Note: This article is for informational purposes only. This is not an attempt to suggest any kind of cure and medication. This information in this article is based on the experience and traditional medicinal knowledge of Adivasis. Please consult your doctor before consuming these medicines.
Translated from Kokborok by Hamari Jamatia
Rains can bring great joy to people’s lives, but they can also become an inconvenience to those living in low-lying areas and unplanned cities. Waterlogging in these places can cause major traffic jams and bring life to a stand-still. Apart from that, the frequent contact with dirty water as one wades through the stagnant pools can cause fungal and bacterial infection on the feet, also known as “Athlete’s foot” disease.
It is usually caused by sweaty feet being confined to tight-fitting shoes, hence the name, but can also occur during rains if one does not wash their feet thoroughly after coming from outside. The infection between the toes can cause an itchy, scaly rash, and that can burn and sting.
In Tripura, for hundreds of years, the indigenous people have been treating “athlete’s foot” with the help of certain plants found in and around settlements. The state gets a lot of rainfall throughout the year and as such, receives a fair amount of waterlogging. Those who work in the paddy fields also have to keep their feet submerged in muddy waters for extended periods, thereby developing the infection. Here are two such plants that help cure the ailment:
Muitu Or Yam Plant
Muitu is a local variety of yam plant. It is edible and can be prepared as curry. It is given to young children to cure seasonal cough and cold. It is grown in the vegetable garden or the backyard. Sometimes it grows on its own around ponds and lakes. To use it as a balm for “athlete’s foot” is very simple. One has just to pluck a few plants and apply the oozing sap directly to the fungal and bacterial infection. It can momentarily increase itching, but on repeated use, the infection will get cured.
Khakulu Bwlai Or Ash Gourd Leaves
The leaves of an ash gourd can also cure this condition. These leaves need to be young and delicate. In Tripura villages, where all homes have a big yard, you will often find the households growing pumpkin, bottle gourd, and ash gourd. The leaves of the ash gourd have to be steamed lightly and then applied to the affected areas at night. This should be continued for a few days to get relief from the infection.
Note: The information has been provided to us by Anjana Debbarma from Lefunga Village, Tripura
This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.
This article was first published in Youth Ki Awaaz