Ayurveda is trusted by millions of people all over the country since it is deeply integrated with our food and daily routines. People have used Ayurveda through food and medicine and this has stood the test of time. A large population still has less faith in modern medicine.
Knowledge and awareness of alternative medicine have existed in India and other countries for many years
Indian society has relied on locally practiced traditional medical methods since ancient times. The introduction of allopathic drugs during the British era and British rulers’ disregard for Indian traditional medicine are to blame for the considerable decline of Indian traditional medicine. Traditional medicine’s expansion is also hampered by a lack of research infrastructure and ease of use. Higher funding and resources for research and development and in marketing have fostered the growth of allopathic medicine. Still nearly 70% of India’s rural population still relies on traditional medicine for their basic care.
Alternative medicine in India
The AYUSH and alternative medicine sector in India is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 8.6% during the forecast period of 2022–2027.
Ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and homoeopathy make up India’s system of alternative medicine (AYUSH). India is regarded as the centre of alternative medicine, including Unani, Ayurveda, Siddha, and homoeopathy, due to the wealth of old scientific knowledge here. The market in India is now seeing a surge in demand for AYUSH and alternative medicines as a result of growing public awareness of the usefulness and effectiveness of traditional medical systems, as well as increased government backing for these systems and expanding R&D.
India is currently one of the top exporters of alternative medicines worldwide. India is positioned to be a worldwide leader and is expected to experience an outstanding 50% increase over the course of the next five years thanks to a strong foundation in ancient Ayurveda and the large use of ayurvedic medications.
The United States and European nations like Germany and France are major export destinations. With the increase in scientific research and validation by AYUSH Ministry the sector can be a leader in global medicine. The development of the essential infrastructure and the regulatory framework, the Indian government is consistently promoting the sector.
A sudden increase in the use of alternative medicines was reported in Covid-19
A dramatic increase in the use of alternative medicines, or a shift toward them, was observed in Covid-19 due to several factors.
Early in the pandemic, fear gripped most countries due to the unknown factor. Lockdown was an acknowledgment of the fact that a treatment for the Covid 19 was not available. The lockdown further compounded the logistics and impacted medical supplies and aid for most countries. India still managed to feed the delivery systems to reach people far and beyond in different regions. .
Since a treatment was not available medical boards and professionals were experimenting with best available options. Many used available medicines for symptoms and tried different combinations. This along with the fear of the unknown prompted panic buying and hoarding of medicines even for symptoms…. Leading to further shortages and increased purchase costs. Moreover, the treatment protocols were being changed constantly and this motivated many to use the alternatives of herbal and Ayurveda. The different impacts of Covid and its long-term effects also made people switch over to the traditional approach owing to its immunity-boosting effects and lack of side effects. In this desperate Covid environment, the market for alternative medicines, such as Ayurveda, grew as a result of the rising demand for various ayurvedic products to strengthen immunity. According to a report from August 2020, since March, the demand for honey, chyawanprash, and turmeric in ayurvedic stores has increased by 45%, 85%, and 40%, respectively. The Ministry of AYUSH’s suggestions to combat Covid-19 have been the main driver of interest in these items.
An old saying is…”Necessity is the mother of invention.” Some scientifically oriented Ayurveda brands even when further and scientifically produced innovative solutions to treat Covid-19 and its different symptoms; some even found a way into the WHO Resource Database for COVID which is a sort of testimony of efficacy of Science of Ayurveda.
The incidence of diseases is higher in the 21st century owing to pollution, stress and poor lifestyles, and improper die. On this front, the WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014–2023 was designed and released in 2013, putting an emphasis on the integration of traditional and complementary medicine to advance universal healthcare and guarantee the quality, safety, and efficacy of such treatments.
To ensure that everyone has access to basic healthcare, the world is searching for traditional medical systems that are affordable, conveniently accessible, and more physiologically compatible.
In light of the above, alternative protocols such as our normal kitchen herbs and condiments, which are based on traditional knowledge, and oil serums based on science (Ayurveda Nanocellopathy), are being looked up to.
Also let not forget, modern medicine was created considerably later than humans. The best system for healing the body was nature. It’s just that, because there hasn’t been any research or scientific validation, the traditional sciences have morphed into alternatives. As we witnessed in Covid-19, scientific research is urgently needed to build people’s trust in alternate medicines. A shining example of scientifically validated alternative protocol is the inclusion of 2 poly herbal compounds that are part of the WHO Research Database for Covid. More such research will enable mankind to revert to the use of Ayurveda with confidence (and not due to force of habit or lack of resources or access to allopathy) in its therapeutic ability. This is the way forward to grow this sector which is safe, effective and easily accessible and can be blended into one’s lifestyle.
I am not propagating that one system is superior to another. None can be. However, when people are in distress they search for different solutions. The need of the hour is to respect different approaches and build on different systems to create a healthcare system that allows people informed choices and a level playing field.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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