From an Alternative to a Preference:
Growth of Ayurvedic Treatment in India By Nitika Sawhney
With the United Nations declaring June 21 as International Yoga Day and celebrations across the country in full swing, the impact of India's traditional science and culture is vivid. Yoga, Ayurveda and other natural therapies are few such practices that pose far reaching effects on physical health and mental peace.
Ayurveda, in particular, affects the cell-mediated immunity! The medicinal techniques used, take the remedies to the cell interiors, thereby facilitating healing. More than 5,000 years old and in constant practice since then, Ayurveda is rapidly spreading from the rural community to urban population. A 2014 survey in Uttar Pradesh's state Ayurvedic hospital revealed that more and more patients are opting for Ayurveda in order to:
• protect themselves from the side effects of allopathic medicines
• bring down cost incurred on medicine
• get benefits that modern medicine doesn't offer
Similar surveys conducted in other parts of the country showcase an increasing shift towards Ayurveda, especially because it heals diseases from the root. Diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, arthritis, and various other chronic ailments have been cured in a large set of patients.
Growth of Ayurveda
When we say there is a growth in Ayurvedic treatment in India, it also largely means that the preference is more public now. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, promoting traditional medicines; and the election of Shripad Naik as the minister for yoga and traditional medicine, are apt examples of the boom Ayurveda is experiencing. In consequence to the ongoing governmental push, India aims to expand its presence in the $100 billion global market for alternative medicine; of which Ayurveda is a big part. In real sense, this is the growth of Ayurveda!
Why the shift?
One of the primary causes behind Ayurveda's wide acceptability is the adversity of modern drug reactions and economic burden patients need to helplessly bear with. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has also joined the bandwagon, with one of its studies confirming that certain Ayurvedic formulations are effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which causes irreversible joint damage.
Ayurveda market is growing at a rate of 10 to 15 percent annually. Stressing on the impact, Dr. VM Kumar, president of the Central Council of Indian Medicine, at a press conference this month, said that Ayurveda-based Amritadi Guggulu will replace antibiotics in India. The $20 billion global stake of herbal health care products is estimated to reach 5 trillion dollars in the future. In the light of such scope, Experts at the National Arogya Expo 2015 advocated that Ayurveda should not be considered an alternative and its reach must be expanded beyond India. The need of giving more importance to Ayurveda in the state's public health system also came up. A small but significant step in this direction was seen when the Chief Minister of Goa announced the inclusion of Ayurvedic treatment in the universal medical scheme, Deen Dayal Swasthya Seva (DDSS).
Talking about the promoters, Jiva Ayurveda is one influential example. With the aim of 'taking Ayurveda to every household', Jiva plans to add 25 more centers across India, including Mumbai, Bhopal, Indore and Mujafarnagar. The health care provider also has the world's largest telemedicine center, which is offering Ayurvedic consultancy and treatment services to patients in 1500 towns and cities of India.
With increasing consumer awareness in terms of health services and proven benefits of Ayurveda, it is quintessential that the focus on traditional sciences is amplified so that the benefits can be availed by the masses.