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Dr N Punniamurthy, 65, has demonstrated the efficacy of Siddha medicine in curing about 40 cattle diseases, setting an example for other states to consider and emulate. He has worked as the head of the Ethno Veterinary Medicine Training and Research Centre, Thanjavur, affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS).
Born to Natesan and Amsavalli, who couldn’t complete schooling, at Vallam near Thanjavur, Dr Punniamurthy went on to become the first graduate in his family, getting his BVSc and MVSc from TANUVAS and earning a gold medal in PhD at the same university.
The doctor recalls with a sense of gratitude that it was his grandparents – Rathinasamy and Chandrakasammal – who had sown in his mind the seeds of social consciousness and concern.
The successful TN experiment with Siddha medicine for curing cattle diseases has rubbed off on 12 other states which have also started adopting Siddha procedures. Moreover, the National Dairy Development Board has published the TSM protocols for curing cattle diseases in12 Indian languages including Tamil
His research on the use of herbs as part of the Traditional Siddha Medicine (TSM) protocols has scientifically led to curing 80 to 82 per cent of diseases afflicting over eight lakh milch cows.
“I was working as the head of the pharmacology department of the veterinary college in Namakkal when I got transferred to the TANUVAS extension centre in Thanjavur where I embarked on the research of the use of Siddha medicine for curing cattle diseases,” he says. “I went about collecting data about hereditary clinical methods adopted by the farmers of the region to cure cattle disease and read the relevant documents. Both Tamil Nadu government and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research funded my research aimed at the synthesis of Siddha principles and modern medical procedures.”
Dr Punniyamurthy says the Tamil Nadu government in 2007 sanctioned Rs 18 lakh to launch the Ethno Veterinary Medicine Training and Research Centre in Thanjavur. In 2016 the government sanctioned Rs 13.72 crore to set up an Ethno Veterinary Herbal Product Research and Development Centre at Orathanadu.
The successful TN experiment with Siddha medicine for curing cattle diseases has rubbed off on 12 other states which have also started adopting Siddha procedures. Moreover, the National Dairy Development Board has published the TSM protocols for curing cattle diseases in12 Indian languages including Tamil. The pamphlet serves as a ready reckoner for veterinary doctors, Dr Punniyamurthy says, adding that videos on the TSM protocols are available on the website as well.
Dr Punniamurthy has trained dairy farmers and veterinary doctors who, in turn, impart the training to others. He has trained 1,500 veterinary doctors all over the country.
Way back in 2013 when several cattle died of foot-and-mouth disease in various parts of the state including Coimbatore, Erode and so on, attempts were made to cure the cattle. Not only foot-and-mouth, another disease known as mastitis was also healed using herbal medicine, he says.
Dr Punniamurthy has trained dairy farmers and veterinary doctors who, in turn, impart the training to others. He has trained 1,500 veterinary doctors all over the country
Of late, cattle are being afflicted with lumpy skin disease. The union government has instructed veterinary doctors to administer Siddha medicine to them, he says.
In recognition of Dr Punniamurthy’s research on and services to cattle medicine, the Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology in 2013 honoured him with the TN Scientist Award.
Efforts are underway through the union Department of Animal Husbandry to include the herbal medicine in the syllabus of the veterinary and animal sciences, Dr Punniamurthy says, adding that he has been training veterinary doctors in using herbal medicine through the Livestock Farming an NGO, in the Netherlands, Uganda and Ethiopia.
TANUVAS and the Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions have been offering a one-year PG Diploma course in Ethno Veterinary Practices since 2012 for BVSc graduates.
Though he has retired from service, Dr Punniamurthy is still pursuing his mission of using the Traditional Siddha Medicine procedures for curing cattle diseases; he has been quite active, attending workshops and giving telephonic consultations. He can be contacted by phone on 9842455833.
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