After yoga’s success, India is ready to push and promote Ayurveda – the traditional medicine as the next world hype. This will be a battle of sorts as the Chinese acupuncture techniques have already established itself in the world. Experts say Chinese medicine has enjoyed greater acceptance from the Western medical establishment.
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Not deterred, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has thrown its support behind India’s traditional medicine system dating back 5,000 years. In the beginning of the twentieth century, Ayurveda faced its first major challenge with the ascendance of modern medicine. According to Ayurveda Magazine “over a century, a resilient Ayurveda retained its position by adapting many of the standards developed by modern medicine and its fashions including commercial marketing of Ayurveda drugs and pharmaceuticals, setting up of educational and research institutions modelled on western medical institutions, use of modern equipment and instruments for diagnosis and tracking the progression of diseases.”
In today’s times, Ayurveda is popularly used to treat diabetes and cancer. Moreover, recent researches on traditional medicine reveal that people have engrossed their lives with these therapies in one way or the other. It is more prevalent in the States of Kerala, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarkhand, Goa and Orissa.
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In an effort to push alternative medicine into the mainstream, the Indian government created Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy). In 2017, the Prime Minister inaugurated the All India Institute for Ayurveda. Sources say it treats between 1,500 to 2000 patients every day. According to the Ministry of AYUSH, the treatment in Ayurveda is holistic and individualized. It states that the preventive aspect of Ayurveda is called Svastha-Vritta and it includes personal hygiene, regular daily routine, appropriate social behaviour and use of Rasayana.
As per a report by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII-PwC), ‘Ayurveda 2.0 on the Cusp of Change’, the global Ayurveda market is expected to grow to US$10 billion by 2022. This is being driven by the health conscious younger population and ageing citizenry. The report highlights the size of the Indian Ayurveda industry at Rs 30,000 crores per annum compares well with the overall market size of the wellness industry which is put at Rs 85,000 crores. The report states that 77 per cent of Indian households used Ayurvedic products in 2017, up from 69 per cent in 2015.
The CII has pointed out two challenges- mainly shortage of manpower and shortage of quality raw materials. The report highlights that the government can explore and tap the potentials of Ayurveda. Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary Ministry of AYUSH said one of the potential avenues was education.
Meanwhile, in the past year, India has collaborated with Israel and Germany. In May 2017, the Union Cabinet approved a Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between Germany and India in regards to the cooperation in alternative medicine. A statement by the Ministry of AYUSH says that Germany has considerable interest in the traditional medicine system. The two countries also had a collaborative research project between the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) and the Charite University in Berlin on osteoarthritis of the knee. Israel’s Ichilov Hospital and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medicial Centre have also been looking for alternative medicine tie ups. It had been looking for ways to collaborate with Indian research institutions including designing and implementing clinical studies which will take place both in Israel and India.