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What ails the current approach to Ayurveda

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Basic Science/ Social Justice- Health


Source: The Hindu 

Direction: It came in the opinion section of the Hindu. Go through it once.


Context: The article discusses a few challenges to Ayurveda in the present context.

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an alternative medicine system with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent. It is based on the idea that disease is caused by an imbalance or stress in a person’s consciousness.

  • Ayurveda is heavily practised in India and Nepal, where around 80% of the population report using it.


Significance Of Ayurveda

  • Ancient science and Indian heritage
  • An alternative way of seeing diseases: In Ayurveda, it is believed living man is a conglomeration of three humors (Vata, Pitta & Kapha), seven basic tissues (Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Meda, Asthi, Majja & Shukra) and the waste products of the body i.e. mala, mutra and sweda.
  • Holistic: The treatment approach in the Ayurveda system is holistic and individualized having preventive, curative, mitigative, recuperative and rehabilitative aspects.
  • Focus on Prevention



  • Ineffective Treatment in Emergency Cases
  • No uniformity: different medicinal plants are used in different geography for the treatment of the same disease.
  • Lack of interest and promotion at the global level
  • Shortage of specialised practitioners and research
  • Outdated theories: Ayurveda’s ancient treatises, cannot be expected to retain relevance in their entirety in today’s time. The theories contain useful portions alongside obsolete ones.
  • Simplistic details:g. On urine formation, the Ayurveda text posits that tiny ducts from the intestines carry urine to fill the bladder with no role for kidneys. This has been outdated.
  • Wrong belief: the widespread belief among its academics that ancient texts, by virtue of their being divined by sages in deep yogic states, retain timeless relevance.

What needs to be done?

  • A dispassionate sifting through their contents is a prerequisite for their prudent practical use.
  • “Reverse pharmacology”: Using documented clinical experiences to research in ayurveda


Government Steps:

  • Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy) in 2014
  • New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI): research in Ayurveda is part of it
  • Kerala has been promoting Ayurveda as a way of improving immunity in the general population
  • Proposed WHO’s Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (Jamnagar, Gujurat): It will be the first and only global outpost centre for traditional medicine across the world.


As a medical system, Ayurveda is valuable immensely for its observations, only marginally for its theories, and not at all for its speculations. The sooner there is reform and updation of theories as per modern science the better people will be benefited from it.

Related fact:

Bhore Committee was set up by the Government of India in 1943 under Sir Joseph William Bhore to survey the existing position regarding the health conditions and health organisations in India.

Insta Links

Ayurveda in Surgery


Mains Links

Adaptation of Ayurveda for current use comes with its challenges which need to be acknowledged and resolved. Discuss. (250 Words)