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We need evidence-based traditional medicine

  • Published
    11th Oct, 2023

Context

The coexistence of traditional and modern medicine systems in the contemporary world presents a dynamic landscape in healthcare. With harmonious coexistence of these systems, there is need for scientific evaluation, emphasizing the importance of evidence-based policy for a unified healthcare approach.

Coexistence of Traditional and Modern Medicine

  • Coexistence of Medicine Systems: Traditional and modern medicine systems coexist in the contemporary world. This coexistence is characterized by a diverse range of healing practices, including Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and allopathy.
  • Evolution of Modern Medicine: Modern medicine's evolution was marked by scientific advancements. It transitioned from symptom-based allopathy to evidence-based practices in the late 19th century. Advancements in technology, including anaesthesia and surgery, improved healthcare.
  • Global Scientific Exchange: In the 20th century, scientific progress accelerated, with ideas flowing more rapidly worldwide. The scientific method, emphasizing falsifiability and empirical evidence, led to the continuous evaluation and refinement of medical therapies. This underscores that modern medicine isn't bound by geography but by its scientific foundation.

Integrating Ayurveda with Scientific Evaluation

  • Ayurveda's Historical Foundation: Ayurveda has a historical basis but faces challenges rooted in outdated physiological understanding. Ayurveda's strength lies in its emphasis on evidence-based diagnosis and therapies.
  • Need for Scientific Evaluation: To enhance the acceptability of Ayurvedic medicines within the scientific community, they should undergo evaluation using modern scientific methods. It's crucial to strike a balance between respecting the holistic nature of Ayurvedic formulations and assessing their efficacy.
  • Role of the Ministry of AYUSH: The Ministry of AYUSH must facilitate the development of new investigative methods and trial designs that evaluate Ayurvedic therapies without compromising their traditional integrity.

Evidence-Based Policy for Health Integration

  • Balancing Wisdom and Progress: Government health policy should prioritize the well-being of the population. It's essential to balance traditional wisdom and scientific progress to create a unified system of medicine accessible to all.
  • Open-Minded Scientific Approach: Science thrives on open-mindedness disciplined by scepticism. Rather than denouncing traditional medical systems wholesale, there should be an evidence-based appraisal, retaining and developing what is proven to be useful.
  • Preserving Cultural and Historical Knowledge: Ignoring valuable time-honored knowledge from traditional systems in the name of science is detrimental. Cultural achievements in medicine, like the Nobel-winning anti-malarial artemisinin, demonstrate the importance of integrating diverse knowledge bases.
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