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Indigenous Systems of Medicines: Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Yoga, Homeopathy and Naturopathy

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Ayurveda: The doctrine of Ayurveda aims to keep structural and functional entities in a functional state of equilibrium, which signifies good health. Any imbalance due to internal and external factor causes disease and restoring equilibrium through various techniques, procedures, regimes, diet and medicine constitute treatment. The philosophy of Ayurveda is based on the theory of Pancha bhootas (five element theory) of which all the objects and living bodies are composed of.

Siddha: Siddha system of medicine emphasize that medical treatment is oriented not merely to disease, but also has to take into account the patient, environment, age, habits, physical condition. Siddha literature is in Tamil and it is largely practiced in Tamil speaking parts of India and abroad.

Unani: Unani System of medicine is based on established knowledge and practices relating to promotion of positive health and prevention of diseases. Although Unani system originated in Greece, passed through many countries, Arabs enriched it with their aptitude and experience and the system was brought to India during Medieval period. Unani System emphasise the use of naturally occurring, most herbal medicines, though it uses ingredients of animal and marine origin.

Homeopathy: Homeopathy is a system of medicine, which believes in a specialized method of treatment of curing diseases by administration of potency drugs, which have been experimentally proved to possess the power of producing similar artificial systems on human beings.

Yoga and Naturopathy: Yoga is a way of life, which has the potential for improvement of social and personal behavior, improvement of physical health by encouraging better circulation of oxygenated blood in the body, restraining sense organs and thereby inducing tranquility and serenity of mind. Naturopathy is also a way of life, with drugless treatment of diseases. The system is based on the ancient practice of application of simple laws of nature. The advocates of naturopathy focus on eating and living habits, adoption of purification measures, use of hydrotherapy, baths, massage etc.

Ensuring safety of the indigenous systems of medicines

There are adequate provisions under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 for the regulatory framework and for monitoring the quality, safety and efficacy of drugs belonging to Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani (ASU) systems. Licensing Authorities are appointed by the State Governments to oversee the enforcement of legal provisions for the manufacture and sale of ASU drugs. Good Manufacturing Practices and adherence to standards of drugs as prescribed in the pharmacopoeia are mandatory for the manufacturing of licensed products to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of ASU medicines. Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani Drugs Technical Advisory Board (ASUDTAB) and Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani Drugs Consultative Committee (ASUDCC) are statutory bodies under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act to advise the Central and State Governments on technical matters and for securing uniformity throughout the country in the administration of the Act. Department of AYUSH has implemented a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Quality Control of ASU&H Drugs for strengthening of state pharmacies, Drug Testing Laboratories and Enforcement Mechanism.

The proposal to set up Central Drug Controller’s Office for Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homeopathy drugs comprising of one Drug Controller General (AYUSH), five Deputy/Assistant Drug Controllers and seven Drug Inspectors have been agreed to. Allocation of Rs. 102.00 crore has been provided for this initiative in the 12th Plan Budget.

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