Traditional herbal medicine practitioner Kunnath Narayanan has nurtured a rare treasury of medicinal herbs at his house at Kanayi in Kannur. He was a contract worker in KSEB. Narayanan learnt about the medicinal value of indigenous plants from his father who also was a herbal medicine practitioner.
For the past 20 years, Narayanan has been dedicatedly taking care of the herbs. More than 5000 varieties of medicinal herbs such as Paradise tree (Lakshmi Taru), durian, noni, Woolly Begonia (Kalthamara) and Night-blooming cereus (Ananthasayanam) are in his possession. His wife Shyamala also supports him in his venture.
Narayanan had won State Folklore Academy Award for traditional herbal medicine in 2016. He has also penned a book titled ‘Ilayarivukal – Bhakshanam, Oushadham’ in 2017 based on the knowledge on traditional medicine he acquired.
Apart from maintaining a herbal garden, Narayanan also sells herbal medicines in order to ensure its reach to more people. Plants and trees are propagated by sowing seeds and planting saplings. Herbal plant saplings are given free of cost to voluntary organisations and institutions.
Bamboo stems for saplings
This time, Narayanan developed saplings in bamboo stems. Raw and dry bamboo stems are chosen for growing the saplings. This has an added advantage that the new sprouts emerge on the raw bamboo stem as well. The saplings can be replanted separately or together. If planted together, the bamboo grows giving shade to the sapling. No special maintenance is required for this.
The dry bamboo stems can be put into the soil as such along with the sprouts. The bamboo will decompose and turn into a fertilizer for the plant. The seeds are sowed in a mix of coconut husk powder, cow dung and soil. Narayanan has developed more than 1500 saplings in bamboo stems.
Only one sapling can be planted in a node of the raw bamboo stem. Meanwhile, the dry bamboo pieces with card board pieces pasted below can be reused, he said. Narayanan added that the decline in the availability of bamboo has slightly affected the new agricultural method.
Narayanan has dedicated 29 cents of land close to his residence and an 18-cent land on the premises for the herbal garden. The Payyannur municipality authorities have entrusted Narayanan to prepare the tree saplings to be distributed in the 300 houses constructed under Life Mission in the municipality limit. He has already prepared the saplings for the purpose on his compound.