicinal herbs as their botanical names could not be given in the state, director of the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) Pulok Kumar Mukherjee said on Wednesday.

He was speaking at a press conference held at the IBSD complex as part of the one-day state level workshop on ‘exploring traditional medicinal practices of Manipur’ being organised at IBSD in Imphal in association with Apunba Manipur Maiba Maibi Phurup.

The workshop is carried out to promote and preserve the bioresources in the state, he said.  

The traditional healers of Manipur utilise various indigenous medicinal substances (indigenous flora and fauna) for healing different diseases and ailments, he said. The traditional healers are still the pivotal manpower resources of health care, provisioning with a wide range of healing methods in Manipur, he added.

He continued that their system of health care knowledge and practices are transmitted through oral traditions, direct observation, and hands-on experience from one generation to the other. Although the written documents on health care practices have been lost, most people in Manipur are still consulting local Maibas and Maibis (traditional healers) for their health and well beings, he said.

So, to promote and explore such traditional practices in documenting scientifically, the IBSD started communicating with the traditional healers from different districts of the state, he said. Huge medicinal herbs or plants found in the state could be a part of Ayush and Ayurvedic medicines, he added.

The chief executive officer of the National Medicinal Plant Board JLN Sastry said that the traditional healers’ knowledge on traditional herbal medicines should be explored.

He visited some traditional primary health centers where he came across a practicing system of herbals medicines, he said. Although many of the plants are yet to be identified, most of them have medicinal values, he added.  

Sastry said that the numbers of medicinal plants are reduced all over India. Therefore, the associations which are dealing with traditional healers should be streamlined and work together, he said.  Even though traditional medicinal practices have been practiced since the ancient times, finding out the health hazards of these practices is also required, he further said while adding it is good that no traditional medicines are found to cause any health hazards till date.

In connection with the workshop, director of AYUSH, Manipur and CEO of State Medicinal Plant Board A Guneshwar Sharma said that the workshop is a platform for communicating the traditional healers with the medicinal plant's board.

It is known to all that the state has a huge number of medicinal and aromatics plants and the traditional health care practices are still followed by traditional healers, he said.

He said that such medicinal and aromatics plants need a scientific form of valediction and regulation. There are no written documents on health care practices and medicines, he said while adding it requires proper documentation on a scientific basis.

Precious medicinal plants' value should be documented and promoted for generation or income and state revenue, he said. Many medicinal plants could be commercialised, he said while adding the plants used by traditional healers can be a valuable addition or may be used in AYUSH drugs, he added. 

First Published:Feb. 10, 2021, 9:56 p.m.

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