- How effective are ayurvedic
medicines? Do they really work? Ayurveda themselves have no doubts about
the efficacy of their formulations. But when questioned about success rate
are likely to point out that ayurveda is more than a drug based system.
For example, many of the diseases listed below also require the patient
to undergo panchakarma: a system of treatment which includes, among
other things, induced vomiting (vaman) and purgation (virechan).
Rarely is the disease treated by medicines alone and most ayurveda would
prescribe - depending on the ailment - a regimen which includes dietary
restrictions, massages and a regular lifestyle.
(Ayurvedic name: tamak swash)
Allopathic treatment: Broncho-dilators and steroids. Provides temporary relief but leads to a host of complications such as habituation, puffiness of the face and gain in weight.
Ayurvedic treatment: A variety of medicines including extracts from the roots and leaves of vasha, datura seeds and arka leaves. Treatment takes anything between two and four months.
Not very high in the case of chronic asthma,
but some vaidyas claim success rate with 20-25% of the patients.
The figure is much higher with respect to asthma of the allergic variety:
some put as high as 80%.
(Ayurvedic name: amavatha or sandhivatha)
Allopathic treatment: Cortisone and NSAIDs (non steroids anti-inflammatory drugs). Relieves discomfort and pain for a few days but does not check the progression of the disease.
Ayurvedic treatment: A number of herbal medicines, including rasna, balathak, asvangandha and the normal well known guggulu. (Modern research has established that the guggulu plant is effective in lowering cholesterol levels, thus reducing the chances of heart attack.) Treatment, which last two or three months, includes dry fomentation (usually with wheat or sand) for rheumatoid arthritis and wet fomentation (with mahanarayan) for non rheumatoid cases.
Success rate: About
70%. Probably ayurveda's biggest success: patient have been known to be
wheeled into hospitals and discharged back on their feet.
(Ayurvedic name: yakruth vikara)
Allopathic treatment: No cure. Only supportive treatment such as rest, glucose and vitamins and a non fatty diet.
Ayurvedic treatment: Kutaki, kala megha, daruharidra, bhoomi amia and the classical compound made of both herbs and metals - arogya vardhuni. Nowadays, allopaths routinely prescribe the hugely successful Ltv 52 (manufactured by the Himalaya Drug Company) or similar formulations.
Success rate: Estimated
to be very high , though there is some controversy about this. Many allopaths
believe that the medicine are only placebos and that ayurveds are deceived
by the disease's natural remission.
Allopathic treatment: Anti amoebic drugs and shalizopyrene (used for irritable bowel syndrome) with limited result.
Ayurvedic treatment: Parpati kalpa, a compound of minerals and metals, in gradually increasing and later gradually decreasing doses. The pulp of the fruit bel is also administered.
Success rate: Good. About 60% or so.
(Ayurvedic name: koshia baddatha)
Allopathic treatment: Strong purgatives which provide relief but are habit- forming. Nowadays, allopaths as ayurveda has done for long, also stress the importance of a balance diet and exercise in dealing with constipation.
Ayurvedic treatment: Isabgol (leaseed huski), senna leaves, madhu yashii (liquorice roots) and other natural substances.
Success rate: Many
Indians resort to ayurvedic medicines to deal with constipation and, by
all account, they are both effective and safe.