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Kurumbas Tribal woman making medicine from leaves

Kurumbas Medicine aims to promote total survival of the tribal community through acquired knowledge, skills and practices of holistic healthcare identified and accepted for its use in preventive and curative aspects of illness.  During 1896 the pharmaceutical society of Great Britain codified the indigenous drugs in India whereby the base was fixed  in tribal areas where multiple medicinal plants were used by tribal people.  During the 1980’s WHO started promoting traditional healers whereby WHO agreed that tribal medicine was highly effective in curing culturally linked diseases and problematic health issues.

Traditionally the resident Badagas of the Nilgiris used the healing services of the Kurumbas of the region.  The faith healers came from the Alu Kurumba ethnic group and were known to heal diseases of humans, cattle and crops.  These healers from the Alu Kurumbas are divided into 3 categories, viz. Kanigararu, Devvagararu and Odigararu.

The Kanigararu heal the diseases with the help of community gods

The Devagararu cure with the help of spirits and ancestors.  The names of spirits and ancestors are chanted during the process of healing

The Odigaruru use “mysterious” air and used clothes to ward of diseases.

All these 3 types of healers use medicinal plants with religious verses to treat.


About the Author

I have been visiting Kurumbas villages since 2006 and have had the opportunity to study their medicinal knowledge and systems.  As a student of biology with a keen interest in life sciences, I am presently involved in a  study of medicinal plants and trees that grow in the Nilgiris and used by the Kurumbas.  I intend to share photos and other info of my visits and work soon.  If you have any queries of comments on this site and its content, I will be glad to hear them.

Native vs. invasive species in Nilgiris Reserve

Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve: Medicinal plants used by Kurumbas Tribe

Study on impact of intensive agricultural practices on soil and water quality

Student: Vidya Shilp Academy