THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : In what is being touted as a first-of-its-kind accomplishment, the ayurveda stream of medicine has found new vigour in Kerala with as many as eight doctors from the state obtaining PhDs. According to the doctors, research is paramount for any field of study, the results of which will further enhance its practice. This is exactly the need of the hour, they say.
Dr Asha Sreedhar, one of the PhD grantees, observes that such research can aid in ayurveda getting wider acceptance among the international community since most research is analysed on the basis of international scales of reference. “Hardly any ayurveda doctor is are taking up research. My subject of study was the human papilloma viral infection. I focused on 105 patients with the infection who were diagnosed at RCC. They were given medical intervention and results were phenomenal. The trial also garnered positive feedback,” says Dr Asha, professor and HOD, ayurvedic gynaecology, Government Ayurveda College, Thiruvananthapuram.
The PhD programme offered by Kerala University was launched a few years ago, but the absence of qualified research guides was proving to be an obstacle with only one ayurveda doctor holding a doctorate in Kerala thus far. Although the university decided to allow all government ayurveda doctors with over 10 years of experience to act as guides, the proposal was soon withdrawn. Thus Dr M A Shajahan, former vice-principal of Government Ayurveda College, Thiruvananthapuram, became the sole guide for 11 ayurveda doctors enrolled in the PhD programme.
Seven ayurveda doctors have so far successfully obtained their PhDs while others are undertaking research. “To prove ayurveda’s effectiveness, we have been using modern tools and scales of reference and validating it with scientific data. However, developing societal knowledge is also key. So more research papers need to be published,” says Dr Shahina Mole S, professor, obstetrics and gynaecology, Government Ayurveda College, Thiruvananthapuram.
Dr Shajahan believes that medical science needs to be evidence-based and only research can enable this. “While we follow the scientific principle, what would further help is empirical backing. All 11 PhD aspirants have taken concepts from classical texts, researched them and have sought to provide scientific backing. Research is the need of the hour,” says he.