Ayurveda is an ancient Indian science of healing. Almost five hundred years old with some proven cures and palliatives the healing system is still bracketed as an alternative and labeled as a pseudoscience. So enamored are we with the modern or Western-dominated system of medicine that we fail to understand other systems of healing and what benefits we can accrue from them. Ayurveda is a traditional medical system that incorporated surgery as well.
One fact about the traditional system is that it is not based on evidence, but it is more of a healthy practice or a way of life. Evidence has come about not by trial or lab tests; the system depends upon years of practice for the evaluation of its formulations. In recent times organized research and structured approach is being followed to verify the curative powers of the drugs and potency of the herbs incorporated.
Ayurveda evolved during the Vedic Period in Indian Subcontinent when Hindu sages with a holistic approach to life took a keen interest in healing. Being a nature-centric religion, the evolution of Ayurveda was based on plants, metals, and minerals which naturally occurred in the country. Subsequently, a storehouse of information on plants has been developing in India. This knowledge accumulated through centuries has been mined to make medicines along with metals and minerals for healing.
The country is rich in biodiversity and floral elements pan India. In recent times greater research is being carried out on a vegetative matter that promises good health and cures diseases. Although Ayurvedic formulation chiefly comprises herbal elements, animal-based products too are used without killing. No wonder vegetarian dominates in the country.
Structured Developmental Approach
The evidence of curative powers of the formulations and herbs has come through five thousand years of usage. Sages studied the ingredients in isolation and formulations and a set of recipes has become default by practice. Earlier practiced by sages and those leaning towards the ancient medical science degrees in Ayurveda are provided by registered institutions classified usually as Ayurvedic Learning Centers akin to modern colleges. These colleges are known as BAMS College’s acronym for Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery. There are 273 BAMS colleges in the country of which 53 are government-run.
There is no sidelined approach for providing degrees in this system. A scientific approach is followed with the structured course for study in BAMS colleges. An exam based on NEET which is meant for entrance in top medical colleges has to be cleared by prospective students. NEET stands for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test. The eligibility is matriculation which is the 12th Board in India.
Wonder Herbs & Formulations
Ayurvedic Formulations are available as tablets, liquids, and powdered forms. Most of the formulations are complex mixtures of a number of herbs and minerals while metals are used in minuscule proportions. The herbs carry potent curative powers and often act in synergy with one and other. In-depth knowledge of beneficial aspects of herbs, minerals, and metals is a must in order to create medicines.
Some of the most popular substances used in Ayurveda are listed below:
• Aonla – Indian Gooseberry
• Isabgol Husk
The list of herbs used is endless, and more are being discovered that offer health benefits. The herbal formulations are used in day-to-day routines and chronic problems. A popular use is in herbal soaps, tea, dental cleaning, treating constipation, indigestion, flatulence, hair care, beautification, and so on.
Indian pharmaceuticals have created major segmentation of branded Ayurvedic medicines some of which are used as FMCG while others are used in case of serious disorders. Although these time-tested drugs are used in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, kidney failure, and liver disease, the recourse to modern medicine is not plugged and the practice takes place in conjunction.
Some of the major Ayurvedic companies that manufacture and export preparations are:
• Himalaya Drug Company
• Vicco Laboratories
• Zandu Pharmaceuticals
There are many more companies that make Ayurvedic medicines in India. Domestic consumption is around USD 6.5 billion and is expected to grow to 21 billion USD by the year 2028. The growth forecast is based upon tremendous awareness among the public, and constant exports to developed countries. In the year 2020, the extent exports were 430 million USD.
Some of the products exported in impressive quantities are:
• Isabgol Husk
• Arjuna Ghanvati
• PUDDINHARA PEARLS.
• KAYAM CHURNA
Besides medicines, cosmetic preparations are also exported in large quantities. Most of the herbal preparations are formulated based on Ayurveda healing system. As awareness grows overseas, India is slated for a big market gain.
A number of Ayurvedic treatments are organized by medical tourism facilitators in India. These health and wellness tours are also organized in spas and resorts well-known in the tourist circle.