Year : 2021 | Volume
: 4 | Issue : 2 | Page : 41--43
Growing demand of Ayurveda internationally and the importance of medical writing in this changing scenario
Postgraduate Department of Kāyacikitsā, J.S. Ayurveda College, Nadiad, Gujarat, India; Academic Advisory Board, European Academy of Ayurveda, Birstein, Germany
Prof. S N Gupta
Postgraduate Department of Kāyacikitsā, J.S. Ayurveda College, Nadiad, Gujarat
|How to cite this article:|
Gupta S N. Growing demand of Ayurveda internationally and the importance of medical writing in this changing scenario.J Ayurveda Case Rep 2021;4:41-43
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Gupta S N. Growing demand of Ayurveda internationally and the importance of medical writing in this changing scenario. J Ayurveda Case Rep [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 1 ];4:41-43
Available from: http://www.ayucare.org/text.asp?2021/4/2/41/323906
इन्द्रं वर्धन्तो अप्तुरः कर्ण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम् |
अपघ्नन्तो अराव्णः || ऋग्वेद: ९.६३.५
Indraṁ vardhanto apturaḥ kṛṇvanto viśvam āryam | apaghnanto arāvṇaḥ ||
“By expanding the strength of our soul and intelligence, swiftly and destroying the hostility make the whole world-wise and noble.”
With this motto of ṛgveda, our ṛṣis have continuously strived to spread the knowledge to the entire world. India was one of the few centers of knowledge in the ancient world. The universities of India in the pre-Christian and early-Christian era were well-known and reputed for their excellence in various disciplines including medicine (Ayurveda). Scholars from every part of the world were coming to these centers for education in different systems of knowledge. In ancient time, India and Greece were considered main centers of knowledge. India-Greece connection in respect to knowledge is well-known in history.
The philosopher Pyrrho accompanied Alexander the Great on his Indian campaign; Pyrrho developed his philosophy of Pyrrhonism in India. This philosophy was strikingly similar to the concept of Tilakkhaṇa (trilakṣaṇa) described in Dhammapada. Same time the Kuṣāṇa Empire used the Greek alphabet and Greek legends on their coins. They also adopted other elements of the Greek culture of the Hellenistic Kingdoms. Hippocrates (460 B. C. 370 B. C.) who is regarded as the father of modern medicine, described four humors, namely, blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm. These are similar to four Doṣas considered in Ayurveda by Suśruta. Procedures of Śodhana such as emesis, purgation, enema, and blood-letting were practiced in Europe.
Yijing (635-713 CE), romanized as I-ching or I-tsing, was a Chinese Buddhist monk who was student at the university of Nālandā (now in Bihar, India) is well-known name in the history. Hiuen-tsang was another Chinese scholar who also visited India. Their writings are big evidence of the richness of the knowledge system in India.
Before the 20th century, natural systems of medicine were the only systems available throughout the globe. The rise of science and technology influenced medicine also and fast progress started in medical science. The knowledge of physiology, biochemistry, pathology, and microbiology has gradually changed the approach. Technological aids in diagnosis were big revolution. Antibiotics, steroids, hormonal supplements, and several other life-saving drugs were developed which are still regarded as wonder drugs and considered solution for several unsolved problems. Same time integration of technology became revolutionary in surgery which made even organ transplantation possible. These developments created an expectation that science eventually would discover solution for all health problems and man might be nearly immortal 1 day. Humans influenced with this ego moved more and more away from the nature. Natural means were considered outdated and old fashioned. As the 20th century ended the scenario started changing. There has been a paradigm shift in the prevalence of the diseases and same time failures of earlier wonder drugs have been observed. Shoot up of lifestyle disorders and failure of antibiotics in new coming infections and ineffectiveness in earlier ones, initiated attempts to find alternatives. This resulted in gradual increase in the popularity of alternative medicine in the countries which are basically the birth lands of modern medicine.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is becoming more and more popular in Europe. Several surveys show that approximately 80%–90% of German people are in favor of CAM and there are also attempts for the recognition and acceptance of naturopathy and complementary medicine in the medical guidelines and the health system in Germany.
In the US, CAM has been increasing in popularity for many years. In 1990, a third of all Americans had used some form of CAM. By 2002, the number of people who had tried CAM had nearly doubled.
Being associated with the Rosenberg European academy for Ayurveda in Germany for more than 25 years, I am more familiar with the situation in German-speaking countries of Europe.
Within Europe, Germany is probably one of the countries, in which Ayurveda is most developed mainly because a lot of groundwork has been done to educate and treat patients with Ayurveda over the past three decades/professional associations of practitioners such as VEAT, DÄGAM, DGA, as well as an Ayurveda Umbrella Association AdAVed have approximately 1000 members. There is a huge number of Heilpraktikers (alternative or naturopathic practitioners). Forty-five thousand Heilpraktikers were accredited in Germany in 2017. These are recognized as alternative and complementary health care professionals by German law. They can practice Ayurveda. There are several such practitioners who have chosen Ayurveda as their profession. A number of Ayurveda centers have been developed in Germany. The Rosenberg European academy for Ayurveda in Birstein is a prime institute offering education and health care together with research activities as a part of its M. Sc. Curriculum. It has trained hundreds of medical doctors and Heilpraktikers who successfully incorporated Ayurveda in their practice. About 150 medical doctors practicing Āyurveda in different forms. Other worth mentioning institutes/centers are Immanuel clinic (Charité university, Berlin), University of Essen, University of Bochum/Hattingen, Habichtswald-Klinik, Kassel where Ayurveda is practiced, taught, and also research is done.
Ayurveda is a recognized health profession in Switzerland. After passing the examination conducted by an official body, one can practice as Ayurvedic natural health practitioner or a therapist. Heilpraktikerschule in Luzern, Switzerland is the most reputed education center for alternative medicine which offers Ayurveda-education with the collaboration of the Rosenberg Ayurveda Academy of Germany.
This growing demand as well as partial recognition is big achievement of Ayurveda. To establish it firmly as a scientific system, this is vital to have authentic and standard publications and documentation in various forms. Failure in this may result probably disappearance of the system as a short-lived medical fashion.
Knowledge is a continuous process. It is like a flow of a river which is very small at its origin but during progression by receiving the water from its tributaries becomes bigger and bigger. During its course, it also changes the directions, speed, and contents. When we regard Ayurveda as an eternal science, it does not mean it is absolutely unchangeable. It also requires modifications and adaptations according to Deśa (~geographical distinctiveness) and Kāla (~time factor). Exchange of observations among stakeholders is an essential tool for these adaptation-based evolutions and progression. Knowledge enhances always by sharing:
Hartṛrna gocaraṃ yāti dattā bhavati vistṛtā,
kalpānte'pi na yā naśyet kimanyadvidyayā vinā.
हर्तृर्न गोचरं याति दत्ता भवति विस्तृता
कल्पान्तेऽ पि न या नश्येत् किमन्यद्विद्यया विना
(That which is not seen by the thieves, which expands on giving, which is not destroyed even during calamities, what other than Knowledge can it be?).
Modifications and adaptations have been a continuous process in Ayurveda which can be observed in successive literature from Bṛhattrayī to Laghutrayī and then in the evolution of Rasasāstra and inclusion of medicines from other systems into Ayurvedic Materia medica.
Medical writing in the form of medical journalism, medical educational literature, publication and presentation of articles, and research papers are necessary for such exchange. Medical Journalism is in the form of articles in newspapers and periodicals may be a big contributor in introducing the science among the general public in the country as well as abroad. However, this is always necessary to have standard writings. Publication of standard educational literature such as textbook is a tool to provide authentic knowledge to teachers, students, practitioners, and researchers internationally. Publication of research articles, papers, and case studies is the fundamental requirement for the scientific establishment of the system. Even though it is popular among common men, without acceptance of scientific fraternity the legal approval is not possible. Although in our country we consider the ancient text as evidence, in other parts of the world, insistence is there on modern evidence.
Standard research and documentation of Ayurveda at the international level is very sparse. Being a country of origin, it becomes more of our responsibility to have research and documentation to provide modern scientific information to Ayurveda lovers globally. We also have bright possibilities because of legal support, availability of patients, medicinal material, huge libraries, and manpower. The need of literary and conceptual research is also valuable in Ayurveda to have clarity and confirmation of principles so that they do not remain limited to literature and have only literary importance. Documentation on basic principles, Dravya guṇavijñāna, standardization on Rasaśāstra, and Bhais.ajya kalpanā is equally important. Although planned clinical research designed as a blinded, randomized, and controlled trial is the strongest evidence for the efficiency and safety of a therapeutic or preventive modality and always considered topmost in the order of evidence-based medicine, this is always not easy for even a successful practitioner to conduct and document this. However, the importance of observational studies also cannot be ignored. Documentation of single case studies is considered at the lowest in the order of evidence-based medicine but still serve similar purpose. A case report when describes a novel clinical condition, management with certain new therapeutic strategy, and showing unusual outcomes which are well discussed and concluded is useful for a practitioner, students, teachers, and researchers.
Nevertheless, medical writing should not be with an objective of making a bulky personal profile. Even a single article or a single case report if has novelty with convincing themes may be more impressive than hundreds of ordinary publications.
varaṃ lekhaṃ sukṛtaṃ syāt nāpakṛtaśatānyapi,
ekaścandrastamo hanti na ca tārāgaṇairapi.
वरं लेखं सुकृतं स्यात् नापकृतशतान्यपि
एकश्चन्द्रस्तमो हन्ति न च तारागणैरपि