Former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam has opined that the best method for preventing diseases is Ayurveda because it is a comprehensive system based on natural medicine which is devoid of toxicity.
Though medical technology is advancing rapidly, people are affected by diseases and the cost of healthcare is increasing. Unless some kind of preventive method is applied, the cost of healthcare cannot be reduced. Prevention through ayurvedic system is the best way to bring down the cost, Dr Kalam said while inaugurating the Ayurveda Museum at Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda Vaidyasala in Thrissur in Kerala.
Along with allopathic system the time tested traditional systems of India like Ayurveda should have an equal place in the healthcare delivery and it should be harnessed. But it needs to be placed on a scientific pedestal, he added.
According to him, before the evolution of the modern healthcare system, India relied on Ayurveda for thousands of years. The practitioners of Ayurveda focused on holistic healthcare through mind, body and soul approach. But there is a challenge before Ayurveda and it is how it can be used to prevent the diseases by understanding the disease pattern, its genetic basis and its DNA structure. The challenge can be faced by carrying out integrated research with modern biotechnology, genomics and proteomics methods and tools on medicinal and aromatic plants. By this, appropriate medicinal formulations can be evolved in the form of drugs to prevent the major diseases from the childhood or even from the mother’s womb.
“India has a valuable repository of medicinal and aromatic plants and rich biodiversity with hot spots in the North East and Western Ghats. There are more than 45000 species of herbs in various parts of our country and most of them are having medicinal properties. We should make use of these herbs which are now emerging as new opportunities of entrepreneurship for farmers and have become resources for pharma and aromatic industry,” he pointed out.
He further said India has a population of 1.25 billion and for a good healthcare delivery to all, the allopathic system alone cannot be depended on, but the time tested traditional treatment systems should also be harnessed. Out of the US$ 80 billion global herbal product market, China has a share of over US$ 6 billion. Whereas, India has not even a share of one billion. This problem has to be addressed.
He recalled that while he was serving as the scientific advisor to defense minister in DRDO, he launched a major R&D programme on herbs for soldiers’ health and coded it as ‘Programme Charaka’. Through this programme several new herbal extracts were developed into nutraceutical products and herbal remedies for soldiers and the society.
He said the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) has carried out an interesting research study to correlate the patterns of genomic profiles into three ‘prakritis and trigunas’. Very good correlation emerged from this study indicating the scientific rationale of Ayurveda. Pharmacogenomics or customized medicine for individual concept recently being discussed in modern medicine already existed in Ayurveda as for the same type of ailments Ayurveda administers specific medicine optimizing dosage suitable to the ‘prakriti’ of the individual.
The meeting was attended by Parliament Member PC Chacko, Therambil Ramakrishnan MLA and Dr ET Narayanan Mooss, managing director of Vaidyaratnam hospital.
The Ayurveda museum at Thaikkattussery near Thrissur in Kerala was set up with an investment of Rs.5 crore.