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Ayurveda’s Role in Pandemic-hit Society Needs to be Scripted in History: Experts

In Health
December 06, 2023

The history of Ayurveda during COVID-19 would be incomplete without correctly identifying and scripting the roles and contributions of independent Ayurveda researchers and practitioners, who tirelessly and fearlessly provided services to the millions defying various restrictions, said experts at a global conclave here.

They were speaking at a session on ‘Experience & Research during Pandemic’ at the five-day 5th Global Ayurveda Festival (GAF 2023) at Greenfield International Stadium at Karyavattom, which concluded today.

The biennial event, the largest ever Ayurveda conclave, was organised by Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Ayush, Govt. of India; Govt. of Kerala; and various Ayurveda associations. The central theme of the event was “Emerging Challenges in Healthcare & A Resurgent Ayurveda.”

Dr. Sanjeev Rastogi, HoD, Dept. of Kayachikitsa, State Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Lucknow, said the COVID-19 reinforced the relevance of Ayurveda. This traditional wellness system proved its efficacy during the pandemic by helping to recover a lot of people left out by modern medicine.

Dr. Rastogi said independent researchers and practitioners of Ayurveda provided treatment to those who demanded it by overcoming the various challenges and restrictions imposed by the states during the pandemic.

“They emerged as saviours to many people during the second wave of COVID-19 when the mortality rate was exceptionally high and conventional healthcare system was unable to provide adequate care to all in proportion to the requirement,” he added.

“A case of severe COVID-19 with all predictors suggestive of a bad prognosis was treated well with the intervention of Ayurveda. The complete recovery was possible in next 19 days for a patient who was in the ICU for 14 days,” Dr. Rastogi said.

Citing another case, he said a family comprising four adults tested positive during the second wave of the pandemic and they were treated well at home through Ayurveda despite the observed fall in oxygen level.

Commenting on devising novel strategies for healthcare delivery during the pandemic, Dr. Rastogi recalled that a WhatsApp video consultation was initiated by State Ayurveda College, Lucknow, for the follow-up of the arthritis patients and it was a lifeline for them during the lockdown.

Dr. Pooja Sabharwal, Assistant Professor, Chaudhary Brahm Prakash Ayurved Charak Sansthan, New Delhi, said Ayurveda has various evidences for the management of communicable diseases and it is a partial truth that communicable diseases can only be managed by modern science.

She added that Ayurveda is a rich science with potential antiviral drugs, which can arrest the viral disease, but it is equally important to understand the mechanism in purview of contemporary science.

Dr. Rajmohan V, Professor, Govt. Ayurveda Medical College and Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, said an integrated approach to public health delivery where Ayurveda or traditional medicine systems services can be provided to the public with the collaboration of the local self-government is a better alternative in a pandemic scenario.

Dr. Rabinarayan Acharya, Director General, Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), New Delhi; Dr. Sujata Kadam, Dean, AIIA, Goa; Dr. Somit Kumar, CSO, Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Coimbatore; and Dr. Ashwath Rao, Surgeon, Bengaluru, also spoke.