The use of herbal medicines is providing comfort and relief to the people of Goral, a remote village in Lalmonirhat, and other adjacent villages, thanks to the passion of a schoolteacher for herbalism and his commitment to treat people for free.
Chandra Shekhor Roy, 44, an assistant teacher at Teparhat High School, has been cultivating medicinal plants on 35 decimals of land at the premises of Sree Sree Radha Govinda temple in the district’s Kaliganj upazila for the last 20 years.
The villagers rush to him for the treatment of several ailments, including nausea, diarrhoea, insomnia, colds, flu, fever, toothache and digestive issues.
Not only it ensures free treatment of the villagers but also spares them from the hassles of going to the nearest upazila health complex, which is about 18 kilometres away.
Narendranath Roy, 42, a resident of the village, said, “We don’t need to buy medicine for minor ailments any more. Our bodies have become used to this sort of treatment over the years.”
“There are no side effects and even the elderly people are well suited to his treatment,” said Jamini Kanta Roy, 38, of Bamonerbasa village in Aditmari upazila, who has visited the orchard with her sick family members on several occasions.
From a young age, Shekhor was intrigued by the use of leaves, roots or barks of certain plants and trees to treat diseases. He used to watch his father and grandfather prepare concoctions to help others.
“I learnt how to plant and grow different herbs, and flower and fruit plants from my father,” said the teacher.
“So far, I have 42 species of herb plants and at least 150 species of flowers and fruits in my orchard,” he added.
He has been practicing herbal medicine in the village that has 3,000 families, he told The Daily Star.
Shekhor has read several books and studies on various herbal treatments. He is very up to date with his knowledge and methods. “I feel humbled that I am able to help the villagers when they feel sick.”
On the benefits of herbal medicine, Shekhor said the leaves of Ramtulsi and Krishnatulsi work miracles on coughs, Neeltat leaves for throat ache, Kalomegh’s leaves for digestive issues, Akandapata and Shefaliful for fever, mint leaves for dysentery, Jatneem leaves for itches, Diptapancha and Satamul leaves and roots for headaches, Rambasok and Basok leaves for diarrhoea and pains while urinating.
He runs a nursery on the side, where he sells different plants, to help support the expenses of his orchard.