Among bests of India, worldwide Ayurveda has its own importance in perpetuation of healthy life style and health care. In recent decades global biomedical schools are being attracted to fundamental holistic approach of Ayurveda system of medicine and consequently have engaged themselves for researches to get evidence of quality, safety and efficacy of Ayurvedic medicines on their intrinsic parameters. Publications in support of good pharmaceutics and therapeutics of Ayurveda are not rare now. Every reputed journal of health care is carrying authentic information about Ayurveda.
Quality Control of Ayurvedic Medicines
Myth- “There is no methodology to check quality and standard of Ayurvedic Medicines so market is full of adulterated, spurious and misbranded Ayurvedic formulations”.
Truth- Since last 15 year, 10 volumes of Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India part I (seven volumes consisting of standards of single drug) and Part II (three volumes of compound formulations of Ayurveda) are being published continuously after strict screening by Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia Committee .Here it is noteworthy that APC is a high academic authority occupied by top intelligentsia of country from the field of Pharmacology, pharmacognosy, Geology, Chemistry along with Ayurvedists.
Pharmacopial Laboratory of Indian Medicine (PLIM) and Central Council of Researches in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) have published “Protocol for Testing of ASU Medicines” establishing guideline for quality control and standard of Ayurvedic Medicines.
Rule 160 has been instituted in Drugs and Cosmetics Rule 1945 for quality control and standard of Ayurvedic Medicines in 2008 which ensures establishment of Drug Testing Laboratory (DTL) throughout country. It is mandatory for each manufacturer of Ayurvedic Medicines to get certificate from these laboratory about quality and stability of their product
AYUSH Standard and Premium brand of Ayurvedic Medicines are available in open market with authentication seal of department of AYUSH, Government of India which ensure quality of Ayurvedic Medicines.Government of India is also aware about all unethical practices going on in field of Ayurvedic medicines and hitting hard to prevent these.
Stability Profile of Ayurvedic Medicines
Myth- “Ayurvedic Medicines don’t have concept of shelf life. These are forever good”
Truth- Sharangdhar Samita, treated with highest regard among Ayurveda community as part of laghutrayee, had clearly mentioned the concept of shelf life of Ayurvedic Medicines with the title “Saveerayata Avadhi” in chapter one of Pratham Khanda (first section) in verse number 55, in 13 Century AD. Here, different periods are mentioned for different dosages forms of Ayurveda for example two months for Churna, one year for Avaleha and infinite period for Asav-arishta.
With the global demand of Ayurvedic medicines for export of these medicines as medicines ,a compulsory legal requirement was aroused in first decade of this century and Govt. of India notified shelf life regulation for Ayurvedic medicines first time in 2005. This notification was opposed by academia and industry both .Subsequently governments kept it in abeyance and re notified it in 2009 with through research work from institutions like NIPER, NBRI, and CIMAP etc. Now it is mandatory to print self-life period of Ayurvedic formulations from April 01, 2010 as per norms of Government after fulfilling required criteria.
Progress is a continuous process .Therefore; Government of India is proposing more modifications in norms and concept of shelf life period of Ayurvedic medicines with all scientific input.
Safety Profile of Ayurvedic Medicines
Myth- “Ayurvedic medicines are not safe as these contain heavy metals.”
Truth - Many of the Ayurvedic medicaments are prepared using mineral/metal in combination with herbs in its natural process of manufacturing under a unique discipline of Ayurveda known as Rasa Shastra. Rasa Shastra started with a rational approach in 5th AD and flourished fully in 11th AD as an independent therapeutic branch of Ayurveda. Later it is accommodated in main stream of Ayurveda on the virtue of its quicker action, longer shelf life, good palatability and wide therapeutic range and continues in practice till date
Ancient texts of Rasa Shastra have also defined toxic effects of improperly prepared medicines containing metals in detail with their instant effective therapeutic qualities when used in properly prepared form known as BHASMA which are very much nearer to nano-particles. Precautions about therapeutic administrations of Bhasma are well addressed in books of Rasa Shastra
From last two decades concern over the safety and therapeutic uses of Rasaoushadhies (Bio Metallic Preparation of Ayurveda) has been growing. Nevertheless, contemporary treatises of Rasa Shastra are progressively validating safety and efficacy of metallic preparations of Ayurveda on scientific parameters. These equally important findings, supporting intrinsic safety of these medicines, when prepared on classical parameters of Rasa Shastra, are in circulation.
Interestingly, findings about toxic effect of these medicines as a new noble discovery in the west are not new for Ayurvedic medical practice. Instead, they are widely known to Ayurvedic practitioners for centuries. We, who are trained in Ayurvedic medicine, are well versed about the side effects of herbo-metallic medicines of Ayurveda. We have proven that use of nanoparticles, known as Bhasmas in Ayurvedic Rasa shatra have similar properties as described in nanotechnology. In concept of nanotechnology, it has been demonstrated that when materials are reduced to the nano scale they can exhibit different properties compared to their macroscale properties contributing to their unique and unfounded applications.Because of compromised manufacturing methods toxic effects of these preparations are possible. Therefore these should be prescribed, administered and monitored under a trained Ayurvedic practitioner only and should not be used by untrained practitioners or be self-administered as Triphala Churna.
Efficacy Essential of Ayurvedic Medicines
Myth: “Ayurvedic Medicines are placebo and not working effectively as medicine.”
Truth: These medicines are serving human civilization of this sub-continent know as Greater Asia much before birth of any other system of medicines . European Union Directives are permitting those medicines of traditional systems In EU which are being practiced in EU just since last 30 year without any reported adverse effects in those country and has a long history of safe practice in parent country. World Health Organization accepted Ayurveda as system of medicine after its stringent procedure for the same and supporting this system for its global acceptance.
In brief, trying to sensitize everyone about all inherent paramount properties of Ayurvedic medicines and convinced that on account of all recent advancements which are augmenting in acceptance of Ayurvedic Medicines as quality ,safe and efficacious.
Dr Nirav Joshi, Ayurvedacharya