Drsyal’s Weblog

Heavy metals in Ayurvedic products !
October 6, 2008, 12:23 pm
Filed under: Ayurveda, Ayurveda medicine, Indian medicine

According to the study published recently in JAMA (Aug 27.2008), many Ayurvedic preparations sold through internet contains heavy metals above the normal limits. (“Lead, Mercury, and Arsenic in US- and Indian- manufactured Ayurvedic medicines sold via the Internet”)

The study was done by expert doctors from western medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. The findings shows the actual alarming situation. This stuidy is very important atleast to take some steps against the illegal unauthentic sales of Ayurvedic preparations (vata,pitta, kapha teas, etc).

These preparations are not manufactured by standard pharmacies. Standard Pharmacies will not promote internet purchase because they are struggling to cope with the production need in India. The pharmacies which are not well known, promote this to sell their products. Some of these pharmacies collect the preparations from locals and pack it for trade.


As specified in the article “ Metals may be present due to the practice of rasa shastra“ Rasa shastra is the Ayurvedic section which deals with metallic preparations and its purification. These kinds of preparations are mostly used in North of India. This has developed in north India due to the influence of unani medicine because of the muslim invation in olden times.


In south, especially in Kerala the system of practice is different. They stick to classical herbal preparations even though some metalic preparations are told in classical texts.


Ayurvedic medicine should be taken by the advice of doctor. This is not a self healing medical system. If it is like that then there is no need to study around 5500 plus hours in the medical university to become an ayurvedic doctor.


Most of the herbs used in ayurveda got its own good and bad effect depending on its use. The preparations are introduced to a patient depending up on the nature of his body and mind, the disease, condition of the disease and stages of the disease. This is known only if you study the pharmacology, pathology, internal medicine, etc.


Ayurvedic preparations are not health supplements. Some of them we could tell, but most of them are not in this kind, it is having after effect if administered to a normal individual and in improper condition. Through the internet the preparations are obtained as supplements or teas. Is it possible to get antibiotics or other major drugs through internet?, even to get a deworming tablet in EU we need the receipt from doctor.


When any negative study report comes, the authorities try to escape mentioning “move to destroy ayurvedic system” rather than looking into it, finding the truth and to rectify the defects.


Why Chinese medicine is very famous among doctors and hospital and Indian medicine got stuck with esoteric and masseur groups? Chinese authorities worked for their system and were successful in convincing the medical society through out the world.


Indian authorities are having a major role for this pathetic situation. First they should regulate Indian system of medicine in the world because it is originated from Indian and the real medical study is happening there. Regulation should come for the practitioners, paramedical staffs and for the medicine and pharmacies.


The study is also a healthy one for Ayurvedic medicine because among the 193 products analysed only 20.7% of products having abnormal level of metals. This also reflects that if product manufactures stick on to the standard of manufacturing then 20.7 % can be reduced to zero.


Will this open the eyes of Authorities ?

Ayurveda – a medical system?
September 18, 2008, 2:32 pm
Filed under: Ayurveda, Ayurveda medicine, Indian medicine

I had a great feeling of coming to Germany, because I am impressed by information about the old culture, people and traditional way of living. Establishing Ayurveda in Europe by that helping the patients to get relief from their ailments was my goal after my doctorate in Ayurveda medicine. I was lucky to get the opportunity of coming to Germany for making my dreams come true.

After a few weeks of experience in Germany I thought of winding up my dream goal, because I realised that Ayurveda is propagated as a system which can be manipulated by anybody. I realised that this system is in the hands of unqualified individuals. The poor public is suffering because of the false Ayurvedic information circulated for the benefit of publicity. Ayurvedic therapists, Ayurvedic advisers, Ayurvedic nutritionist, Ayurvedic teachers, etc are some of the titles people put to attract the public. Funny thing is that none of them having any basic qualification in Ayurveda. Very few people know that this is a medical system. The so called teachers make their own theory in Ayurveda and it is being taught. Most of the people talk much about Prakruti (constitution) analyse, Marma (vital) point massage and Nadi pareeksha (pulse diagnosis). Head massage, face massage, hand massage, foot massage, sirodhara etc like treatments are promoted in a big way. Usages of sesame oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, etc are used for these treatments. Different Ayurvedic teas are available in the shops named as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha teas. Hundreds of Ayurvedic centres run by unprofessional with external treatments, some times with some Sanskrit (mother of Indian languages) names which are having no sense. Panchakarma is a popular word in the Ayurvedic community; unfortunately very few know exactly what it is.

It took few months to come out of the shock which I experienced in the name of Ayurveda. As a qualified Ayurvedic physician I felt that I am more responsible than others to improve the pathetic situation of this Indian medical science. This motivated me to stay and find the right people for the uplifting of Ayurvedic medicine. I was also aware that nothing can be done overnight.

Indian medicine-Ayurveda is one of the oldest medical systems in the world. Originated in India 5000 years ago, is having a long tradition built by clinical practice. Many famous physicians put their clinical effort to document this system for the future generations. Some of them were Charaka, Susrutha and Vagbhata in the earlier periods. Gurukula system (studying under a master) of education contributed much to this system. As world advanced this medical system also became a study in medical universities. In India it is not learned or promoted as esoteric or wellness method. It was the only established medical system available in Indian subcontinent before the introduction of modern medicine by British. All the health care needs were successfully tackled by Ayurvedic physicians on those days. Taking care of the pregnant women, helping the delivery, managing the complications during the delivery, promoting the health of mother and child, managing the disease of the child, managing different disease, healing the wounds of soldiers, surgical management for soldiers and in other illness, treatment of rejuvenation and managing the old age debilities, etc were some of the duties of Ayurvedic physicians.

Analysing Prakruti (constitution) is a big thing in west. Many so called Ayurvedic experts make special consultation to declare ones prakruti. According to Ayurvedic medicine Prakruti and Vikruti are two terms which is influenced by the three Dosha-Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Prakruti is one’s individual constitution -physical, psychological and behavioural characters. This can be also correlated with ones personality. Prakruti is fixed when a child is born. Prakruti cannot be changed, only changes during death. Prakruti is like the poison in a snake. Poison is not causing any problem to the snake. It is difficult to analyse prakruti in few minutes, because as mentioned, it is the total sum of physical, psychological and behavioural characters. So if one stays with a person for few days then only the exact prakruti could be understood.

Vikruti is the disease which arises due to the imbalance of three Dosha and can be treated. This imbalance is happening because of the improper, diet, habit, variation in the climates, genetic factors, etc.

Many don’t believe about the surgical management in Ayurveda. Susrutha, the physician who documented his experiences in Susrutha samhitha (Susrutha´s text book) was a famous surgeon. Anatomical human body dissection was done by him to study human anatomy. He developed many instruments and techniques in the filed of Ayurvedic surgery. Still he is considered as the father of plastic surgery. The Marma points were introduced by him. The aim of its introduction was to protect certain points which are vital, from the injury and during operations. The meaning of Marma in Ayurveda is “the point which creates disability or death”. This is explained because any injury to these points should be taken care immediately and during the surgery these points should be avoided from the scalpel as it can create death or complication. Now you can realise the authenticity of so called Marma massages. In Ayurvedic universities no Marma massages are taught. Marma are the point to be avoided, not to be massaged!

Nadi pareeksha (pulse diagnosis) is very popular in west. Most of the people think that feeling the nadi (pulse) will tell everything about the person. Ayurveda is not a magic system; it is only like all other medical systems which are unique. Ayurvedic medicine is having more than thirty methods for diagnosis. Pulse diagnosis in one among the several diagnosis techniques adopted by a physician to diagnose and for the prognoses of a disease. Only pulse diagnosis is not sufficient to diagnose a patient.

In Ayurvedic medicine after the diagnosis, treatment will start with internal preparations along with diet and habit restrictions. Some times, only with this the diseases are getting cured. If the disease is chronic and strong then Panchakarma (five purification treatments) are done along with internal preparation, diet and habit restrictions. Panchakarma is done only after a specific term of above said procedure. Panchakarma helps to eliminate the bad stuff clogged inside the body which disturbs the Dosha- normal physiological and anatomical functions of body. Panchakarma treatments are Vamana (induced vomiting with herbal preparations), Virechana (induced purgation with herbal preparations), Vasti (enema with herbal preparations), Nasya (application of herbal preparation to the nostrils) and Raktamoksha (blood letting methods). This is only done in a hospital under the supervision of doctors after many days of Poorvakarma.

Poorvakarma is the external treatment done before Panchakarma to make Panchakarma effective. Some of the poorvakarma are Abhyanga (application of herbal oil over the body), Pizhichil (pouring herbal oil all over the body in a special method), Kizhi (application of herbs tied in a cloth over the body), sirodhara (pouring herbal oil over the forehead and head in a special method) etc. Many centres promote external treatments as Panchakarma. In India around 8000 species of plats are available. In this around 2000 are used in Ayurveda for the manufacturing of preparations. Ayurvedic preparations include decoctions, powders, tablets, pastes, ghee, fermented preparations, oils etc. There will be around 20 to 100 verities under each preparation and these are manufactured by the combination of 5 to 60 herbs.


Ayurvedic medicine is not using sesame oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, olive oil, etc for external treatments. Ayurvedic oils are manufactures by different combination of herbs according to the classical pharmacological methods for specific disease and condition. This is a big process and done by big pharmacies. The oils with herbs are cooked in a special method for several days to get the right potency. After these specific days the quality of the oil will be same as the herbs used for its preparations. Oils are only a medium to introduce herbs into the body.

Decoction administered internally is called as Kashaya in Ayurveda. Each kashaya is prepared according to the classical recipe mentioned in Ayurvedic literature. It consists of different herbs depending up on the disease and condition of a patient. Roughly saying kashaya altogether comes around 100 in number with combination of herbs varying in each around 10 to 50. It is administered after the diagnosis, mentioning the time of administration and the method. Some times kasahya are advised to take along with other preparations. Complications can arise when it is given in wrong condition and in wrong patient. The concept of kashaya is now a day promoted as Ayurvedic teas. There is no kashaya for vata, pitta and kapha. According to Ayurveda there are 80 vata diseases, 40 pitta diseases and 20 Kapha diseases, apart from that the newly developing diseases. It is only a matter of commonsense that only with one vata tea these 80 plus vata diseases cannot be treated. Most of the teas marketed as Ayurveda will be having spices as ingredients. Other than spices, Ayurveda deals with many medicinal plants and in disease condition these medicinal plants are administered.

Many believe that Poorvakarma is not having any after effect. Treatment done for a person which is not eligible for that, with wrong preparations, in wrong time, in wrong disease and in wrong condition will definitely produce after effect or may lead to another disease suddenly or in near future. Improper diet and habit during and after Poorvakarma and Panchakarma will definitely create adverse effect and complications. Head aches, skin diseases, digestion problems, improper bowels, eye problems, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc are some of the side effects caused due to improper Ayurvedic treatments.

Due to above factor these medical system is taught in medical universities with theoretical and clinical exposure. There students learn the basic bachelor degree called BAMS (Bachelor in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) and further 3 years MD (Doctor of Medicine in Ayurveda) in different subjects like internal medicine, paediatrics, gynaecology, psychiatry, surgery, toxicology, geriatrics, infertility, pharmacology, etc. During the course one learns how to treat specific diseases, detailed pharmacology, actions of individual plants, how to manage the side effects of preparations and after effect of Panchakarma and Poorvakarma. An Ayurvedic doctor, who finished eight and a half years of clinical study, with around 5500 hours of total study, still thinks that he is not experienced enough. Now you can think, how one can treat after learning week end or one month course in Ayurved? Is Ayurveda a medical system?