Herbal drugs constitute a major share of all the officially recognised systems of health in India viz. Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy and Naturopathy, except Allopathy. More than 70% of India’s 1.1 billion population still use these non-allopathic systems of medicine. Currently, there is no separate category of herbal drugs or dietary supplements, as per the Indian Drugs Act. However, there is a vast experiential-evidence base for many of the natural drugs. This offers immense opportunities for Observational Therapeutics and Reverse Pharmacology. Evidence-based herbals are widely used in the diverse systems and manufactured, as per the pharmacopoeial guidelines, by a well-organised industry. Significant basic and clinical research has been carried out on the medicinal plants and their formulations, with the state-of-the-art methods in a number of Institutes/Universities. There are some good examples. Indian medicinal plants also provide a rich source for antioxidants that are known to prevent/delay different diseased states. The antioxidant protection is observed at different levels. The medicinal plants also contain other beneficial compounds like ingredients for functional foods. Hence, the global knowledge about Ayurveda and Indian herbals will hopefully be enhanced by information on the evidence-base of these plants. This will yield rich dividends in the coming years.
Ayurveda; Indian medicinal plants; reverse pharmacology; observational therapeutics; antioxidant
Pharmacovigilance is a corrective process originating in pharmaco-epidemiology. The 1997 Erice Declaration, presented at the World Health Organisation, became the basis on which the concept was implemented internationally for conventional systems of medicine. The increasing international acceptance of Ayurveda, led regulators to implement a similar program for Ayurveda, particularly as some medical professionals, scientists and members of the public reported adverse reactions after taking Ayurvedic formulations. The World Health Organisation therefore persuaded the Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, to implement a pharmacovigilance program for Ayurveda, as a means to ensuring the safety and efficacy of Ayurvedic medicines. After a year of due diligence, the pharmacovigilance program was launched nationally on 29 September 2008. Since that time, Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani medicines have been monitored according to the provisions of a protocol prepared by the National Pharmacovigilance Resource Centre, IPGTRA, Jamnagar, and approved by Department of AYUSH. The program was reviewed, first, on 21st January 2009 by the National Pharmaco-vigilance Consultative Committee for ASU drugs (NPCC-ASU), and again, on 15 Feburary, 2010, when an evaluation meeting effectively rubber stamped the program. Among the outcomes of these meetings were several suggestions of measures to improve the program’s efficiency. Recent developments include the constitution of pharmacovigilance centers at all Ayurveda Teaching institutes and research centers.
Adverse drug reaction; Awareness; Ayurvedic medicine; Pharmacovigilance; Safety
By 2020, it is predicted that non-communicable diseases will be causing seven out of every 10 deaths in developing countries. Indian traditional medicine system with the concept of personalized therapy in Ayurveda has the potential to offer remedies to these challenging health issues. Integration of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani, the three Indian systems of medicine (ISM), along with homoeopathic and allopathic systems of medicine to ensure health for all citizens across the country is the new Mantra of the Union health ministry. To tap the potentials of our indigenous medicine systems and other popular systems of medicine it is important to assess the awareness among people and make efforts to popularize them. The present study was therefore carried out to assess the awareness among 200 respondents with the help of a multiple choice questionnaire by the interview method. Convenience sampling technique was employed. The awareness about lifestyle, diet, oil consumption needs more vigorous attention as observed in this study. The most popular choice was found to be groundnut oil. Around 4% of the participants used more than one medium of cooking. Forty-two percent of the participants observed fast regularly. Twenty-three percent of the participants did not include any form of exercise in their daily routine while walking was the most popular form of exercise performed by 43%. By using multiple comparisons it was observed that the difference between i) Allopathy- Homeopathy, ii) Allopathy – Ayurvedic and iii) Ayurvedic- Homeopathy as 15.5263, 7.1053 and 8.4211, respectively, are significant at α = 0.05. A larger sample size encompassing various economic strata could be a better index of popularity of various alternative medicine systems existing in different sections of our society.
Alternative and complementary medicine; health awareness; Indian system of medicine; popularity of Ayurveda
Allopathic practitioners in India are outnumbered by practitioners of traditional Indian medicine and homeopathy (TIMH), which is used by up to two-thirds of its population to help meet primary health care needs, particularly in rural areas. India has an estimated 2.5 million HIV infected persons. However, little is known about TIMH use, safety or efficacy in HIV/AIDS management in India, which has one of the largest indigenous medical systems in the world. The purpose of this review was to assess the quality of peer-reviewed, published literature on TIMH for HIV/AIDS care and treatment.
Of 206 original articles reviewed, 21 laboratory studies, 17 clinical studies, and 6 previous reviews of the literature were identified that covered at least one system of TIMH, which includes Ayurveda, Unani medicine, Siddha medicine, homeopathy, yoga and naturopathy. Most studies examined either Ayurvedic or homeopathic treatments. Only 4 of these studies were randomized controlled trials, and only 10 were published in MEDLINE-indexed journals. Overall, the studies reported positive effects and even "cure" and reversal of HIV infection, but frequent methodological flaws call into question their internal and external validity. Common reasons for poor quality included small sample sizes, high drop-out rates, design flaws such as selection of inappropriate or weak outcome measures, flaws in statistical analysis, and reporting flaws such as lack of details on products and their standardization, poor or no description of randomization, and incomplete reporting of study results.
This review exposes a broad gap between the widespread use of TIMH therapies for HIV/AIDS, and the dearth of high-quality data supporting their effectiveness and safety. In light of the suboptimal effectiveness of vaccines, barrier methods and behavior change strategies for prevention of HIV infection and the cost and side effects of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for its treatment, it is both important and urgent to develop and implement a rigorous research agenda to investigate the potential risks and benefits of TIMH and to identify its role in the management of HIV/AIDS and associated illnesses in India.
The historiography of medicine in South Asia often assumes the presence of preordained, homogenous, coherent and clearly-bound medical systems. They also tend to take the existence of a medical ‘mainstream’ for granted. This article argues that the idea of an ‘orthodox’, ‘mainstream’ named allopathy and one of its ‘alternatives’ homoeopathy were co-produced in Bengal. It emphasises the role of the supposed ‘fringe’, ie. homoeopathy, in identifying and organising the ‘orthodoxy’ of the time. The shared market for medicine and print provided a crucial platform where such binary identities such as ‘homoeopaths’ and ‘allopaths’ were constituted and reinforced. This article focuses on a range of polemical writings by physicians in the Bengali print market since the 1860s. Published mostly in late nineteenth-century popular medical journals, these concerned the nature, definition and scope of ‘scientific’ medicine. The article highlights these published disputes and critical correspondence among physicians as instrumental in simultaneously shaping the categories ‘allopathy’ and ‘homoeopathy’ in Bengali print. It unravels how contemporary understandings of race, culture and nationalism informed these medical discussions. It further explores the status of these medical contestations, often self-consciously termed ‘debates’, as an essential contemporary trope in discussing ‘science’ in the vernacular.
Scientific Medicine; Debate; Vernacular; Medical Correspondence; Medical System; Orthodoxy
This paper examines the backgrounds and motivations of persons trained or training as Ayurvedic practitioners at two London-based institutions offering Ayurveda programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It draws upon in-depth interviews with individuals at various stages of their training and practice in order to examine the paths that bring them to Ayurveda, their motivations for undergoing training, and the ways in which they apply their knowledge of Ayurveda during and after their training period. The findings here corroborate what other scholars have demonstrated in the case of Asian traditions like Yoga and Ayurveda in the West; these traditions have inevitably undergone shifts in meaning by virtue of their assimilation into the Western, in this case British, holistic health milieu. Most significant in Ayurveda's case is the shift away from a preoccupation with remedial medicine (the bedrock of mainstream Ayurveda in modern South Asia), to a focus on self-knowledge and self-empowerment as a path to ‘holistic healing’ (understood to address mental and spiritual, not just physical, wellbeing). Even though the Ayurvedic curriculum transmitted at the educational institutions in London is based largely on that taught at Ayurveda colleges in India, the completely different orientations and dispositions of students in Britain (as compared to their South Asian counterparts) ensures that the Ayurveda they go on to apply and practise is radically different – this is ‘spiritualised’ Ayurveda, in radical contrast to the ‘biomedicalised’ version obtaining in modern mainstream South Asian contexts.
Ayurveda; New Age; subjectivisation; spiritualisation; biomedicalisation; seekership; healing; holism; self-discovery; authenticity
Energy medicine is the most comprehensive concept introduced in medical diagnostics and therapy to account for a whole range of phenomena and methods available to help an individual proceed from sickness to health. The modern medical theories do not account for, much less accept many traditional therapies due to deep suspicion that the older methods are not scientific. However, the Holistic Health groups around the world have now created an environment for therapies which work at subtle energy inputs, at the cellular and molecular levels. Moreover, there are other – as yet unexplainable – energy fields which are being utilized to rebalance the Body-Mind-Spirit triad in an individual. A brief introduction is provided to these subtle energy inputs and methods of manipulation of the vital forces in the sick. Many ancient health technologies such as Yoga, Ayurveda, Acupuncture etc have proposed and work under different energy movement in the body. These are all Energy Medical Systems whose efficacy is beyond any doubt in therapeutics. Thus, Energy Medicine forms a broad based system and its introduction is important to widen the scope and content of medical therapy so that optimal treatment of the sick is possible.
Students of Ayurveda and qualified Ayurveda practitioners were assessed for awareness about bibliographic databases. One hundred and four volunteers (age range 17–64 years; group mean±SD, 24.3 ± 7.9 years; 62 females) participated in this cross-sectional study. There were 3 groups. Group I had 60 undergraduate students of a bachelor's level course in Ayurveda, Group II had 20 graduate students of a 1-year Panchakarma course, and Group III had 24 Ayurveda physicians who were working in a yoga and Ayurveda center. An 8-question questionnaire was used for assessment. Undergraduates were found to be the best informed, followed by those who were working, while those doing post-graduation were the least well informed. The sample was from one institution; however, the findings emphasize the importance of updating the knowledge of post-graduates or those in practice.
Ayurveda; bibliographic databases; complementary and alternative medicine
The paper attempts to critically engage with the idea of integrative medicine as a marker of pharmaceuticalization of Ayurveda in the recent decades. It examines what it means to say ‘integrative’ medicine using the metaphor of language from philosophy of science. Drawing upon fieldwork with Ayurveda practitioners, the paper also discusses the ramifications of integrative medicine in the current scenario in which there is no organizational parity between Ayurveda and biomedicine. The paper calls for a focus on Ayurveda for public health rather than the global health market.
Ayurveda; Asian medicine; integrative medicine; medical pluralism
A symbiotic relationship between Allopathy (Modern medicine) and Ayurveda is fundamental in creating a health care system that is : (a) more effective than either system used alone, (b) less expensive, (c) less toxic and (d) more likely to create a healthier society. The fundamental basis of Allopathy is “offense thinking,” corresponding to Newton′s physics, which makes it an excellent disease management system; on the other hand, Ayurveda is based upon “defense thinking” and corresponds to Quantum physics, and is an excellent system for prevention of disease and for protection and rejuvenation of health. A judicious use of the two systems in group practice will provide better care to the masses.
Ayurveda; defense; human ecosystem; offense; symbiohelath
The antiquity of achievements of Hindus in the field of Mental health is explained. The chief points discussed in this article are: (1) The exact sense in which the school of ancient Indian Medicine (Ayurveda) is to be understood. (2) The interpretation of some of the fundamental philosophical issues governing the laws of mental sciences and (3) The relevance of such laws to modern scientific world. However, the present article limits its scope to Charaka Samhita- the most fundamental book on Ayurveda only.
Although the majority of published cases of lead poisoning come from occupational exposures, some traditional remedies may also contain toxic amounts of lead. Ayurveda is a system of traditional medicine that is native to India and is used in many parts of world as an alternative to standard treatment regimens. Here, we report the case of a 58-year-old woman who presented with abdominal pain, anemia, liver function abnormalities, and an elevated blood lead level. The patient was found to have been taking the Ayurvedic medicine Jambrulin prior to presentation. Chemical analysis of the medication showed high levels of lead. Following treatment with an oral chelating agent, the patient's symptoms resolved and laboratory abnormalities normalized. This case highlights the need for increased awareness that some Ayurvedic medicines may contain potentially harmful levels of heavy metals and people who use them are at risk of developing associated toxicities.
Lead poisoning; basophilic stippling; anemia; Ayurveda
This paper presents the Medical Plant Wealth of Andhra Pradesh based on the results of Medico – Ethno – Botanical exploration undertaken during the last fourteen years (1971 – 72 till the end of 1984). In all, 117 well known medicinal plants widely used in Ayurveda, Siddha and other systems of Medicine are enumerated here.
Ayurveda is prevention in itself. It is not necessary for Ayurveda to develop a comprehensive structure of preventive approaches as it is found in modern health education. On the other hand has Ayurveda not modernized its preventive principles according to the present living and working conditions of the people. It is so far not understood as integral part of the socio-economic development of the country. This has saved Ayurveda to become part of the highly structured and bureaucratic form of health care and health education- at the expense of not being consulted by others when working on a social health oriented development strategy.
Pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) is an age old disease described in Vedic Medicine as ‘Yakshma’. Later on, in Ayurveda it earned a prefix and found way into mythology as ‘Rajayakshma’. After the discovery of streptomycin, the therapeutic management of PTB received a major breakthrough. The treatment module changed remarkably with the formulation of newer anti-tubercular drugs (ATD) with appreciable success. Recent resurgence of PTB in developed countries like United States posed a threat to the medical community due to resistant strains. Consequently, WHO looked toward traditional medicine. Literature reveals that Ayurvedic treatment of PTB was in vogue in India before the introduction of ATD with limited success. Records show that 2766 patients of PTB were treated with Ayurvedic drugs in a tertiary care hospital in Kolkata in the year 1933-1947.
To evaluate the toxicity reduction and early restoration by adjunct therapy of Ayurvedic drugs by increasing the bio-availability of ATDs.
Materials and Methods:
In the present study, treatment response of 99 patients treated with ATD as an adjunct with Aswagandha (Withania somnifera) and a multi-herbal formulation described in Chikitsa-sthana of Charaka samhita i.e. Chyawanprash were investigated. Hematological profile, sputum bacterial load count, immunoglobulin IgA and IgM, blood sugar, liver function test, serum creatinine were the assessed parameters besides blood isoniazid and pyrazinamide, repeated after 28 days of treatment.
The symptoms abated, body weight showed improvement, ESR values were normal, there was appreciable change in IgA and IgM patterns and significantly increased bioavailability of isoniazid and pyrazinamide were recorded.
This innovative clinical study coupled with empowered research may turn out to be promising in finding a solution for the treatment of PTB.
Adjunct therapy; anti-tubercular drugs; Ayurveda; tuberculosis
Of all the countries in the world, why did you choose Taiwan to pursue your study? It is a question that I (comments of the first author) have answered a thousand times. My first visit to a laboratory at National Taiwan University opened my eyes to the possibilities of herbal medicine research, especially in the area of veterinary medicine. It became my ambition to link the knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda from the Indian subcontinent and their integration with other systems of medicine, including Western medicine (WM), to achieve the concept of Sustainable Medicine, firstly for animals and then for humans. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has implemented a technology development program to quickly establish the key technologies, and this is a moment of opportunity for Taiwan's traditional herbal medicine industry to upgrade and transform itself. This paper, initially intended to be a student's narration, has evolved into a multi-author treatise on the present state and likely future scenario of herbal medicine research in Taiwan.
herbal medicine; research; Taiwan
Medical therapies of various kinds practiced round the world have the role of reestablishing a homeostatic balance in an individual. Both the scientific community and populace at large take it for granted that Western (or as it is called, Modern) medicine is scientific while traditional medicine as unscientific and purely empirical, while the first idea may be partly true, the second attitude is completely false. The choice of a medical technology-be it modern medicine, Ayurveda, acupuncture or any other natural or man-made technology-should rest with the society depending on the technology's efficacy for the particular disease in question, its immediate availability, cost effectiveness, psychosocial acceptance etc. several countries in Europe have kept their doors open for different medical technological choices to their population. In India, an attempt is made to provide support through reimbursement-to complimentary technologies in medical therapeutics.
Western medicine is export-oriented, expensive and socially foreign to the majority of our patients. It is unavoidable and extremely useful in critically ill patients. However, for a large variety of chronic disorders, complimentary medical technologies are both inexpensive and patient oriented. It is necessary to judiciously blend modern medicine with ancient technologies so that an effective medical umbrella is provided to our heterogenous population.
The concept of personalized medicine has been around for as long as people have been practicing medicine. From Charaka to Hippocrates, all have practiced the personalized approach for treating a disease. In the 21st century, personalized medicine is all about DNA. Whereas the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and epigenetic factors influence drug response and form the basis of personalized medicine, the tridosha theory forms the basis of Prakriti-based medicine. It is well established by now that western allopathic medicine is excellent in handling acute medical crises, whereas Ayurveda has successfully demonstrated an ability to manage chronic disorders that Western medicine has been unable to cure. With effective integration of ‘omics’ Prakriti-based medicine can play a vital role in this changing scenario of global health wisdom as Ayurveda offers its modalities by way of ahara (diet), vihara (lifestyle), and aushadhi (medication), which are the three pillars of prakriti-based medicine making it a holistic science. Prakriti-based medicine and other traditional medicine systems have the potential to offer remedies to the challenging health issues like adverse drug reactions, drug withdrawals, and economic disparities among few. An integrative global approach could do wonders to health sciences benefiting a broad spectrum of patients.
Ayurgenomics; epigenetics; pharmacogenomics; personalized medicine; pharmacogenetics; single nucleotide polymorphism
The deschptions, etio-pathology and some aspects of treatment of the seizure disorders in the three Indian Systems of Medicine, namely The Siddha, The Ayurveda and The Unani are briefly mentioned.
“If more or less, three humors cause disease, The learned count the wind is the first of these.”Medicine, Thirukkural
Seizure disorder; ayurved; siddha; unani
Kutaja bija, Kudasappalai or Inderjou is an important seed drug in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani Medicines. The market sample of Madras Crude drug trade has been identified in our laboratory as the seeds of Holarrhena – anti – dysenterica wall of the family Apocynaceae. The morphology, anatomy, fluorescence analysis and chemical studies of the drugs are reported.
Plant species have long been used as principal ingredients of traditional medicine in far-west Nepal. The medicinal plants with ethnomedicinal values are currently being screened for their therapeutic potential but their data and information are inadequately compared and analyzed with the Ayurveda and the phytochemical findings.
The present study evaluated ethnomedicinal plants and their uses following literature review, comparison, field observations, and analysis. Comparison was made against earlier standard literature of medicinal plants and ethnomedicine of the same area, the common uses of the Ayurveda and the latest common phytochemical findings. The field study for primary data collection was carried out from 2006-2008.
The herbal medicine in far-west Nepal is the basis of treatment of most illness through traditional knowledge. The medicine is made available via ancient, natural health care practices such as tribal lore, home herbal remedy, and the Baidhya, Ayurveda and Amchi systems. The traditional herbal medicine has not only survived but also thrived in the trans-cultural environment with its intermixture of ethnic traditions and beliefs. The present assessment showed that traditional herbal medicine has flourished in rural areas where modern medicine is parsimoniously accessed because of the high cost and long travel time to health center. Of the 48 Nepalese medicinal plants assessed in the present communication, about half of the species showed affinity with the common uses of the Ayurveda, earlier studies and the latest phytochemical findings. The folk uses of Acacia catechu for cold and cough, Aconitum spicatum as an analgesic, Aesculus indica for joint pain, Andrographis paniculata for fever, Anisomeles indica for urinary affections, Azadirachta indica for fever, Euphorbia hirta for asthma, Taxus wallichiana for tumor control, and Tinospora sinensis for diabetes are consistent with the latest pharmacological findings, common Ayurvedic and earlier uses.
Although traditional herbal medicine is only a primary means of health care in far-west Nepal, the medicine has been pursued indigenously with complementing pharmacology and the Ayurveda. Therefore, further pharmacological evaluation of traditional herbal medicine deserves more attention.
Ayurveda the science of life, since its origin is serving the mankind throughout in health & disease state of life. Shalakyatantra, one of its specialized branch deals with the science of Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology, Orodental surgery & Head; was contributed and developed by Rajrishi Nimi, the King of Videha, who was a colleague of Atreya, Punarvasu, Dhanwantri, Bharadwaja, Kashyapa etc. The available literature related to this speciality is reproduced from original text of Nimitantra in Uttartantra of Sushruta samhita. So Rajrishi Nimi deserves all the credit and regards for Shalakyatantra and for being the first eye surgeon on this earth. The fact regarding the technique of cataract surgery adopted by ancient surgeons is still a matter of debate. Most of the medical fraternity accepts cataract surgery of ancient surgeons as couching procedure but after going through forth coming pages, the prevailing concept will prove to be a myth. It started with extra capsular extraction through small incision during the period of Sushruta Samhita but later shifted to couching like technique by Acharya Vagbhatta. Secondly, the objective of this literary research paper is to find proper co-relation of the disease cataract to those mentioned in Ancient Ayurvedic classic. Linganasha has been inadvertently taken as cataract but this is neither logical nor in accordance with classics. We find detailed description of cataract's differential diagnosis, indications, contra- indications, pre/intra/post operative procedures and complication in ancient texts of Ayurveda. Not only this, vivid description of treatment of various complications of cataract surgery are also given. Needless to say, no other surgically treatable diseases & its complications except Kaphaja Linganasha are given this much attention.
Linganasha; Shalaka; Vedhana; Daivakrita; Lekhana; Aschyotana; Lepa; Seka
The First International Congress on Ayurveda was held in Milan, Italy in March 2009 and it has been the first scientific event of this kind in western world. This groundbreaking international congress was devoted to human being as the product of interactions between Awareness, Environment and Health, subjects that the West tends to consider separate and independent, but that are believed deeply connected in Ayurveda, whose interdependence defines “The Meaning of Life”. The Congress established a bridge between indian and western philosophy, scientific and biomedical thinking in order to expand knowledge and healthcare. Main attention and address of the invited speakers was on the concept of “relationships” that, connecting living beings with environment, shape Nature itself. This concept is central in Ayurveda but is also common to other western scientific disciplines such as quantum physics and epigenetics that, in the four Sessions of the Congress, were represented by eminent experts. The importance of this event was underlined by the attendance of more than 400 participants and by noteworthy institutional endorsements, that added a significative political dimension of high social impact due to the topical period for CAM acceptance and integration in Europe.
Caesalpinia digyna Rottl. (Caesalpiniaceae) is shrubby perennial climber found in Eastern Ghats. Roots are astringent and used in Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicines. Bergenin, Caesalpinine A and Caesalpinine C were isolated from the roots. However, this medicinal plant has not been studied pharmacognostically. Hence, the present investigation reports pharmacognostical and physicochemical properties of roots of Caesalpinia digyna.
Caesalpinia digyna; Caesalpiniaceae; Pharmacognosy; Physicochemical properties; Ayurveda
Ayurveda is serving the mankind for centuries with a holistic approach. This system has preached to treat the diseases which are only curable by the physicians. It has advised the physicians to strictly avoid treating the incurable diseases. In order to assess the incurability of the diseases or the incurable state of a patient; this system has preached the signs and symptoms of incurability which are known as arista-vijnana, which have been described in Brhattrayi of Ayurveda. Though Caraka has placed them in a separate section of his treatise, Cakrapani and Dalhana have also spent a considerable portion in their commentaries dealing with arista-vijnana. They were two renowned scholars who have commented with a depth of wisdom on Susruta Samhita. In this paper, the author has tried to present the comparative and critical comments of both commentators based on Bhanumati and Nibandha Samgraha, respectively, over arista-vijnana as described in Sutrasthana of Susruta Samhita. Dalhana was greatly influenced by Caraka Samhita with regard to the prognostic science. On the other hand, Cakrapani repeatedly recognized the superiority of the indriya-sthana of Caraka Samhita with regard to analysis of prognostic science.
Arista; Bhanumati; Cakrapani; Dalhana; Indriya-sthana; Nibandha Samgraha