The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has endorsed Ayurveda as a successful treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis. This move signifies more acceptance for the centuries old healthcare system among the more ‘scientific’ minded community and comes following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s endorsement of alternative medical systems.
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Rheumatoid arthritis is one the most painful and debilitating conditions that can affect people and is symptomized by tender, painful and swollen joints. The damage that this causes to joints is irreversible. Allopathic treatment of this involves strong medicines with potential side effects. Ayurveda has been treating this ailment for centuries and the endorsement by AIIMS is bound to popularize it further and turn more people towards this traditional treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
According to Dr. YK Gupta, the Head of the Department of Pharmacology, AIIMS, scientific validation of alternative therapies is mandatory for the institute. They conducted a study on 125 patients suffering from RA and found Ayurvedic formulations such as Aswagandha and Sidh Makardhwaj to be quite effective against RA in relieving pain in joints and increasing mobility in most of the patients. The AIIMS doctors are convinced that the anti-inflammatory, anti-stress and immune-modulatory properties of Aswagandha whis is a plant derivative, helped relieve pain in the joints. Sidh Makardhwaj, meanwhile is a formulation of herbal and mineral ingredients.
Besides RA, AIIMS is also conducting studies to validate alternative treatments for other serious conditions including epilepsy (turmeric) chronic heart failure (the stem bark of Terminalia arjuna) and Alzheimer’s (shankhupushpi). Ayurvedic practitioners have successfully been using these plant derivatives for centuries by to treat these ailments.
With the high cost of drugs and growing concern about the adverse drug reactions, people are turning to alternative healthcare options. Therefore, scientific validation of these therapies and standardization of medicines is the need of the hour, instead of dismissing them as inconsequent.
The move also closely follows on the heels of the central government’s announcement to establish a premier institute for Ayurveda along the lines of AIIMS in the capital, and several other institutes across the nation.