Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why Goa needs Kalanchoe

I was living in Goa, a coastal state in western India that draws millions of tourists every year, until a few months ago. One Summer morning, the bell rang and I found a young man in his mid- twenties at our door. It was Easter time and I thought that the young man had come to invite me to an Easter party in the neighborhood. But, to my utter shock, he said he was here to meet my mom for 'the medicine to his kidney problem'.

He ultimately got the medicine: a bundle Kalanchoe Pinnata (Goethe Plant) leaves.  Mom instructed him to extract the juice of the leaves and drink half a cup every morning. 'Be regular, it will surely cure you', Mom told him.

Kalanchoe PInnata or the stone crusher - a plant that has proven curative properties for those suffering from renal disorder such as kidney stone.

Found  quite commonly all across India, Kalanchoe has a number of varieties. And all of them have renoprotective abilities/ properties that cure renal problems. This must be the reason why it has the local name 'Patharkuchi ('stone crusher'). .

Now, Goa - a state famous for its blue sea, beautiful beaches, also has some dark realities. One of them is the fact that the state has a very high rate of renal disorder/ailments. In fact Canacona - a block in South Goa tops the list of maximum people suffering from kidney stones in India.

I wasn't aware of this until Devidas Gaonkar, a young tribal reporter who lives in Canacona, told me about it. I was discussing with Devidas possible health issues in his community when he said that the most common disease they had was urinary stones. Death of renal failure is quite common, he said.

The exact reason of why Canacona has such high number of renal problems is still not known, despite several studies done by the government. The government has also built a high-tech hospital in the block for treatment of renal failure. This hospital is closed most of the time, says Devidas, as it lacks equipments and medicine. 

 Now, this is why I think Goa government should promote cultivation and use of Kalanchoe. The effectiveness of Kalanchoe is a scientifically proven fact. In fact, all Ayurvedic companies are using the same properties in their medicine for renal disorder.

From my personal experience, I have seen how taking Kalanchoe at an early stage of the stone formation, helps avoid a surgery by dissolving the stones; both men and women in my community have used it and have been cured of the stones.

Surely then, for Goan government, cultivation and promotion of a herb like Kalanchoe, is a much simpler, cost-effective way to provide the villagers an option to stay healthy?


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