Traditional Medicine for Livestock - Workshop
On December 3rd, Bhoomi Farmers’ Centre at Tiruvannamalai hosted a one day workshop - ‘ Traditional medicine for Livestock’. It was conducted by Parvathy Nagarajan, a senior Bhoomi Fellow who is dedicated to the economic empowerment of women and to spreading the knowledge of traditional healing with herbs. The program had nearly 60 participants, most of them were farmers who care for livestock and make a living by selling milk and other by-products.
Parvathy’s theory is simple - Food is the best medicine. She relies solely on herbs and ingredients that can be commonly found in one’s backyard or in any Indian kitchen - the staples like turmeric, pepper, jeera and so on.
Partha, Bhoomi facilitator shares “The day prior to the workshop, we foraged nearly 30 different varieties of herbs from the farm. We needed some tree barks for preparing the medicine which we had to source from outside because our trees were not fully mature”
Parvathy addressed specific illnesses that the cattle are susceptible to, the common in the current season being lumpy skin disease, a highly contagious viral disease in cattle. The herbal cure prepared by Parvathy for this was a lotion that could be applied topically and additionally a hand pounded masala ball with all spices and about 30 different herbs put together. Another issue that cows are usually affected by is Mastitis, an inflammatory condition of the udder. A simple paste of slaked lime, aloe vera and turmeric can be applied to the infected area (after washing it with hot water) 3 times a day to relieve the pain.
The workshop ended with an open Q&A session where people learnt a lot more about how consuming certain herbs like pirandai, aloe vera, thumbai, tulsi, mudakkathan on a regular basis improves the immunity of not just the cattle but also humans.
We saw a great interest in the workshop because most farmers are now struggling with their cattle being affected, sometimes even perishing due to lumpy skin disease in the last few months and no amount of modern science or vaccination has been helpful.
One of the participants was a veterinary doctor from Mysore who was keen to understand how animals are able to survive and become healthy with just traditional medicine. When he heard Parvathy recount instances where she has seen cattle in dire states, treated with simple ingredients from the kitchen, bounce back and start moving, he became a believer in natural medicine.