Medicinal plants grow naturally in the forests and are used in traditional healthcare system by tribal communities in India. Traditional healthcare practitioners (THPs) are responsible for collection, processing, and administration of herbal medicines, based on inherited knowledge. MSSRF has recorded 294 medicinal plants, out of which 34 plants are commonly used by nine dominant tribes in the Koraput region. The preparation, plant parts used, and treatment of ailments vary across tribes. Malaria, diarrhea, and skin infections are the most commonly occurring diseases treated with herbal medicines and the tribes depend on the THPs. Although several medicinal plants utilized in primary healthcare are recognized, their conservation, sustainable use, and benefit sharing is lacking.
The workshop is organized by MSSRF’s Biju Patnaik Medicinal Plants Garden and Research Centre in Jeypore, Odisha. It brings together about 80 participants – medicinal plant cultivators, traditional practitioners (disharis), traders and forest officials from Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Nabrangpur and other districts, scientists, researchers and officials from the State Medicinal Plants Board and Odisha Biodiversity Board. The four-day programme focuses on importance and use of medicinal plants, draws attention to promotion and marketing rare and endangered medicinal plants; discusses legal provisions on collection and trade in medicinal plants and government schemes pertaining to medicinal plant promotion. The workshop includes a field visit to medicinal plants conservation gardens, including the one on the MSSRF Campus, besides an exhibition of medicinal plant products by practitioners. The workshop is funded by the State Medicinal Plants Board, Government of Odisha.