Buckuchurbu and (re) Hydrating Indian Traditional Knowledge


In an earlier post, I highlighted the alleged potential of Crofelemer, a drug to mitigate some of the sufferings in Haiti. This drug for tackling dehydration was based on ancient shamanic wisdom and is allegedly better than most rehydrating solutions known today.
Closer home, a rare medicinal plant found in Arunachal Pradesh 3 years back is touted as having excellent re-hydration properties. An article notes the discovery of this plant, known interestingly as “Buckuchurbu” to the locals:

“Begonia Tessaricarpa, last seen in 1890, was found growing in the wild in Upper Subansiri and Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh by Kumar Ambrish and M Amadudin, scientists of the Botanical Survey India (BSI).

Known to local Adi and Tagin tribes as “Buckuchurbu” and “Rebe” respectively, the plant is used by them to treat stomach aches and dehydration.

….The plant is eaten raw and cooked by local tribes for its “delicious sour taste”. The tribals make a chutney with its leaves and stem and consume it to treat stomach pain and dehydration.

The plant’s juice is used as ward of leeches by the tribes. The flowers of the plant have four petals — two large and two smaller — that makes them look attractive.”

Have any of our pharmaceutical companies explored the potential of this rare plant? Or given its rare status, is it better off hiding its traditional wisdom from corporate exploitation?

And lastly, as an aside, will the “hydration” possibilities offered by the Buckuchurbu lead to more evergreening in India?

Shamnad Basheer

Shamnad Basheer

Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer founded SpicyIP in 2005. He's also the Founder of IDIA, a project to train underprivileged students for admissions to the leading law schools. He served for two years as an expert on the IP global advisory council (GAC) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2015, he received the Infosys Prize in Humanities in 2015 for his work on legal education and on democratising the discourse around intellectual property law and policy. The jury was headed by Nobel laureate, Prof. Amartya Sen. Professional History: After graduating from the NLS, Bangalore Prof. Basheer joined Anand and Anand, one of India’s leading IP firms. He went on to head their telecommunication and technology practice and was rated by the IFLR as a leading technology lawyer. He left for the University of Oxford to pursue post-graduate studies, completing the BCL, MPhil and DPhil as a Wellcome Trust scholar. His first academic appointment was at the George Washington University Law School, where he served as the Frank H Marks Visiting Associate Professor of IP Law. He then relocated to India in 2008 to take up the MHRD Chaired Professorship in IP Law at WB NUJS, a leading Indian law school. Later, he was the Honorary Research Chair of IP Law at Nirma University and also a visiting professor of law at the National Law School (NLS), Bangalore. Prof. Basheer has published widely and his articles have won awards, including those instituted by ATRIP, the Stanford Technology Law Review and CREATe. He was consulted widely by the government, industry, international organisations and civil society on a variety of IP issues. He also served on several government committees.

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