The need of the moment is to use modern technology to explore the relevance of traditional Ayurvedic concepts and to strengthen consumer confidence and trust in Ayurvedic products.
Por Padmashri Dr. J Hareendran Nair,
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting disruptions put immense pressure on India’s health infrastructure and tested its readiness to face a global crisis of never-before-seen proportions. As the country continues amid the second wave of the pandemic, expecting a third wave in the next 5-6 months, we must make judicious use of Ayurvedic medicines to fight the coronavirus. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, opening the Fourth Edition of the Global Ayurveda Festival 2021, said that people are realizing the benefits of Ayurveda and its role in increasing immunity. He further added that Ayurveda could correctly be described as a holistic human science.
As a result, in recent times, discussions about the health benefits of Ayurveda have seen a drastic rise, giving it new life, particularly in relation to its role in boosting immunity. Estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that the use of herbal medicines and supplements has seen a steady increase over the past three decades, with nearly 80% of the world’s population depending on them for a part of primary health care. Interestingly, 80 percent of the raw materials for medicines, including modern medicines, also come from herbs. The relevance of a natural system like Ayurveda cannot be overlooked.
Build confidence in Ayurveda for greater adoption and acceptance among the general public.
The need of the moment is to use modern technology to explore the relevance of traditional Ayurvedic concepts and to strengthen consumer confidence and trust in Ayurvedic products. In this way, Ayurvedic products can be interpreted in light of contemporary scientific terminology to offer modern healthcare treatment while meeting unmet medical needs. The benefits of integrating Ayurveda would be tremendous.
It goes without saying that access to healthcare has been a perennial problem in India for decades. Despite the current challenges of access to healthcare and limited medical resources, it is imperative to take a holistic approach by integrating traditional medicine into the delivery of continuing care.
In fact, the ancient indigenous system of medicine has already been given priority in the form of the AYUSH system serving the health care needs of the Indian population. However, this holistic approach must be practiced in both ‘Bharat’ and ‘India’ for best results in the Indian healthcare system. With the Government of India’s commitment to achieving the universal healthcare goals by 2030 as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the government of India now plans to implement an integrated healthcare system policy initiative. , there is a need to build, sustain and encourage an evidence-based framework for practitioners of traditional medicine
Standardization of traditional systems of medicine
The standardization of Ayurvedic practices and remedies will go a long way in accelerating their acceptance as part of conventional medicine in India. It is encouraging to note that the Government of India has taken due note of the critical role of traditional medicines in addressing the diverse healthcare needs of people, in particular in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the WHO’s proposed plan to establish a Global Center for Traditional Medicine in India will give the much-needed injection into the arm of traditional medicine and help India tap into the untapped potential of the sector. Consequently, the annual trade in domestic herbal medicines is expected to see a significant increase in demand in the coming years.
However, for this to happen, central and state governments must identify new avenues of collaboration and offer greater political support to the sector and create a cohesive regulatory mechanism that meets national and international standards for safety and efficacy. Wherever possible, public-private partnerships could also be encouraged to achieve the national goal of universal health care for all.
The efforts made by the central government to promote traditional medicine in India are commendable, including the implementation of the plan sponsored by the AYUSH National Mission Center through the Union state and territorial governments for the promotion and development of AYUSH systems. The central government has a bigger role to play in it, as the overall responsibility for creating an environment conducive to traditional medicines rests with it.
Despite all the above measures, Ayurvedic products continue to be perceived as ‘alternative medicine’. Indeed, the time has come for the Government to integrate the protocols involving the best practices of the traditional and modern medicine systems to strengthen the Indian health system. You should accept scientifically backed evidence-based Ayurvedic products as first-line treatment, keeping in mind the healthcare needs of India’s 1.38 billion people.
Without a doubt, the growth possibilities of herbal remedies are enormous. Additionally, the tailwinds of the pandemic may help Ayurveda move from a complementary or alternative medicine system to becoming part of the mainstream. However, success on this front depends on the concerted efforts of public and private actors. Hopefully, all stakeholders will appreciate the importance of joining forces for the common cause of public health and welfare.
(The author is the Founder and Managing Director of Pankajakasthuri Herbals India (P) Ltd. Opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online).
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