Ayurveda gaining momentum as powerful alternative treatment option

Ayurveda is emerging as a strong alternative, and the industry is all set to reap the benefits of using technology to harness its wealth.

Ayurveda industry is gaining momentum, recording growth at the rate of 17 percent year-on-year. People in several countries have been turning to Ayurveda as the alternative treatment option for several diseases that require therapeutic benefits.

In India, although the Ayurvedic sector has some small and unorganized players, there are also companies that are investing heavily on research and development to ensure that safe, effective and evidence-backed products reach the market.

According to TL Suresh, Business Head “ Pharmaceutical Division at The Himalaya Drug Company, doctors are now recommending clinically validated herbal medicines for certain chronic ailments. Especially, when it comes to personal care, customers prefer safe and gentle products for their skin, and hence herbal skincare and hair care products are their preferred choice.

Ayurveda has not limited itself to skincare alone. It is now competing with mainstream medicines for treating lifestyle diseases that require long-term treatment like hypertension, diabetes and obesity. In fact, recent research have found that the ˜bitter gourd vegetable has a chemical in it, referred to as ˜plant-insulin that helps maintain normal blood sugar levels, he said.

The technology is immensely used to develop clinically approved medicines in Ayurveda.

Our product development process follows allopathic protocols, and undergoes toxicity tests, mutagen studies and clinical trials. At various stages, scientists use different technologies to develop effective drugs, Suresh said.

On the other side, some small companies are exploiting the term Ayurveda and trying to introduce products without proper clinical trials. The department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) have outlined guidelines for Ayurvedic firms. However, the size of market and the presence of several unorganized players are making quality control difficult, he pointed out.

Several SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) compromise on the quality either due to lack of financial support or knowledge. Government subsidies and tax rebate for such companies may help in improving quality and improve the profile of Ayurveda, he suggested.

There is huge potential for Ayurveda, and it can surely be an effective alternative treatment option, on par with the status enjoyed by traditional Chinese medicine today, he concluded.