Jharkhand tribals practice Hodopathy, remain healthy
Today, when dependence on modern science has cut all our ties from the natural roots for which India is famous, the tribes of Jharkhand continue to use their traditional wisdom to fight diseases in the most natural and inexpensive way.
Hodopathy, the unique traditional medicinal system belonging to Jharkhand's tribal community, is believed to cure many diseases by the use of natural herbs and extracts without having any side effect on the health of the patient. Their effort to save their traditional wisdom comes in a time when even "Ayurveda", one of the most ancient medicinal systems of India, has started coming in expensive "packages" slowly drifting away from the reach of the common man.
"Adivasis have an innate quality that allows them to identify the herbal plants. Jharkhand flaunts twelve hundred varieties of herbal enemas. Medicines made from these herbal plants have a very minimal cost in Ayurvedic medicinal system and offer a cure for a wide range of diseases, from Malaria to Kaalazar," says P.P. Hembrom, the practitioner of this unique traditional wisdom. He also believes that Hodopathy can possibly provide cure for complicated diseases like cancer and AIDS, and at a very low cost.
Dr. P.P. Hembrom has himself treated many patients severely afflicted with tuberculosis, malaria, anaemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, skin cirrhosis and cysts.
In one of his lectures, Dr Hembrom shared the ingredients of his medicines - he treats diabetes by blending the extracts of the barks of Mouha Chal, Bar tree and Gullar tree. For tuberculosis, he prepares a tonic of egg yolk, jackfruit and two drops of Malkangini, a creeper, while a concoction of extracts of Punarnawa roots and Charaigoda bark is used to treat Kalaazar.
Jharkhand has a high density of flora with plants rich in high medical value. The trend of treating illnesses with indigenous ayurvedic system is several years old, which the adivasi community has inherited from its ancestors. But over time, with people leaving their traditional wisdom and adopting modern ways of survival, this asset has slowly lost its former glory. Dr. Hembrom revived this traditional method and reintroduced it to the villagers through the means of Hodopathy Ethno Medicine Research and Development Centre and Phulin Mahila Chetna Vikas Kendra, a local nonprofit organization that provides training to women from the communities in Hodopathy.
In the unique Herbal Park located in Satiya Village of Hiranpur Block in Pakud District in Santal Paragna, various medicinal plants have been planted. Camps are organized in this park where training is provided to the physicians. The prestigious Governor's Award winner Peeyush Mishra shares how effectively he uses the traditional herb enemas to cure various diseases. Over the years, Hodopathy has spread and reached out to people beyond the periphery of the state. Seeing its effectiveness, many therapists from Jhoron of Sundergarh District in Orissa attended the training camp that empowered them to serve their communities back home.
Miruwaha Mardi of Saraikela narrates the case of a patient who was shown the door by Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi but was treated successfully with Hodopathy. According to Dr. L.S. Hembrom, an expert in tribal medicines in Ranchi, hundred percent effective medicines for diseases like Diabetes, Jaundice and Epilepsy are being prepared from natural herbs.
"Allopathic Doctors recommend medicines which are expensive and out of reach of people from low income backgrounds. In such rural regions, local medication therapy is not only affordable but works magic on the indigenous people," said Dr. L.S. Hembrom. Dr. Hembrom who is practicing hodopathy for the past 30 years in the state capital, learnt it from his father.
Dr Hembrom collects herbs from the jungles in Habab, approximately 20 km from Ranchi, and from the thick canopy near Dasam Falls, to prepare the medicines. Over three hundred herbs are collected to prepare various medicines.
Hodopathy has no side effects but a patient has to commit himself to a liquid diet during the treatment. Nature heals. The blessed biodiversity of flora in this land of forest has answer to many health issues. Hodopathy has kept alive a unique tradition of our great ancestors.
The tradition is in danger of being abandoned due to the absence of awareness of the community both towards Hodopathy and the need to conserve these valuable forests. Many valuable plants are lost due to deforestation in the region.
To conserve the valuable forests, a campaign has been started by the practitioners to create awareness among the communities of Hodopathy.
The Charkha Development Communication Network feels that once the villagers understand the significance of this natural medical system, they will hopefully join hands to conserve the valuable forests.