Saturday, October 18, 2008

MU plans centre for research on 'Ayush'

Source: The Times Of India

LUCKNOW: With government of India (GoI) deciding to integrate traditional forms of medicine — ayurveda, unani, siddha and homeopathy (Ayush) — in

the national health system, plans are on the anvil in the Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU) to develop a centre for research and studies in 'Ayush'.
While Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha (CCRAS) has submitted a proposal requesting CSMMU to grant one acre land where an institute for studies and research in Ayurveda and Siddha can be established, the department of pharmacology, CSMMU, has applied before Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH) to fund a project for conducting research on homeopathy medicines.
"The GOI has established 32 ayurveda and siddha research centres in various parts of the country. CSMMU, if approves our proposal, would be the first in UP to have a research centre for ayurveda and siddha, where apart from studies in traditional medicines, clinical trials of various ayurveda and siddha preparations will also be done on patients before bringing them in the market," SN Upadhyay, assistant director, pharmacology, CCRAS, told TOI on Friday.
Upadhyay was in the city to take part in the two-day national conference on 'relevance of modern methods of pharmacological studies to traditional medicines' organised by the department of pharmacology, CSMMU. He along with other experts who spoke in the conference stressed on the need of enhancing traditional forms of medicine by providing them a scientific base.
Prof KK Pant, head pharmacology, CSMMU, informed that he has also submitted a project worth Rs 45 lakh before the CCRH for conducting research and drug trials of four homeopathy medicines. "Homeopathy stream has been providing treatment to people since long but we need to find out scientific evidences as to how homeopathy medicines work and use them for general welfare of the masses," he said.
For example, Prof Pant said, alloxan is used by scientists to induce diabetes in animals for research work but homeopath doctors claim that if used in low power and quantity, the compound can treat diabetes. Similarly, he said, ayurveda and siddha practitioners claim that they have treatment of cancer, diabetes etc. "But we need proof which can come through scientific analysis," he said.
Dr S Natesh, advisor, department of biotechnology, GOI, said that traditional medicines are being used in India for centuries. Clinical pharmacology can use modern techniques to evaluate their efficacy, safety and quality. We know through experience that some of these medicines work but the question is how and, whether there are any side effects," he said. "Of 34 bio-diverse hot spots in the world, three are in India. We also have a traditional knowledge base. Now the need is to apply modern techniques to make use of traditional wisdom," he said while welcoming the idea of developing an Ayush research centre in CSMMU.
YK Gupta, head pharmacology, AIIMS, New Delhi, said that the biggest strength of Indian traditional medicine is that it's based on over 5,000 years of experience. "We have infrastructure and brains to identify new drugs and formulations but the problem is that there is no road map," he said.
Dr Sanjay Khattri, pharmacology department, CSMMU, said extensive research is needed to ascertain the efficacy and safety of traditional medicines as there have been instances in US and other countries where Chinese traditional medicines proved fatal for people.
Prof Saroj Chooramani Gopal, vice-chancellor, CSMMU, also thinks that interaction between Ayush and allopathy experts would result in inter-disciplinary research leading to discovery of new medicines and drugs. She said that CCRSA proposal to set up a centre in CSMMU is a good one but there are some problems as well. "While CCRSA will provide funds and manpower for the centre, CSMMU has to provide land," she said. However, she said, some faculty members have objected to allotment of land for the said centre because there is paucity of space for many in-house projects. "But I am working for a solution," she said.