I recently attended a lecture at an Allopathy college where a renowned cardiologist addressed the audience on Charaka, the legend of Ayurveda. I can’t imagine if any Allopath would attend a lecture given by an ayurvedist on Allopathy. It is Ayurveda’s misfortune that we think that an Allopath will have a superior understanding of Ayurveda. It is that same reason why many people look to the West for approval. Yoga gained popularity in India only when it became a rage in the West. The tragedy of Ayurveda is that its effectiveness is judged by standards of Allopathic drugs that are produced for the average person. Ayurvedic drugs are prescribed taking into account the prakruthi and agnibala (digestive strength) of the patient.
Drugs are often changed if it’s not suitable for the patient’s agnibala. Even after having such a refined system, ayurvedists are asked to regress and have double blind trials to prove the efficacy of a drug. The process costs crores and no one has the resources. Pharma companies are not interested as they cannot patent the formulation. Governments are yet to wake up to the treasure that is Ayurveda and allocate funds. It is to the credit and strength of Ayurveda that it has survived the negative onslaught of the British imperialism and the indifference of both Centre and state governments.
The Western elite think that such medical knowledge does not exist because they have not read about it or are ignorant about it like the earlier mentioned speaker whose talk I attended. From viral fevers to diseases of the liver, Ayurveda has a Pharmacopoeia for all. Common medicinal plants that grow everywhere should be part of botany and biology curricula. To name a few, Adhatoda vasica, Boerhavia diffusa, Tinospora cordifolia are plants that can be found almost everywhere in South India. Terminalia arjuna can be found growing in river banks and Terminalia chebula in hilly terrains. A school excursion can kindle interest in these plants.
Village schools can also be great incubation centres to start these teaching. Charaka was Ayurveda’s greatest and every Ayurveda student should be able to talk at length about him. It is part of the BAMS syllabus for the second and third years. The Charaka Samhita is a remarkable book and its fourth chapter, ‘Sutra Sthana’, lists 50 groups of drugs. In each group, he mentions 10 important drugs with similar properties. I will discuss the 10 most important drugs that can be used to treat fevers and the 10 most important drugs that promote longevity.
Drugs that bring fevers down are Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellerica, and Emblica officinalis. These ingredients are the constituents of triphala preparation. Many of us know triphala as a colon cleanser and not as an antipyretic. Similarly, we know Hemidesmus indicus as a syrup that we have with lime juice. It is a great antipyretic as it has shita veerya or cooling potency. Grapes, especially dry raisins, help cure fevers. Rubia cordifolia or Manjistha is not only a blood purifier but also helps to bring down fevers. Longevity promoters is the 50th group of the 10 drug lists. Terminalia chebula and Emblica officinalis appear in both this and the earlier. In addition, we have Tinospora cordifolia, pearl, Clitoria ternatea Asparagus racemosus, Centella asiatica and Boerhavia diffusa. For a long healthy, life people should familiarise themselves with rasayana drug preparations
with these ingredients.
The writer is retired Additional Chief Secretary of
Tamil Nadu. She can be reached at sheelarani.arogyamantra@gmail. com/arogyamantra.blogspot.com