Today I interviewed Mr. P.J. Chackosan, President of Vanamoolika (which means medicinal plants). He is also the Director of the Indian Organic Farmers Producer Company, the Executive Secretary of The Organic Farmer’s Fair Trade Network, as well as the Director of The Organic Foundation (FOARD).
Talk about experience in the matter of certified organic ingredients! It seems this man, who has hand-on experience, has successfully led the Vanamoolika organization in promoting the use of the ancient Ayurveda through a network of certified organic growers. An organization consisting of only women!
In another story we will meet these women. Most of the women are from small farming families or tribal women, “The daughters of the woods” as they call themselves. They started with nothing and are now making a living that enables them to have their children educated in rural areas of the country where poverty is widespread.
Having been with Mr. Chackosan for several days, I have gained a lot of respect for him. I also wanted to know more about him, besides his work implementing the vision of Father Joseph Chittoor; the priest who started the fascinating organization of Vanamoolika following his personal belief that women are especially powerful when given the tools to develop themselves as well as their families and communities.
Prior to meeting Father Joseph Chittoor, Mr. Chackosan was a pharmacist with a Bachelor of Science and totally involved with allopathic medicines. That all changed almost overnight when he “converted” from allopathic medicines to natural medicines after discussions with Father Joseph Chittoor.
He was then convinced of the ability to help poor people better their lives as well as enjoy good health at affordable prices. In the area of Kerela, before Vanamoolika was founded, there were no natural concepts developed and treatment charges for allopathic were not affordable to the poor. Father Chittoor led the way and introduced Ayurveda from the ground off, which means: “producing the ancient ayurvedic medicines according to ancient formulations.”
However, Ayurveda like many things in this modern life is being misused because of overstated marketing and selling claims. Ayurveda has become expensive in many parts of India as well as all over the world. Many are using it for their own financial benefits and charging exorbitant sums of money for treatments and preparations that are combined incorrectly and they do not produce the results that should be.
Ayurveda has become very popular but following this particular avenue was never the vision of Father Chittoor.
His philosophy goes back to the roots of Ayurveda, and to making home remedies according to strictly Ayurveda rules as a superior healing system based on science. A healing system affordable for everyone.
What about the future of Vanamoolika in these regards? Mr. Chackosan tells me he wants to rejuvenate the system of Ayurveda as much as possible. Rectifying the system of the Ayurvedia Pharmacopia, in accordance to the ancient book written 5,000 years ago. This includes the original diagnosing techniques, healing methods and product formulations according to the ancient vision of the MAHARSHIS; the saints who were religious teachers. They were talented groups of gurus – ARYUVEDA ACHARYA – who did their writings over different centuries. Their ‘thoughts’ became ayurvedic medications over the centuries as the patients came to them. The ACHARAY prayed to God and medications were then given. According to Mr. Chackochan, this is how it all started. In those ancient times there was no writing. That came later.
Generation after generation, writings that came later developed into the Ayurveda Pharmacopedia, and it is still being worked on today.
Vanamoolika wants to do just that – treat people according to the original ayurvedic ways without the modern marketing hocus-pocus. To bring ayurvedic medicine to everyone because ayuvedic’s cost is in fact low compared to the allopathic medicine. The vision of father Joseph Chittoor and Vanamoolika is the vehicle to make it work. People who become farmers of the ingredients of ayurvedic medicines and all of the farmers that deliver some 700 herbs and plants and trees are all certified organic by Indocert.
My question to Mr. Chackosan is why is he working with women to get this all off the ground? According to him, women are genuinely more interested in family matters and are more dedicated to the family liberalization, which in India still is an issue in rural areas. Ayurvedic medicine, when applied to the ancient way can never be abused because of this system itself. Women are generally better organizers, better healers, talk more direct about family issues and act accordingly and thus achieve greater results.
As western women, you may ask – what is in this for me and my natural skincare regimen? We at Paul Penders are using LevensESSENTIE 22 certified organic herbs with purpose. A purpose similar to the ayurvedic principle.
We at Paul Penders are very proud to announce that we will be buying the same herbs now from the Vanamoolika organization which protects and conserves medicinal plants in “God’s Own Country” (which is the State of Kerela in India) .The same herbs cultivated by these small certified organic farmers where chemical fertilizers and pesticides are strictly not allowed to be used. Paul Penders feels proud to buy these herbs from an organization conducted by women. Women who are paid fair prices, as well as share in the proceeds of sales and profits of the organization.
Part 1 Love-Labor & Determination
Part 2 Meeting Fr. Joseph Chittoor, a visionary Priest
Part 3 The President of Vanamoolika
Part 4 A Gorgeous Ayuredic Doctor
Part 5 Ayurvedic Massage
Part 6 Inspirational Visit to Indocert; Indian Organic Certifying Agency
Part 7 Journey to Vanamoolika