Health and Livelihood security through medicinal plants
Koyna region lies in Western Ghats region of Maharashtra which is rich in biodiversity and considered as one of the biodiversity hotspots. The women, elderly people, local health practitioners (Vaidus), had considerable knowledge about plants available in their own land as well as in the forest. Due to lack of communication, transport facilities, people were totally dependent upon local herbal remedies. In recent years due to the developmental schemes, the lure of modern civilization has penetrated these areas. These rural people started discarding their traditions, including herbal remedies. The new young generation is unwilling to learn this knowledge because of attraction of modern medicines. The traditional use of plants as herbal remedies has further declined due to scarcity of herbs, which is caused by multifarious human activity coupled with biotic factors like Construction of Dam, grazing, illicit cuttings, over exploitation of valuable medicinal plants for commercial purposes, tourists and tourist development etc. and abiotic factors like earthquake, high rainfall and Landslides.
TO conserve the biodiversity and related important traditional knowledge as well as to provide health and livelihood security to the rural poor from Koyna region SJSM adopted following methodology and implemented various programme.
1) Documentation of traditional knowledge related to medicinal plants :
(A) Documentation of medicinal plants: About 300 medicinal plants in the form of herbarium sheets, slides & the manual were documented.
(B) Traditional knowledge: Traditional knowledge of 60 traditional practitioners (Vaidu) is documented.
2) Village wise Awareness camps for conservation, cultivation, propagation & use of medicinal plants & traditional knowledge.
3) Organization of Exhibitions of medicinal plants.
4) Seed collection for nursery preparation.
5) Herbal First-aid kit for health service at village level.
6) Herbal Kitchen Garden for conservation & Health service at village level.
7) Establishment of Demo garden.
8) Organization of Training Programmes on Nursery preparation, Preparation household remedies, Sustainable harvesting of medicinal plants, Primary processing & preparation of simple medicines for Village Health Workers (VHWs) and Traditional healers.
9) Enterprise development (Co-operative Herbal - Processing unit)
The raw material in the form of fruits, flowers, leaves, roots etc. is collected through the trained Women Self Help Group (SHG) & Co-operative members. It is dried & primarily processed at village level & then brought into the processing unit. Different 25 types of medicines in the form of powder, oil, granules (KALPA), are manufactured under the brand name ‘Koyna Herbals’.