Thiruvananthapuram, Mar. 14: Leveraging technology and scientific processes are vital in establishing Ayurveda as a holistic, sustainable and affordable wellness solution for the whole world, leading experts from across the country said today at a thematic session held as part of One Week One Lab (OWOL) at CSIR-NIIST here today.
Speaking on ‘Ayurswasthya’, the panellists said the time-tested Indian traditional system of medicine can play a vital role in addressing even serious health challenges staring at the modern world by adopting appropriate scientific and technological methods and platforms without diluting the fundamentals for the validation and regulation of drugs and procedures.
As part of OWOL, CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (CSIR-NIIST), a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt of India, is conducting a series of high-profile seminars featuring top scientists, technocrats and administrators at its campus at Pappanamcode in the city.
“Ayurveda is the knowledge of life, and as such it goes beyond the science of life. Ayurveda even anticipated serious environmental challenges like global warming and its impact on the health of living beings on the planet. But for today’s world to understand and use Ayurveda, technology integration is very much needed”, said Dr Manoj Nesary, Adviser—Ayurveda, Ministry of Ayush, opening the session.
Dr Nesary noted that the country has embarked on an ambitious interdisciplinary programme for integration of Ayurveda with technology by entering into collaborations with leading institutions within and outside the country.
Since the approach of Ayurveda itself is interdisciplinary it could easily integrate itself with proper scientific and technological processes including those relating to biophysics and biotechnology, Dr Nesary said.
Dr Radha Rangarajan, Director, CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow, said collaborations between open-minded researchers and practitioners from Ayurveda, western medicine and biomedical scientists are needed to deliver a truly integrated wellness experience.
Emphasising the need to promote research in Ayurveda in the context of modern science, Dr Radha Rangarajan, said identifying the right methodologies, broad basing clinical trials and greater focus on efficacy and safety are critical in this process.
Referring to the initiatives of Kerala in promoting Ayurveda, Dr Keshvendra Kumar, Special Secretary, Ayush, Government of Kerala, said the upcoming International Centre for Research in Ayurveda in Kannur will be a major facility for advanced research in collaboration with CSIR-NIIST
Kerala has also made advances in leveraging ayurveda for addressing lifestyle diseases, Shri Keshvendra Kumar said.
Dr P M Varier, Managing Trustee, Arya Vaidya Sala, Kottakkal, said the sense and essence of the traditional knowledge must be imbibed in the right and needed proportions while taking it forward for the wellbeing of the society.
What is needed is to adopt an approach of ‘revisit, rationalise and revalidate” through scientific and evidence-based research to make the system beneficial in today’s world, Dr Varier said.
Dr Vinod Kumar Verma, Vice-chancellor of Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, said veterinary Ayurveda is an important area which needs to be promoted.
Dr C Anandharamakrishnan, Director, CSIR-NIIST, said that the Centre of Excellence for validation and scientific incubation, coming up under CSIR-NIIST, would go a long way in providing support to Ayurvedic drug manufacturer and institutions.
“There is a growing awareness about the efficacy of Ayurveda the world over. We need to make scientific documentation of what we have been practising for thousands of years to benefit from this”, Dr Anandharamakrishnan said.
Three MoUs were exchanged facilitating commercialisation of technologies developed by CSIR-NIIST, at the function.
Dr K V Radhakrishnan, HoD, CSTD, CSIR-NIIST, welcomed the gathering and Dr K K Maiti, Senior Principal Scientist, CSIR-NIIST, proposed a vote of thanks.
Chairing a panel session on “Scientific Validation of Traditional Knowledge for Healthy India,” Dr Viswajanani Sattigeri, Head, CSIR-TKDL (Traditional Knowledge Digital Library), New Delhi, said since almost two decades, TKDL has been constantly adding information on India’s traditional system of medicine because of its commercial potential.
She said when TKDL was established, the target was only 14,000 Ayurveda formulations and now it is close to 4.4 lakh formulations of Ayurvedic systems of medicines in its database. Apart from Ayurveda, TKDL is also working on Siddha, Unani and Sowa Rigpa, which is the Tibetan system of medicine practiced in the Himalayan region.
Dr Sattigeri informed that in August 2023, TKDL will enable access to its data for all to ensure that it is not just for protection and preservation but strengthening R&D as well as trade.
“We are working on the framework for it, which would be on subscription-based model. It is a huge opportunity for researchers and MSMEs to ensure that the portfolio of the traditional systems of medicine would get enlarge,” the official added.
Dr P Ram Manohar, Director, Centre for Advanced Research in Ayurveda, Amritapuri, Kollam, pointed out the difference in research outcome and its practice.
Prof N Punniamurthy, EVM Herbal Research Centre, TANUVAS, Chennai, urged researchers in veterinary ayurveda to use animals and livestock as a base to standardise their medicine.
Dr Sanil Kumar, Director, Kerala Ayurvedic Co-operative Society, Kozhikode, stressed the need for exploring the immense scope Ayurveda offers in modern times.
Dr K V Radhakrishnan, Senior Scientist, CSIR-NIIST, was the moderator.
Dr S Rajasekharan, Former Director Grade Scientist, JNTBGRI, Thiruvananthapuram; Dr Vaidya M Prasad, Sunethri Centre for Autism Research and Education, Thrissur; Dr PR Ramesh, Chief, Clinical Research, Arya Vaidya Sala, Kottakkal; Dr Sheela Karalam B, Head, R&D, Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda Research Institute, Thrissur; and Dr Rajmohan V, Associate Professor, Ayurveda College, Thiruvananthapuram, were also present.
OWOL programme seeks to showcase the achievements of major research projects of each of the 37 laboratories of CSIR and their application for social and economic development touching diverse domains.