This week in review … Ethnobotanist aims to save India’s traditional herbal remedies

25 11 2008

Botanist on mission to save rare Indian herbal remedies

The Hindu, 23 November 2008

LUCKNOW, INDIA: Ethno-botanist Deepak Acharya has spent eight years in the Satpura mountains in Madhya Pradesh, parts of which lie cut off from civilisation, driven by a single goal – documenting and salvaging India’s traditional herbal remedies before they are lost to the world. Dubbed as a “modern day herb hunter,” 32-year-old Acharya has been painstakingly tracking traditional healers, called Bhagats in Dang (Sahyadri ranges) and Bhumkas in Patalkot (Satpura) in central India whose repertoire of remedies is known to cure some of the most unyielding human ailments. Prompted by concerns that the priceless heritage of tribal medicine residing within the ageing generation of healers would be gone with them, he made up his mind to help preserve the pool of knowledge, nurtured by oral tradition. The young botanist’s quest paid off years later. He painstakingly built up a catalogue of hundreds of medicinal plants and tribal treatments. Acharya proposed that the knowledge of traditional healers should be protected under intellectual property rights (IPR), as a way of making them economically independent and self-reliant, fully integrated with the mainstream. Read the article …

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