Ayurveda: The cure in a motherly spirit

crop1_240x240_8sep14During my growing years, whenever I suffered from cough, cold or routine digestive disorders, my mother would readily provide me with home remedies comprising of ginger, Himalayan black salt, black cumin and ajwain. Generations have passed these time-tested recipes to younger generations.

My great grandmother shared these secrets with my grandmother and she then tutored my mother. While many of these recipes have disappeared with time, fortunately most of them have found credibility with several companies transforming them and developing clinically proven pharmaceutical products based on such herbs.

But the latest diktat by Delhi Medical Council (DMC) prohibiting allopathic doctors from prescribing ayurvedic medicines came as a shock. DMC’s order warns allopathic doctors from prescribing anything else other than allopathic medicines saying cross-pathy may lead to criminal charges against them.

So, by this rationale, allopathic doctors may face criminal charges even on prescribing exercise, walking or jogging.

Interestingly, all ayurvedic medicines in India are licensed products and are sold over-the-counter (OTC). This precisely means one does not require a prescription to buy products like Liv52, Honitus, Pudin Hara, Gripe Water etc. One of the main reasons for making ayurvedic medicines available over-the-counter is also because they do not have any side-effects.

However, DMC’s order overrules this idea. Instead, it prohibits a learned doctor from prescribing something which anyone can just walk in and buy from a retailer.

The move not only fails to gather rationale but also signals a mis-match with the Central government’s priorities. While the BJP-led NDA government is attempting to promote ‘desi’ products in domestic as well as overseas markets, DMC’s order may act as a major deterrent for doctors, consumers as well as companies like Dabur, Himalaya, Charak, Baidyanath and others investing in ayurveda.

The sacred knowledge of plant extracts used in treatment of various ailments has been with Indians for very long. And now the West too has started showing keen interest in these medicines that come without any side effects.

While India is sitting on a rich variety of herbs and medicinal plants, countries like China have excelled in promoting the science of alternative medicines.

It is time for DMC to relook and try to create a positive and forward looking policy in sync with the government’s strategy.

Source: Business Standard
Image: Getty Images