Experts want Amchis, herbs recognised

Lalitpur, March 4:

Experts said at a programme here today that the state should recognise high altitude medicinal herbs, aromatic plants and Amchis (Doctors who treat diseases with local herbs) for the development of the underprivileged Himalayan region.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the sixth regional workshop on ‘Sustainable harvesting and cultivation of high altitude medicinal and aromatic plants’ organised by the Himalayan Amchi Association (HAA), Hemanta Kharel, director of the Karnali Area Development Fund, said: “Local resources like medicinal and aromatic herbs should be utilised for the development of the Himalayan region.”

“They are not only the property of the Himalayan region, but also the property of the country,” he added.

Kharel further opined that scientific cultivation of such herbs should be emphasised and the Amchis, who are dependent on such herbs, should be encouraged.

Krishna Raj Parajuli, director general of the Nepal Department of Ayurveda, said there are no laws regarding the conservation and cultivation of herbs. “Therefore, the government should prioritise it,” he said.

In the high altitude Himalayas where not a single medical doctor is available, more than 250 Amchis are practising their traditional treating method with the local medicinal herbs. There are five schools to teach the Amchi treatment methods and six clinics that are providing the Amchi treatment in Nepal.

Amchi Gyatsho Bista, chairperson of the HAA, said that the Amchis’ contribution should be recognised and local herbs should be identified so that cultivation of the herbs would go up. “It’s easier to employ the locals, who are familiar with the herbs,” he said.