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Remedies in the backyard


IN THE midst of the modern ventures ready to engulf the Vypeen islands, there exists, hidden in a narrow alley, a piece of the ancient. Ancient treatments, ancient medicine and ancient recipes. Concoctions and mixtures revived and revitalised : Leaves, spices, oils.

Mahesh Manghatt, who heads Thapovanam, is proud of it.

He says, "A large number of people cannot afford doctors or modern day treatments. Instead, they opt to succumb to diseases and its consequences; Barely realising the remedy is within easy reach."

Started by 25 individuals, to aid the medical needs of the general public, the idea and angle on which this 15 year old NGO focuses on is precise and vehement: To propagate and inculcate the possibilities of home -therapy for commonly occurring diseases like colds, sinusitis, diabetes, piles, psoriases, scabies, eczema, migraine, the list continues.

The traditional treatment of these diseases has been lost over the ages, "gone with our grandmothers and their kitchen notes." He says, "When we realised the needs of people,

especially in panchayats and villages, the initial step was to collect information on diseases. Intensive sessions with Ayurvedic and botanical experts taught us the benefits of home-grown plants and everyday spices.

Little does one realise the remedy is available right in our backyard and kitchen shelves." He continues, explicating the treatment for joint pains: "Equal proportions of coconut oil and lime juice, heat moderately and massage on the effected area."

The Thapovanam surroundings have been converted into a compact botanical garden of sorts. Every plant is carefully tagged and labelled, from aloe-vera to gooseberry to tamarind, ready to be carted for its next venture.

"We move from one area to another from time to time, explaining the usage of plants

and supplying them, if need be". He continues to explain the benefits of classes given, the need to emphasise on the measurement of ingredients and the precision of cooking time.

"Any variations, he says, will not prove beneficial and may even have adverse results."

Expanding its territory across the city, Thapovanam (with the help of the Corporation of Cochin), today displays beneficial herbs and plants at the Subhash Park. "Space has been granted for a year, and the first set of classes was held on January 6, 2004. And our newest wing is

at the Cochin College."

Mahesh Manghat touches upon the subtle benefits of this organisation. Small groups of women nurture these medicinal plants in their gardens for a minimal profit. He talks about the relief its work has given hundreds of people. And is optimisteic on what natural therapy can do in time.

T.A

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