SPIKAP documents, maps local health traditions

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: With an aim to identify and preserve the medicinal plants in the State, the Society for Promotion of Indigenous Knowledge and Practice (SPIKAP) is in the process of documentation and mapping of local health traditions in Meghalaya.

“The process also includes prioritisation, identification and mapping of medicinal plants used in the traditional medicine systems of the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo tribes of the State”, SPIKAP Chairman John F Kharshiing said on Thursday.

Kharshiing informed this during a meeting organised by SPIKAP at Diwon Village Dorbar, Umden Area in Ri-Bhoi District.

The meeting was attended by over 150 Khasi local herbalists, traditional birth attendants, massage therapists, bone specialists, spiritual healers and weavers. The meeting was also attended by Chief Adviser to Government of Meghalaya, DD Lapang.

During the meeting, the local practitioners complained about the severe shortage of herbs due to population increase, human activities from mining and forest activities, and due to the unchecked wanton burning of hills and forest fires in the jungles during winter.

They also stated that the pollution in the waters from industries was also threatening and endangering a number of crucial herbal plants as they used to be found in abundance on the banks of the streams, ridges and rivulets earlier.

Meanwhile, the weavers expressed serious concerns over the shortage of plants stating that they depended on a particular herbal plant as dye for colouring their finished product.

Expressing his appreciation to the State Government and the KHADC for passing the Traditional Medicine Act and the Protection and Promotion of Khasi Traditional Medicine Act 2011, Kharshiing said that they are now awaiting the framing of the rules by the KHADC for the said traditional healers of the State.

The Chairman of SPIKAP sought the support of the healers and traditional health care providers towards the realisation of the KHADC Khasi Traditional Medicine Act 2011.

Later, in his speech, Lapang stated that it is to be properly analyzed by everybody including the Government, as to why there are so many foreigners coming all the way to Shillong, looking for health options from traditional system of medicine.

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