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What is Ayurveda?

1. Ayurveda is one of the oldest and most comprehensive systems of healthcare.

2. It was discovered through suitable sources of acquiring knowledge and producing evidence (Pramana), viz.

a) Pratayksha (Direct Perception)

b) Anumana (logical inference),

c) Aptopadesha (verbal and authentic documentary testimony),

d) Yukti (experimental evidences), etc.

3. It is the oldest system of medicine, being practiced in India since ages, though its patronage decreased during the medieval period.

4. It defines health as a state of equilibrium of dosha (regulatory and functional entities of the body), dhatu (structural entitites), mala (excretory entitites) and agni (digestive and metabolic factors) along with healthy state of sensory and motor organs and mind with their harmonious relationship with the soul.

How did Ayurveda regain momentum?

1. The Chopra Committee in 1948 identified the objectives of and areas for research in the Indian Systems of Medicine

2. Based on its recommendations, the Central Research Institute for Ayurveda was established at Jamnagar in 1953.

3. A Post Graduate Training Course was also started there in 1956.

4. The Udupa Committee in 1958 further streamlined the research priorities with establishment of the Post Graduate Institute of Indian Medicine at Banaras Hindu University Varanasi in 1963.

5. Later, Composite Drug Research Scheme (CDRS) was initiated in 1964.

6. In 1969, Central Council for Research in Indian Medicine and Homeopathy (CCRIM & H) was established for systematic research in Indian systems of medicine after Vyas Committee recommendations in 1966.

7. Gradually over time, all AYUSH system of medicines were made into separate research councils and in 1978 CCRAS (Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha) was formed, which later became the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) and Central Council for Research in Siddha in 2011.

8. In 2014, for further strengthening of AYUSH systems, Department of AYUSH (under MoHWF) was upgraded to a full-fledged Ministry of AYUSH.

Which are the measures taken to strengthen Ayurveda?

1. Initiatives have been taken to address the basic demands of healthcare delivery, mainstreaming of AYUSH, quality, safety and efficacy, accessibility and rational use.

2. AYUSH Research Portal has been initiated by Ministry of AYUSH to showcase published research works in AYUSH systems of medicine.

3. CCRAS, apex organization for research works in Ayurveda and Sowa Rigpa systems of medicine has developed a comprehensive Prakriti (a major parameter to assess health and disease in individualized form) Assessment Scale based on Ayurvedic texts along with Ayur Prakriti Web Portal.

4. Further works are under progress for Validation and Reliability Testing of Ayurveda Diagnostic Tools (Roga Pareeksha and Rogi Pareeksha), which is a unique aspect of Ayurveda.

5. New initiative of Ayurveda biology programme will also pave way toward better understanding and interdisciplinary approach for validation of Ayurvedic fundamentals.

6. Ministry of AYUSH has been actively pursuing efforts to include AYUSH systems of medicine in the Traditional Medicine chapter of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

7. CCRAS has also been involved in the development of Standardized Ayurveda Terminologies.

8. The National Ayurveda Morbidity Codes (NAMC) is being used for morbidity data collection under NAMASTE Portal.

Why is Ayurveda important?

1. Ayurveda gives utmost importance to patient’s safety during treatment through rational use of medications.

2. These are recurrent themes of Ayurvedic pharmacology (dravyaguna), pharmaceutics (rasa shastra and bhaishjya kalpana), and therapeutics (chikitsa).

3. The Ayurvedic literature gives details of drug-drug and drug-diet incompatibilities based on elaborately described qualitative differences in ingredients or quantitative proportions.

4. Ayurvedic practice involves the use of medications that typically contain plants, minerals, metals, or other materials.

5. It gives special focus to purification and other processing of potentially toxic plants and metalo-mineral materials.

Where to focus?

1. Promotion of Ayurveda as evidence based global system demands for science based approaches for validation of fundamental as well as therapeutic principles.

2. Areas such as fundamental diagnostic approaches, Ayurveda based predictive medicine should be given importance where Ayurveda can make an impact.