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Scientific validation emphasized at Indo-US symposium on Indian Medicines

Scientific validation of Indian Systems of Medicine emphasized

Bangalore, 8 December 2010: The various Indian systems of medicine including Unani, Ayurveda, Siddha etc. need to be scientifically validated for demystifying the misconceptions existing about them and their worldwide acceptance. This was emphasized at the opening ceremony of the two-day Indo-US Symposium on Methodology of Research in Indian Systems of Medicine organized here at the Atria Hotel today.

The symposium was inaugurated by Mr. Shankaralinge Gowda, Secretary, Medical Education Department, Government of Karnataka in the presence of Mr. Roshan Baig, Member of Legislative Assembly from Shivaji Nagar, Bangalore, who presided over the function, and Dr. E. V. Ramana Reddy, Secretary, Health & Family Welfare Department, Government of Karnataka.

The symposium is being organized under the aegis of Indo-US joint Centre for Research in Indian Systems of Medicine (CRISM) by Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) – an autonomous organization of the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).  The Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM), (CSIR), Jammu Tawi and National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR), University of Mississippi, USA are collaborating in the event.

In his inaugural remarks Mr. Shankaralinge Gowda, Secretary, Medical Education Department, Government of Karnataka said that Indian systems of medicine (ISM) – Ayurveda, Unani Medicine, Siddha etc. - have been in vogue in this country for centuries catering to the health needs of our people. He stressed on validating the various concepts and strengths of indigenous systems of medicine scientifically in order to convince the general public as well as the scientific community in the USA and other developed countries for their global acceptability.

Presiding over the function, Mr. R. Roshan Baig, Member of Karnataka Legislative Assembly from Shivaji Nagar, Bangalore underscored the need to provide essential healthcare to the people of the country at an affordable price through the time-tested Indian systems of medicine. Lamenting on the growing five-star-hospitals culture, he said that the potential of Indian systems of medicine should be fully explored aiming at their optimal utilization in public healthcare.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. E. V. Ramana Reddy, Secretary, Health & Family Welfare Department, Government of Karnataka said that standardization and quality control of the drugs used in the ISM is a must for their promotion and propagation at international level. 

Delivering the keynote address to the symposium, Prof. S. S. Handa, Chairman, Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine said that proper execution and implementation of the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act were essential both at the State and Central Government levels for ensuring genuine and standardized drugs. He emphasised the need for quality assurance of the single as well as compound drugs used in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha systems. He said that Government of India has been giving full patronage and financial support for maximum development of these systems. He informed that six volumes of Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia having monographs on single drugs have been published and five volumes of Unani Pharmacopoeia of India have also been brought out.

Stressing on the need of developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the manufacture of compound formulations, Prof. Handa said that there was a need strengthening the infrastructure for manufacture of ISM drugs. He urged the researchers of the ISM to make good use of the scientific and technological advances for development of these systems. He said that certain guidelines for clinical trials need to be developed within these systems’ concepts, and the classical knowledge embedded in these systems must be scientifically explored. He also stressed the need for interface between these systems and the modern medicine.

Dr. G. N. Qazi, Vice Chancellor, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi said that the CRISM is a virtual body established at two places – NCNPR, University of Mississippi, USA and IIIM, Jammu and the idea behind is to develop a centre of scientific information on the various Indian systems of medicine to demystify misconceptions about them, besides designing and formulating policy for promotion and propagation and advocacy of these systems. He said the CRISM was trying to facilitate cooperation for research endeavours between the scientific community and regulatory bodies of the two countries.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Ikhlas A. Khan, Director of FDA Program at NCNPR, University of Mississippi and Director of CRISM-USA said that the scientists at the CRISM were endeavouring to develop Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha herbal and botanical products of global standards and position them in markets of the US and other developed countries and getting recognition for Indian systems of medicine. He acknowledged the support received from the Department of AYUSH for establishment and functioning of the CRISM. He said that the researchers of Indian medicine should have a global vision in all their research endeavours.

Dr. S.K. Sharma, Adviser (Ayurveda), Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India highlighted the key elements of the holistic approach of Indian systems of medicine and said that drug-related research and clinical trials in these systems were also important areas in the present scenario.

Dr. Ram Vishwakarma, Director, IIIM, Jammu said that technology of quality control in India had matured now and that in the next five years or so perception of Indian systems of medicine would change drastically. Research in Indian systems should develop in accordance with the advances taking place in systems biology, cell biology and microbiology. He said that it was necessary to upgrade regulatory environment and quality control in respect of these systems.

In his welcome and introductory remarks Prof. Shakir Jamil, Director General of Central council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) said that the ISM viz. Ayurveda, Unani Medicine and Siddha have a long and cherished history of providing essential healthcare in our country. That these systems of medicine have been in use for centuries in itself is a testimony of their efficacy and safety. The time-tested medical knowledge embedded in the classics of the ISM is the outcome of the experiments conducted by the savants of these systems adopting the methodologies in vogue in those times. But since there is no documentation of those experiments and methodologies available to-day, there is a need to develop sound scientific methodology of research in these systems aiming at finding empirical evidence to validate various concepts and strengths.

The symposium will mainly focus on research methodology adopted for validation of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani (ASU) systems and their products for market authorization in the global market. It will also take stock of the current status of research in these systems and discuss strategies for developing these systems and their products in tune with the global demand. The symposium will also provide a platform to the Indian herbal and the ASU industry and the other Research & Development institutions to showcase their strengths and approaches in clinical research and manufacture of ASU products.

The symposium is being attended by eminent national and international scientists, scholars of Indian Systems of Medicine, and experts from the US FDA, NCNPR, University of Mississippi, National Institute of Health (NIH), American Botanical Council, US Pharmacopoeia and National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).

The CRISM was set up by the Department of AYUSH at the NCNPR, University of Mississippi, USA through a memorandum of understanding signed between Department of AYUSH and the University of Mississippi in August 2008 for co-operation in the field of development of Ayurveda-Siddha-Unani herbal and botanical products of global standards. This Centre is functioning with the primary mission of facilitating internationally important joint research for the scientific validation of Indian Systems of Medicine including Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha and for creating greater awareness about these systems and their products in the US and other countries.

 

MEHR-E-ALAM KHAN,
Research Officer (Publication) and in charge of public relations
[Released by Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India]
Recd from Dr Amina Ather, Director, Indian Foundation for Rediscovering Traditional Knowledge, Bangalore

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