Healing with nature
Narayan Govind Velip of Morpilla, Quepem, has been using natural medicines sourced from forests, which he claims can heal serious ailments. And he is determined to create awareness about traditional medicine. NT BUZZ gets you some details
SACHI NAIK| NT BUZZ
Traditional medicine derived from natural sources like leaves, twigs, bark, etc has slowly been waning out. With certified doctors, we tend ignore these ancient treatments. However, when all hope fails, people still turn to natural healers as a last resort, and there have been cases when they have been met with positive results.
Among these natural healers is 65-year- old Narayan Govind Velip, who is however reluctant to call himself a healer. A farmer by profession, living in the remote rural area of Morpilla, didn’t deter him from learning about administration and politics. He has championed several initiatives to bring about development in the areas of Dabe and Zari Bhat, Morpilla. These include managing to get Kadamba buses to ply through his village regularly rather than only on working days.
With no easy access to electricity and water, Velip does not let this deter him in his quest to help sick people and discover more medicines that can heal the numerous ailments and sicknesses people suffer.
Indeed, delving into traditional medicines is something that has been in his family for a long time. “My grandfather was aware of a few traditional medicines, and many people would visit as he was known for curing jaundice. This then came naturally to my father who continued this practise along with his cousin.” As a child he grew up watching very keenly how natural and traditional methods of medicines would make a person fit and fine and he believes that these can cure illnesses without causing any side effects to the human body.
Although initially reluctant to get into traditional medicine himself, things changed when five years ago, a dear friend who was just 40 at that time suffered a stroke and Narayan was moved to do something.“When I visited him, he said to me – ‘I enjoyed my life roaming around, now I’m a vegetable who will forever stay on the bed only’. My heart sank and I started crying. I decided then that I will do anything, at any cost to make him walk again,” says Narayan. Narayan then asked his family for some herbal oil and massaged his friend vigourously. But, nothing happened. He then went and collected leaves of various trees, some from the trees that he couldn’t identify. He ground those leaves into a paste and boiled it in coconut oil and massaged his friend again. The following day, his friend’s fingers began to move. Encouraged by this positive sign, Narayan continued the massage for a year but there wasn’t any major improvement.
Still, Narayan remained determined. He visited severaI rural areas to source the medicine, crossing Anmod Ghat. In Ulavi, Karnataka, he found a local who had knowledge of natural medicines. “Upon learning that I came all the way from Goa to source medicine for just one patient, he decided to share his knowledge with me and showed me the twigs and bark of the tree that he used to cure paralysis,” says Narayan. Upon returning to Goa, Narayan continued the massage and daily began giving the new medicinal drink to his friend. Gradually, his friend returned to good health.
Even so, Narayan doubted himself, as his friend was also taking allopathy medicines. So he remained silent about his medicine, until he had to consume the medicine himself, for limb cramps.
“I survived thrice due to this medicine,” he says. Recalling the three incidents he says, “The first time I was alone at home and realised my balance wasn’t usual. I felt one side of the body become heavy and I fell. I somehow got hold of the medicine and began chewing on it and became alright,” he says. The second time, his wife, Shobhavati gave him the medicine when the similar condition occurred and he returned to normal in 15 minutes. His third experience was when he had gone to Ulavi forest to get some medicine. While he was instructed to stop eating non-vegetarian and oily foods by the local who showed him the medicine, he defied and over ate mutton – to see what would happen. “When I left and was waiting for the bus, I got cramps on one side of my body and fell down. This time I couldn’t even speak. The bus arrived and two persons who were getting into the bus, picked me up and helped me board the bus. With the other hand, I somehow managed to take that medicine and was alright before reaching Goa,” he narrates.
After these three occurrences, he decided to prescribe this medicine for cramps, or nerve blocks, paralysis or any kinds of unusual cramps.
In fact, one of his patients Ramesh Naik used to suffer from cramps in his legs and hands. On meeting Narayan, he was given a twig. He drank the water that was boiled along with the twig in it. “My cramps disappeared in a fortnight. I had to only eat vegetarian food during that time,” Ramesh says.
Narayan states that before prescribing anything as a medicine, he always tries it out on himself even if it is life threatening. He states that the twig he uses for paralysis can be used for a heart attack or chest pain, but he hasn’t prescribed it so far, as there have been no people who’ve come with such complaints.
While there is still no cure for many sicknesses including diabetes, Narayan is determined to explore the forests which he says have an abundance of healing properties. He is hopeful of finding a cure for diabetes, kidney failure and cancer. “I get instincts. I have one traditional medicine in mind for cancer already, but I am not going to try it on anyone until I try it on myself or any of my cancer-affected family members,” he says. And with people finding it difficult to access his house, he also hopes to construct minimal infrastructure of two rooms closer to the main road to lessen the difficulty.
Narayan admits that there are several people who don’t have faith in people like him, as he doesn’t have a degree or is uneducated. He says that he is only the medium that allows nature to works its wonder on people, and that there are a few people who believe in him and those like him, because they have experienced the touch of nature and have gotten healed.