March 20, 2023


Truth Triumphs

Health care- Allopathy be the sword and Ayurveda the shield!

GUEST COLUMN: Dr. N Prabhudev

As I have been exploring the relationship between Ayurveda and Allopathy, one common and practical theme that I see emerging is the usefulness of adding modern understanding of human body and illnesses that Allopathy has to Ayurveda to develop it further and make Health care Holistic!

Modern medical world often characterised by an undue amount of self-confidence—and a bit of dogmatism. We need to help Allopathy and Ayurveda develop to reach a point of natural convergence.

Both aggression and defence are needed to win the fight against diseases comprehensively! We must learn to listen to science! Science and evidence should lead the path to health! Retire old dogmas and make a fresh start at integration!

The whole idea of this narration is to instigate discussion, stimulate or give rise to scientific and creative reasoning for integration of Ayurveda and Allopathy systems. Vaccines, surgeries, Diagnostic methods, technology, interventions and treatment methods developed to ward off a multitude of maladies is a testament to modern medicine’s success. It is Triumph of hope and life over fear. It is triumph of science over pathology!

The combined might of America, UK, France and Italy could not stop the destructive global spread of COVID-19 from China. Nature is striking back, and humans are caught on their back foot. Health of an individual is shaped by the complex interplay of biology, socioeconomic and environmental factors.

Allopathy is highly commercialized – there is more intervention and less treatment! Ayurveda as of now cannot replace Allopathy! Ayurveda has its shortfalls because it was developed in the era where our understanding of the human body was extremely limited and when technology as we know now was almost non-existent! Ayurveda need to stand on the legs of scientific evidence and not merely on Hypothesis.

All medicines – allopathic and Ayurvedic, have merits and demerits. Which medicine is the best will depend on nature of the disease and cause of illness. Many allopathic doctors see promise in the Ayurveda. Spondylitis, spinal column alignments, disorders of liver, arthritis, cough, cold, piles as well as kidney stones are some examples of common ailments that have witnessed promising results with Ayurveda medicines.

As of now, both Allopathy and Ayurveda have their best roles in selected situations. Both systems by themselves are incomplete for comprehensive human health! Allopathy is very effective and is lifesaving in emergency situations.

Will Allopathy work for the next 200 years?
As doctors we are watching multiplication of pathogens which are becoming immune to modern drugs. Antibiotic resistance is an urgent global public health threat causing around 5 million deaths annually. There is no new Antibiotic for over a decade now! Life style diseases or non-communicable diseases do not have cures from the modern medicine!

It is unlikely for most current Allopathic medicines to work for even next fifty years. So, allopathy, at this point is more like a quick fix of curing a human body. If we look at Ayurveda, it may not be able to cure a plague or malaria or tuberculosis or an HIV that allopathy can!

Allopathy needs to learn from Ayurveda to slow down and let the body heal. Culture of Popping a few antibiotics and multi vitamins and pain killers has to be set aside. Ayurveda has to grow to be evidence based and develop scientific laboratory support.
Current Medical education is not holistic.
A major challenge facing medical education is the erosion of the clinical environment. There is also a need to incorporate technological advancements into the delivery of teaching.
Major challenge is how to incorporate different subjects, new domains of knowledge, and emergent disciplines into the curriculum in order to ensure true health. It needs to integrate molecular medicine, genetics, palliative care, complementary and alternative medicine, nutrition, medical ethics, and information technology into the existing curriculum!
No medicine system is complete in itself. Symbiotic integration of Allopathy and Ayurveda and yoga – to provide care in disease management, disease prevention, preservation, protection and health rejuvenation is more effective.

Ayurveda works by ‘defence strategy’ rather than ‘invasive strategy’ by making the host body strong to deal with various physical and mental stresses to human body. Ayurveda has to be rediscovered to understand fundamental principles and evidence‐based presentation of its therapies. Let limping medicine system run toward a new era of medicine with enhanced clinical potential, clearly defined indications and do no harm strategy for providing best healthcare system to the society.

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