He notes how – after years of being a wasteland in post-independence India, Ayurveda is now on the verge of truly and actively participating in the health and medical care system. “Thanks to the efforts of the Narendra Modi government, Ayurveda is now on the fast track of progress and transformation into a modern and dynamic health and medical system. While preserving its fundamental strengths, it uses modern science to disentangle the clinical evidence. With its powerful individual holistic approach, the system advocates several general ways, including yoga, to improve people’s health,” writes Dr. Chopra.
Although deeply rooted in ancient times and Hindu civilization, Ayurveda has continued some of the finest healing and healing traditions the world has ever known.
Dr. Chopra says those who denigrate the effectiveness of Ayurveda as a system of medicine often cite this:
- Ayurveda cannot treat acute infections and other emergencies including surgery,
- Ayurveda lacks significant research in therapeutics, among others.
Dr. Chopra maintains that Ayurveda has an exceptional record in treating lifestyle disorders and non-communicable diseases. While agreeing that – “Ayurvedic therapy is complex and there are too many do’s and don’ts. Medicines are slow to work and to heal. It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict the response or prognosis . There are no good painkillers,” Dr. Chopra asks. a pertinent question: “Would Ayurveda have survived more than 5,000 years if vaidyas had not known how to treat human pain?”
Dwelling on why two vaidyas (Ayurvedic doctors) may have two different sets of prescriptions, Dr. Arvind Chopra reminds us that Ayurveda is not a uniform practice and there is justification for such disparity. . “Medicinal plants are greatly influenced by local geography, climate and agricultural practices. Individual constitution is a fundamental aspect of clinical evaluation. Seasonal variations are important in Ayurveda,” Dr. Chopra writes. Modern medical practitioners cannot be expected to understand this because they are taught to classify and treat according to a set standard, one size fits all.
Welcoming the rise in global interest in Ayurveda over the past few decades, Dr. Chopra attributes much of this to public disenchantment with modern medicines.
Dr. Chopra criticizes the successive governments after Independence for having deprived Ayurveda of its rightful place in the medical sciences. Blinded by the thought that everything modern and western has made us forget the goldmine we were standing on. As a modern medical doctor who graduated in 1977, Dr. Arvind Chopra laments that his introduction to Ayurveda came very late and accidentally as well.
“It is regrettable if not outrageous that modern Indian doctors are not aware of Ayurveda. There are several errors and shortcomings of modern medicine which Ayurveda could address. Let us introduce Ayurveda teaching in faculties of modern medicine,” says Dr. Chopra.
Ayurvedic Institutions, Beacon of Hope:
New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) – the flagship program of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government has done pioneering work in carrying out a well-planned study on “Reverse Pharmacology”.
NMITLI’s main objective was to secure a leadership position for India in areas where the country had a distinct advantage and potential to deliver on the global stage. Ayurveda was one such field, observes Dr. Chopra.
Its commendable features?
- No painkillers were needed.
- Showed better x-ray improvement and most importantly –
- Was safe.
The success report was published in Rheumatology (a UK journal) and won the coveted Clinical Research Excellence Award from the European Society for Integrative Medicine in 2011.
This method of studying and treating NMITLI has made it possible to formulate an Ayurvedic medicine and several leading medical and research institutions have been involved. But unfortunately, the arthritis drug is still on the shelf at CSIR, laments Dr. Chopra.
The Renaissance is here:
Fortunately, things have started to change a lot in recent years. The Ministry of AYUSH was formed in 2014, which established an effective network of communications and feasible operations involving the Center and various grassroots actors and beneficiaries.
A proposal to open the first government naturopathic center in Uttar Pradesh in Chaubepur region of Varanasi has been prepared by the State Department of Ayush and the project has been sent to the Center for approval.
And who says Ayurveda can’t absorb and assimilate new discoveries – over time? This is how Ayurveda has progressed over the centuries. The Central Government of India sanctioned by Gazette Notification on November 19, 2020, the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM, Statutory Body of the Ministry of AYUSH) and made an amendment to the Central Council of Medicine India (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Regulations 2016 to introduce formal training in surgery for Ayurvedic doctors and postgraduate (PG) students. The law has now been renamed Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Amendment Regulations, 2020.
The amendment states that the curriculum for such students will now also incorporate training to perform two strands of surgery under the title of MS (Ayurveda) shalia tantra (general surgery) and MS (Ayurveda) shalakya tantra (diseases of the ear, nose, throat, ENT, eyes, head, oro-dentistry) specializations and removal of benign tumors and cataract operations. He listed 58 surgeries that can be performed by Ayurveda PG students pursuing the shalia and shalakya Classes.
Sections of physicians of modern medicine protest against this development. But ideally they shouldn’t be so against the idea. Their core domain and feed remain intact. Also, earlier in 2019 – The Central Council of India Medicine, a regulatory body for traditional medicines, has decided to offer a 2-year postgraduate diploma course in Ayurveda to doctors with MBBS and MD degrees for learn the basic principles of Ayurveda, after noticing a lot of interest from doctors practicing modern medicine in Ayurveda.
The course curriculum design is a work in progress.