Ayurveda and Yoga in the Present Covid Situation
Ever since the WHO declared the Coronavirus Disease 19(COVID 19) pandemic, efforts were made worldwide to invent a vaccine and put forward an effective treatment protocol. Even though the disease’s unprecedented massive spread challenged the entire clinical community and administration, the world carefully and courageously fought against the spread of the virus, which has now claimed more than one million lives globally. Surely, the allopathic medicine system has been counted as a potential discipline in treating the patients.
But, since the apprehensions are rampant, the virus may get mutilated, some having been detected in various regions, and may pose new challenges in tackling the disease. Fears are there that fresh and entirely different human-made or natural viruses may surface as a threat to the existence of the entire human race on the face of the earth. And hence, we have to promulgate new and effective methods to boost immunity since administering preventive vaccines and interventional treatment for every virus is improbable. It may take away the entire international community’s resources and potential. So, a system has to be developed to increase the resistance in human beings and our entire eco-system, for which India has much to contribute. A lot of activities had taken place recently in this regard.
An article published online in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine(JACM) authored by various researchers, including M D Bhushan Patwardhan, on 11th May 2020 makes a case for potential roles of Ayurvedic medicines and Yoga as supportive measures in self-care and treatment. The Ministry of Ayush recently appointed Mr. Patwardhan as the chairman of an 18-member expert group known as ‘Interdisciplinary AYUSH Research and Development Task Force’ to initiate and coordinate and mentor efforts against COVID-19.
Ayush Ministry has issued guidelines for the practitioners of AYUSH systems in treating Covid-19. The Ministry of Ayush has presented the ‘Ayush Sanjivani’ mobile application to understand the measures adopted by the public to enhance immunity and keep themselves healthy in difficult COVID situations. All those who volunteer to furnish information through this app will be making a significant contribution to the study of public health in the country. The data collected will be utilized and analyzed in arriving at a strategy to equip the Ayush systems to tackle the disease.
There has been a lot of criticism regarding the advisory issued by the Ministry. The Ministry has clarified that what they issued are only general precautionary measures to be followed in such viral diseases. Beyond doubt, both Ayurveda and Yoga can help boost the entire human race’s immunity to withstand viruses’ attack, including the present case.
It is a welcome step that the GOI has come forward with the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill 2020, seeking to repeal the Indian Medicine Central Council Act 1970 comprehensive to all the disciplines coming under AYUSH.
What is needed is a pragmatic and scientific approach without making unfounded tall claims that will question the efficacy of the system. Clinical trials acceptable to the entire world community should be resorted to. Industrial and business motives should not be allowed to mar and dilute the strictly scientific parameters, which will boost the country’s prestige. It is to be borne in mind that extensive research has not been carried out in the field of Ayurveda. Only the combination of drugs that have been put forward by ancient stalwarts is administered even while the living conditions have undergone tremendous changes. It has now become a practice to substitute the unavailable herbs and ingredients or to avoid them in the preparation entirely. Cultivation of scarcely available herbs should be encouraged, and that too according to the regions suitable to their growth to preserve peculiar qualities. The Ayurveda training should be revamped to enable the practitioners to conduct researches in the field. They should be given taxonomical knowledge to identify herbs and plants mentioned in the ancient texts.
Due to the efforts of our Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi, Yoga has now been acknowledged by the entire world. We have to observe that the bulk supply of yoga mats is coming from China. This has particularly been pointed out to highlight the fact that we are not aware of the wide acceptance of the practical application of the system of Yoga. Researches of entire texts on Yoga, including the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, have not been done or disclosed. India can emerge as a savior of the world if the scientific research into our ancient traditions is extended in the line as had been envisaged by our former Prime Minister, Shri. Jawaharlal Nehru, of course, avoiding not so reverential treatment of the Yogis who like to distance themselves from the general public and their interests.