Shillong, May 02: More than 150 indigenous traditional healers on Thursday expressed that they are now suffering from acute shortage of herbs due to population explosion.
Echoing their grievances to Nongpoh MLA and Chief Adviser to Meghalaya Government, Dr DD Lapang, and the Chairman of Society for Promotion of Indigenous Knowledge and Practice (SPIKAP), John F Kharshiing, the gathering of Khasi Local Herbalist, Traditional Birth Attendants, Massage Therapist, Bone Specialist, Spiritual Healers, including weavers, said mining and forest activities besides unchecked wanton burning of hills and forest has resulted in the severe shortage of herbs.
The meeting was held at Diwon Village Dorbar under Raid Nongtluh, Hima Mylliem in Ri-Bhoi District.
In the three hour long meeting, the traditional healers stated that the pollution in the waters from industries was also threatening and endangering a number of crucial herbal plants, which are found in abundance along the banks of the streams, ridges and rivulets.
The Weavers too expressed serious concerns over the shortage of herbs as they depend on a particular herbal plant for dyeing their products.
In the meeting, Dr Lapang called upon the healers to come forward and prepare themselves to provide the alternative health systems to those looking for it whenever required. He also assured all help to the Folk Healers in the promotion of this very important activity and promised to take up the matter of the healers, birth attendants and the weavers with the State government.
Further, he apprised that many foreigners come all the way from Germany, France, UK, Australia and from all over India, to Meghalaya looking for health options from traditional system of medicine. With proper and earnest efforts, he was of the view that many of such patients will also come to Ri – Bhoi district as well.
Meanwhile, Kharshiing appealed to all the traditional healers to start documentation process of their methods of medication for their own benefit.
He sought the support of the healers and traditional health care providers towards the realization of the KHADC Khasi Traditional Medicine Act 2011, and urged them to meet and sensitize the political leaders such as their local Rangbah Shnong, Syiems, MLAs and MDCs to work in unison so as to ensure long overdue recognition to the people who have complimented Health Care in remote corners of the State.
He informed the gathering that SPIKAP is in the process of documentation and mapping of Local Health Traditions in Meghalaya, including Prioritization, identification and mapping of medicinal plants used in the traditional medicine systems of the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo tribes of Meghalaya.
Kharshiing added that the State Government, with the passing of the KHADC Act, will have multiple impacts such as improving the economic livelihood of the people, including activating Local Herbal Health tourism and others in the State.
A copy of the KHADC Act 2011 was also presented to Dr Lapang.