Time to give a boost to Omani medicinal plants

SALALAH: At a time when body immunity has become major factor to deal with a pandemic like Covid-19, this is right time for a country like Oman to look at its own strength of medicinal plants, which are in abundance and spread all over – from north to south.

Omani herbal medicines have been tested and they were in use on a large scale until recently in the community for cure of many diseases. Researchers Shahina A Ghazanfar and Ahmed Mohammed Ali al Sabahi have rightly mentioned that “traditional medicine, which comprised healing by using plants, religious and other methods, have become less popular still they are in use.”

At the time doing their research they found that though major diseases were treated in hospitals, many minor ailments such as headache, stomach upset, colds and fever were treated by medicinal plants. “Herbal medicines are dispensed by healers who may be family elders or professional healers called Ghazanfar,” they said.

The above statement is strong indication towards a system that was prevalent in the traditional Omani society. Under the influence of modern developments and setting up of super specialty healthcare system, that knowledge has been sidelined but that strong potential of the country needs to be preserved developed in a scientific manner.

An Ayurvedic doctor from India who practiced in Oman for a long time also threw light on the availability of medicinal plants in Oman and said convincingly that “among some 1,400 plant species there are several rare medicinal plants, which are yet to be documented in terms of their value. Some experts find the land natural home of many medicinal plants with high potency and purity.”

Dr Kapil came across 60 plants species which are loaded with medicinal value but he did not find them documented for the purpose of medicinal use.

The expert, however, was surprised to know that many of those plants were in use in Old Omani houses in Dhofar to address many day-to-day health issues. He also reminded that many of these plants were helpful in boosting body immunity and thus keeping many diseases at bay.