Odisha reveals how Mahua flowers and seeds are a Wonder Oil

25 Adivasi (tribal) families live in a hamlet called Bhalukhola village, in the Sambalpur district of Odisha. It is surrounded by hills and trees in abundance. The natural resources are plentiful. Our community correspondent, Mamta, reports for Indiaunheard.

The women of this village have mastered an age-old art of taking the mahua flowers and seeds that grow on the trees into pure, unadulterated oil. The oil has many uses. From cooking oil to oil used for body massages. From a natural mosquito repellent to oil used for headaches. The flawless complexions of the younger women are a testimony to the properties of the wonder oil.

The work is laborious and the techniques are very basic. First, the fallen tola seeds are collected from under the mahua trees. Next, the seeds are skinned by hand and spread out to dry in the sun. After which they are pounded to a fine powder. It is fascinating to watch the women as they work.

The fine powder is then packed into a large vessel over a wood fire and steamed till the oil separates. The oil is further separated by putting the cooled powder into cloth tied by a string so that all the impurities stay behind. The cloth pouches are then tied between two large logs till the purified oil becomes an aromatic, golden oil, ready to use.

The village women would love to turn their traditional practices into a cottage industry and market the oil for its different uses. They would need help in the packaging and other skills.They would then be able to buy better implements and work with less back-breaking techniques. This would, in turn, sustain the entire village, free from want and happy with the fruit of their hard work.

This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Mamta Patra.

Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ they give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change.

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