Ayurveda 2021

From the days of Charaka Samhita to the Days of Indian Pharmacopoeia, not very much have changed since then. Healing and serving have always got hand in hands, no doubts about it. Ayurveda is that such potion, having ‘healing’ and ‘serving’ going hand in hand. People were diseased back then and so are now. And where there is life, there is a medical requirement necessary. This has been all the part of history since ages. People, troops, migrants, travelers have gathered all the information from time to time about the medical application of natural products without knowing the actual mechanism, obviously that wasn’t the easy task back then.

Talking about Indian culture and not talking about Ayurveda is like an incomplete India. The Vedas and puranas are our roots. These very roots like Rig veda and Atharva veda are found containing the medical knowledge. The knowledge in these manuscripts are found in the form of Shlokas. Rig veda consist the of 67 plants in 1028 shlokas while Atharva Veda and Yajur Veda consist of 293 and 81 medicinal plant description respectively. It is believed that the knowledge of healing was imparted when the World was first made by Lord Brahma (The Creator) which was then passed on to Agnivesha and then edited by Charaka leading to the formation of the revolutionary book in Ayurveda, Charaka Samhita. The belief of Ayurveda is that the whoke Universe is made up of 5 key elements: air, water, space, earth and fire, which further forms the 3 basic humors of human body in varying combinations; Vata dosha, Pitta dosha and Kapha dosha.

Indian tradition gifts us the best possible way of living, through the power of healing by Ayurveda. Ayurveda is not just limiting itself to the boundaries of India and Indian subcontinents but also to the west. Ayurveda is completely different from what perspective we hold. It isn’t just the study of some basic herbal formulation. Ayurveda is the science of holistic living, with the healed body and mind. Not only targeting the physical health but also to the mental health, also known as Bhootavidya (treatment of psychological disorder), with equal importance. The other 7 disciples of Ayurveda includes Kayachikitsa (internal medicine treatment), Kaumar Bhritya (pediatric treatment), Rasayana (study of geriatrics), Vajikarana (treatment through aphrodisiacs and eugenics), Shalya (surgical treatment), Shalakya (otorhinolaryngological and ophthalmological treatment), Agada Tantra (toxicological studies), which are altogether known as Ashtanga Ayurveda.

There is so much in our traditional knowledge which has been passed on from several ages either through verbal instructions or via proper writings. Without any side effects, treating the chronic diseases have always been the strength of this medicine, but we, the modern society needs the instant results even at the cost of severe adverse effects. We are detaching our roots from the knowledge and awareness of healing as we are passing forth in time, and there nothing we should be bragging about. It is really a sad fact, that we tend to believe blind-foldedly on the pernicious synthetic salts, consuming it on the regular basis thinking that we are reviving ourselves instead, we are just accumulating toxic metabolite of the synthetic drug which we have taken. All these drugs with the time keeps on piling up, specially in liver as it is the primary metabolic organ in our body, and then showing its adverse effects afterwards leading to more serious and prominent illness. Have you ever wondered than why from the past 10 years we have seen the rapid growth in the diseases like diabetes, pancreatitis, liver cancer, jaundice, etc. Someway or the other, these diseases are related to liver, which is latter manifested by the drug toxicity. Taking an example of very basic drug Paracetamol which is very significant OTC drug taken rapidly by the people across globe so frequently without knowing that its harmful metabolite NAPQ-I which is hepatotoxic remains in the liver for several hours. This very basic drug if can show so much potential to harm our body, think of the advanced drugs people are taking on daily basis for hypertension, diabetes, arrhythmia, arthritis, etc.

There is a huge difference in the approach of allopathic and Ayurvedic medicines. Ayurveda has evolved as a holistic system having an understanding of physiology enabling it to maintain and restore health with a few side effects and will focus rather on health, while allopathy whose analytic understanding of physiology leads mainly to suppression of symptoms with many side effects. Similarly, there is a great contribution of allopathy in the fields of emergency medicine, diagnostic techniques, and surgery where the existing practice of Ayurveda cannot compete. Thus, both systems have to complement each other in the benefit of ailing. Ayurveda requires more researches in the areas of fundamental principles and diagnostic tools in place of drug research. In the present scenario, the research methodology of Ayurveda is not good enough, which needs further advancements in the development and promotion of Ayurveda.

Accepting our roots and working on its better future is that one should focus on. Blindly following the regimen with the crowd doesn’t ensure your health security. Rather do research, get aware and spread this word. Ayurveda, the science which is hundreds of years old needs us, this generation of youth and future. There has not been any advancement in the field of ayurveda from last 70-50 yrs, it has not been explored to its full potential from such a long time, but it a worth noting fact that still Ayurveda holds the belief of many people, and these people have rejuvenated better than ever before. The delay and lack of exploration in Ayurveda is because of following reasons: First, the lack of proper research facility, infrastructure and institute which is precisely made for the Ayurveda. Second, thousands of students graduate every year in the discipline of Ayurveda but they choose either to practice or to teach, but not to lay hands on research. Third, lack of cooperation and willingness of Scientists who are often unduly skeptical and carry prejudice.

Ayurveda, such a strong science and philosophy now rely only in the hands of future. The role and contribution of each person in making the future of ayurveda can be contributed in the following ways.

Encouragement of research in Ayurveda fundamentals

Validation of Ayurvedic drugs with reverse pharmacology

Evidence-based benefits of traditional approaches

Encouragement of interdisciplinary research

Improvement in research facilities

Improvement in quality of herbal drugs

Active involvement of government

Development of Ayurvedic pharma sector

Upgradation of Ayurveda literature

Revalidation of clinical trials

Combination of Ayurveda and Western medicine

Resolution of controversies in Ayurvedic drug

Improvement in personalized medicine with modern technology

About Author 

Asmita Upadhyay


(Medicinal & pharmaceutical chemistry)

Research intern at CSIR-CLRI, Chennai