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Traditional Systems of medicines always played important role in meeting the global health care needs. According to a report of WHO about 80% of the world population rely on traditional medicine for their Primary Health Care needs. There are various countries having their indigenous health care systems. One such country is India that has a rich history of being one of the oldest civilizations and health care systems in the world.

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INDIAN SYSTEMS OF MEDICINE Six recognized systems– Ayurveda and Yoga , Siddha, Unani , Naturopathy and Homoeopathy. Ayurveda, Siddha and Yoga can be said to be the indigenous systems. Homoeopathy came to India in 18th Century. Sowa-Rigpa is traditional medicine system followed in the Himalayan regions.

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The word Ayurveda means science of life or "practices of longevity.“ Ayu (Life) & Veda (Knowledge). Taught by the creator, Brahma, to Daksha Prajapati and carried on by the wise men like Bharadwaja. Dhanvantari is an avatar of Vishnu , God of Ayurvedic medicine ,an early Indian medical practitioner , surgeon , a discoverer and a researcher in the field of ayurveda “AYURVEDA”


HISTORY Originated in India and is one of the oldest medical systems in the world. Well established around 2500 to 600 BC, evolved into 2 schools: the School of Physicians and the School of Surgeons."Ayurveda" is an Upaveda or annexure to the four main vedas (knowledge systems). Famous writings are Charaka Samhita by Sage Charaka regarding prevention and treatment of disease, and Sushruta Samhita of Sage Sushruta, dealing with Ayurvedic surgical procedures.


BRANCHES OF AYURVEDA: Eight Branches that are further into sub-specialities: Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine) Bala chikitsa (Paediatrics) Graha chikitsa - Bhoota Vidya (Psychiatry) Urdhvanga chikitsa (Treatment of eyes, ears, nose, throat and head) Shalya chikitsa (Surgery) Damstra chikitsa - Agada tantra (Toxicology) Jara chikitsa-Rasayana (Gerentorology) Vrishya chikitsa - vajikarana (Aphrodisiacs)


CONCEPT Good health is the fundamental pre-requisite to acquire materialistic, social and spiritual upliftment of human being. No mental health without physical health. Diseases result from imbalance in body Focuses on the prevention of disease, and surgical procedures, while restructuring a patient's lifestyle and provision of natural therapies to align it with the course of nature. It holds the importance of eating healthy foods .


BASIC PRINCIPLES Five basic elements - Pancha Mahabhootas viz. Earth (Prithvi), Water (Jala), Fire (Agni), Air (Vayu), and Space (Akash) There are three humors (Tridosha) : Vata (resembles the classical elements ether and air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (water and earth). All bodily processes are believed to be governed by a balance of the 3 doshas. Whichever dosha appears to dominate a person's behavior and physique is called his constitution type.

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There are seven body tissues (Saptadhatu) i.e., fluid components of the body (Rasa), Blood (Rakta), muscle tissue (Mamsa), adipose tissue(Medas), bone tissue(Asthi), bone marrow (Majja) and reproductive elements (Sukra) and three bio-wastes (Trimalas) i.e. Urine (Mootra), Faeces (Pureesha) and Sweat (Sweda). The essence of saptadhatu called Ojas is responsible for immunity and strength.

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The essence of ayurveda is knowledge and awareness of the qualities of nature – called gurvadi gunah The gurvadi gunah are listed in Vagbhata's Ashtanga Hrdayam as: Guru (heavy) – laghu (light) , Manda (slow) – tikshna (quick, sharp) , Hima (cold) – ushna (hot).


DIAGNOSIS (1) Examination of the patient i.e., Rogi-pareeksha; (2) Examination of the disease i.e., Roga-pareeksha This is achieved through ten fold examination of patients (Dasavidha pareeksha) comprising of (1) Constitution (Prakriti) (2) Disease susceptibility (Vikriti), (3) Essence (Sara),(4) Compactness (Samhanana), (5) Anthropometry (Pramana), (6) Compatibility (Satmya), (7) Mind (Sattwa), (8) Digestion capacity of food (Aharasakti), (9) Physical strength (Vyayamasakti) and (10) Age (Vaya).with physical , urine, pulse, faeces , tongue , eyes , skin , ear and functions examination.


TREATMENT Therapeutic streams are (1) Therapies with inexplicable mode of action (Daivavyapasraya chikitsa), (2) Rationale treatment (Yukti vyapasraya chikitsa) and (3) Preventive and remedial measures to Psychic disorders (Satwavajaya chikitsa). Rely heavily on plant materials. Botanicals are mixed with metals, minerals or other naturally occurring substances . The diet regimen is as important as remedies. Prescribed doses of medicine are taken to cure them effectively. Ayurvedic medicines do not cause any side effects.


TREATMENT PROCEDURES: Shodhana (Purification Treatment) removal of the causative factors by Panchkarma (medically induced Emesis, Purgation, Oil Enema, Decoction enema and Nasal administration of medicines, external and internal oleation and induced sweating). Shamana (Palliative Treatment) suppression of vitiated humours (doshas). Achieved by use of appetisers, digestives, exercise and exposure to sun, fresh air etc.

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Nidan Parivarjan is to avoid the known disease causing factors in diet and lifestyle of the patient , to refrain from precipitating or aggravating factors of the disease. Satvavajaya concerns mainly with the area of mental disturbances. It involves restraining mind from desires for unwholesome objects and cultivation of courage, memory and concentration.

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Rasayana therapy deals with promotion of strength and vitality. The integrity of body matrix, promotion of memory, intelligence, immunity against the disease, the preservation of youth, are some of the positive benefits credited to this treatment. Diet treatment: In Ayurveda, regulation of diet as therapy has great importance. This is because it considers human body as the product of food.. Lack of nutrients in food or improper transformation of food lead to a variety of disease conditions.

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Pathya Vyavastha (Prescription of diet and activity) comprises indications and contraindications in respect of diet, activity, habits and emotional status. This is done with a view to enhance the effects of therapeutic measures. Kshara Sautra- A procedure using medicated thread is a unique minimally invasive para-surgical measure being successfully practiced as a promising therapy for ano-rectal disorders


THERAPEUTIC APPROACH Use of medicines, specific diet and prescribed activity routine are taken into consideration. One approach of treatment is that these three measures work by causing effect opposite to disease counteracting the symptoms called Vipreeta. In the second approach they exert effects similar to the disease process known as Vipreetarthkari. For successful administration of a treatment four things are essential. These are The physician: possess technical skill, scientific knowledge, purity and human understanding, humility , wisdom and service to humanity. The medicaments: food and drugs – adequate and with quality. The nursing personnel: skillful, sympathetic, intelligent, resourceful. The patient: cooperative and obedient, able to describe ailments.

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Yoga is a science as well an art of healthy living physically, mentally, morally and spiritually While Ayurveda performs its pancha karma through the help of emetics , purgative Yoga performs them without the help of any drug i.e. by developing full efficiency and control of eliminative systems of the body. Which no other system of health care can do. “YOGA”

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HISTORY The tradition of Yoga was born in India several thousand years ago. Its founders were great Saints and Sages. Yoga has its origins in the Vedas, the oldest record of Indian culture. It was systematized by the great Indian sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra

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PRINCIPLES Yoga means a holistic approach towards the cause and treatment of disease. According to Yoga, most of the diseases Mental, Psychosomatic and Physical originate in mind through wrong way of thinking, living and eating which is caused by attachment. The basic approach of Yoga is to correct the life style by cultivating a rational positive and spiritual attitude towards all life situations. Yoga emphasizes the development of brotherhood, harmony and fraternity.

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As an alternative form of medicine, Unani has found favour in Asia, especially India . Close to Ayurveda. Based on its natural and remarkable diagnosis methods and is affordable. The term Unani is derived from 'Unan', which means 'Greece' in Arabic and Urdu. UNANI

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HISTORY In Greece based on the teachings of Hippocrates ((460-377 BC) – Called the Father of Medicine and his disciple Gallen and it developed in to an elaborate Medical System by Arabs.     In India, Unani System of Medicine was introduced by Arabs. After Independence Unani received boost . Today, India is considered a world leader in Unani Medicine.

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CONCEPT AND BASIC PRINCIPLES Body is made up of four basic elements i.e. Earth, Air, Water, Fire which have different temperaments i.e. Cold, Hot, Wet, Dry. The body is made up of simple and complex organs. They obtain their nourishment from four humors namely- blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. These humors also have their specific temperament. Disease occurs whenever the balance of humors is disturbed.

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Six essentials are required healthy state: i.Air, ii. Food and drink, iii. Bodily movements and response, iv. Psychic movement and repose, V. Sleep and wakefulness and vi. Evacuation and retention. The human body has seven components, having direct bearing on the health status. They are Temperament (Mizaj) of the patient, hereditary condition and effects, different complaints, signs and symptoms of the body, external observation, examination of the PULSE (Nubz) and urine and stool


DIAGNOSIS Examination of the pulse for size, strength, speed, consistency, fullness, rate, temperature, constancy, regularity and rhythm Examination of the urine for odor, quantity, mature urine and urine at different age groups. Stool is examined for color, consistency, froth and time required for passage etc.


TREATMENT 1. Dieto therapy (Ilaj-bil-Ghiza) by administration of specific diets or by regulating the it Regimental therapy mainly consists of drug less therapy like exercise, massage, turkish bath, douches

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Surgery Pharmacotherapy (Ilaj-bid-Dawa) is by use of herbal drugs derived from plants animals and mineral origin. Climatic therapy (Ilaj-bil-Hawa) based on the climatic changes and health.

“ “SIDDHA” : 

“ “SIDDHA” The Siddha System is therapeutic in nature. There is use both in north India called as jhar phuk and siddha buti (medicine) tantra and south Indian Tamil traditional medicine. It is medicine that is perfect , to revitalize and rejuvenate dysfunctional disease causing organs , capable of treating all types of disease other than emergency cases.


HISTORY The origin of Siddha System is attributed to Lord Shiva Himself. In India we had two distinct cultures one is vedic and the other one is tantric. The sages of south India, who practised tantrism were called as Siddhars . Eighteen Siddhars were said to be and sage Agasthiya is considered as a father figure of this medical system. This dates back to 3000 BC.


BRANCHES OF SIDDHA Internal medicine used through the oral route and classified in to 32 categories External medicine includes certain forms of drugs and also certain applications like nasal, eye and ear drops and also certain procedures like leech application also classified in to 32 categories.


CONCEPT AND BASIC PRINCIPLES When the normal equilibrium of three humors (vatha, pitha and kapha) is disturbed, disease is caused. Under normal conditions, the ratio between these three humors (vatha, pitha and kapha) is 4:2:1, respectively. A particular disorder can be a Vatha ,Pitta or Kapha type, or a blend of all three. The environment, climatic conditions, diet, physical activities, and stress are causes associated with diseases. Recognizes predominance of vatham, pitham and kapam in childhood, adulthood and old age respectively, whereas in ayurveda it is totally reversed.

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Seven types of essential tissue .These tissue types are called dathus, which are the following: Rasa (lymph), Kurudhi (blood), Tasai (muscle), Kozhuppu (adipose tissue), Elumbu (bone), Majjai (marrow), Sukkilam and Artavam (Sperm and Menstrual fluids). Diet and life style play a major role .This concept of the siddha medicine is termed as pathya and apathya, which is essentially a list of do's and don'ts. Summary of humors/elements stationed in a particular part of the human body and corresponding to a particular part of any plant is made.


DIAGNOSIS Astasthana-pariksa is done . This includes : Na (tongue) Varna (colour) Svara (voice) Kan (eyes) Sparisam (touch) Mala (stool) Neer (urine) Nadi (pulse)


TREATMENT All factors leading to diseases are taken in to account. Deals with the problems affecting the women’s health , venereal diseases , chronic cases of liver, skin diseases especially “Psoriasis”, rheumatic problems, anemia, prostate enlargement, bleeding piles and peptic ulcer.  Treatment is classified into three categories: devamaruthuvum (Divine method); manuda maruthuvum (rational method); and asura maruthuvum (surgical method). Practitioners have claimed that Siddha medicines are effective in reducing the highly debilitating problems that manifest themselves among patients of HIV/AIDS.




THERAPEUTIC APPROACH It involves the patient, the attendant, physician and medicine. When the physician is well qualified and the other agents possess the necessary qualities, even severe diseases can be cured easily. The treatment should be commenced as early as possible after assessing the course and cause of the disease.

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Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine. Homeopathy is based on the principle of "like healing like " ( Simile Similibus Curentur); homeopathy believes that a sick person’s symptom are signs of the body’s battle against illness and they try to stimulate, rather than suppress his reaction. “HOMEOPATHY”


HISTORY In the 16th century the pioneer of chemical medicine Paracelsus declared that small doses of “what makes a man ill also cures him", anticipating homeopathy, but it was Hahnemann who gave it a name and laid out its principles in the late 18th century. Homeopathy achieved its greatest popularity in the 19th century. Dr. John Franklin Gray (1804–1882) was the first practitioner of Homeopathy in the United States, beginning in 1828 in New York City. As the time passed the Homeopathy spread to various countries and came into India and became one of the important parts in Indian Systems of Medicine.


CONCEPT AND PRINCIPLES “Law of susceptibility”. It implies that a negative state of mind can attract hypothetical disease entities called "miasms" to invade the body and produce symptoms of diseases. A miasm is an imputed "peculiar morbid derangement of vital force”. “Law of similars", otherwise known as "let like be cured by like“ It is believed that by inducing a disease through use of drugs, the artificial symptoms empowered the vital force to neutralise and expel the original disease and that this artificial disturbance would naturally subside when the dosing ceased.


TREATMENT: Homeopathic remedies are prepared by serial dilution with shaking by forceful striking, which homeopaths term "succussion," after each dilution under the assumption that this increases the effect of the treatment. Homeopathy uses many animal, plant, mineral, and synthetic substances in its remedies. Examples include Arsenicum album (arsenic oxide), Natrum muriaticum (sodium chloride or table salt), Lachesis muta (the venom of the bushmaster snake)

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Some modern homeopaths use remedies of "imponderables” not originating from a material but from electromagnetic energy presumed to have been "captured" by alcohol or lactose. Examples include X-rays and sunlight. Some homeopaths also use techniques that are regarded by other practitioners as controversial. These include paper remedies, where the substance and dilution are written on a piece of paper and either pinned to the patient's clothing, put in their pocket, or placed under a glass of water that is then given to the patient.

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The origin of Indian Naturopathy could be traced right to Vedic period wherein Dietary discipline (Pathya & Ahara) and the principles of Health (Swastha Vurtha) described in Ayurveda have branched out and developed in the form of today`s Naturopathy. Naturopathy is a century old healing disciple that fell from favour about 40 years ago, when drugs and technology became the norm. “NATUROPATHY”


HISTORY : Naturopathy has its origins in the Nature Cure movement of Europe. The ancient Greek "Father of Medicine", Hippocrates, as the first advocate of naturopathic medicine. Benedict Lust is known as the "father of U.S. naturopathy” who also coined the term. He described the body in spiritual and vitalistic terms with "absolute reliance upon the cosmic forces of man's nature."In 1901, Lust founded the American School of Naturopathy in New York.


CONCEPT The whole practice of Nature cure based on the following three principles: Accumulation of morbid matter Abnormal composition of blood and lymph Lowered vitality It also believes that human body possesses inherent self constructing and self healing powers. Does not believe in specific cause and specific treatment but takes into account the totality of factors. Believes stimulating body’s power to regain health with the help of – Earth, Water, Air, Fire ,Ether. Call to "Return to Nature" and resort to living in harmony with the self, society and environment.


DIAGNOSIS: Full life case history – covering all the facts of life, since birth. Facial diagnosis – the science of facial expressions by studying the various characteristic features upon the body. Iris diagnosis – study of iris indicating the condition of various visceral organs. Modern clinical diagnosis to some extent.

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TREATMENT: Water Therapy Fire Therapy Air Therapy

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Space Therapy Mud Therapy Food Therapy

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Massage Therapy Acupressure Magneto Therapy Chromo Therapy

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Sowa-Rigpa”, commonly known as Tibetan or Amchi medicine, is the traditional medicine of the Himalayan region. Sowa-Rigpa means ‘science of healing’ and the practitioners of this medicine are known as Amchi (superior to all). In India, this system of medicine has been popularly practiced in Ladakh and Paddar-Pangay regions of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Darjeeling-Kalingpong (WB) and now in Tibetan settlements all over India and abroad. SOWA RIGPA

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Originated from India. It was amended and enriched with other medical traditions like Chinese, Persian and Tibetan folk medicine to make it most effective and more suitable to the socio-climatic conditions of Tibet. From Tibet, the impact of Sowa-Rigpa along with Buddhism and other Tibetan art and sciences spread to the neighboring Himalayan regions like Mongolia, Bhutan, Nepal, China and some parts of former Soviet Union etc. HISTORY


CONCEPT: Sowa-Rigpa is a rich accumulation of science, art and philosophy with history of continuous practice and progress for more then 2500 years. It is a science because it is based on systematical and logical framework of understanding the body, disease and its relationship with the environment. It is an art because the diagnostic techniques and composition of medicine etc. are based on the creativity, immensity, delicacy and compassion of the medical practitioner. Philosophy because it follows the key Buddhist principles of self-sacrifice, karma and ethics etc..


BASIC PRINCIPLES It is believed that whether we are physically healthy or not, all of us are sick until we attain Nirvana, and even though disease might not manifest Ignorance gives rise to three basic illnesses: Nespa-gsum (Tri-dosha/Three humours) i.e Dod-chags (desire/lust), root cause of lung problems (Air/Vata); Zes dang (anger), root cause of mkris-pa (Pitta, Bile); and Ti-mug (mental darkness), root cause of pad-kan (Kapha, Phlegm). The animate and inanimate phenomena of the universe are composed of same material basis of Jung-wa-lna (English - five elements; Sanskrit - Panch-mhabhuta) namely sa, chu, mai, rlung and nam-mkha (roughly translated as earth, water, fire, air and space; Sanskrit - Dharti, Jal, Agni, Vayu and Akash).


DIAGNOSIS: Visual diagnosis: tongue examination and Urinalysis Diagnosis by touch: pulse (preparatory conduct, proper time for examination, place, pressure of physician's fingers, technique, constitutional pulse, astonishing pulse, general and specific pulse, death pulse etc.) , temperature. Diagnosis by questioning: History of case, present condition, family background and changes in body

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TREATMENT Diet, behavior, medicine and accessory/external therapies. Minor ailments with regulation of diet and behavior.  Medium state of condition can be treated with medicines like decoction,  powder,  pills, purgatives, emetics etc. Advanced stages disease can be cured by the application of accessory/external therapies like, massage, surgery etc. Treatment of diseases is also possible under the three humor basis. Buddhist rituals and mantras also play a very important role.


GOLDEN TRIANGLE PARTNERSHIP The Golden Triangle Partnership concept emerged in a National Workshop on Ayurveda Research organized at Chitrakoot from 24th to 26th May, 2003 where it was decided to set up an integrated technology mission for the development of Ayurveda and traditional medical knowledge based on synchronized working of modern medicine, traditional medicine and modern science with special budgetary support.


MODERN SENARIO: Increased side effects, lack of curative treatment for several chronic diseases, high cost of new drugs, microbial resistance and emerging diseases are some reasons for renewed public interest in Ayurvedic medicine. Global acceptance of Ayurveda is gearing up Ayurveda physicians are in great demand in Germany, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, the United States (U.S.) and the West Asian countries. There has been increased interest among the healthcare professionals, researchers as well as the consumers about Ayurveda.

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The health policy of 1983 and also of 2001 stated integration of ISM and Homeopathy into Modern Systems of medicine. The name of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy was renamed in 2003 as AYUSH and it is under the Union Ministry of health and family welfare. The department of ISM and H has developed a capsule containing basic concepts and fundamentals of ISM and H for incorporation into MBBS curricula. This has been forwarded to Medical Council of India for further action. It has been introduced into the CGHS which provides the Central Government Employees services via allopathic dispensaries. Government has also set up 3 specialized clinics for each Ayurveda , Unani and Homeopathy at Safdarjung Hospital and RML hospital .

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Ayurveda practices and disciplines should be closely examined by modern medicine. With the use of herbs, vegetable drugs natural practices; Indian medicine has shown much value for western medicine to follow.

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