National Ayurveda day 2023: A bridge between traditional medicine and One Health
The concept of 'One Health' emphasizes the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health.
According to the Hindu calendar, National Ayurveda Day is marked annually on Dhanteras, the 13th day of Krishna Paksha in the month of Ashwin. The day is usually observed in October or November. As today we celebrate National Ayurveda day, Asianet Newsable got in touch with experts who threw light on the topic, 'A bridge between with n traditional medicine and One Health'.
What is Ayurveda, and how does it differ from conventional Western medicine
According to Dr Kriti Soni, Head of R&D, Kapiva, Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine originating in India that differs from conventional Western medicine in several fundamental ways. While Western medicine predominantly focuses on treating symptoms and diseases through medications and surgeries, Ayurveda adopts a holistic approach that emphasizes the overall well-being of an individual. Ayurveda believes in achieving and maintaining balance in the body, mind, and spirit, and it identifies imbalances and root causes as the sources of various health issues.
One of the key distinctions is that Ayurveda customizes treatments for each individual, considering their unique constitution, known as "prakriti." It recognizes that every person is different and requires personalized approaches to health and wellness. This approach contrasts with Western medicine, which often employs standardized treatments for similar conditions.
Moreover, Ayurveda relies on natural remedies, including herbs, diet, lifestyle modifications, and therapies to promote healing and prevent diseases. It emphasizes the importance of prevention and lifestyle choices to maintain health.
Examples of specific Ayurvedic herbs or remedies that have shown promising results in modern medical applications
Ayurvedic herbs and remedies have gained recognition in modern medical applications, showing promising results in various health areas. Kriti mentioned a few examples:
Turmeric (Curcumin): Turmeric, a commonly used spice in Ayurveda, contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound. Modern research has revealed its potential in managing conditions like arthritis, inflammation, and even certain cancers. Mix turmeric with warm milk and a pinch of black pepper to enhance absorption. The combination of curcumin and black pepper enhances its bioavailability.
Ashwagandha: This adaptogenic herb is known for its stress-reducing properties. It has shown promise in managing stress, and anxiety, and improving overall well-being within 6-8 weeks of consumption. It may also support immune health and improve cognitive function. Consume ashwagandha in the form of capsules, or powder, or mix it with warm milk or water. It is often recommended to take it before bedtime for its stress-relieving effects.
Amla (Indian Gooseberry): Amla is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, making it beneficial for skin health, hair growth, and immune support. It has shown potential in improving heart health and managing diabetes. Eat fresh amla or drink amla juice. You can also include dried amla powder in your diet. Amla can be consumed with water or added to smoothies.
Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri): Brahmi is known for its cognitive-enhancing properties. It may improve memory, focus, and cognitive function. Modern research suggests its potential in Alzheimer's disease management. Brahmi is available in powder or capsule form. It can be consumed with warm water or milk. Consider incorporating it into a morning routine for cognitive benefits.
Neem: Neem has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful in skincare, dental care, and wound healing. It may also have applications in managing certain skin conditions. Neem leaves can be chewed directly for oral health. Neem oil can be applied topically for skincare. Neem capsules are also available for internal use.
Triphala: Triphala is a combination of three fruits, and it is used to promote digestive health and detoxification. It has shown potential in improving gut health and aiding in weight management. Brahmi is available in powder or capsule form. It can be consumed with warm water or milk. Consider incorporating it into a morning routine for cognitive benefits. Triphala is commonly taken as a powder mixed with warm water or honey. It can also be consumed in capsule form. Consider taking it before bedtime for digestive benefits.
Key principles of Ayurveda
Swagatika Das, Founder, of Nat Habit said, "Ayurveda, rooted in ancient wisdom, seamlessly aligns with the principles of the One Health approach through its profound emphasis on balance and holistic well-being. This traditional healing system recognizes and promotes the intricate interdependence of human, animal, and environmental health. Ayurveda's core principles champion personalized treatments, natural remedies, and a wholesome lifestyle—foundational aspects of the One Health philosophy."
"For instance, Ayurveda's focus on the quality of food and lifestyle aligns with the broader idea of environmental health, emphasizing sustainable practices that benefit both humans and the planet. By intricately weaving the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental well-being into its principles, Ayurveda provides a comprehensive framework that profoundly resonates with the holistic principles of One Health. These shared values underscore the vital importance of nurturing a delicate equilibrium between humans, animals, and the environment, paving the way for a healthier, more sustainable world for all," she continued.
Scientific evidence supports the efficacy and safety of Ayurvedic herbs
Swagatika Das stated that Ayurvedic medicines, treasured across generations, are now undergoing a surge in validation through rigorous scientific research, establishing their effectiveness and safety on a contemporary platform. Modern scientific exploration, including extensive research and clinical trials, has delved into the medicinal properties of Ayurvedic plants, unveiling a myriad of health benefits.
This growing body of evidence contributes to the increasing confidence in the traditional healing system. Moreover, there is a noteworthy shift towards incorporating Ayurvedic principles into evidence-based healthcare practices. The collaboration between scientific researchers and medical experts serves to bridge the gap between ancient wisdom and modern medical approaches. This synergy ensures that Ayurvedic herbs are integrated into evidence-based healthcare strategies, maximizing their potential safely and effectively for the well-being of individuals worldwide.
Ayurvedic herbs and practices that have been integrated into modern healthcare systems and the concept of "One Health"
Dr Aarati Patil, Co- founder, Chief Doctor & Research Development Head Gynoveda explained that Ayurveda herbs and practices have been incorporated into modern healthcare systems due to the increasing acceptance of their holistic advantages. The concept of "One Health" which emphasises the interdependence between human, animal and environmental health, brings Ayurveda and modern healthcare institutions closer together.
Many modern healthcare institutions are incorporating Ayurveda principles into their practices, as they understand the importance of using natural remedies and preventive methods. Ayurvedic herbs such as turmeric and ashwagandha, which are known for their medicinal benefits around the world, have gained global recognition.
Many integrative medicine programs in many countries now include Ayurveda practices to supplement conventional treatments, not only treating physical ailments but also treating mental and emotional health. This integration encourages a more holistic and patient-oriented approach, as it recognizes the interconnectedness of individual, community, and environmental health in the larger context of "One Health".
Ayurvedic medicine's contribution to the promotion of holistic health
Aarati said, "Ayurvedic medicine contributes to holistic health promotion by intertwining traditional wisdom, technology, and community support. The Ayurvedic approach addresses health comprehensively, aiming to treat the root causes of various disorders. This holistic perspective aligns with Ayurveda's emphasis on balance and prevention rather than mere symptom management."
She expressed that Ayurvedic practices also encourage mindful living and spiritual well-being, recognizing the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit. This holistic perspective promotes mental health, emotional balance, and a sense of overall harmony, addressing facets of well-being beyond the physical.