Laduben (80) is a traditional knowledge holder who has a lot of herbal medications for treating animal diseases in her repertoire. She has been practicing a herbal medication for treating anestrous, which is a period of sexual inactivity in animals, between two heat periods.
Living with her daughter and son-in-law after her husband’s demise, Laduben has been keeping herself busy by undertaking daily household chores as her health permits. Despite her age and related ailments, Laduben always finds strength to help the needy villagers through her knowledge of herbal medicines. Her husband late Somabhai Danabhai had always supported her to help others as a result of which, it has been now fifty years that she has been treating animals for various diseases using her herbal knowledge. She credits her mother and husband for the knowledge she has, some of which has also been acquired through her own experimentations. She is not only knowledgeable about herbal medications for animals is also a dai (Midwife) and helps in deliveries, whenever called upon to do so.
Anestrous is defined as the period of sexual dormancy between two periods of sexual activity in cyclically breeding mammals. It is not a disease and may be caused due to nutritional deficiency, seasonal change in physical environment, lactation stress and/or ageing. This situation is mainly found in cattle like buffalo or cow. Laduben uses the fresh roots of a local plant (name withheld due to Intellectual Property reasons), grinds them and feeds them to the animal with water. The Prior Art Search results revealed the novelty in the practice, which subsequently was taken up for validation at Nagpur Veterinary College, Maharashtra Animal and Fisheries Sciences University [MAFSU] Maharashtra. During the validation trials, about sixty percent of cows being treated for clinical condition of anestrus responded in less than seven days whereas in the case of buffaloes, forty per cent of them responded to the medication within six and a half days. The medication, thereby, confirmed its role in the development of follicle. Also, after treatment with the herbal medication, the conception rate among the responded cows was found to be 33.33 per cent whereas 75.00 per cent in case of responded buffaloes.
In order to verify whether the said herbal practice was known only to Laduben or others as well in her village and surrounding villages, meetings were organized in her and other villages. However, no villager or a herbal healer reported using the same plant for treating the same disease. Hence the use of this plant for this particular practice was found to be unique based on field verification among different communities in different villages of Sabarkantha region. Understanding the importance of her knowledge in solving people’s problems, Laduben is willing to provide all support for further investigation and research.