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.
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
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
Amongst the mandates of United Nations, health of mankind is the thrust area of UN through World Health Organization (WHO). Planning and execution of policies for mainstreaming of traditional medicines (TRM) of respective countries along with conventional system of medicine (allopathy), first in the country of origin followed by the international arena, is the priority agenda of operations of WHO. Within Indian context, WHO accorded prime focus to Ayurveda in its activities related to TRM.Sponsorship and encouragement of studies substantiating parameters of standardization, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines of Ayurveda are under chief consideration of WHO. In this review, several guidelines of WHO are summarized. Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), Central Council of Research in Ayurveda and Siddha and numerous other collaborative centers of WHO in India are assigned with several Appraisal Project Work (APW) and Direct Financial Cooperation (DFC) projects that will strengthen Ayurveda as evidence-based medicine for its global acceptance. Implementation of pharmacovigilance program in Ayurveda, publication of documents for rational use and initiatives to prepare consumer guidelines for appropriate use of Ayurvedic medicines are some other contributions of WHO toward advancement of Ayurveda at national as well as global level. Here, we suggest further exploration, interaction and interpretation of traditional knowledge in the light of contemporary core sciences and biomedical sciences that can pave the way for accreditation of Ayurveda worldwide as an established system of medicine.
Ayurveda; efficacy; standardization; safety; traditional medicine
Sharing of public health knowledge and skills by professionals in allopathic system of medicine with Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) professionals in India has always been considered as part of integrating the health system in India. But till date, a curriculum has not been framed for follow-up.
Materials and Methods:
A training course was developed for AYUSH professionals in India on the public health principles for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Three course chairs interacted with international and national public health and AYUSH experts, and the curriculum for a 3-month course was developed.
The curriculum comprised interactive lectures, problem-based exercise, field visits, and research protocol development. A total of four participants, nominated by the World Health Organization, India, were trained during the course, with significant (P = 0.00) improvement in knowledge from 53.2 to 80.0 points.
A novel and feasible public health course for complementary and alternative medicine professionals on the public health principles for NCDs’ prevention and control is needed to bridge the demand gap for public health professionals in India.
AYUSH course; non-communicable disease; public health
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
Superficial fungal infections are common and treatment imposes economic burden on the patients. Government of India had introduced price control over griseofulvin and tolnaftate in 1995; however, this measure can only benefit the needy if the policy is harmonized with the health-care service provider, that is, dermatologists. The aim of this study was to evaluate the existing Government mechanisms over price control of antifungal medications and its reach to the people-in-need.
Materials and Methods:
A questionnaire-based, cross-sectional study was carried out over a period of 6 months. Questionnaire was mailed to members of a state branch of Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists, and Leprologists. Responses reaching investigators within 2 months from the date of mailing were finally analyzed.
Among 93 (41.33%) respondents, only 6 (6.5%) were aware of existing price control over griseofulvin but none about tolnaftate. Thirty-nine (41.9%) respondents were in favor of introducing price control on terbinafine and 42 (45.2%) for itraconazole. The topically preferred antifungals were primarily azoles and terbinafine, while among systemic antifungals, dermatologists mostly preferred fluconazole and terbinafine. The choice of antifungals by the dermatologists matched with the evidence-based dermatology data.
Currently, price-controlled antifungal drugs are less commonly used by practitioners. Although the dermatologists favor price control, the initiative undertaken by the Government has not reached them. This shows the need to bridge the gap between policy makers and health-care service providers to help the ailing population.
Antifungal medications; drug price control order; Government of India
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
Diabetes mellitus is a global metabolic epidemic affecting essential biochemical activities in almost every age group. Indian literatures like Ayurveda have already mentioned herbal remediation for a number of human ailments. Among Indian traditional medicinal plants several potential anti-diabetic plants and herbs are being used as part of our diet since prehistoric time. India has a long list of native medicinal plants with confirmed blood sugar lowering property. Some of these have proved remarkable for cure of diabetes and its complications. The current paper is aimed at providing a review on clinical and experimental studies carried out on the most effective and commonly used hypoglycemic plants and herbs species from traditional Indian flora. This write-up includes hypoglycemic and anti-hyperglycemic activities of plants, active hypoglycemic compounds and constituents along with their available toxicity status.
Ayurveda; Anti-diabetic; Hypoglycemia; India; Traditional herbs
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
This study is designed to assess AIDS knowledge among Homeopathy educators and physicians in India, which has not been evaluated previously. India now has the largest number of HIV infected persons worldwide, with an estimated cumulative 5.1 million infections. Homeopathy is the dominant system among the nationally-recognized alternative or complementary systems of medicine, which collectively provide health care to around 600 million people in India. Homeopathy, with its holistic and patient-centered approach, has a wide reach to people at risk of contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Participants were 68 homeopathy physicians (34 educators and 34 practitioners) who completed a CDC questionnaire measuring HIV/AIDS Knowledge regarding AIDS. This study reports the current level of knowledge of, and attitudes about, HIV/AIDS among homeopathy educators and practitioners. These findings will assist in the development of an education module to equip homeopathic health care personnel to impart accurate AIDS information and prevention counseling to their patients in an efficient manner.
Education; HIV/AIDS; homeopathy; India
Novel drug delivery system is a novel approach to drug delivery that addresses the limitations of the traditional drug delivery systems. Our country has a vast knowledge base of Ayurveda whose potential is only being realized in the recent years. However, the drug delivery system used for administering the herbal medicine to the patient is traditional and out-of-date, resulting in reduced efficacy of the drug. If the novel drug delivery technology is applied in herbal medicine, it may help in increasing the efficacy and reducing the side effects of various herbal compounds and herbs. This is the basic idea behind incorporating novel method of drug delivery in herbal medicines. Thus it is important to integrate novel drug delivery system and Indian Ayurvedic medicines to combat more serious diseases. For a long time herbal medicines were not considered for development as novel formulations owing to lack of scientific justification and processing difficulties, such as standardization, extraction and identification of individual drug components in complex polyherbal systems. However, modern phytopharmaceutical research can solve the scientific needs (such as determination of pharmacokinetics, mechanism of action, site of action, accurate dose required etc.) of herbal medicines to be incorporated in novel drug delivery system, such as nanoparticles, microemulsions, matrix systems, solid dispersions, liposomes, solid lipid nanoparticles and so on. This article summarizes various drug delivery technologies, which can be used for herbal actives together with some examples.
Herbal medicines; herbs; novel drug delivery system; phytopharmaceuticals
In Africa, herbal medicines are often used as primary treatment for HIV/AIDS and for HIV-related problems. In general, traditional medicines are not well researched, and are poorly regulated. We review the evidence and safety concerns related to the use of two specific African herbals, which are currently recommended by the Ministry of Health in South Africa and member states for use in HIV: African Potato and Sutherlandia. We review the pharmacology, toxicology and pharmacokinetics of these herbal medicines. Despite the popularity of their use and the support of Ministries of Health and NGOs in some African countries, no clinical trials of efficacy exist, and low-level evidence of harm identifies the potential for drug interactions with antiretroviral drugs. Efforts should be made by mainstream health professionals to provide validated information to traditional healers and patients on the judicious use of herbal remedies. This may reduce harm through failed expectations, pharmacologic adverse events including possible drug/herb interactions and unnecessary added therapeutic costs. Efforts should also be directed at evaluating the possible benefits of natural products in HIV/AIDS treatment.
Asthma is a common disease that is rising in prevalence worldwide with the highest prevalence in industrialized countries. Asthma affect about 300 million people worldwide and it has been estimated that a further 100 million will be affected by 2025. Since the ancient times, plants have been exemplary sources of medicine. Current asthma therapy lack satisfactory success due to adverse effect, hence patients are seeking complementary and alternative medicine to treat their asthma. Ayurveda and other Indian literature mention the use of plants in various human ailments. India has about 45 000 plant species and among them several thousand are claimed to possess medicinal properties. Researches conducted in the last few decades on the plants mentioned in ancient literature or used traditionally for asthma have shown antiasthmatic, antihistaminic and antiallergic activity. This review reveals that some plants and their extract have antiasthmatic, antihistaminic, anticholinergic and antiallergic activity.
Asthma; Antiasthmatic plants; Ayurveda; Herbal medicines; Antiallergic activity; Medicinal property
The people of far-flung rural areas still depend to a large extent upon plants and household remedies for curing veterinary ailments. The folk knowledge of ethnoveterinary medicine and its significance has been identified by the traditional communities through a process of experience over hundreds of years. The paper deals with 34 ailments commonly found in nine different categories of livestock/animals (i e. buffalo, cow, oxen, sheep, goat, horse, mule, dog and cat) and their treatment with 73 medicinal plant species belonging to 70 genera and 45 families that occur in forests as well as close vicinity of the rural settlements. Out of the total population, majority of the people (more than 80%) was found dependent on traditional (herbal) system of treatments practiced by local herbal healers (Pashu Vaidyas), while rest of the people preferred modern (allopathic) system of treatments for curing veterinary ailments. In this study we observed that old aged people have more knowledge and experience particularly in remote areas for curing veterinary ailments. The traditional system of treatment is one of the most important prevailing systems in the area where modern veterinary health care facilities are rare or in very poor conditions.
Ethnoveterinary uses; Medicinal plants; Veterinary ailments; Livestock; Traditional herbal healers; Alaknanda catchment
The growing popularity of CAM among the public is coupled with an ongoing debate on its effectiveness, safety, and its implications on the reimbursement system. This issue is critically important for GPs, who have a "gatekeeping" role with respect to health care expenditure. GPs must be aware of medications' uses, limitations and possible adverse effects. Our objective was to explore GPs' knowledge of CAM and patterns of recommendation and practice, as well as the relationship between such patterns and GPs' life-styles.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in Tuscany, a region of central Italy. One hundred percent female GPs (498) and a 60% random sample of male GPs (1310) practising in the region were contacted through a self-administered postal questionnaire followed by a postal reminder and telephone interview.
Overall response rate was 82.1%. Most respondents (58%) recommended CAM but a far smaller fraction (13%) practised it; yet 36% of CAM practitioners had no certificated training. Being female, younger age, practising in larger communities, having had some training in CAM as well as following a vegetarian or macrobiotic diet and doing physical activity were independent predictors of CAM recommendation and practice. However, 42% of GPs did not recommend CAM to patients mostly because of the insufficient evidence of its effectiveness.
CAM knowledge among GPs is not as widespread as the public demand seems to require, and the scarce evidence of CAM effectiveness hinders its professional use among a considerable number of GPs. Sound research on CAM effectiveness is needed to guide physicians' behaviour, to safeguard patients' safety, and to assist policy-makers in planning regulations for CAM usage.
Ayurveda is most commonly practiced form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in India. There are very few studies showing the knowledge, attitude, and practices (KAP) of allopathic doctors about Ayurvedic drugs and its use.
The study was initiated to assess KAP toward Ayurvedic medicine use among allopathic resident doctors.
Settings and Design:
Cross-sectional and prospective study.
Materials and Methods:
After obtaining permission from the Institutional Ethics Committee, allopathic resident doctors from clinical departments were approached personally. They were given pre-formed validated questionnaire to assess KAP toward Ayurvedic medicine use.
Statistical Analysis Used:
Allopathic residents had little knowledge about basic concepts of Ayurveda, that is, ‘panchakarma’ and ‘tridosha’. Majority residents (99%) had no opportunity to learn basics of Ayurveda, but 67% residents prescribed Ayurvedic medicines to patients. However, many residents (76%) mentioned that cross practice should not be allowed due to lack of knowledge. One resident knew that cross-practice was not allowed by law. The commonly prescribed proprietary Ayurvedic medicines were Liv-52 (39%), Shatavari (13%), Cystone (12%) and common ailments for which these medicines prescribed were liver disorders (34%), arthritis (18%), cough and cold (13%), kidney stones (11%), and piles (10%). Nearly 76% residents felt incorporation of Ayurveda with modern medicine would attract more patients and at the same time most residents (92%) agreed that Ayurvedic medicines need scientific testing before use. Though 50% of the residents agreed for voluntary training in Ayurveda, 80% denied compulsory training. Nearly 63% residents recommended Ayurveda among all CAMs. Most of residents heard of Ayurveda from their colleagues.
This study reveals that allopathic resident doctors had little knowledge about Ayurveda and Ayurvedic medicine use but engaged in prescription of Ayurvedic medicines. So some interventions should be taken to increase the knowledge and awareness of allopathic resident doctors about Ayurvedic medicine use.
Allopathy; Ayurveda; cross-practice; knowledge; attitude; and practices study; residents
Prior to the completion of the Human Genome Project, bioethicists and other academics debated the impact of this new genetic information on medicine, health care, group identification, and peoples’ lives. A major issue is the potential for unintended and intended adverse consequences to groups and individuals. When conducting research in, for instance, American Indian and Alaskan native (AI/AN) populations, political, cultural, religious and historical issues must be considered. Among African Americans, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment is a reminder of racism and discrimination in this country. The goal of the current study is to understand reasons for participating, or not, in genetic research such as the HapMap project and other genetic/medical research from the perspective of the Indian American community in Houston, Texas. In this article, we report on a topic central to this discussion among Indian Americans: karma and reincarnation. Both concepts are important beliefs when considering the body and what should happen to it. Karma and reincarnation are also important considerations in participation in medical and genetic research because, according to karma, what is done to the body can affect future existences and the health of future descendants. Such views of genetic and medical research are culturally mediated. Spiritual beliefs about the body, tissue, and fluids and what happens to them when separated from the body can influence ideas about the utility and acceptability of genetic research and thereby affect the recruitment process. Within this community it is understood that genetic and environmental factors contribute to complex diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer; and acknowledgment of the significance of environmental stressors in the production of disease. A commitment to service, i.e. “betterment of humanity,” karmic beliefs, and targeting environmental stressors could be prominent avenues for public health campaigns in this population. This study suggests that minority status does not automatically indicate unwillingness to participate in genetic or medical research. Indian Americans were not skeptical about the potential benefits of biomedical research in comparison to other ethnic minority communities in the United States.
Karma; Reincarnation; Genetic research; Medical research
Traditional methods of healing have been beneficial in many countries with or without access to conventional allopathic medicine. In the United States, these traditional practices are increasingly being sought after for illnesses that cannot be easily treated by allopathic medicine. More and more people are becoming interested in the knowledge maintained by traditional healers and in the diversity of medicinal plants that flourish in areas like Northern Peru. While scientific studies of medicinal plants are underway, concern has arisen over the preservation of both the large diversity of medicinal plants and the traditional knowledge of healing methods that accompanies them. To promote further conservation work, this study attempted to document the sources of the most popular and rarest medicinal plants sold in the markets of Trujillo (Mayorista and Hermelinda) and Chiclayo (Modelo and Moshoqueque), as well as to create an inventory of the plants sold in these markets, which will serve as a basis for comparison with future inventories. Individual markets and market stalls were subjected to cluster analysis based on the diversity of the medicinal plants they carry. The results show that markets were grouped based on the presence of: (1) common exotic medicinal plants; (2) plants used by laypeople for self-medication related to common ailments ("everyday remedies"); (3) specialized medicinal plants used by curanderos or traditional healers; and (4) highly "specialized" plants used for magical purposes. The plant trade in the study areas seems to correspond well with the specific health care demands from clientele in those areas. The specific market patterns of plant diversity observed in the present study represent a foundation for comparative market research in Peru and elsewhere.
Citizens of high income countries rely on highly regulated medicines markets. However low income countries' impoverished populations generally struggle for access to essential medicines through out-of-pocket purchase on poorly regulated markets; results include ill health, drug resistance and further impoverishment. While the role of health facilities owned by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in low income countries is well documented, national and international wholesaling of essential medicines by NGOs is largely unstudied. This article describes and assesses the activity of NGOs and social enterprise in essential medicines wholesaling.
The article is based on a set of interviews conducted in 2006-8 with trading NGOs and social enterprises operating in Europe, India and Tanzania. The analysis applies socio-legal and economic perspectives on social enterprise and market regulation.
Trading NGOs can resist the perverse incentives inherent in medicines wholesaling and improve access to essential medicines; they can also, in definable circumstances, exercise a broader regulatory influence over their markets by influencing the behaviour of competitors. We explore reasons for success and failure of social enterprise in essential medicines wholesaling, including commercial manufacturers' market response; social enterprise traders' own market strategies; and patterns of market advantage, market segmentation and subsidy generated by donors.
We conclude that, in the absence of effective governmental activity and regulation, social enterprise wholesaling can improve access to good quality essential medicines. This role should be valued and where appropriate supported in international health policy design. NGO regulatory impact can complement but should not replace state action.
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.
Medicinal plants based traditional systems of medicines are playing important role in providing health care to large section of population, especially in developing countries. Interest in them and utilization of herbal products produced based on them is increasing in developed countries also. To obtain optimum benefit and to understand the way these systems function, it is necessary to have minimum basic level information on their different aspects. Indian Systems of Medicine are among the well known global traditional systems of medicine. In this review, an attempt has been made to provide general information pertaining to different aspects of these systems. This is being done to enable the readers to appreciate the importance of the conceptual basis of these system in evolving the material medica. The aspects covered include information about historical background, conceptual basis, different disciplines studied in the systems, Research and Development aspects, Drug manufacturing aspects and impact of globalization on Ayurveda. In addition, basic information on Siddha and Unani systems has also been provided.
Indian System of Medicine; Ayurveda; Unani; Siddha; Indigenous systems of medicine; Traditional systems of medicine
The dependence of local people on plant medicine from natural forests has a long tradition in Tanzania and is becoming increasingly popular among rural and urban communities due to among others increase in living costs. The study on utilization of medicinal plants for meeting heath care needs was carried out between March 2001 and March 2002 in New Dabaga Ulongambi Forest Reserve, Tanzania. The study aimed at generating necessary data for the Udzungwa Mountains Forest Management project to draft sound Joint Forest Management plans. Specific objectives of the study among others were to assess knowledge associated with utilization of medicinal plants for health care needs as well as factors associated in using plant medicines in the study area. A questionnaire survey, market survey and literature review were used to collect information. Tools used for data analysis were Statistical Packages for Social Science and content analysis. A total of 45 plant species were documented curing about 22 human diseases. Medicinal plants were readily available throughout the year and plentiful in the forest reserve. Roots and leaves were the plant parts harvested for medicinal purposes. Processing of plant medicines involved boiling, pounding, soaking in water and chewing. Distance to health facility, income level of the household and beliefs contributed to the use of plant medicines. The study concluded that medicinal plants play an important role in providing primary health care to the rural communities. It is recommended that in achieving joint forest management (JFM), villagers adjacent to the forest reserve should be sensitised on the importance of JFM through seminars, workshops, drama, school songs or video show. During the development of a joint draft management plan, villagers as an informal institution must define their priority needs of use of parts of the forest in collaboration with the Udzungwa Mountains Forest Management project.
‘Omics’ developments in the form of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics have increased the impetus of traditional medicine research. Studies exploring the genomic, proteomic and metabolomic basis of human constitutional types based on Ayurveda and other systems of oriental medicine are becoming popular. Such studies remain important to developing better understanding of human variations and individual differences. Countries like India, Korea, China and Japan are investing in research on evidence-based traditional medicines and scientific validation of fundamental principles. This review provides an account of studies addressing relationships between traditional medicine and genomics.
Ayurveda; personalized medicine; genomics; holistic approach; traditional medicine; traditional chinese medicine; sasang constitution medicine
In Italy, the use of non conventional medicines (NCMs) is spreading among people as in the rest of Europe. Sales of alternative remedies are growing, and likewise the number of medical doctors (MDs) who practise NCM/complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). However, in Italy as in other countries of the European Union, at the present time the juridical/legal status of NCM/CAM is not well established, mainly due to the lack of any national law regulating NCM/CAM professional training, practice and public supply and the absence of government-promoted scientific research in this field. This is an obstacle to safeguarding the patient's interests and freedom of choice, especially now that dissatisfaction with biomedicine is inclining more and more people to look for a holistic and patient-centered form of medicine.