EthnoVeterinary Medicine: Present and Future

Pashu Sandesh, 24th December 2018


If we purely go by the definition EthnoVeterinary Medicine (EVM) is defined as “The holistic, interdisciplinary study of local knowledge and its associated skills, practices, beliefs, practitioners, and social structures pertaining to the healthcare and healthful husbandry of food, work, and other income-producing animals, always with an eye to practical development applications within livestock production and livelihood systems, and with the ultimate goal of increasing human well-being via increased benefits from stock raising”. Sounds too complex, isn’t it? Let's take a plunge for deeper understanding of EVM.

In simpler terms it's the use of Traditional Knowledge of Plant sources of Medicine for the use in Animal Health care. More recently the animal sources of Medicines is also included. 

India had it since Ages:

Basically when we are talking about EthnoVeterinary Medicines, we are talking about the practice of Ayurveda in Animal Health care and India has the rich culture of the use of Traditional Medicines since ages. Towards the end of the Vedic period, Indian medicine began to adopt observations and rational procedures, which developed into a coherent system known as Ayurveda. This knowledge served as a model for veterinary medicine. 

Practitioners of EthnoVeterinary Medicine:

It would not be a big surprise if we say the foremost practitioners of EVM are the women who are using the knowledge passed on to them by the generations for the treatment of Household Animals. Other group of practitioners are those who are traditional healers, Vaidyas practicing the Ayurveda and using the same knowledge for the treatment of Animals. 

Whats the Future holds for EthnoVeterinary Medicine:

As per some authors The Government should recognise EthnoVeterinary medicine and set up a systematic framework; like ethnobotany, EVM should be developed like an additional subject in veterinary colleges; readymade EVM medicines should be patented and supplied by the pharmaceuticals; local flora should be prevented from overexploitation; creation of awareness among people for EVM system through workshop, seminars, training, etc.; proper documentation of EVM; pharmacopoeia of EVM should be developed for its popularity and to check patenting; to develop a proper link between traditional veterinary healers and modern veterinary doctors; and rare EthnoVeterinary medicinal plants should be listed and preserved.

Recently however the systematic reviews have been done regarding the efficacy and safety of the Ayurvedic Medicine in Animals. These studies have found the EVM to be not only effective but cost effective too. Buoyed with the results National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has recommended the regular use of Veterinary Ayurveda in Dairy Animal. A recent workshop at the Anand by NDDB on the importance of traditional Medicines in Veterinary care is a testimony to the fact.