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The castor plant is used medicinally by the people of Tripura

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

Translated from Kokborok by Kamal Jamatia

We know that tribal people, not only in Tripura and India but worldwide, are known for their knowledge of medicine. Ayurvedic medicine is used in Tripura and is available in many places, such as forests, roadside stalls, and fields. Today, we will learn about how a tree called Letok, also known as Coster in English, is used as medicine by the tribals of Tripura as it is found in the forests. The locals are aware that it can be used to treat hand pain, leg pain, back pain, and various other body pains. We will also discover the uses of the top part of the Castor tree.

Banamali Devbarma in Gulsadhu village said the Letok tree has two types. One tree is red, and the other is green. This tree is significant for the villagers. Some villagers use the roots of the Letok tree as medicine for throat problems and movement difficulties. Others consume the dried seeds of the Letok tree by frying them, and they can also be used to make oil.

Castor tree is the only medicine for Tripura tribals?

According to Banamali Debbarma, various medicines are available for different body problems, including the Letok tree. The Letok plant can be used in many ways; its leaves are used to address various bodily issues, its seeds are used as an oil, and its roots are also used as medicine.

Is a castor tree available everywhere?

The Castor tree is not available in Gulsadhu village, and no one is looking for it because now people go to the hospital if there is any problem. Due to these reasons, Tripura tribals are not able to find these Ayurvedic medicines.

In earlier times, all problems could be solved with these medicines. Now, with the availability of transportation, we can easily go to the doctor. Currently, common problems are treated with the medicine prescribed by the doctor. This plant is used for various purposes in other states, but in the state of Tripura, it is primarily used as a medicine. Unfortunately, today's young tribals in Tripura are not paying attention to these facts. It is up to us, the young people, to retain this knowledge.

This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.


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