No snake oil, this

A report says a youth left doctors at the Pokhara-based Western Development Regional Hospital wondering when he cured 11-year-old Parimaya Bhujel with his oral ayurvedic concoction even as the medics were getting ready to cut off the little girl’s pus-covered hand which had earlier been bitten by a snake. Not everyone is so lucky. During the rainy season, hundreds of Nepalis lose their lives to snakebites every year. Bibek Poudel, the youth who saved little Parimaya’s life, laments that even though he has made samples of his medicine available to Nepal Academy of Science and Technology as well as a number of hospitals, nobody has taken the initiative to look into the healing powers of his mixture.

Poudel is not the first person to claim discovery of miraculous ayurvedic medications. Yet very few of these claims are investigated. In the alpine region of the high Himalayas, countless herbs remain unexplored. The country only has to look at the huge profits the country is making through the export of Yarshagumba. Undoubtedly, there are countless other herbs with medicinal value waiting to be discovered right across Nepal, as Nepali botanists point out time and again. One of the surest ways of developing a country is through harnessing of its god-given gifts. Hence experimentation on herbs of potential medical value must be outlined as among Nepal’s primary national interest.