♣ Health ministry begins study on ‘Status of Indian Medicine and Folk Healing in India’

Ramesh Shankar, Mumbai

Aiming to make a comprehensive report on the current status of the Indian Systems of Medicine (Ayurveda, Unani & Siddha) with special reference to selected aspects of research, education, drugs, healthcare, medicinal plants and folk medicine, the Union health ministry has begun a project titled “Status of Indian Medicine and Folk Healing in India” with special reference to benefits that the systems have given to the public.

According to sources, the project will be undertaken by Shailaja Chandra, former Secretary, Department of Ayush, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and former Chief Secretary, Government of Delhi. The project will be executed with the collaboration and support of the Research Councils of Ayush namely CCRAS & CCRUM.

The focus of the Report is expected to reflect the current status as well as gaps that need to be filled with the aim of improving public awareness and access to identified health benefits that each system offers. The project will undertake studies in order to give a comprehensive report on the current status of the Indian Systems of Medicine (Ayurveda, Unani & Siddha) with special reference to selected aspects of research, education, drugs, health care, medicinal plants and folk medicine.

The Report will combine a study of available documentation, as well as interaction/interviews with eminent experts and important stakeholders. It is expected to provide a preparatory framework for the formulation of the 12th Five-Year Plan proposals.

The health ministry’s initiative in this regard is significant as Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani medicine have been increasingly creating an interest within the country and abroad. Consumers are broadly aware of the benefits of relying on the ASU treatment regimens, medications and applications. But asked about the range of products that are easily accessible and are in comparatively higher demand, few people can give any response other than referring to a handful of products like Chawanprash, Liv 52 or Triphala and similar names.

Except for a handful of industries like Himalaya, Dabur, Baidyanath, Hamdard and Zandu, even the names of the manufacturers are not identifiable to most people. The safety and efficacy of the medicines is little known as many products do not match the level of scrutiny that is increasingly demanded for medicine to be accepted as efficacious, having minimal side effects which too are known and declared.

The study will focus on all these issues.

Source

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