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Record ID: SCST/2015/0206
Document Type: Journal
Title: Adivasi - v56_No. 1
Editor/Author: S Kumar
KK Mohanti
KC Tripathy
NC Das
AB Ota
SC Mohanty
Keywords: Adivasi
Medicinal Plant
Sector: Traditional Health Practices
University: Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI), Bhubaneswar, 751003
Completed Date: Jun-2016
Abstract: Adivasi - the oldest anthropological research journal of Odisha has entered into its 56th year of publication during the year 2016. Being a bi-annual publication its first issue has been dedicated to ethno-medicine of Odisha. Ethno-medicine has opened new frontiers in multidisciplinary research worldwide having roots in anthropology. In the contemporary scenario, western medicine or bio medicine has been spread over worldwide but still it has remained beyond the reach and access of many sections of the society, especially the rural and tribal communities in Odisha and elsewhere. Western medicine has its own merits and demerits and the practice requires professionally qualified health providers. It has been well realized that although the curative aspects of western medicine has been well appropriated, yet it has many toxic side effects, not accessible and affordable to all sections and economically backward communities, and above all it is incomprehensible to the disadvantaged sections of the society. On the other hand, the traditional medicine or ethno-medicine based on organic and mineral ingredients that are easily available in natural surroundings has established its credentials as a time tested, versatile, authentic, cheap, accessible, affordable, comprehensive, holistic and culturally attuned systems of healthcare in an evolutionary perspective, and hence has wide acceptance. In the current context, when the new world is searching for alternative medicine and healthcare traditions vis a vis the harmful effects of modern medicine, the relevance of ethno-medicine has assumed larger significance. As matter of fact, outcomes of ethnomedical research has not only contributed immensely to new drug developments through pharmacological validation but also has contributed to conservation of unique healthcare traditions and embedded indigenous knowledge that are unique with ethnic and rural communities. The examination of ethno-medicine includes articulating an indigenous knowledge approach to understand what it is and why it historically existed outside dominant institutions, biomedical models and other scientific paradigms. In the context of progressively vanishing age old traditions and institutions due to the onslaught of modernity and globalization there emerge a need for studies and documentation towards conservation of time tested knowledge, beliefs and practices related to traditional healthcare system, and for that matter the ethno-medicine across different cultures. With this background, though we have published several empirical study based articles on the ethnomedicine of Odishan tribes in our past issues of Adivasi, we are bringing out this special issue on ethnomedicine because we received seven standard research articles on this subject. The introductory article entitled 'What is ethnomedicine and why does it matter today' by M.K. Jena, P. Pathi, S.C. Mohanty and A.B. Ota comprehend the overall understanding of ethno-medicine as a discipline and why it is so relevant today. The paper has examined various definitions of ethno-medicine in a historical and theoretical perspective and has set the dimensions of ethnomedical studies taking reference from earlier published literatures of merit and value. The authors in the paper has attempted to initiate the argument that current references on ethno-medical research has been losing sight of the cognitive and cultural context of the subject which is at the core of an ethnomedical study design. Drawing from earlier references the authors have provided many insights setting directions of future research in ethnomedicine suggesting that ethnomedicine has to be studied in the proper cultural framework. The second article 'An assessment of folk medicinal use of plants by tribes in Similipal' by B. Mohapatra, R. Parida and M.K. Jena is an empirical observation on Kolha and Santal tribe residing in and around Similipal Biosphere Reserve in Mayurbhanj district. The authors, in their anthology have presented ethno-medicinal observation on 29 tree species, 14 shrubs and climbers and 17 herbs applied for prevention and cure of many common ailments and diseases. The authors have concluded that the knowledge systems would contribute immensely in the integration and synthesis with any other recognized systems of medicine as well as help preservation and conservation of a great diversity of important flora. Third in the sequence, S.K. Palita, Kalpana Patra and Debabrata Panda in their 'Plants used in Ethno-medicine by Paraja Tribe of Koraput District' have presented their findings from explorations on ethno-medicine of the tribe covering 16 Paraja dominated villages. The study revealed the use of 70 species of plants distributed in 68 genera belonging to 39 families that are administered by Paroja traditional healers for the treatment of 48 ailments. The authors view the collection and analysis of ethno-medicinal knowledge of this type as an important step towards conservation and utilization of biological resources. The fourth article entitled 'Ethno medicinal uses of plants: A study among the Munda community in Jajpur district of Odisha', by K.N. Dash and C. S. Satpathy is based on an investigation carried out in 10 Munda villages. They have enumerated 59 species belonging to 56 genera and 41 families, collected from the wild and used for treatment of common ailments in the Munda society. The authors also viewed that the Munda concept of disease and treatment revolves around their religious beliefs and practices and they depend upon traditional medicines to a larger extent. The authors have also observed that some of the medicinal plants, held important by the Munda healers, have become scarce in the area due to industrialization and anthropogenic activities that call for conservation. In the fifth article, Gopinath Pradhan has presented a comprehensive account of traditional healthcare practices of the Kondh and Paroja tribes in Dasamantapur block of Koraput district in his 'Traditional Healthcare Practices among the Kondh and Paroja tribes of Koraput'. The paper reveals the understanding of the tribe on diseases and ailments, their contextual choice of healthcare systems and have documented the applications of 50 plant species variously used as remedy and cure for certain diseases. The author recommends that the modern healthcare system should suitably integrate the traditional healthcare systems in order to be better accepted by communities as well as for providing more informed choices for communities. S. Pradhan, B. Mohapatra, M.K. Jena and R. Mohapatra in the Sixth article on 'Plants used in Ethno-medicine against Breast Cancer and their Pharmacological Review', have attempted to scientifically validate local information on medicinal plants, diseases and treatment by traditional healers, experts and professionals on the basis of an ethnobotanical field survey in Western Odisha. The paper has laid focus on anticancer herbs, particularly on 12 important plants, used by locals against the breast cancer symptoms, which the authors have attempted to scientifically, validated with reference to earlier studies in ethnomedicine and ethnopharmacology. The seventh and last paper entitled 'Ethno-medicines used for the treatment of Gynaecological Disorders of Tribal Women in Mayurbhanj District of Odisha' by Gulsan Khatoon reports about 16 plant species belonging to 8 families, mostly used for treating various gynecological disorders by the tribal women in the said district. The author observed that the use of plants as a medicine against certain gynecological problems, especially by tribal women, is a discrete knowledge confined to the healers and the women who used it. The author recommends further studies on chemical pharmacological actions on the said plant remedies. I express my sincere thanks to the paper contributors for their painstaking efforts in preparing and presenting their articles. I am also grateful to Shri S.C.Mohanty, Associate Editor of Adivasi and Consultant, SCSTRTI and Dr. M.K. Jena, Consultant for giving a lot of time for a thorough reading and editing of all the articles and giving substantial time and effort for bringing out this volume. It is hoped that these articles will be of much help to the researchers, development practitioners, academicians and general readers interested in conducting research and acquiring knowledge in tribal society and culture.
Pagination: iv,64
Tribal Research Institutes: SC/ST Research & Training Institute, Odisha
Record ID: SCST/2015/0206
ISBN No: 2277-7245
Appears in Collections:Tribal Affairs

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