Experts say traditional methods of healthcare have huge, but untapped, potential

Paucity of funds for research is a shackle on the Indian system of medicine,” say experts at the Arya Vaidya Chikitsalayam and Research Institute here.

Citing the allocation of Rs 1,069 crore in the Union Budget 2013-14 to the Department of Ayush, an expert said: ‘There seems to be a serious lack of vision among policymakers for the Indian system of medicine. The potential is huge and India can emerge as a world leader in our traditional system of medicine.”

The Research Institute, which is the charitable wing of the Arya Vaidya Pharmacy (AVP) Group has received the Centre of Excellence grant from the Department of Ayush, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India as a clinical research hospital specialising in rheumatology.

“The first-ever WHO-sponsored clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of Ayurveda in management of Rheumatoid Arthritis was conducted at the Ayurvedic Trust Hospital in the 1970s in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). More recently, the Trust has been involved in a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), US, to scientifically evaluate Ayurveda in collaboration with the University of Los Angeles, California and University of Washington, Seattle,” said AVP Managing Director P.R. Krishnakumar.

Wide scope

“It’s high time the Government considers bilateral arrangement with some of these countries as there is a great scope for this traditional system of medicine,” the AVP Chief said.

The institute has had Brazilian and Argentine scholars visit the facility here every year for doing collaborative scientific research on Ayurveda.

“We also have patients from 50-60 countries come to us for treatment here,” said Krishnakumar.AVP, according to its MD has, for the last 15 years, been operating five centres in Malaysia.

The centre has been treating cancer patients among others, but without much notice.

Krishnakumar told this correspondent that they had nothing against the allopathic system of medicine and were in fact working quite well with them.

“Last year alone, over 70 cancer patients came to us, seeking some relief from their ailment. Some were in the terminal stage,” he added.

One patient, who is at present undergoing treatment at the hospital, and wished not to be named, said that he came to AVP after the doctors elsewhere gave up hope of his recovery.

“I have regained some confidence now. The physicians here are continuing with the allopathic medicines alongside theirs, though the dosage of the allopathic drug has been considerably reduced. It’s close to a fortnight now and am feeling a lot better,” the patient said.

The physician, who treated this patient said “AVP believes in evidence based practise.”

He further clarified that Herbalism was not Ayurveda and this traditional system of medicine was not accidental, but a scientifically proven method of treatment.

“The Government has never prioritised as to whether these medicines can be integrated. And there is no blueprint for conservation and preservation of traditional herbs,” lamented experts at AVP.

(This article was published on April 5, 2013)
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