Bio-resource use for therapy by Amchis in Ladakh
There is a need to preserve the knowledge of medicinal plants among the Amchis, the practitioners of traditional therapy in Ladakh.
Since the dawn of human civilisation, plants have been used by human societies in a variety of ways ranging from their sustenance to the development of their art, culture and literature. Food and medicines are obviously the best examples in this regard. However, a great deal of knowledge occupied through the centuries of experiments in this direction have been lost over a period of time.
Due to the development of education, communication and interaction systems, a realisation has emerged regarding the importance of glorious knowledge that had utilised the available bio-resources for their complete requirements including medicines.
In order to document such valuable bio-resources used in curing various ailments, I surveyed the Suru, Zanskar, Indus, Nubra, Shyok, Hemis, Markha and Changthang region of Ladakh for two consecutive years. Ladakh region, though, appears to have less vegetation cover, yet sustain a great diversity of extremely valuable medicinal plant species.
The practitioners of traditional therapy in Ladakh are known as Amchis, and they are the follower of Tibetan medical system. Plant material is the major ingredient in their medical system, besides animal products. Some minerals and salts are mostly collected from their own regions and sometime outside of Ladakh.