February 19th, 2018 – Chanchal Cabrera: “Ethnobotany of Tribal People in Southern India”

At the southern tip of the Nilgiri Mountain range in Southern western India, where the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka meet, where the misty mountains run down to the steamy jungle, there is a rich abundance of flora and fauna. Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Preserve, this area is home to numerous distinct tribal groups who still harvest wild herbs for medicine and who still practice some of the old ways of healing. 

 In 2011 Chanchal spent a month acting as staff botanist for a documentary film crew as they recorded these ancient ways and vanishing medicines. This illustrated talk will discuss 5 different tribal groups, their clothes, and customs, their traditional medicines and healing ways, and the challenges these people face in the modern world. Showcasing the beauty and the magic of India, temples and palaces, mountains and valleys, and highlighting unusual or useful plants, many of them unknown in western herbal medicinal practice. 

Biographical Information:

Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (UK) since 1987. Awarded Fellowship 2009
MSc in herbal medicine at the University of Wales in 2003
Faculty chair in Botanical Medicine at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster  2004 – 2016
Diplomas in Botanic Garden Management and in Botanic Garden Education from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 
Certified Shinrin Yoku (forest bathing) practitioner
Certified Master Gardener 
Certified Horticulture Therapist
 
Chanchal lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia where she and her husband run Innisfree Farm and Botanic Garden, a 7 acre registered botanic garden specializing in food and medicine plants, and run apprenticeschips in organic gardening and herbal medicine. They also host Gardens without Borders, a federally registered not-for-profit society established to run therapy garden programs for people with disabilities.