India to give big push to ethnic systems of medicine

AyurvedaNew Delhi (ISJ) ? Indian government on Monday (Sept 15) gave its green signal to launch a national mission on Ayush ? Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy. The mission seeks to address the gap in health services especially in vulnerable and inaccessible areas of the country.

"The proposed mission, while addressing the gap in health services, will support the efforts of state governments and centrally administrated territories for providing health services and education under these systems of medicines," said an official release.

The mission components include special focus for specific needs of far-flung areas and provide higher financial allocation in annual plans to upgrade educational institutions in these disciplines, increase the number of medical facilities, availability of drugs and trained manpower, provide sustained availability of quality raw material for medicines in these systems, and improve availability of quality drugs.

India's ancient systems of medicine are a treasure house of knowledge for preventive and promotive healthcare. Its diversity, accessibility and affordability and a broad acceptance by a large section of the population makes it suitable to provide healthcare for a large sections of people.

Ayurveda has proven to be a success in managing chronic and lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, neurological diseases, chronic liver and kidney diseases, Muskelo skeletal disorders, psoriasis and multiple sclerosis, obesity and other stress-related problems, psychiatry, immunity development and disease prevention in children, prenatal and post-natal care of both mother and child, post-stroke management, migraine treatment, cancer survival after chemo-radiation using Ayurvedic medicines, male and female infertility treatment, etc.

Unlike allopathic medicines, there is no standard treatment for diseases in Unani. Treatment under Unani follows the principle that each patient is believed to have been born with a set of health characteristics and therefore treatment for each patient involves a complex combination of herbs, meditations, bodywork regimen and immediate interventions from patient to patient.

Homeopathic treatment is an effective method of healing both acute and chronic conditions. It may even offer long-lasting to permanent cure, treating the disease from its root cause. It is effective alternative to antibiotics in infectious diseases, producing no toxic side-effects and bring about rapid recovery. Homeopathy is found to be effective for skin diseases, allergies, frequent infections, tension headache and migraine, heartburn, gastritis, constipation, intestinal conditions, sinusitis, tonsillitis, cough, asthma and respiratory inspections.

Yoga is a holistic way for a healthy life ? considered effective for weight loss, stress relief, inner peace, improved immunity, living with greater awareness, increased energy and flexibility of body.

Siddha medical system, a way of life practised by Dravadian civilisation in Tamil Nadu, encompasses spirituality for soul, peace for the mind and health for the body. Medicines are prepared from flora, fauna and minerals, based on research by practitioners of this system of medicine hundreds of years ago.

A separate department of Indian systems of medicine was created in March 1995. It was rechristened Department of AYUSH in November 2003 to bring under its wing all ethnic systems of healthcare and development of education and research in those systems.

- By NB Nair

With inputs from PIB

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