New U.S. study serves as blue-print for research in Ayurveda

A recent United States study, funded by National Institutes of Health, U.S. and by Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Coimbatore have proven the efficacy of Ayurvedic medicines in curing Rheumatoid Arthritis.

The study confirmed that personalised Ayurvedic interventions are clinically significant in improving rheumatoid arthritis on par with allopathy treatment, apart from having the added advantage of fewer side effects.

The study was conducted by University of Washington, Seattle, together with University of California Los Angeles. The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of Ayurvedic medicines and was a randomised double-blinded placebo controlled study. This is considered to be the gold standard in clinical research in modern medicine.

The nine-month treatment and evaluation study involved three groups with 15 patients each, suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. One group was given only Ayurvedic medicine along with placebo of allopathid medicine, another group was given only allopathic medicines with placebo of ayurvedic medicines, and the third group was given a combination of ayurveda and allopathic medicines.

Various combinations of internal and external ayurvedic medicines were prescribed to the patients, while the allopathic treatment comprised of the usual doses of drug Methotrexate. No ayurvedic massage or dhara were given to patients, nor was any other in-patient treatment method adopted. The patients who were administered the ayurvedic placebos and medicines had found significant relief and cure in symptoms.

The Head of Research team, P. Ram Manohar, Director, Research at Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, and the principal investigator, revealed that although this is only a pilot study with small sample size, the study received a major stimulus with Dr. Edzard Ernst, the First Professor of complementary medicine calling it as blue-print for research in Ayurveda.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology in June 2011. This study result serves as a major boost for the Ayurveda stream of medical management, given its lack of evidence-based medicine techniques that it has had to deal with so far.