The Gujarat government is now set to tap the traditional knowledge of tribal healers of this hill station to promote health tourism. In Saputara, known as the ‘abode of serpents’, in Gujarat’s Dang district, the traditional healers are mainly from the Bhil tribe. They are known far and wide for their effective snake bite cures. The picturesque hill station is also home to a large array of medicinal herbs. “Around 520 out of the 1,100 medicinal herbs listed in the pharmacopia of AYUSH (the Indian government’s traditional medicine department) are found in Saputara,” according to S.K. Nanda, the district in charge officer who has spent around three decades in the area. Covered with a canopy of mist, the hill station, located in the Sahyadri hills, boasts of many essential herbs used in ayurveda concoctions. “Among the major listed herbs found here are amla, harde, bherda, satavari, aswagandha, sarpagandha and tubers and roots which are crucial for ailments of chronic nature,” Nanda said. Many people from far off come to the traditional healers, known as Bhagats, for relief, said Nanda. “The knowledge of the Bhagats is being documented,” Nanda said, adding that the state government was planning to tap the region’s health tourism potential. He said the government is providing a platform to traditional healers by giving them the opportunity to examine patients at state-run centres and also prescribe herbal drugs. “They are also being encouraged to grow the rare medicinal herbs that are found deep in the jungle. All this would help in conservation and also popularising the traditional, cheap and easy drug delivery that has no repercussions on the health of patients,” Nanda said. According to Nanda, in 1981 when he was the district development officer of Dang, he had started a pharmacy where the medicinal herbs found locally would be collected and processed into formulations. “It is a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice)-compliant factory that is helping the local tribals earn money for collecting the herbs and also earn wages for employment in the factory. The Bhagats are also able to prescribe the herbal formulations for simple ailments,” he added.
Source : The Times Of India