A young and curious Ramaji Parmar would follow his father to the jungle to understand more about the herbs he used to treat various deseases. After his father’s demise, he followed in his footsteps and made some amazing contributions to herbal science by growing and nurturing endangered herbs in a botanical garden.
We are just starting to learn about herbal medicine. Like the metaphorical tip of the iceberg, there is a lot that needs to be learnt about the flora around us and how it can affect us. We have barely scratched the surface of this medical science, but Ramaji Bhemaji Parmar is one innovator who has done remarkable research in this field.
Ramaji Bhemaji Parmar’s father was an admired herbal healer for ailments like cyst, kidney stones, bloat, fever, malaria etc. People from nearby villages visited him for consultation and for getting medicines.
Being surrounded by different varieties of herbs and patients talking about diseases and symptoms, Ramaji gradually developed an interest in healing and started assisting his father. During their trips to the forest to gather herbs, his father would teach him how to identify and differentiate between the many medicinal plants. An avid learner, soon Ramaji started going alone for collecting different herbs, leaves, barks and bringing them back to his father who would explain their use.
His father passed away at an age of 110 years. After the demise of his father, he took over the responsibility of providing medicinal help and care to the society. Though illiterate, Ramaji’s repertoire of herbal formulations, both for human and veterinary health, consists of over 500 traditional herbal medicines and practices.
He laments the fact that human activity is destroying the forests, and the ecological balance essential for sustenance. Many plants that he used in his formulations were now becoming endangered or unavailable because of the destruction of their natural environment and soil. But, this did not bog him down; Ramaji with his never-say-die attitude decided to create a garden with rare medical plants and went about making his dream a reality.
With patience and time, he created a botanical garden in one acre of land which now nurtures about 3000 plants. He uses the plants from his botanical garden for treating patients and for preserving the bio-diversity of the surrounding area as well.
One of the herbal innovations that Ramaji shared with SRISTI involved the use of a particular plant (name withheld for IPR reasons) to treat skin diseases. Sadbhav SRISTI Sanshodhan laboratory, on research, found out that adding certain common ingredients increased the efficacy of the formulation. A suitable base was used to prepare the ointment for topical use. The toxicological tests conducted at the Indian Institute of Toxicology (IITR), found the ointment to be non-toxic and appropriate for application. The feedback from the users was very encouraging as well which ultimately resulted in the product ‘Zematic’ being commercially launched by SRISTI.
Be it day or night, Ramaji rushes to patients in need irrespective of the time. He says, “As long as I am alive, I will work for mankind.” On a daily basis, he is visited by about 40-50 people from his village and neighbouring ones. He freely shares his knowledge of herbal medicines with them and also sensitizes them about the need to conserve bio-diversity for human welfare.
He also encourages school children to visit his garden in order to pass on this knowledge to the next generation and also teach them about the environment. The benefits of his innovations and research can now be disseminated among the masses. It can inspire more innovators to come out and share this arcane gyaan (knowledge) about medicinal plants for the general good.
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