Articles on traditional medicine

Acupuncture - the Ancient Medicine With Modern Outlook

Dr. Gurudatta H K, Yoga and Naturopathy
Acupuncture is one of the “drug less therapies”, based on the philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and recognized by WHO, and is a treatment of choice for several chronic ailments.It involves the inserting of very fine, pre-sterilised, one-time use disposable needles on acu-points skilfully by a qualified Doctor.The “acu-points” are energy points located on the energy meridians, which are imaginary pathways through which the energy called Qi (pronounced as 'chee'), flows all over our bodies to maintain a state of homeostasis.Qi is the vital energy or power that animates and supports the functions of the body and provides nourishment for the entire body. When Qi becomes 'blocked' or its supply starts to become inadequate or excess, the body and organ systems become 'stressed out' and our health starts to get compromised.The Qi imbalances are determined by a thorough evaluation by a Doctor, along with Pulse & Tongue diagnosis. Even modern diagnostics are also taken into consideration.By inserting the acupuncture needles on the acu-points and manipulating them, either manually or electrically, causes the energy flow to get normalised once again and there by eliminating the disease condition.This means that, acupuncture treats not only the symptoms but also gets to the root of the disease and holistically addresses our body, breath, mind & intellect.Typically everybody has some apprehensions regarding the pain while inserting the needles. However the extent of such pains depends on the skill of the doctor and the quality of needles used. Generally, the finer & sharper the needles, the lesser are the pains.The science of Acupuncture requires a thorough knowledge of the human anatomy and physiology, the underlying pathology and an understanding of Chinese traditional philosophy, to effectively manage ailments.Therefore I would like to recommend that all readers consult qualified & registered practitioners and to also check for the quality of needles used. Thereby the treatment sessions can be much more comfortable, leading to better recovery from your health problems.There are a number of diseases which can be effectively managed by acupuncture therapy. To mention a few:Cervical Spondylitis & SpondylosisLumbar Spondylitis & SpondylosisLow back & Neck painSciaticaOsteo-arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritisMigraine headachesRecurrent Stress Injuries (RSI) Post Herpetic NeuralgiaFacial Palsy (Bell's Palsy), Trigeminal NeuralgiaAnxiety & Depression disordersInsomnia & Sleep disordersMale & Female infertility problemsMenstrual disordersHypertensionStress & Pain managementSide effects of ChemotherapyOver the last 3 - 4 decades, the practice of Acupuncture has grown spectacularly in the Western world and a significant amount of research & development has been promoted & funded by the National Institute of Health (USA). All the modern studies have indicated that Acupuncture therapy results in the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins, which heal our body & mind. Recent studies on fMRI also have indicated that upon inserting needles on acu-points, several changes in the neurons of the brain are effected, which bring about a balance of our functions & emotions.

Is Ayurveda Alternative Medicine?

Dr. Kaustubh Kane, Ayurveda
Ayurveda is part of alternative medicine.As today, there are many people who are vary of harmful side effects of modern medicines (Allopathy), there has been a growing so-called ‘trend’ of ancient holistic medicines such as Ayurveda in western countries. We Indians have a bad habit of accepting things which arise or develop in western countries. For e.g we didn’t accepted ‘Kalripayat’ (form of ancient fighting skillset), until it was converted into ‘Karate’ by Japanese monk and made famous by Hollywood in early 80’s. Same ‘trend’ is being carried with Ayurveda, people doesn’t realize strength of our own system until any outsider tells its worth. Another such example is ‘ghee’. For many years allopathy doctors have been advising to avoid ‘ghee’ for cholesterol problems on basis of their previous study, but recent studies have shown that ‘cow ghee’ contains high density lipids which are necessary for human body and also important factor for reducing harmful cholesterol, which Ayurveda had been advising for so long. Comparatively modern science is very young and developing and is incomplete science. It only believes seen knowledge which in Ayurveda is stated as “Pratyaksha praman”. Modern medical science needs to develop because it is incomplete. Whereas Ayurveda is a complete science, I am not stating that research should not be done or can’t be done in Ayurveda, but like numbers in mathematics (0-9), it is all. All other numbers are permutation and combinations of these. Even basic maths like plus, minus, multiply, divide are researched and proved themselves over period of time, no matter how much research is done now it is not going to change. Same is the case with Ayurveda no matter what you research, it is a science which has been researched and proven (e.g. no one can add even 1 doshas in existing 3 doshsas or substract one).Even the word Ayurveda itself is very meaningful –“Aayu   + ved = Ayurveda (Life) + (Science) = Science of life. As the name suggests Ayurveda has very detailed description of every aspect of not only health but of life.Everyone today refers to Ayurveda as alternative and to some extent lower level or poor science and is frowned upon. Just because western thinking doesn’t accept or know any other science doesn’t make it less important. Many Indian doctors have termed Ayurveda as old, outdated and non-scientific. Worst part, they spread this to patient without any true knowledge about it. YES Ayurveda is old but does that make it non-scientific?"Humans are afraid of the unknown”Just like any other science i.e physics, chemistry etc. Ayurveda has its postulations, assumptions, theories, and then field applications to prove those theories. In fact Ayurveda has been gradually developing science rather than a one person contribution.How can a science of around 5000 years termed ‘Alternative'? If Ayurveda is approached as first choice many regular and bigger health problems can be avoided before it even happens. Why to Cure, when we can Prevent it from happening? So instead of being afraid of it, get to know Ayurveda. Experience the beauty of natural healing.

4 Dry Skin Care Tips and Home Remedies for Middle-Aged Women

Dr. Amee Daxini, Dermatologist
It can be challenging to look beautiful in all ages, especially in the middle age. As you enter in the middle age, it is quite difficult to care as fine lines and wrinkles are more visible. So, it is advisable to take extra care of your dry skin in the middle age. Our skin produces natural oil which helps the skin to hold the moisture in it. But due to age these oils depleted, results in fine lines, itching, and flaking. Try these 4 smart strategies to maintain your skin from dryness and look flawless in every age:Relay on Sun Screen - According to the studies, sun rays are the major cause of dry skin problem. So, sunscreen lotion should be must have lotion in your skin care kit. The harmful UVA and UVB rays absorb the natural oil and which in turn accelerate itchiness, fine lines and wrinkles. Prefer a sunscreen with an inbuilt moisturizer. Always use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or more every day.Healthy Diet, Healthy Skin –Many women are unaware of the fact that our skin has unique nutritional and vitamin needs. It is advisable to include foods rich in Vitamin C in your diet. Add foods like leafy greens, broccoli, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, berries and papayas in your day to day diet. It will help in boosting natural oils in your skin and reduce the inflammation caused by sun rays.Use a night cream – On a daily basis, our skin requires a rest from pollution and stress. To clarify and regenerate your skin, use a night cream while going to bed.It not only hydrates your skin from dryness but also act as an anti-aging cream. For middle-aged women, it is recommended to use a night cream,which contains ingredient like amino acids, ceramides, retinol, peptides, soy extract and vitamins.Home remedies – Checkout the below home remedies to get rid of dry skin problems:a) Papaya peels– It is one of the most effective home remedies for dry skin. Take one slice of papaya and peel it. Apply this paste on face and leave it for 15-20 minutes. Wash it properly. It nourishes and provide natural moist to your dry skin.b) Aloe Vera–Aloe Vera is the best treatment for all dry skin problems. Apply gel on face and leave it for 30 minutes. It will prevent your skin from drying as well as protect it from dust. Use natural gel instead of a ready-made gel.So, what are you waiting for? Use these tips to say bye-bye to dry and itchy skin & say Hi to flawless and wrinkle-free skin. 

Ayurveda - Why Opt for This Treatment?

Dr. D S Rathi, Ayurveda
Eight Reasons to Choose Ayurveda1. Ayurveda is Scientific Medical SystemAyurveda is not a magic or just a Grandma’s Home Remedy, it is a detailed medical science that can be learned in an institution. It has detailed description on Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology, Pathology and even Surgeries. The tasteless powders and bitter liquids have great scientific value and are very effective. Medicines are carefully chosen as per the basics described in Ayurveda and have power to heal various complicated diseases. Ayurveda not only enrich us with the medical knowledge, but also tells us how to improve the social, ethical, intellectual & spiritual life of a human being.2. Ayurveda is purely based on natural productsAyurvedic Medicines are prepared from natural products including herbs and minerals. These are highly nutritive and have great medicinal properties. Each herb is unique in its healing properties and can be used in different forms for the treatment of different diseases. Herbs can be used as a single drug or in combination with other herbs. These herbs can be given in various forms mainly including powders, bhasms, liquid syrups, decoctions, tablets etc.3. Ayurvedic Medicines do not have any Side EffectsAyurvedic medicines are harmless and non-toxic therefore it can be taken for longer periods without causing any side effects in chronic ailments. There is no side effect on liver or Kidney. Infact most of the ayurvedic medicines are Hepato-protective (Protects Liver). Unlike other synthetic drugs Ayurvedic Medicines are Body-friendly which gives only benefits and no side effects.4. Ayurveda cures the DiseasesAim of Ayurveda is to heal the disease from its root cause. It is very effective in treating almost all kind of disorders especially Skin Problems, Digestive Problems, Psychiatric Problems, Sexual Problems, Gynecological Problems etc. It even improves the life of patients having Cancers. The greatest benefit of Ayurvedic Treatment is the concept of Individualized Treatment that gives support and strength to many parts of the body at a single time which in turn helps in treating various health issues of an individual.5. Ayurveda detoxifies the BodyAyurvedic medicine encourages cleansing of the body from outside as well as from inside. It removes all the toxins accumulated in various tissues of the body by means of certain medicines and by a special Detoxification Treatment Procedure known as Panchkarma Treatment. This technique is used in long standing cases who are not getting relief from medicines. It is not only limited to physical cleansing but also gives relaxation to the mind and soul.6. Ayurvedic Medicines improves DigestionAyurveda believes that a poor digestion is the basis of majority of diseases. A lot of diseases can be prevented and treated by regularizing the digestive system of an individual. Proper digestion makes sure the better absorption of food materials, nutrients and medicines. Almost all Ayurvedic treatment planning includes regularization of digestion of a patient so that there is quicker absorption and better availability of medicines in the body.7. Ayurvedic Medicines improves Immune SystemAyurvedic Medicines makes the body strong enough to fight with diseases by increasing the immune power of the body. Ayurveda tells us about Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Diet and Medicinal Treatment of illnesses which in turn keeps the body healthy and away from diseases. Ayurvedic drugs help in strengthening the body’s defense mechanism and to keep the Immune system strong so that illness has less of a chance of settling in.8. Ayurveda improves Overall Quality of LifeAyurveda focuses on treating the body as a whole rather than treating only the disease. So, the treatment of one problem through ayurveda improves the overall health of an individual. Balancing all the basic components of the body is the key concept in ayurveda. It treats not only the disease but corrects the balance of doshas in the whole body making the individual healthy in every manner.

Lower Backache - Getting the Facts Straight

Dr. Yogesh Pithwa, Spine Surgeon
· What are the causes of low back pain?Low back pain can be caused by various causes that may be located within the spinal column or outside the spinal column.Causes outside the spinal column include pancreatitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, intra abdominal or pelvic tumours, and peripheral neuropathy.Causes related to the spinal column include postural causes, osteoporosis, degenerative spinal instability, spinal tuberculosis, inflammatory spondylitis such as ankylosing spondylitis, vertebral tumours, intradural tumours, tethered cord syndrome, fatigue pains in spinal deformities.· How does the doctor diagnose the exact cause of low back pain?An accurate history is the most important diagnostic tool. The way the pain started and progressed; specific aggravating and relieving factors of pain; distribution of pain over your body, associated complaints such as weakness or numbness over the lower limbs will be a guide to short listing the possible causes of your low back pain.A detailed clinical examination involving assessment of spinal motion, assessment of your neurology and certain special tests will allow to further narrow down the causes to 2-3 most probable ones.Though this process of history-taking and clinical examination may appear boring and long-drawn, it is the most crucial part towards prescribing the correct treatment to you. So, it is essential to cooperate with your doctor throughout this entire procedure, which gives more information to the doctor regarding your ailment than any other investigation on earth.· What are the investigations routinely ordered in low back pain?On the first visit, if your problem is short-lived and there are no major signs or symptoms, you may not need any further investigation. However, if your problem has been present for some time, or if there is some history of trauma, fever, any other major illness, or any unusual findings on clinical examination; you are likely to require some further investigations.Commonly, plain x-rays of the spine may be ordered with or without some basic blood investigations such as hemoglobin, erythrocyte sedimentation rate [ESR], CRP, RA test, serum calcium, phosphorus and alkaline phosphatase.Based on these tests, or sometimes, in the presence of some very significant signs or symptoms, you may be asked to undergo MRI scanning. Plain x-rays demonstrate bony features; while MRI demonstrates the spinal cord, its nerve roots, the intervertebral disc between the two bones of the spine. Both these tests are complementary in nature; doing one does not necessarily mean that the other one is not needed.In some cases such as peripheral neuropathy, additional investigation in the form of EMG-NCV test, to assess the function of each of the various nerves in your limbs may be required.Rarely, a nuclear bone scan may be asked for.· Can this condition be treated without surgery?The treatment would naturally depend on the exact cause of your low back pain. As far as postural and chronic mechanical low back pain is concerned, it can generally be treated without surgery. Various nonoperative means of treatment include bed rest, painkillers, muscle relaxants, various modalities such as heat and electrical stimulation, activity restrictions, etc.During the acute period of back pain, complete bed rest is helpful. If you sprain one ankle, you can hop on the other one and still continue to walk. But you have only one spine! So, the only way to give rest to it is to go to bed! Among all the positions; sleeping, sitting, standing and walking, the load on the spine is least in the sleeping position. How should you sleep? You should sleep on your side, either right or left, whichever is comfortable, with a pillow in between your legs. What kind of bed should you sleep on? A cotton mattress is ideal! No need to sleep on hard beds, nor do you need to fall for any kind of so-called “spine-friendly” expensive mattresses sold out in the market! This bed rest should be for a period of 2-3 days. During this period, you should eat, drink and sleep in the bed. Only sponge bath is allowed. Ideally, you should not get up even to visit the washroom; you should use a bedpan or urine-pot. However, if this is too much of an inconvenience, you may be allowed to get up to use the washroom alone. How long should you take bed rest? If the pain has to respond to bed rest, it will do so within 2-3 days; continuing beyond this much time only further weakens your spinal muscles without really decreasing your pain; in other words, beyond 2-3 days, complete bed rest will do more harm than good to your back.Painkillers will be prescribed to allow a smoother and easier return to normal function. You would generally be prescribed these on a shorter term or on a longer-term tapering program so as to guard against possible over dependence on these agents, as these are associated with significant side effects if used excessively in the long term. These side effects may range from hyper acidity, gastric ulcer, kidney damage, bleeding disorders, constipation, addiction, etc. In addition, based on individual merit, you may also be prescribed muscle relaxants so as to relax and soothe your back muscles. Based on the cause of your low back pain, you may be prescribed steroids, antibiotics, calcium and Vitamin D supplements, etc.Physiotherapy modalities may be used. This consists broadly of passive and active physiotherapy. During acute pain, generally, only passive physiotherapy would be used. This would be in the form of heat in various forms or electrical stimulation in various forms. Simplest form of this therapy is the “grandmother’shot water bag”, a simple home remedy. Since complete bed rest has a more scientific role in relieving your back pain, in the acute phase of your back pain, it would not be recommended for you to travel every day from home to the hospital for purposes of physiotherapy; unless of course, if you are admitted into the hospital for complete bed rest!Though complete bed rest would be prescribed only for 2-3 days, you would need to have some activity restrictions to help your spine get back into shape and stay that way!! You would not be allowed to bend forwards; sit on the floor; lift weights; use the Indian type of commode [toilet-chairs are available on rental basis as well as on sale in many medical shops]; travel [particularly not on 2 and 3 wheelers]; and smoke. These restrictions would begenerally enforced for a minimum period of about one month. Smoking would be forbidden lifelong!· When and what is the nature of surgery, if necessary?If the above-mentioned non operative treatment fails to give good relief after a period of at least about a month, you are likely to require surgical intervention for permanent relief of your low back pain. Notable exceptions to this very simplistic statement include thepossibility of infection, significant injury, malignancy, intradural pathologyand spinal deformities.The surgery would aim to correct or control the underlying disease. Most surgeries for pure back pain without lower limb pain would be of two broad categories;the first one would involve replacement of the damaged intervertebral disks [the “shock-absorbers” of the spine] and the second one would involve some form of stabilization. What does this mean? The spine is made up of multiple individual bones joined together by various ligaments and joints. This facility has been provided by nature so as to allow smooth movement of the spine; however, when the spine begins to move abnormally, it is termed as having become “unstable”! Surgical intervention aims at either replacing the damaged disk with an artificial disk and thereby correcting the abnormal motion or by abolishing the abnormal motion altogether by fixing it with rods and screws. The first type of surgery is generally offered to patients with sedentary lifestyle and the second type of surgery is generally offered to patients with high functional demands on the spine. These artificial disks, rods and screwsare made of body-friendly metal and would not generally need to be removed atany later date as the body tolerates these well even if left lifelong! Are there any risks associated with this form of surgery? Rather than asking yourself this question, it is essential to ask the question as to what are the risks of doing the surgery versus not doing the surgery? Only if the risks of doing the surgery outweigh the risks of not doing the surgery; only if the benefits of surgery outweigh the risks of surgery in a significant way, would you be recommended surgery! It is important to realize this as nothing in life comes without an element of risk; even the simple act of walking out on the street is fraught with risk, which we know may sometimes be life threatening too! So, do not confine your life to months and months of futilebed rest for misplaced fears of spine surgery. Discuss the details of your surgery and its attendant risks with your doctor to quell any fears and to clear any and every doubt of yours! If you so desire, your doctor can even arrange to give you references of patients who have undergone similar surgeries.· Can I do something to prevent the recurrence of low back pain?Your spine is made up of multiple bones stacked one on top of another, like a pile of bricks! If you tap on the top of this pile of bricks, everything is going to come crashing down! The analogy here is that the spine is inherently a very unstable structure. The muscles that surround it provide its stability. So, your exercises would aim at strengthening these muscles. It is not just the strength of individual muscle that is important; it is important to have good coordination among these as well. If one side is pulling, the other side has to relax. Based on your pain pattern, the exact muscles that need to be strengthened and coordinated would be identified and you would be started on appropriate exercises. These exercises are not advisable during the acute phase of pain as they may aggravate the pain in most of the instances.Among all the positions; sleeping, sitting, standing and walking, the load on the spine is highest in the sitting position, as the weight of the body is directly transmitted to the spine. So, it is not advisable to sit for prolonged time. If you have a job on hand that demands continuous sitting for 6-7 hours, sit for 15-20 minutes and then get up and walk around for about 5 minutes. This will give you as well as your spine amuch-needed break! Also, due to the same reason, sitting on a 2-wheeler or a 3-wheeler or any 4-wheeler with poor shock absorbers [such as a jeep], is likely to cause significant jerks and jolts to your spine. So, for a healthy spine, stay away from these! Additionally, prefer to sit on a chair with comfortable arm rests; this would help in facilitating a good part of the body weight to be transmitted through the upper limbs, giving a much-needed respite to your spine. Your chair should have a backrest. It is advisable to have an anatomically contoured back rest so as to conform to the hollow that is present in your lower back. If this is not so, then you can usea small pillow as a filler for the hollow of your lower back. Always sit in a comfortable upright position, neither should you slouch nor should you pull yourself up in a military position.Having a big protuberant stomach shifts the weight-bearing axis to the front of the lower spine, leading to back pain. So, watch your paunch and your body weight! What is the ideal exercise for weight reduction for spine patients? Brisk long walk for an hour everyday! This walk has to be brisk, not a casual stroll!Further information on this problem can be had from

Are Ayurvedic Medicines Same and Safe for Everyone? Yes and No

Dr. Neelam Nath Bhatia, General Physician
Science of Ayurveda relies on personality of a person. Since not even 3 daughters of same mother have same personality, medicines for all the 3 of them too are different.We have 3 types of personalities- Vatta, Pitta & Kapha.Vatta is like Air- Flighty, go getter,intelligent ,thin,result oriented and prone to lots of Stress, be it of the healthy kind showing positive results.Pitta is like Water- Cool, Accepting reality,balanced human but a bit suspicious but giving anyway.Kapha is like Mother Earth- giving lots but expecting lots in return & may not be getting as much, prone to Abuse, Trusting kind & less of a Always on the move.If medicine for cool person is given to a flighty person, it is harmful for sure.Ayurveda medicine is a system of medicine with historical roots in Indian Subcontinent and it has Nothing to do with Hindu Religion. This Science is equated to way of life like Hindu religion is.In The Western World Ayurveda Therapies and practices (which are manifold) have been Integrated in General Wellness applications and as well in some cases in medical use.It is believed that medical knowledge is transmitted from Gods to sages, and thence to human Physicians. Thus the Sushurta Samhita narrates how Dhanwantri,the "greatest of mighty celestial"incarnated himself as Devodasa ( servant of Gods),a mythical king of Varanasi,who taught a group of wise physicians including Sushurta himself.The Science has evolved over centuries, more than 2 millennia.Therapies are based on complex Herbal Compounds, but no scientific studies have been done. Ayurvedic doctors regard physical existence, mental existence & personality as a Unit. Diagnosis of illness is made by feeling the pulse, vision, speech, appearance tongue, hearing (all of 5 senses.) There are no tests advised as a routine and treatment should be taken from learned FEW Only.Ayurveda is getting popular through word of mouth as of today.Flax seeds do reduce bad fats in blood.Lemon & honey with warm water taken on empty stomach does reduce weight.No harm in doing Surya Namaskar for 20 minutes- it is best way to get natural Vitamin D,the Sunshine Vitamin.Pure Ghee is now promoted by Allopaths also but to be taken in moderation only as good fats are essential to our body.But Do Not Follow Advice of Each other without Looking Within & knowing your own bodies.There is No Harm In Combining Allopathic Medicines with practices of Ayurveda which is a Way of Life.Happy Ayurveda Day to everyone reading this.

Integrative Medicine - an Evidence Based Approach

Dr. Kshamashree Madle, Yoga and Naturopathy
WHO defines Health as not mere absence of Disease but complete, Social, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual well-being. Thus by definition, a Complete medical solution should encompass all aspects of life of a person. Integrative Medicine emphasizes the relationship between various systems of medicine and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both Conventional (Allopathic Medicine) and Traditional (e.g. Yoga, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Nutrition etc.)National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) defines Integrative Medicine as – that which combines main stream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness. Conventional medicine is often expensive and invasive but a preferred choice in acute care and surgical corrections. To fill the lacunae left by Conventional Medicine there is a need for another type of medicine that is a complete system of medicine in itself and can be complementary to Conventional Medicine. Traditional Medicine systems world over have now been in focus because of active research going on that now has provided enough evidence that it can act as a partner to Conventional Medicine in creating an Integrative Medicine eco-system. These traditional systems of medicines are closer to nature, affordable, less invasive and are proven to be more effective in chronic disease management. The basic criteria for choosing which system of medicine to integrate are:Evidence Backed in treatments for chronic ailmentsPossibility of Functional Integration of therapies based on what best therapies each system can bring rather that taking all therapies from one system aloneNon-Pharmacological, Less Invasive, more natural and use body’s own healing responseFocused on Prevention and Positive Promotion of Health than only curing a diseaseSystems of medicines which can be integrated with Conventional medicineMind body medicine such as YogaEnergy medicine such as AcupunctureHerbal medicine such as Ayurveda

Generously Generic: Know Your Medicines

Dr. Tanoy Bose, Internal Medicine
One fine winter evening when I was consulting a 45 year old obese fair lady who actually forgot to bring her past health records, I enquired about the medicines she is taking on daily basis. She recollected a few brands which I noted down. On asking whether she is on Aspirin or Thyroxine, she denied of such drug but quickly recollected that she takes Eltroxin 50mcg and Ecosprin AV75mg daily. Well, she did not know that the active ingredient of Eltroxin is Levo Thyroxine and that of Ecosprin AV is Aspirin & Ator vastatin combined. The former is given to replace thyroid hormone deficiency to those who are hypothyroid and the latter is usually given to those who are suffering or are at the risk of developing coronary artery disease. If I am not that very wrong, more than 95% of patients do not remember medicines by their generic names. So what difference does it make? Well, it’s the money that matters. For those who are ill-informed, the market prices of most of the drugs of regular as well as special use are tagged with exceptionally high price just for the sake of an industry.The statistics from McKinsey & Co. states that the growth rates of Indian Pharmaceutical Industry is compounding at 12 to 14% per annum since last 5 years and have projected the value of the industry is going to be around $20 to $24 Billion by 2015. This growth would be driven primarily by rising incomes, and be supported by five other factors: enhanced medical infrastructure; rise in the prevalence and treatment of chronic diseases; greater health insurance coverage; launches of patented products; and new market creation in existing white spaces. If we zero down to the basic issue of generics versus branded drugs it is the pocket pinch that matters. I don’t think if quality is assured, people will love to shell out more for a branded drug rather than buying a generic product.What are generics?All drugs are products of research. They are born in a research laboratory and end up in a pharmacy shop. Whatever be the results of the research product in the laboratory, their usage in general public for any particular indication is highly regulated by the US FDA. Financially the companies have to bear a huge burden to research and develop a drug, undergo clinical trials for them in phasic manner and further make them available for general prescription. Further, after the drug is launched and approved by USFDA the company holds a patent for the drug for say tenure of 10 to 12 years. Hence, during this period the cost of drug is very high as the company needs to recover the cost of R&D. However, after lapse of license,the drug molecule is available for other companies to copy and rebrand and bring them into market again. The cost of the drug falls drastically now as the companies now selling the copied drug did not have to spend on the R&D. The only investment for these companies is the price of the molecule and the technology of packaging and marketing. These drugs which are sold under different brand names after the post licensing period of a particular molecule are called generic drugs. However, the qualities of these generic drugs are also under FDA regulation. According to FDA, to substitute a generic for a brand name drug must follow these criteria:It must contain the same active ingredient, the same dosage strength and the same dosage form (e.g. tablets, syrup etc) and have the same route of administration and further it must deliver the same of active ingredient to the blood stream.Hence cheaper does not mean poor quality. The difference from patented drugs is the generics may vary in shape,size, color or taste. They have different inactive ingredients. However, there are authorized generics that need to maintain similarity in these parameters too. Almost 50% of all drugs prescribed in India are generics. Thus generic drugs may cost almost 20 to 80% cheaper than the patented drug.Is the quality guaranteed in a generic formulation?Researchers have compared patented drugs with generic formulation from different companies in a random manner and 36 of 38 studies virtually found no differences in the drug quality control. But, FDA has barred the publication of drug equivalence studies. Hence it is difficult for the prescribing doctor to know whether there had been any difference between the drugs in the equivalence study or not. It’s worth mentioning thatIndia tops the world in exporting generic medicines worth of Rs.50,000 Crores and currently Indian Pharmaceutical industry is one of the world’s largest & most developed.What is the price paid for not using generics? It’s worth mentioning that India tops the world in exporting generic medicines worth of Rs.50,000 crores and currently Indian Pharmaceutical industry is one of the world’s largest & most developed.In spite of being the largest exporter of generics in the world the story behind the screen is very dull. Just have a look at few of the statistics.WHO says that 3.2% of Indians will fall below poverty line because of inflated medical bills.Approximately one third of the rural population do not seek medical treatment due to financial constraints.And about 47% of rural and 31% of urban hospitalizations are financed by loan and sale of assets.About 70% of Indians are spending their out of pocket income on medicines and healthcare services in comparison to 35% in other Asian countries and are still suffering from infectious & communicable diseases due to lack of quality and affordable treatmentWhere do I get the generics?Generic medicines are best bought from the government sponsored generic drug shopped opened under the banner of “JANAUSHADHI”in most of the Indian states. Janaushadhi stores are functioning under the banner of Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) under the aegis of Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India. States like Punjab, Delhi, Haryana,Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand have already implemented Janaushadhi stores providing quality generic medicines at a cheap and affordable price. Few states like West Bengal has initiated Fair Price Medicine shops in a Public Private Partnership models to provide generic medicines at a whopping discount of up to 62.7%. They are opened adjacent to or in collaboration with different government healthcare establishment the largest being at the SSKM Hospital, Kolkata.Can we have examples of price comparison?I have made an attempt to compare the prices of the generics available on the website of Janaushadhi to that of branded generics available in the market. In fact I have approached a regular chemist shop and asked for these prices. Also I have reduced the quote by 11%as that particular chemist shop was giving a discount of 11% on any drug bought from the chemist. Now let’s compare the cheapest discounted branded drugs with the Janaushadhi generics. Generics and Branded Generics : The price difference This comparison is bound to raise eye brows. I am sure it’s unthinkable for most of us that we had been buying medicines at such high price and we are at the verge of realization after sucha long period of illiteracy. Do we get all sorts of medicines at these generic drug stores?Well, wish the answer could have been yes. Unfortunately all medicines are not available at the generic drug stores.While scrolling down the list provided by Janaushadhi website I found drugs for treatment of Rheumatoid Diseases are missing. Drugs for treating neurogenic pain, Parkinsonism, schizophrenia, newer drugs for diabetes management,inhalers and insulins are missing. I am sure they will soon be incorporated or might have been incorporated by now. Even without these drugs the net price of the monthly medications fall drastically if purchased from the generic drugstore.Any words of Caution?Well, there has to be some words of caution. The country is lagging in maintenance of quality control and most of the quality control is outsourced. Further, the government not necessarily declares the data of quality check to the general public. Hence, many doctors keep on highlighting the quality of the generic medicines.My recommendation is, whenever you have the opportunity to buy the drugs from a government sponsored stores, consider the quality is guaranteed by the government. Hence, you can very well go and purchase the medicine and use it personally.Adverse Reactions: Unless the drug is too spurious, it is unlikely that somebody will suffer from any adverse reaction. Spurious drugs are usually sold in peripheral aspects of a city or major town mostly is districts and village areas. Hence, one should be very careful about purchasing generic drugs from these areas.What I practice and recommend?When I am sitting in my clinic at Kolkata, I write the composition of the drug e.g. Paracetamol.[ Drug that reduces fever ], Amlodipine [Drug that controls blood pressure] ,Pantoprazole [ An Antacid ] instead of the brand names. This helps the patients in two ways. Either they can go to the Fair Price shop and buy the cheapest ones and save a lot, or they can go to any chemist and ask the chemist to provide the brand which is cheapest for that particular composition. I do practice in districts of West Bengal where there are brands which I have never heard off. In these areas I always write the brand of the drug and tend to keep the price low. In this way the spurious drug sellers can be fended away and I can ensure that quality drug is served and chances of health hazard is minimum.

During Monsoon, Ayurveda Can Cure Your Stomach Upset

Dr. Satish Sawale, Ayurveda
Indigestion is very common in cloudy and humid climate of monsoon often give rise to issues likeHeartburn, Bloating, Diarrhea, Constipation and gas. If the issue not attended on time, it can lead to even torturing issues like GERD or gastroesophageal reflux and irritable bowel syndrome. Ayurveda shares a concept known as Ama, which can be termed Non-toxic metabolites and toxins created by faulty metabolism / indigestion. There are many ways to treat to indigestion in an ayurvedic way. Let us look at some tips for the same: Langhanam, swedanam, Hot water and  use of Dried Ginger i.e. Sunthi, cumin seeds, Ajwayan carom seeds some salts and  salty pickles is so common in Indian culture and being used since ancient times i.e. tradition.Aloe vera: An ounce of aloe vera a day will keep indigestion away. Break off, a leaf and scoop some gel into a smoothie for smooth digestion.Turmeric: Haldi or Turmeric helps in reducing bloating and is one of the most commonly used spices found in ayurveda. This spice is a staple in indian cooking as well, where pretty much all dishes are seasoned with cooked turmeric.Maintaining Biological clock and Traditional Healer fasting : For better digestion, one must take meals at the same time everyday. Also, do not sit down for the next meal before the previous meal has been digested properly, its seen over eating causes much more issues after certain age say 40+ so once in a week light food or skipping food or usually on full moon or on No moon there is fast that adds value.Choosing healthy food: one must avoid unhealthy food that are excessively fried, fatty, sweet or cold so as to aid the digestive fires in doing their job effectively.Triphala with Saindhav(Rock salt): This combination of three fruits (Avala,Behada and Hirada)with saidhav ensures that your digestive system remains in good working condition during monsoonWater: one must have clean filtered potable adequate of water a day(Excess water must be avoided), in order to flush the toxins out, keeping in mind Monsoon causes much more water born diseases so use of Crystal Allum, Nivali/ Nirmali/clearing nut Beej(seeds) to clean and to deodorize Ayurveda offers Mustha/chandan/ushir/Taruni/Jai/jui/chanpak and Bakul flowers.Rest and bed Room: sleep (1 of major pillar of health and fitness tripod like Diet and Celibacy) is a major factor that cures stress and creates a balance of sorts in one's routine, thus aiding proper digestion. Room must be clean as excess  humidity can cause Allergic skin and Respiratory issues in Kids and elderly population so fumigate space with sunthi / Gugulu / Tulasi / Jatamasi / Haldi / Ajawayan / peels of Garlis or Dehumidifier can be used.Exercise: Those who eager to stabilise at Health and Fitness and yeah Finances too must engage in  some form of movement and exercise (Actively) is imperative to keep the digestive system in prime working condition. Walk and yoga, especially are ideal to boost one's digestive health.Meditation: This is one of the best ways to give digestion a positive push with a good dose of mindfulness and awareness for better balance in the body.Massage: a good oil massage on a regular basis keeps the blood flow in order and ensures that all the organs function well.In ayurveda, the point is to heal and prevent, which is why the methods tend to get to the root of the problem.Basti Therapy and Rasayan Therapy: For details communicate with  Ayurveda college Hospital Or your Ayurveda dr in your city

Psychiatry and Siddha Medicine

Dr. Jerome Xavier, Siddha
சித்த மருத்துவமும் மன நோய்களும் psychiatry and siddha medicine           சித்த மருத்துவமும் மன நோய்களும்சித்த மருத்துவத்தில் மன நோய்களுக்கான முழுமையான சிகிச்சை முறைகள் உள்ளன என்பதை அறிமுகப்படுத்தவே இந்தக் கட்டுரை.பொதுவாக மன நோயாளிகள் தொடர்ந்து மருந்துகள் சாப்பிட்டுக் கொண்டிருக்கும்வரை சரியாக இருப்பார்கள். மருந்தை இடையில் கொஞ்சம் நிறுத்தினாலும் மீண்டும் பிரச்சனைகள் உருவாக ஆரம்பிக்கும்.அப்படியானால் மன நோயாளிகள் அனைவரும் வாழ்நாள் முழுவதும் மருந்துகள் எடுத்துக் கொண்டேதான் இருக்க வேண்டுமா?இல்லை.அப்படியானால் ஏன் பெரும்பாலானவர்களுக்கு மன நோய் முற்றிலுமாக குணமாவதில்லை?சித்த மருத்துவத்தில் மன நோய்கள்:சித்த மருத்துவம் மன நோய்களை பல்வேறு விதமாக வகைப்படுத்துகிறது.மன நோய்கள் ஒரு தனி பிரிவாக(Psychiatry) சித்த மருத்துவத்தில் உள்ளது. கிரிகை நோய்கள் என இவை வகைப்படுத்தப்படுகின்றன.யூகி, அகத்தியர் போன்ற சித்த மருத்துவ அறிஞர்களின் நூல்கள் மன நோய்களைப் பற்றி விளக்குகின்றன.சித்த மருத்துவத்தில் மன நோய்கள்:-               கிரிகை-               பிரமை-               உன்மத்தம்-               மதஅழிவுஎன பலவிதமாக வகைப்படுத்தப்படுகின்றன.மன நோய்களுக்கான அடிப்படை காரணங்கள்:மரபணு ரீதியாக வருபவை(Genetic)உடலில் இயங்கும் இயக்கங்களை வாதம், பித்தம், கபம் போன்றவற்றில் மாறுபாடுகளால் ஏற்படும் மன கோளாறுகள்.உடல் தாதுக்களான சாரம் (fluid part of all tissues), இரத்தம், தசை, எலும்பு, கொழுப்பு, நரம்பு, விந்து அல்லது அண்டம் ஆகிய ஏழு உடல் தாதுக்களில் ஏற்படும் பாதிப்பினால் உண்டாகும் மன நோய்கள்.நச்சுக்கள் மற்றும் மருந்துகளால் ஏற்படும் பாதிப்புகள்(Toxins).புற காரணிகள் (Social factors).மன நோய்களுக்கான சிகிச்சை:நான்கு நிலைகளாக மன நோயாளிகளுக்கு சிகிச்சை அளிக்கப்படும் போதுதான் முழுமையான விடுதலை கிடைக்கும்.முதல் கட்ட சிகிச்சை:உடலில் மாறுபாடடைந்த இயக்கங்களான வாதம், பித்தம், கபம் என்பவைகளை சரியான அளவுக்கு கொண்டுவர வேண்டும்.இதற்கு முதலில் நோயாளியின் நாடிநிலையை (Pulse reading) கணித்து அதற்குரிய சிகிச்சையை செய்ய வேண்டும்.இரண்டாம் கட்ட சிகிச்சை:பலவீனமடைந்த உடல் தாதுக்களை பலப்படுத்தும் விதத்தில் மருந்துகளையும், உணவுகளையும் கொடுக்க வேண்டும்.மூன்றாம் கட்ட சிகிச்சை:என்ன நோயினால் பாதிக்கப்பட்டிருக்கிறார் என கண்டறிந்த அதற்குரிய மருந்துகளைக் கொடுக்க வேண்டும்.இதில் உள் மருந்து மற்றும் புற மருந்துகளைக் கொடுத்து சிகிச்சை அளிக்கப்படுகிறது.நான்காம் கட்ட சிகிச்சை:மேற்கண்ட மூன்றும் உடலை சரிசெய்வதற்கான சிகிச்சைகள். இதனை அடுத்து மனதை சரிசெய்வதற்காக சில பயிற்சிகளை கொடுக்க வேண்டும்.இதற்கு அட்டாங்க யோகம் எனும் எட்டுவித பயிற்சிகள் உள்ளன.இயமம்நியமம்ஆசனம் – யோகாசனம்பிரணாயாமம் – மூச்சுப்பயிற்சிபிரத்தியாகாரம்தாரணைதியானம் – Meditationசமாதிபோன்ற மனதை நிலைப்படுத்தும் பயிற்சிகள் உள்ளன. இவைகள் நோயின் தன்மைக்கும் நோயாளியின் தன்மைக்கும் ஏற்றவாறு பரிந்துரைக்கப்படுகின்றன.ஆற்றுப்படுத்துதல் (Counseling):மேற்கண்ட நிலைகளின் நோயாளியின் உடலையும் மனதையும் சரிசெய்த பிறகு அவர்களின் பிரச்சனைகளுக்குத் தக்கவாறு அவர்களை ஆற்றுப்படுத்துவது அவசியம்.இவ்வாறான படி நிலைகளில் மன நோய்களை சரிசெய்யும் போது முற்றிலுமாக அந்நோயிலிருந்து விடுபட முடியும்.மருத்துவ ஆலோசனைக்கு:Dr. ஜெரோம் சேவியர் B.S.M.S., M.Dசித்தமருத்துவ மையம்,டாக்டர்ஸ் பிளாசா,சரவணா ஸ்டோர் எதிரில்,வேளச்சேரி பேருந்து நிலையம் அருகில்,வேளச்சேரி, சென்னை.அலைபேசி எண்: 9444317293