The Other Systems of Medicine
Practiced in India //
Dr. D. John, USA.
(In Feb. 1973 Dr. D. John was honored with a special audience to meet with the president of India as a recognition to his contribution to the Indian system of medicine)
There are some other systems of Medicine currently practiced in India.
The ancient Yogis were practicing Yogas from time immemorial to prevent illness and to maintain good health, in order to continue their spiritual pursuit. This is common in Tibet, and in Buddha religion and is used to treat common man for such treatments like hypertension, diabetes, gastro-intestinal disorders and the diseases of eye, ear, nose, and throat.
It is believed to be a branch of Greek Medicine, came to India during the mediaeval period, and is common among the Moslem communities. Plant and Animal products are used in powder form for treatments.
This system was developed in one of the southern states (Thamilnadu, Formerly Madras) and is commonly used in that state.
Heaneman's Homeopathic system was introduced to india in 1938, and is practiced through out India for common allments. Homeopathy is not a plausible system of treatment, as its dogmas about how drugs, illness, the human body, liquids and solutions operate are contradicted by a wide range of discoveries across biology, psychology, physics and chemistry made in the two centuries since its invention.
This system is widly practiced form from the time of its origin under the Brittish rule. India was under the British rule from the middle of 16th century wchich lasted for about 400 years until 1947.
Contributions by the author :
Government of India established a unified system in 1971by giving equal importance to all the branches of Indian systems of medicine under a central council for research. Research units were established in all the 22 (that time) states of India. I was appointed to head the section that dealt with 3 units:
1. Survey of medicinal plants. 2. Raw drugs research. 3. Pharmacognozy, in the southern most parts of India. (Kerala state 71-74 and Tamilnadu State -74-77). These states being closer to the equator and blessed with a tropical forest having 9 months rainfall, are an abode of herbal wealth. My team worked in collaboration with other unites like Biochemical unit, pharmacognozy unit, Family planing unit, and Ayurvedic clinical unit. All units worked closely with Homeopathy, Unani, Sidha, Yoga, and Allopathy units through out India.
Since I was born and brought up in a family traditional Ayurvedic physicians, and being familiar with the system, I was well prepared to meet with the challenges.
Need for research in Indian system.
This vast country with more states and having more official languages and a host of tribel tongues,has a wide variety of problems and anomalies.
In essence, all the systems of Indian medicine depend heavily upon natural resources for the cure.The knowledge of the herbal identity mainly transmitted by word of mouth in simple hymns and songs, is still practiced in many communities. There are thousands of manuscripts written on palm leaves in various languages to suppliment the information.
Identity of genuin Drugs.
Since languages vary from state to state, certification of any drugs as genuine with due approvel from all concerned herbalists of any one system was a herculian task. Hence, an elaborate survey, collection, identification and gardening of commonly used medicinal herbs from forest and rural areas with elaborate scrutiny was condeucted through out India. In fact, each state unit was headed by scientists of the home state to explore the folklore resources in Mother tongue. Each drug was scruitnized for its genuineness, usefulness, and efficacy in various diseases through group discussion, interstate conferences and national conventions. Each drug and its combination preparations were subjected to biochemical, pharmacological and clinical analysis at many centers is in progress in 184 research units distributed evenly in all the states of India.
Recognition to my contribution.
In Feb. 1973 I was honored with a special audience to meet with the president of India as a recognition to my contribution to the Indian system of medicine.
Drug preparation and administration.
Drugs are prepared mostly from plants and also plant and animal products. Use of single raw drug is very rare. Ayuvedic formulary describes thousands of preparations for various ailments. They include decoctions, concoctions, fermented products, syrups, medicated oils, medicated ghees, (melted butter), pastes, pills, powders, and ointments. They are specially made for external and internal uses. Each preparation contains about 3 to 40 ingredients, made in accordance with the prescribed instructions.
It is believed that each combination of preparation, often containing poisonous ingredients and their antidotes, was derived through years of trial and error, and was made foolproof centuries ago.
There are many preparations with minerals like, mercury, Gold, Lead, Iron, Sulfur, Copper, and also from their ores. A variety of leaf extracts are used to purify these minerals. Confirmative tests are also described during the process of these purifications.
Hundreds of raw drugs are being widly used by common man in allmost all villages of this vast country, many of which are now found to be simple, reliable and valuable, and of this knowlege was one of the aims of this auther during his research career of 20 years (John,1984). A large number of medicinal plants of proven ability were collected from two southern states of India, Kerala,and Tamilnadu, during 1971-'78 and from one state of Nigeria, cross river state, during 1979-85. Further one one official book of formulary of Kerala State, written in local language, containing over 1000 formularies (Sahsra Yoga) was transilated to identify the botanical names of 1224 drugs used in this book.
Reserch developments in the united states : An institute named after its founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi started functioning in many parts of the world including USA from 1970. Many research centers and universities have taken up the pharmacological and clinical trials using prepared Ayurvedic Medicines. These include medical schools of Harvard and Yale; universities of Michigan, chicago, California, and Ohio (Chopra,1989-1990).
A way of life for Humanity.
Literature abounds with information on the origin, quality, usefulness, and efficacy of this system. Ayurveda, both literarally and factually, is a wider term and describes not only a system of treatment but also a way of life for humanity. The words of wisdom uttered by Atreya and recorded by his disciple Agnivesa about 3000 years ago still stand true. "The science of life shall never attain finality. Therefore, humility and relentless industry should characterize your every endeavour and your approach to knowledge". The entire world consits of teachers for the wise and enimies for the fools. Therefore knowledge conducive to health, long life, fame, and excellence, coming even from an unfamilier source, should be recieved, assimilated, and utilized with earnestness"- Charaka Samhita, transilation by Gulabkunverba, Ayurvedic society,Jamnagar 1949.//-
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