World Ayurveda Congress: Aligning Traditional Medicine with Modern Medicines
22, Dec 2022
Prelims level : Environment Mains level : GS-III Environment & Biodiversity |Climatic Change Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia
Why in News?
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi commended the recent growth of traditional medicine (TM), and Ayurveda in particular, while addressing the World Ayurveda Congress 2022 (WAC) earlier this month. Noting the lag in evidence despite considerable research, he gave a clarion call “to bring together medical data, research, and journals and verify claims (benefit) using modern science parameters”.
World Ayurveda Congress (WAC):
- Platform by World Ayurveda foundation: The World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) is a platform established by World Ayurveda Foundation to propagate Ayurveda globally in its true sense.
- Platform to connect various stakeholders in medicine: World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) is a platform to connect Ayurveda practitioners, medicine manufacturers, enthusiasts and academicians.
- What is the mandate: World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) & Arogya Expo monitors progress and initiate missions and collect feedbacks.
World Ayurveda Congress (WAC), 2022:
- 9th edition of WAC held at Panjim, Goa: The 9th edition of World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) & Arogya Expo was organized at PANJIM, GOA.
- Organised by Ministry of AYSUSH on the principle of whole government approach (WGA): The WAC organised by the Ministry of AYUSH on the ‘Whole Government Approach’ (WGA) to foster and strengthen the research ecosystem for AYUSH systems.
- What is Whole System Approach (WSA): The concept of WGA is in consonance with the “Whole System Approach” (WSA). WSA encompasses integrated and network participation of several stakeholders (including patients and the community) for better solutions (treatment outcomes) in a challenging and complex situation. IM is an important component of WSA in the current context.
- Active Participation: The event witnessed the active participation of more than 40 countries and all states of India.
- PM’s vision: To transform the healthcare system of the country and to develop a healthy society, there is a need to think holistically and integrate the Traditional medicine (TM) and modern medicine system (MM).
World Ayurveda Foundation (WAF):
- Aim of WAF: WAF is an initiative by Vijnana Bharati aimed at global propagation of Ayurveda, founded in 2011.
- Objective and core principle: The objectives of WAF reflect global scope, propagation and encouragement of all activities scientific and Ayurveda related are the core principles.
- Focus Areas: Support to research, health-care programmes through camps, clinics and sanatoriums, documentation, organization of study groups, seminars, exhibitions and knowledge initiatives to popularize Ayurveda in the far corners of the world are the broad latitudes of focus at WAF.
What is Traditional Medicine?
- According to WHO: The WHO describes traditional medicine as the total sum of the “knowledge, skills and practices indigenous and different cultures have used over time to maintain health and prevent, diagnose and treat physical and mental illness”.
- Culmination of multiple ancient practices: Its reach encompasses ancient practices such as acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine and herbal mixtures as well as modern medicines.
- Percentage of people use traditional medicine: of According to WHO estimates, 80% of the world’s population uses traditional medicine.
Traditional medicine in India:
- It is often defined as including practices and therapies such as Yoga, Ayurveda, Siddha that have been part of Indian tradition historically, as well as others such as homeopathy that became part of Indian tradition over the years.
- Ayurveda and yoga are practised widely across the country.
- The Siddha system is followed predominantly in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
- The Sowa-Rigpa System is practised mainly in Leh-Ladakh and Himalayan regions such as Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling, Lahaul & Spiti.
How TM modalities (such as Ayurveda or homoeopathy) can scientifically align with MM for a better outcome?
- Remarkable success in treating neurological diseases: A recently established Department of IM in NIMHANS continued to show remarkable success in treating difficult neurological diseases with a team of Ayurvedic and MM physicians and carefully planned and monitored IM strategy.
- CRD projects: Modern rheumatology practice in the Centre for Rheumatic Diseases (CRD) model includes critical elements of TM and Ayurveda, which have shown unequivocal evidence in CRD research projects
- Evaluation based on other protocols: Several controlled protocols-based evaluations of standardised Ayurvedic drugs and other TM modalities (such as diet, exercise, yoga, and counselling), often in conjunction with MM, in arthritis patients, were completed.
- Sustained clinical improvement in patients suffering from active Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): RA is a severely painful crippling lifelong autoimmune condition, mostly seen in women, and universally acknowledged as difficult to treat. Supervised and monitored IM intervention (including Ayurvedic drugs) over several years showed a consistently superior and sustained clinical improvement in patients suffering from active RA.
Relationship between AYUSH and Modern medicines:
- AYUSH systems include Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Unani, Siddha, and other TM.
- AYUSH systems and MM differ radically in several ways or so it seems.
- Modern scientific research in Ayurveda is often at variance with classical Ayurveda.
- Unlike MM, TM has at its core a personalised approach. MM is dominantly reductionist.
- The ambitious futuristic programme of TM and IM by AYUSH is well-intended and in the right direction.
- TM and Ayurveda need to respond to the new world order, which has changed substantially recently. It is reasonably certain that MM and TM in the current format will continue to treat several medical disorders and altered health states. But evidence-based medicine will become the new mantra. Also, informed and empowered patients and people will continue to make the right choices.