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Khanikar's legacy

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  8 Jan 2016 12:00 AM GMT


The entire Northeast India is a bio-diversity hotspot. Rare medicil plants grow unseen in hills and forests in the region; even humble plants growing in our fields and backyards have properties that can cure diverse ailments. To preserve and popularise this priceless knowledge of traditiol herbal medicine, Guram Khanikar waged a relentless if lone battle. He remained busy till the last in his 67-years-long life, reviving ancient herbal cures and devising new ones, setting up herbariums, writing extensively about medicil plants and their cultivation, interacting with students to share his invaluable knowledge and treating patients free of cost. He tirelessly espoused health awareness among the people; for entrepreneurs and unemployed youths, he pushed his vision that medicil plants could form the basis for a thriving small scale industry with huge employment potential. Thanks to his diehard commitment and prodigious energy, we are left with a substantial body of work on herbal medicines and cures. Such knowledge is ignored at a society’s peril. Back in the 1960s and 70s, under a Chinese government programme, a team of researchers headed by Tu Youyou systematically tested ancient folk drugs and remedies to find a cure to chloroquine-resistant malaria. The search revived the use of sweet wormwood, from which Tu isolated the highly potent drug Artemisinin, receiving the Nobel prize for Medicine this year. Guram Khanikar was rightly called Assam’s Charak; his birthday on March 22 has been observed as Medicil Plants Day in the State. His legacy needs to be treasured and studied, for our region may contain magical herbal cures whose existence we hardly suspect.

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