By Abinash Chaudhary, Dhangadhi, Apr. 4: Season to collect medicinal Mahuwa (Madhuca longifolia) has begun here.
The collection of Mahuwa has started as all Mahuwa flowers have fallen one and a half months after they bloomed.
Locals have started collecting Mahuwa, which is found in abundance in the Basanta Corridor of Kailali. The seeds collection begins in June and continues until mid-July with a peak season between 15th June and 30th June.
The locals living around the forest have been making fragrant liquor from Mahuwa.
Hariram Chaudhary, a local of Kailari Rural Municipality-7, said that the competition for Mahua collection has started among the locals after the onset of the season. "People come to the forest in the morning to collect the Mahuwa flowers," he said. "We have been using it to make alcohol."
Although medicine can be made from Mahuwa, its use is limited to brewing alcohol. Dashiram Chaudhary, a local, said that locals collect Mahuwa only to make alcohol from it because they know only to produce liquor from it.
Recently, the Tharu community has been running homestays in various places. As the guests coming to the homestay prefer Mahua liquor, the homestay operators also buy the Mahuwa collected by the locals.
Similarly, liquor is made at home to feed the guests who come to their houses during various festivals, said Chaudhary.
Mahuwa is a non-woody tree flower found in the forest. Its flowers bloom and fall throughout the spring. The locals have informed that the fallen flowers are collected, dried and used when needed.
Although Mahuwa is a fortifying herb, some people understand that it is being wasted due to lack of a scientific research. It can be a good source of income if used properly, ecologist Dr. Mukesh Kumar Chalise said.
He said that Mahuwa was being wasted every year due to a lack of knowledge on its proper utilisation.
"Since the Terai people have traditionally learned to make wine, it is limited to making wine. Mahuwa could also be a medicine. However, no scientific study or research has been conducted on this,” he added.