Ayurveda has traditionally been an integral part of Indian medicine. Known as alternative medicine, Ayurveda originated in India 5000 years back, but continues to be widely practised even today. The word “Ayurveda” which means “The science of Life” is based on a natural healing system and is guided by the popular belief that health and wellness need not require medicines but can be cured by means of natural ingredients and with a perfect balance between mind, nature and the body. Talking about the objectives of Ayurved she mentions that there are two principle objectives of Ayurveda :
- Swasthasya swasthya rakshanam – To prolong life and promote perfect health
- Aturasya vikar prashamanamcha – To completely eradicate the disease and dysfunction of the body.
Dr Ruchika Jha, an Independent Public Healthcare Consultant and an established name in the field, believes Ayurveda has a long way to go and will emerge as an effective healthcare system in the next few years.
Dr Jha pursued her Bachelors in Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery (BAMS) from Smt. K.G. Mittal Hospital, Mumbai and Post-Graduation in Public Healthcare Management from Indian Institute of Public Health, Delhi. She has delivered healthcare projects for WHO, UNDP, USAID with thematic areas on Integrative Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Maternal and Child Healthcare, Digital Healthcare. Prior to this, she had worked as a Residential Medical Officer cum Physician Assistant in Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgery (CVTS) department at SevenHills Hospital, Mumbai. She has also been trained at Gokuldas Tejpal Government Hospital, Mumbai and at Government Primary Healthcare Center (PHC), Palghar district, Maharashtra.
In an exclusive interview with The Optimist News, she explained various facets of Ayurveda and its growing prospect in the Indian healthcare sector.
A selected excerpt –
Ayurveda is still considered an effective care for many diseases. The Government too is stressing on Ayurveda as treatment. Do you think Ayurveda will soon become an integral part of medicine?
Definitely, I think Ayurveda will soon become an integral part of medicine. Ayurveda is not merely for the treatment of diseases; it is also for the prevention of illness and for overall health and wellness. Using specific Ayurvedic herbs and medicines in a required amount daily, boosts immunity which helps to prevent and cure many diseases and thereby helps in maintaining the overall health of an individual. As compared to other schools of medicine, Ayurveda is very effective against chronic diseases. So, there is a need for an integrative healthcare system for the health benefit of people.
The popularity of Ayurveda medicines and doctors are limited today because of more allopathic doctors already occupying the medicine field. Do you agree with this?
No, I don’t agree. Ayurveda is globally popular due to its therapeutic efficiency against most chronic diseases where modern medicines are ineffective. Also, there is a surge in Ayurveda practitioners in recent times. People are going back to their roots and feeling safe in using Ayurveda.
When you first started your Ayurveda practice what were the hurdles you faced and what kind of response did you get?
People had several myths regarding Ayurveda. I faced hurdles in making people aware that Ayurveda is not merely for prevention and curing chronic diseases but also good at prevention and cure of acute ailments. Panchkarma (Ayurvedic therapy) is not only for diseased or sick patients but also for maintaining the health of an individual by removing toxicity from the body with the help of ayurvedic herbs and medicines suitable to each individual. Moreover, Ayurveda is cost effective especially for the severe chronic diseases and the duration of treatment depends upon the severity of the case.
The number of schools and institutes imparting Ayurvedic education is still limited. What steps should be taken to open more Ayurvedic institutes so that we can have more Ayurvedic practitioners.
The government needs to promote Ayurveda for Health and Wellness on a large scale. The integration of Allopathy and Ayurveda would effectively lead to a healthy society. It is important to prioritize the health sector and empower the Primary Healthcare Centers (PHC). Increase and equal pay scale for the doctors, job security and other benefits would lead to a large number of youth choosing Ayurveda as their career. Government should also open more Ayurveda institutes and Ayurveda research centers. India has the potential to become a global exporter of Ayurveda medicine and products.
Why is Ayurveda not considered amongst modern medicines?
According to me, modern medicines are best for emergency and acute illness as it provides immediate solutions and in some acute ailments it’s cost effective too. Whereas, Ayurveda is best for chronic illness/diseases with varying severity and is also helpful in prevention of illness, maintaining one’s health while being cost effective. I feel it’s time Ayurveda is considered as an integral part of the health system with modern medicine for the overall health treatment.
How can we attract youth towards Ayurveda?
There should be a curriculum in schools and colleges which gives an overview of Ayurveda-health and wellness and also the importance of simple home remedies for healthy lifestyle. In this way, we can inculcate the concept of Ayurveda in youth.
Some of India’s top celebrities are tweeting about Puressentiel, a French wellness brand that is making its mark among the country’s rich and famous. Why can’t we do the same with Ayurveda?
Ayurveda can be used as a natural herb, medicine, in food spices, cosmetics, diet and nutrition, for indoor products like air spray etc. There are already a lot of startups in health and wellness promoting Ayurveda and making business out of it. But, there is a need for innovative, good quality, cost-effective and essential products aligning with the present lifestyle.
Wellness is considered to be a sunrise sector for our nation, the business potential is slated at Rs 500 billion approx. Can Ayurveda tap this thriving market?
Ayurveda can tap this thriving market, as there is diversity in wellness products of Ayurveda which is essential in day to day life. Also, Panchakarma (Ayurvedic therapy) can make a mark in the service segment of the wellness industry.
Do you think COVID19 will change people’s approach towards this stream of medicine?
COVID19 has definitely changed people’s approach to health more than ever before. People have realized the importance of good immunity and have started to focus on prevention of illness, and are more aware of health and sanitization. Therefore, they are all embracing Ayurveda as part of their daily lifestyle.
If both Ayurveda and wellness stay next to each other, Indians will benefit and gather knowledge to beat toxic stress and stress culture. Do you agree?
Toxic stress happens due to poor lifestyle habits and improper diet intake. Ayurveda is all about leading a healthy lifestyle and taking a proper diet. Also, the Panchakarma in Ayurveda helps to remove the stress and toxicity from the body with the help of its various therapeutic processes suitable to each individual depending upon their Pakriti (nature of the body).
Surely, Ayurveda has a long way to go!