Local 'traditional healers' of rural India

The debate over local 'traditional healers' and its efficacy over allopathy medicines has been doing the rounds for quite some time.

But oral health traditions of village communities are different. Such practitioners consist of folk healers having immense knowledge about home remedies.

They are well versed in such remedies but these practices have been passed down traditionally from different generations of their family and not by any medical institution or agency.

The local healers mainly work with natural resources. According to a survey carried out by the Ministry of Environment and Forests during the early period of the 80s and the 90s, around 8000 species of wild plants were used by the healers of the tribal community.

Not only plants, minerals, metals, and animals are also used in the healing process. The folk gurus also have student practitioners and their only medium to learn is through oral communication.

Other than healthcare, oral health traditions also include ancient heath traditions. One such example is the ‘methi aloo' dish from northern India. The dish consists of a higher amount of ‘methi’ to balance with the nutritional value of the potatoes.

Midwives or traditional birth attendants (TBAs) also form a part of the traditional healthcare community. Folk orthopedic doctors or also known as ‘bonesetters’ at the community level treat simple injuries and fractures. And of course, there are the healers who have a home remedy for emergency cases such as a snake bite.

There has been development in the health care systems both at the urban and rural levels but a large portion of the folk community has been managed to sustain their traditional views and healthcare practices. Hence, I believe that the editorial board must allow a journalist to take up this topic.

Links: https://tdu.edu.in/community-based-oral-health-traditions-rural-india-darshan-shankar/