Indigenous Ethno-Medicinal Practices Among the Kandha and Santal Of Odisha
C Satapathy AK Mohanty JP Rout NK Rath DK Sahu S Panda Amity Humanity Foundation
Kandha Santal Tribal Medicine Healing Practices Indigenous Medicine Ethno-medicine Traditional Healers
Traditional Health Practices
Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI), Bhubaneswar, 751003
Native healing practices center on balancing mind, body, and spirit within the community context. The tribal peoples are custodian of unique traditional knowledge systems and their ambient flora and fauna. The tribal Odisha has some traditional health care practices. Their habitat is very rich in plant biodiversity as well as in ethnic diversity and has great traditional knowledge based on plant resources.
A survey on folk medicinal plants and folk healers of Kandha and Santal tribes of Odisha was conducted in 2013-14 with the technical supports from the Amity Humanity Foundation, Bhubaneswar in four districts like Kandhamal and Rayagada, for the Desia Kandha, Kutia Kandha and Dongria Kandha sections of the Kandha community and Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar for the Santal community. Information was collected based on interview and field studies with local healers within the community. Identification of medicinal plants was done by the indigenous healers. Study was mainly with plants used to cure diseases and to enquire about different healing systems. Their Traditional healing practices focus on benefits to the emotional, spiritual, psychological and cultural aspects of the tribal group.
The method of using therapeutic agents to cure common ailments depends upon their environment which consists of plants, animals and other naturally occurring substances, their distribution and availability. The treatment by using those materials is often assisted by magico-religious activities and mysticism. In the community perceptions worship of nature, appeasement of ancestral spirits and due offerings including sacrifices to other deities are also directed towards restoring individual and community wellbeing which become part of their ethno-medicinal practices.
The use of herbs to treat diseases is almost universal among societies and is often more affordable than purchasing expensive modern pharmaceuticals. The WHO estimates that 80 percent of the population of some Asian and African countries presently uses herbal medicine for some aspects of primary health care. Both the tribes understudy is rich in indigenous health care practices and their healing techniques have not been scientifically validated till date. Thus, the traditional treatment system of our tribal people should be scientifically validated and acknowledged.