Lakshmikutty, a woman from the forests of Kallar in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, is well known in the area for her proficiency in herbs and their medicinal powers, attracting hundreds of people to her. Living in a small hut surrounded by leaves, herbs, and medicinal plants, Lakshmikutty is also a poet and a teacher.
Speaking with The News Minute, 75-year-old Lakshmikutty says,
"I can prepare about 500 medicinal treatments from memory. Till now I have not forgotten them. But people come here for poison treatment, mainly snake or insect bites."
Lakshmikutty, apart from being known as a healer with leaves, is also famous for healing with her words. It is believed that her calm and soothing words leave a long-lasting impression on those who listen to her. She also works as a teacher at the Kerala Folklore Academy. It is her dream to one day turn her little hut into a hospital, where those in need of long-term care can stay and heal.
Lakshmikutty gained all her knowledge from her mother, a midwife. Seeing as how Lakshmikutty, like her mother before her, maintains no records of her remedies, the Kerala Forest Department has come forward to compile a book on the topic.
Lakshmi has been to plenty of places across the country and she says her knowledge comes from the exposure she has acquired through her travels.
"I have visited many places outside the forest, met many people, but I belong here. My heredity exists here. The outer world has given me a lot—awards, honour, published books, and so on. But I want to stay here. To live in the forest, you need courage."