Over the years, there has been a global observation of a decline in traditional healing methods due to the preference for modern Western medicine or alternative medicine. However, traditional remedies still hold significant value in certain pockets where access to modern medical facilities is limited or even non-existent.

Traditional medicine, as the most ancient healthcare system, has been developed by traditional healers throughout history to effectively combat a wide range of diseases. These healers possess the knowledge and skills to perform various healing methods, which they have acquired through the practice of passing down knowledge from one generation to the next. One notable example is the Ri Bhoi Traditional Healer Association, which has been making substantial efforts to revive traditional healing practices and preserve medicinal herbs.

The Association faced challenges due to the depletion of natural vegetation and medicinal plants caused by jhum cultivation and wildfires. However, through the Innovations Fund support of CLLMP, which amounted to Rs. 3 lakhs for preserving and cultivating medicinal herbs, the group has since been able to alleviate most of their issues. They have even been successful in halting the over-extraction of medicinal herbs from forests to ensure their conservation and long-term availability.
With time, the Association’s efforts became fruitful. They experienced growth in their membership, increasing from 320 members in April 2019 to 500 members by July 2021. They organized four awareness programs between 2020 and 2021, training 50 individuals in various aspects of traditional healing, including the treatment of pregnant mothers, the use of medicinal herbs, massage techniques, and the scientific basis of traditional medicines.

The Ri Bhoi Traditional Healer Association has also established a 10,000 sq. ft nursery to nurture and protect endangered medicinal plant species, where 13 saplings of rare medicinal plants have been propagated. The nursery yielded a harvest of over 1,500 kg of medicinal herbs, which were distributed to six sub-centres—Patharkhmah, Umden, Lumsaw, Nongpoh, Umsning, and Bhoirymbong—for use by their members. Furthermore, 302 kg of medicinal herbs were sold, generating a revenue of Rs. 29,820.

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