The Union Ministry of Ayush hosted the first meeting of BIMSTEC Task Force on Traditional Medicine on 24-25 October, 2017 in New Delhi.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an International Organisation involving a group of countries in the South Asia and South East Asia namely, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. India being a major stake holder in the field of Traditional Medicine plays an important role in influencing the policies and strategies related to the traditional medicine in the BIMSTEC Forum.
Delegations from the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the Kingdom of Bhutan, the Republic of India, and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Kingdom of Thailand along with the BIMSTEC Secretariat participated in the meeting.
The meeting was inaugurated on 24 October 2017 by Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of Ayush. While welcoming the delegates from the BIMSTEC Member States, Secretary Ayush referred to the rich heritage of traditional systems of medicine in the BIMSTEC Member States. He emphasised that the BIMSTEC Forum provides an ideal platform for fostering collaborations among the Member States in the area of traditional medicine. He highlighted the recent developments in the International Cooperation activities of the Ministry. He hoped that the deliberations during the meeting would bring fruitful outcomes in strengthening the cooperation amongst the BIMSTEC Member States in areas of traditional medicine.
Pramod Kumar Pathak, Joint Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH and Head of Delegation of India was elected Chairman of the Meeting and Dr. Yi Yi Myint, Head of Delegation of Myanmar was elected Vice-Chair. All the Delegations made Country Presentations on the status and best practices of Traditional Medicine in their respective country.
The meeting discussed several important subjects which include Implementation of Strategies of BIMSTEC Task Force on Traditional Medicines (BITFM); Priority Areas for technical and research collaboration among the Member States on Traditional Medicine; Regional strategy on the protection of Genetic Resource associated with Traditional Medicine Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights and develop a work plan; Human Resource Development and Capacity Building among the BIMSTEC Member States; and New Initiative, proposals and programmes for cooperation on Traditional Medicine among the BIMSTEC Task Force on Traditional Medicine.
The Central government has given its approval for signing an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in traditional systems of medicine and homoeopathy between India and Sri Lanka.
The signing of the proposed MoU will enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of traditional medicine and homoeopathy. This will be of immense importance to both countries considering their shared cultural heritage. There will be no additional financial implications involved. The financial resources necessary to conduct research, training courses, conferences/meetings will be met from the existing allocated budget and existing plan schemes of the Ministry of Ayush.
The activities between the two sides will start immediately after the signing of the MoU by the two countries. The initiatives taken between the two countries will be as per the terms of reference of the MoU signed and will be a continuing process till the MoU remains in operation.
India is blessed with well-developed systems of traditional medicine including medicinal plants, which hold tremendous potential in the global health scenario. Sri Lanka also has a long history of traditional medicine. Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Yoga & Naturopathy and Homoeopathy are the important traditional healthcare systems existing in Sri Lanka. Both countries share a common culture with respect to Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani systems of medicine. Moreover, there are a large number of medicinal plants, particularly those found in tropical region which are common to the two countries given similar geo-climatic factors.
The Ministry of Ayush, as a part of its mandate to propagate Indian systems of Medicine globally has taken effective steps by entering into MoUs with 11 countries.
They are the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM), People’s Republic of China; the Government of Malaysia; the Ministry of Health of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago; Ministry of Human Resources, Government of Hungary; Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; Ministry of Health and Population, Government of Nepal; Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, Government of Mauritius; Ministry of Health and Sports, Government of Mongolia; Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, Government of Turkmenistan, Ministry of Health & Sports, Government of Myanmar and Joint Declaration of Intent with the Federal Ministry of Health of the Federal Republic of Germany for Cooperation in the field Traditional Medicine.
If 2015 saw a marketing blitzkrieg to showcase yoga to the world, this year was about dedicating it and other AYUSH practices for treatment of diabetes. Quality concern in herbal medicine, however, remains a challenge that needs to be addressed through validation and proper enforcement of regulation. Faced with questions about scientific basis of traditional medicines, the AYUSH Ministry entered into an agreement for improving international acceptability and branding of AYUSH systems.
Benchmarks for training in yoga and practice in ayurveda, unani medicine and panchakarma will help ensure the highest standards in quality, safety and effectiveness of traditional medicines, the ministry said. India also partnered with the US to initiate research efforts on traditional medicines for cancer treatment and the first US-India workshop on traditional medicine was held.
Recently, yoga as an “ancient Indian practice” was inscribed on UNESCO’s representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. On International Yoga Day celebrations in Chandigarh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to all that yoga must be devoted to fighting diabetes.
“All people belonging to the field of yoga must continue with their yoga activities but diabetes must be the main focus,” he said. Following which a yoga protocol to fight diabetes mellitus, developed by a committee of experts, was unveiled in October. This protocol includes various exercises and diet regimen that a patient can follow.
Continuing with the theme, a national protocol was also launched for treating diabetes through ayurveda. These guidelines prescribe medicines for different symptoms. The protocol also includes a list of fruits and vegetables a diabetic patient should or should not eat. It also recommends an active lifestyle, physical exercise, yoga in order to avoid falling prey to diabetes.
The emphasis on diabetes also landed the ministry in a major controversy after a misleading advertisement of an ayurvedic medicine, AYUSH-82, for diabetes gave a false notion that diabetics could avoid using insulin after taking the drug for a few months.
This was in contravention of Drugs and Magic Remedies Objectionable Advertisements Act-1954 which disallows advertisements of cure for chronic illnesses like diabetes. The advertisement was subsequently pulled off air in October. Questions have also been raised about research and clinical trial methods for AYUSH-82 before making tall claims.
AYUSH Minister Shripad Yesso Naik admitted that quality concern with traditional medicines was a huge challenge. “Many questions are raised about the scientific basis of traditional medicine, their quality, safety and efficacy. It is true that the facet of the traditional and complex herbal formulation can’t be explained fully on the conventional parameters used for testing of chemical drugs.
“But for the sake of safety and consumers to use these medicines with confidence, it is necessary to ensure quality of products,” he said.
If you’ve swapped coffee for golden turmeric milk, mouthwash for coconut oil pulling and start your day with a glass of warm lemon water, then you are tapping into ancient art of Ayurveda. Dry body brushing (to improve circulation and stimulate detoxification), tongue scraping at dawn (to remove build up on the surface of your tongue), daily self massage (to nourish your tissues and calm your mind) and, of course, yoga are other Ayurvedic practices showing up in the morning routines of 21st century wellness warriors.
While it’s been around for some 5,000 years, the holistic Indian health science of Ayurveda (Sanskrit for the science of life) is stronger than ever. Ayurveda taps into two of any modern day health enthusiast’s favourite D words: digestion and detoxification.
In Ayurveda, your “agni” or digestive fire is a sign of your overall wellbeing. And while raw juices, salads and acai smoothie bowls are also trending on social media, Ayurvedic converts believe cooked foods such as kitchari (mung bean and rice stew) are easier to digest.
Dosha is another D word you need to know if you want to delve into Ayurveda. There are three doshas: kapha (earth)
vata (wind) and pitta (fire) that influence your emotional and physical constitution. And while everyone has all three elements, one usually dominates. So the trick is to balance them with specific foods, herbs and practices. You can figure out your dosha type here practitioner.
Dylan Smith of Vital Veda says there are ten indicators of good health in Ayurveda – and if you are not experiencing all of them then it’s time to get proactive.
“Ayurveda is about prevention, so when you start to notice symptoms, act before the disease progresses,” he says.
The ten indicators of good health in Ayurveda:
1. Proper digestion of food: After eating you should feel light and energised.
2. Good appetite: Hungry at proper meal times.
3. Falling asleep easily when going to bed at night.
4. “Jumping” out of bed feeling awake each morning.
5. Normal functioning of the five sense organs. Our senses should not or only minimally deteriorate over a lifespan.
6. Elimination of wastes: Daily bowel motions before any food or drinks. Also regular and comfortable elimination of sweat, urine and menses for women.
7. Healthy ratio of muscle, bone and fat tissues, not overweight nor emaciated.
8. Natural strength, immunity should be maintained.
9. Natural colour of skin should be maintained.
10. Peace and contentment of mind
This article originally appeared on Vogue.com.au
The Union ministry of Ayush will soon amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 to prohibit misleading advertisements of Ayurveda, Siddha & Unani drugs.
Presently, there are no regulatory provisions for pre-censorship on advertisements. Action is taken whenever violation of Advertisement Code is brought to the notice of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting or the advertisement is found to be in contravention of the provisions of Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Rules thereunder.
In fact, the Ministry in consultation with Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani Drugs Technical Advisory Board (ASUDTAB) had already framed and notified draft rules for prohibition of misleading advertisements of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani drugs in the Official Gazette vide GSR No. 396(E) dated 4th April, 2016 to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.
At present, complaints about the misleading content of the advertisements of ayurvedic medicines received in the Ministry of Ayush from any source are forwarded to the concerned State Licensing Authorities with the direction to take necessary action in accordance with the provisions of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules thereunder. In several cases, the state authorities have reported to have taken actions.
The ministry is now amending the law as it is aware of the sale and advertisement of ayurvedic medicines through TV channels which are required to adhere to the Advertising Code prescribed under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and Rules framed thereunder.
At present, there are some mechanisms in place for quality control of products sold or promoted through advertisements. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee to look into the violations of advertisement code suo-moto or whenever violations of the advertisement code are brought to the notice of the Ministry in respect of private TV channels. The Inter-Ministerial Committee meets periodically and recommends actions in respect of alleged violations reported. An advisory was also issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on 21.8.2014 advising all TV channels not to telecast advertisements which were found to be violating the provisions of Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) Code and also Drugs & Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, 1954.
As part of the self-regulatory initiative of the industry, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a voluntary body of advertisement industry, promotes self-regulation of advertisement content by monitoring and deciding on complaints against advertisements making misleading, false and unsubstantiated claims of the products including ayurvedic medicines.