Kolkatas herbal medicine is growing in demand and local residents are using the medicine to treat their ailments.
Read full story The city’s health department has recorded a rise in prescriptions from the herbal medicine.
The city has been working to revive its reputation as one of the countrys top herbal medicine centres, as local residents demand it.
“We have a lot of herbal medicine patients, especially with respiratory problems, asthma, skin problems, some heart problems,” said Dr Ashok Kumar, chief medical officer at Kolkataram Medical College.
“For us, it’s not a question of whether they use herbal medicine or not.
It’s about who’s using it and how much.”
Kolkata Health department data show that the number of prescriptions for herbal medicine rose from just over 7,000 in 2015 to over 9,000 last year.
The number of people prescribed the medicine doubled from 8,000 to 17,000.
The number of patients who received the medicine also grew from around 3,000 patients in 2015-16 to more than 10,000 this year.
Kolkatarumma and its surrounding area are home to more rural populations than urban centres, and it is one of India’s few remaining villages where herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years.
It has been traditionally used to treat ailments such as coughs, stomach pain, headache, joint pain and insomnia.
Kampala is a centre of herbal medicines in West Bengal state, and locals are known for their medicinal properties.
A resident of the district’s Kalka village, Gopal Kumar, said people often use the medicine as a laxative.
“I’ve been using it for years.
I used to drink tea with it and the medicine helps me sleep.
People used to use it in the old days.
But now people are using it to treat respiratory problems and coughs,” he said.
Kumar said the drug is available at all health centres.
“There is no need for people to go to the market, because there is herbal medicine at home.
People can just take the medicine at their place of work,” he added.
But locals are wary of the drug.
“Some people have taken the drug without any medicinal purpose.
I have seen a few patients who have gone there and the pills have come with the wrong label.
It does not make sense,” said Surya, a resident of a village in the district.
Kamal, a village elder, said the herbal medicines had to be imported from abroad.
“It is not good to be buying the drugs from abroad, because you can get bad results from it.
You need to make sure you get the right dosage.
We have to get the drug from our village doctor, but we have to buy it from a local herbal medicine dealer.
I’m not happy about it,” he told the BBC.
Dr Ashok, who runs the health department’s herbal therapy programme, said he has been asked to intervene in the herbal therapy business.
“The patients in the village have not been using herbal medicine for many years.
We are trying to revive their reputation, which is not in the best interest of the health of the community.
We need to support the local population and we have a plan to do that,” he explained.
Dr Ashoy Kumar said he was also in favour of encouraging more people to buy herbal medicine from their doctors.
“If we can make it easier for them, the local people can also make it easy for us.
It helps the community, the people can buy the medicines, and we can give them a chance to get some of their health back.
We do not want to make them suffer anymore,” he claimed.
Kampara’s herbal medicines are prescribed by a doctor in the city, who has been trained in the science.
Kumar is a keen supporter of the medicinal herbs and their popularity in the state.
“Kamparas traditional medicine is still in good health.
People in the country use the same traditional medicines.
But we don’t need to use the medicines of our neighbouring states, like Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, because the people in our village are very well-versed in the medicine.
We also have to be careful with the quality of the medicine we use, as it could be adulterated,” he noted.
Kambal said she has been using the herbal remedies since she was a child.
“Before, I would drink tea every morning with it, and then I would take it with me when I went to the local market.
When I was a girl, I used it in my tea.
Now I take it at home with me,” she said.
The Kolkatan newspaper, The Hindu , reported in February that a woman from Bihar’s Kolkara district had been using medicinal herbs for years