photo of person from Nepal Sindhulpalchok
Nepal glossary










herbal medicine practitioner


Thakani VDC, Sindhupalchok


December 1993



Section 1
May I know your name please?
My name is Kedar Khanal.

Where do you live?
I live in Thakani, Ga.Bi.Sa (Village Development Committee) Ward No.3.

What is the name of your tole (sub-division of a ward)?
Name of the tole is Amalya.

How old are you?
I am 37 years old.

What is your profession?
I am a farmer. But after ActionAid has come here, I give vaccines to the animals, and also sell seeds of vegetables. I will cure animals when they will fall sick. Also I distribute plants at a cheap price.

Do you have another job besides this?
Yes I have. I will help the villagers when they suffer from fever and broken ankles. I will treat them with jardibutis (traditional medical treatments). People are interested to use jardibutis instead of going to the hospital. Because if they go to the hospital for one suka (dry) tablet they will charge them high and give them a long list of medicine Aspro, Citamol which cost 40 to 50 rupees. That's why they prefer to use jardibuti.

Using jardibuti, did you begin from your forefathers?
Yes, we are using jardibuti from our forefathers. Even in hospitals they use medicine made from jardibuti. Our forefathers used to tell us that we didn't know anything about these medicines used in the hospital that are made from our jardibuti. They will mix plants, grass etc to make jardibutis. It is effective also. It is far to go to the hospital from here. People prefer treatment in the village. We are forced to make jardibuti here and took electricity there [?]. That's why we treat sick people here. But for serious care we send them to the hospital.

Do people believe in jardibuti?
In our village old people believe in jardibuti and they like to be treated by this. If they become well, they feel happy and if it is serious they will take him to the hospital. Otherwise, minor wounds such as broken leg, ankles, fever, they like to cure here. They don't like to eat hospital medicines first. For headache, body ache, we use jardibuti told by old people. We make maximum use of it.
Section 2
Do they still believe in it?
Yes, for pneumonia we use our own herbs. From it we make medicines.

Do you still find that kind of jardibuti here?

Where do you go to bring jardibuti?
We find it near our gardens, sometimes we go to the hillside.

What kind of jardibuti do you find here?
If it is right to say, you can find many jardibuti here. But people tell us not to mention the name of jardibuti. It is our secret. We have to search it secretly. Sometimes we mix three varieties, sometimes we mix four or five things, it depends on the disease. For fever, we use one jardibuti, we don't mix anything there. We mix three things to care for fractured legs and hands. If it is an informal disease we mix six to seven things and make a mixture. We search and make a jardibuti according to the disease.

If a person is suffering from fever, he has broken his leg, he could not come to your place, it is far also, how do you treat him or why are you keeping secret about jardibuti?
We are the experts. We recognise these jardibutis, others don't know about it. We also make medicine from banmara (variety of grass). But who does not know he will tell it is dangerous. If we cut our hands or legs then we can rub banmara on it and the blood will stop. Instead of banmara we can use khareta's munta (soft part of plants) to stop the blood. We also use leaf of urchalu. It is just like iodine; if you put it on the wound crushing with hands it makes the blood flow stop. You can also use urchalu and khareto together to stop the blood. It will cure your wound in three days, without swelling it will help to cure quickly.

If your legs and hands are broken, what do you use as a medicine?
We use our jardibuti told by our forefathers. They are bhainsi ko gobar (buffalo dung) kharani (ash) chiloune ko bokra (bark of a tree). We beat them and make a liquid then we will boil it when it is cooked well then we will put maaslari, bhumi champa, syal pothro (varieties of plants) into it, then mix it all. We filter it with a cloth. We wash the wound with hot water then put this liquid on it, then we will bandage it with the help of Nepali kagaj (paper). After 4-5 days later it will cure all the wounds and broken parts.

How do you decide the quantity of these plants, I mean how much you will mix?
If it is broken only one part then one pawa chilauneko bokra, two gram tulashi ko paat (leaf), kharnai one pawa maaslari one chhtung amilo one spoonful, we will mix then and cook it. After that we will filter by cloth then put on the wound. It will catch the wound strongly. Because of amilo in this mixture it will help to circulate the blood normally. Ash is also a strong medicine. If we eat kharani it will kill any worm in our stomach. It is a great medicine, discovered by old people from the past. We don't have to go to the hospital to cure worms. If we put ash in a bronze bowl, keep it in the whole evening, with water if we eat it tomorrow on an empty stomach it will wash out all worms from our stomach. This medicine is the effective one. We are giving our attention to this kind of old home made medicine.
We also use rato chilaune ko bokra for broken ankles, legs and hands. First we will bring this bokra one dharni and we scrape off its cover with the help of a knife. We cook it a little longer, then we bring chiple kira (snail), we beat it and mix it with bokra (which we have already cooked) and put it on the broken place, it will cure in 15 days. Only we know how to place the bone in right place. Other ordinary people cannot adjust the bone. And also we can give the patient to eat chiple kira without his knowledge who has broken his chest bone that time we also give him chiple kira. First we grind it and make him to eat telling that it is one kind of jardibuti. Chiple kira is the effective medicine for broken parts. When people become sick, he is going to die, if we don't have time to take him to the hospital, that time we grind and give it to the patient to drink, when he drinks it, even suffering from pneumonia, patient will be cured after 30 hours. He will be alright. Then we don't need other hospital medicines.
It is our customs to cure patients. We use chiple kira, tulshi leaf, cucumber seeds, deer’s horn, tama (young bamboo shoot), jira (cumin seed) etc. We mix them all and make medicine which is always effective for us. Our people don't know about this. I also learned from my grandfather. Villagers don't know about this. Some people think these jardibutis are the same as hospital medicines. They think it is better to make here than to go far and bring from the hospital. But we should recognise the plants. If somebody's tongue is going to rot and his heart is weak, he is going to die, treatment is needed immediately, I know the plants but sometimes we can't get near. I have my store, I will mix these and give it to the patient. After 24 hours or 72 hours later his tongue will cure. That's why if somebody needs to be cured, people tell him to go to Kedar ji (the narrator). They don't know the plants, I know it. Everybody believes me. I will search the plants and make a mixture of them. And send them medicines according to their illness.
Section 3
How many people did you cure till now?
I will tell you, some say it is because of Devata they become ill. Nobody will see it. It comes in disguise of the wind. It doesn't have life. If we put four alphabets together and tail it will disappear (?). Sometimes, we see it in our dreams, at that time we will realise that thing will attack us. Then we tell oh!, I am attached by this thing. Then we will do the treatment according to his saying. And he will also become well. That's why we have medicines for these kinds of things and matters. Even for children we have jardibuti to cure when they suffer from ajima (local name for illness). And people say, they are troubled by a witch. But we never see witches, people just believe in this kind of thing. For example, sometimes buffalo do not give milk but its thun (breast) is full of milk, then we burn the chilli make smoke of it and make the buffalo smell it. After doing this for a few times, it will give milk. I don't believe in witches, but villagers do believe it.
When a child suffers from ajima I give him dhup (incense) to smell. He will feel alright. I did many times this kind of work. When we are unable to put his leg on the ground when it is going somewhere on janti (marriage procession), that time I will bring leaf of siure and with ash I will blow it to the ox, then ox will be able to walk immediately. I never saw any witch, baan (?) etc but they believe on these and when I treat it will also do good. So it is our belief that it helps to cure them. If you have faith even using only the leaf of sallo (conifer) it will cure you. If you don't have faith, even using hospital medicine will not make you good.
Section 4
You cured many people and you have knowledge about these jardibuti when women feel difficulty in giving birth what kind of jardibuti you will use that time?
We use jardibuti.

What kind of jardibuti?
We bring the root of chhatiwan (variety of plant) and tie it with that women's hair then it will help to give a birth. And if she eats water of hukka (?) muttering mantra of 'Bed' (Gayatri-18) then it will make her easy in delivery. We give her this kind of water. She doesn't know anything. After drinking this holy water, she feels comfort in giving birth. Sometimes we give glucose, misri pani (sugar water), karkure ko jhol (variety of plant) to her. This makes her relax and she is able to give birth easily. We also give support on her back. If it is a difficult case, we can't do it, then we will take her to the hospital carrying her by stretcher to Thapathali hospital.

If somebody has already got four or five children, if she doesn't want to make another, what he or she will do?
To not to give a birth, we use the root of chhatiwan (variety of plant) or its leaf or bark, we grind it then give it to her to eat continuously for one week. It will help her to abort the child.

How many you did?
We did for two people in this village?

How long has it been that you are doing this kind of job?
It’s been... first I didn't know about this. How woman will give a birth I didn't know. But later people who have got more children they suggested to me “why you don't learn the medicine about this? Women are fed up of making children”. In those days there was no family planning. When I asked my grandma she told me she would use jardibuti to control birth and others would accept the children as a gift from god. So medicine was there from before and now we also use the same jardibuti to control it.
Section 5
How long it has been that you are using jardibuti?
It's been 10-12 years.

Did your father, grandfather also do the same work?
Yes, it's been coming from generation.

How long before your forefathers had started to do it?
Nearly 50,60 years before.

Do you have son?
My son also calls me when he cuts his finger, and asks about khareto ko munta (a plant) and banmara to put on his hand. People also come to put medicine at my home, when they cut their hands. Sometimes I give them iodine but when it finished, I will make a liquid of banmara and give it to them.

When you use hospital medicine, does it effect the jardibuti?
Yes, these medicines will effect the person. It depends on their blood group and on diet. When they use Dipo (for birth control), if they don't get sufficient diet it is harmful. In our village the women have to do hard work from morning to night. She has to do all housework. Man goes outside to do other works. For those who get sufficient diet and can take a rest at home for them family planning and taking Dipo is alright. But for those women who cannot get enough food and rest for them it is harmful. Some will survive but maximum will suffer.

From which generations you are using these jardibuties?
From five, six generations.

How much you earn from this jardibuti?
We give and treat them in free. It is a social work. We can find plants and herbs here for jardibuti. That's why we don't take money from our people.

Jardibuti comes to use everyday, what do you think to preserve about this in future?
In the past I did everything in free. If one goes to this work he has to devote whole day. Now I am thinking about to take fees for treatment. I don't get much but if I take money they will realise its importance. Otherwise, I don't get time to do other work - they will realise my time if I take money. If I don't take money I will ask them for a favour. It’s vice-versa.

Everyday you are using jardibuti, it is disappearing from here, what do you do to preserve it?
I am thinking about this. I have brought these plants and I’m planting them in my garden around my house. When I go outside if I see new plants, I will ask them and bring it with me and plant it in my garden. If this kind of plant will grow on a hillside or in steep area, I will bring it and carefully sow it in my field. I will love and preserve it.

How many varieties do you have now?
I have 5,6 varieties. If they are going to finish I will grow others. They are khari syal, pothre, tulshi, kankra ko biew, (cucumber seeds), jira, mula ko gendra (radish seed), chiple kira, khareta, urdalu, banmara ko munta, datiwan ko munta. They are all around my house. I have ajambari (name of a flower) also. Ajambari has three tastes in a day. When you eat it in the morning it will be sour, in the daytime it will be tasteless and when you eat at night it will be bitter. It is a medicine for urinary problems. You eat it and put on the head and also on chest, two times to eat in one day, then after, it will cure pneumonia and pain in the heart etc. Ajambari is the effective medicine.
Section 6
You know everything, about jardibuti also a farmer, at this age of 36 did you experience the happiest moment in your life?
Yes I did. From the age of 16 I am enjoying my life. And I am happy.

How do I explain, in those days when I was young, I didn't know anything about happiness, I had to go to school also had to go to work. My father was dead when I was in my mothers' womb. I had suffered in my childhood. I wasn't able to read properly. My mother used to send me to school but I had to leave the school to do other works. Now I care for the villager's illness that's why they look after my field and I don't have to work in my field they do everything for me. They tell “he will give vaccine to our animals, he cures us and our animals”. If I protect them they will protect me. So everywhere there is happiness for me.

Do you have any group to operate this kind of work? I mean to use jardibuti?
If they become sick they come to my place. They will tell to others to go to Kedar ji's house.

Do you have any group which gives jardibutis?
Yes we have in village.

You make one jardibuti, another will make another. Did you have any exchange between two of you? I mean, could you discuss about jardibuti with him?
It is my faith on this. I will treat the patient and make the jardibuti with my style. Other will do the same with his own style. But if you have faith, you can cure anyone. It's not only me who is able to cure.

When did you get married?
At the age of 20, my wife's name is Tara Khanal. I married her, when she was 10 years old. Now she is 24, 25 years old.

At this age of 37, did you remember the worst day in your life?
The worst day? My father was already dead. In my youth age of 15,16 if my father was there I would study more. My father's brothers’ sons have studied IA andBA. They are section officer in their office. Look at me, I am like this, have to work in the village and have to do this kind of work. When they went to school, I had to sit at home. But I learned a little bit about alphabets. It helps me to do my work.
Section 7
How much did you study?
In those days we didn't have a class system. But today I know I had studied till class 4.

If somebody comes to get treatment from you, if he does not become cured, do you send him to another person? [who does same work as him]
Yes, I will send him to another person. If again he does not cure, I will send him to the hospital.

Thank You!