Medicinal plants for survival

The Wayanad social service society invests its knowledge and expertise in many activities with social impact. One of those activities connects ancient knowledge about medicinal plants and the survival of marginalized tribal people.

As reported before, the Wayanad district in the northern hills of Kerala, counts a pretty large group of indigenous tribes. People that have lived in the region long before stronger communities coming from mainly northern parts of the Indian subcontinent and colonial choices much later overwhelmed them. As we've seen in Vietnam also, the tribals are often dispersed, moving uphill, and at the same time they have to abandon some traditions, places they've been living in for ages and related opportunities. 

One of those traditions that suffer from the marginalized way the tribal people have to live now is their use of medicinal plants. As they suffer in great numbers from (genetic) diseases, Wayanad SSS is trying to reconnect ancient knowledge and uses to those in need of it. As mentioned before, a great number of the ngo's members are tribals.

Restoring traditional health practices as part of the  community building has become one of the ngo's activitities. This is happening while also outside of these communities and certainly in Europe people get more and more interested in a holistic and preventive approach to diseases. A more detailed view on the way it's happening in Wayanad might also be interesting for us in the West.

Adya is planning to go and see how the organization is dealing with this issue on the spot. 

To close this story: Wayanad district is home to several tribal communities with their own history and traditions. It's not so easy to get documented on the topic online. There are off course great books we can refer to, but that is another story! We gather that there are about 500 different tribal groups in India!

The main groups are the Paniyas, Adiyas, Kattunayakan, Kurichiyan, Uraali Kuramas, ..

So yes, Adya noticed there is an Adiya community (they prefer to be called Ravula)!


(capure above from

Ref. for publications: The Etnographic Atlas for Indian tribes, by Prakash Chandra Mehta, New Delhi, 2004.