Ayurveda is holistic; it does not try to draw a line between food and medicine, prevention and cure. The world is waking up today to this wisdom of 3,000 years. Pharmaceutical companies all over the world are working overtime developing and bringing to the market herb-based products which blur the line between food and medicine. Herbal tea for example. The healthcare and herbal segments of the traditional pharma manufacturers are merging to bring out health and nutrition oriented products for common ailments like cough, cold, dermatological and digestive problems.

In the absence of adverse side effects, the Food and Drug Administration authorities across the world approve these formulations for use without prescription from a qualified physician, in what industry parlance is referred to as OTC (Over The Counter) drugs.

According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, there are about 400 families of flowering medicinal plants of which 315 families of plants occur in India. Thus India, with both the knowledge system and the material base, has the potential to assume leadership in the pharmaceutical industry in the coming years.

“The plant properties in the Indian tradition were discovered through a method. The Indian tradition is different from that of Western science. This is described in traditional textbooks as Dravya-guna-shastra or science of the property of the materials. The challenge for Indian scientists is to develop intercultural bridges between Dravya-guna -shastra and modern Pharmacology. Such bridges can only be built when there is mutual respect and scientists feel that they own the indigenous knowledge as much as they own modern science.”

The ayurvedic pharmacology IS based mostly on herbs. In ayurvedic thinking, the converse is also true. Ayurveda considers every single herb a potential medicine. In the days of yore these herbs grew naturally in forest areas and were gathered by ayurvedic students and practitioners. Since our independence in 1947, in the last

nearly 60 years the forest cover of the country has come down to 2l. 90o/l of the total land area, the districts of the Tamilnadu and Karnataka border presided over by the forest brigand Veerappan being the only honorable exception where the forest cover in fact has grown. Today ayurveda should be released from the handicap of inadequate availability of herbs in nature.

In olden days, an ayurvedic practitioner prepared drugs individually for each of his patients. Since independence, the population of the country has grown from 345 million to 1 billion’: Doctors of today do not have the time and the patience to formulate drugs individually. There is, therefore, a need for mass production of ayurvedic drugs.

In the last over 50 years, the western science technology for converting medical knowledge methodology including clinical trials is intended to the user-patient in addition to product efficacy has developed and fine-tuned the into prescription drugs. This ensure a high degree of safety for who could believe in the knowledge of Charaka, Sushruta and other Ayurvedic seers be tapped and delivered to the populace using the productisationmethodology currently available.

This anyway is the business model that a successful pharmaceutical company The Himalaya Drug Company of India follows.

”A Weed is a Plant Whose Value has not been Discovered”

One well-known student in Takshashila (in present Pakistan) university was Jivaka who as the royal physician of King Bimbisara of Magadha (in present Bihar) acquired great fame. A stoty from the life of Jivaka merits quoting. After the completion of studies, jivakas master asked him to search for any substance within a radius of several miles, which could not be of medical use. Jivaka returned empty-handed and passed the examination proving a central belief in Ayurveda that “nothing exists in the universe which cannot be used as medicine”.

14.6.1 Pharmacology – Rejuvenation

Botanical name of Ashwagandha – WithaniaSomnifera

The Ashwagandha’ – an astringent, bitter and hot (in potency) medicine removes (defects in) Vata and Kapha (humours), white leprosy, swelling and general debility. It energises and enhances sperm.


Balyarasayanitiktakasayosnatisukrala II


prakarsambalamindriyanam I


Varnaprasadarnpavananulomyam II

The Rasayana promotes – intelligence, memory, lustre, immunity and longevity, strengthens sense organs and sexual excitement, stimulates (digestive) fire, gives (good) colour (to skin) and maintains favourable (state of )vata (wind humour).


labhetajirnoSpikutipravesat I


bibhartiruparnnavayauvanasya II

By taking this medicine, even an old man casts away all senility and bears the form of fresh youth.


Bhavaprakasa-nighantu, GuduchyadiganahSlokah -179 (Vedic period) Charaka -samhita, Siddhi -sthanam, Adhyayah 1, Slokah 74, 75 (1st Century BCE)

Current Relevance

Scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have developed a herbal stress buster. The drug ‘Composite Indian Herbal Preparation’ or CIHP-I, was prepared with 15 commonly available herbs, including ‘ashwagandha’, ‘brahmi’ and ‘chyawanprash’. The Defence Institute of Physiological & Allied Sciences (DIPAS), in association with the Army Medical Corps, has completed extensive drug trials involving over 3,000 soldiers. The ‘CIHP-I’ was found to be beneficial for soldiers serving at high altitudes, cold areas and also in low intensity conflict situations that expose them to intense stress and high altitude sickness. It was found to be effective in improving physical and mental efficiency.

Relevance of Ancient Knowledge in Modern World – Malaria Malaria is a major killer, especially in the tropics, which is home to a large number of the poor. The scientific community declared a premature victory over malaria in the 1980s, when it was thought to have been eradicated from the face of the earth. (Remember N.M.E.P the National Malaria Eradication Programme of the government of India, which did a periodical door-to-door survey to confirm that there was no occurrence of malaria.) Malaria resurfaced with vengeance mosquitoes which spread the disease and quinine which fights the disease, failing.

Professor Li Guoqiao from the Guangshou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, on a trip to the mountainous Yunnan province In1974, came across a plant called qunghao – which is mentioned as a cure for malaria in Chinese medicine books dating from 340 BCE. Prof. Li made his breakthrough in 1997 when he used artekimisminconjunction with western synthetic drugs to create Artekin.

Recent tests indicate that Artekin cures nearly 100 percent of patients and kills the blood parasite so quickly that it cannot build up resistance. By contrast, chloroquine – the most common anti-malarial drug available – has a success rate of less than 40 with the two principal weapons, DDT against In mosquitoes Sporozoite.

Arketin is effective not merely against the common form of malaria, which affects the liver, but also against the Falcibrum malaria, which affects the brain and is often fatal.This drug which represents ancient Chinese wisdom delivered in modern allopathic vehicle costs only a small fraction of chloroquine and makes It possible to reach the benefit of medicine to those that need it the most – the poor.