A four-member research team from New Zealand arrived in Vellore to study the traditional healing system in vogue here, on Wednesday.
The team led by Maui Hudson, deputy director of Te Kotahi Research Institute, attached to the University of Waikato, is in Vellore under a knowledge exchange programme. The team interacted with a group of traditional healers of the Tamil Nadu Parambariya Siddha Vaidya Maha Sangam and also learnt about the preparation methods of various herbal medicines and their applications.
Hudson said both India and New Zealand were British colonies and the British had popularised the allopathic medicine system at the cost of traditional medicines. “It is amazing that India fought back to bring to the fore the Siddha, Ayurvedic and Unnani medicines. There is a good network of vaidyars in the country and a majority of the population has switched over to the native system of healing,” he said.
According to him, around 15 per cent of the Kiwi population belonged to Maori tribes who still practiced the traditional system of medicine, and added that the system was not patronised by the government there. The team seeks to understand the connection between research and community, information sharing and the efforts used by local vaidyars to sustain their practice.
The visitors would later take part in the Fifth World Ayurveda Congress to be held in Bhopal on December 8, before visiting Puttur in Andhra Pradesh to understand the traditional bone setting techniques.
Hariramamoorthy, assistant director of the Institute of Ayurveda and Integrated Medicine, Bangalore said, “We are exploring the possibility of mutual visits of vaidyars of both the countries with the involvement of both governments, to give Indian medicine better visibility worldwide,” he said.
P M Unnikrishnan, a researcher at the United Nations University in Tokyo, who was part of the visiting team and presently working on interpreting traditional medicine in the public health systems, said his focus was on networking healers from across the world by creating an interface of different knowledge systems.