Ayurveda and cure
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.
 Other diseases
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(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.

Success rate:  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%.

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(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.

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(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.

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(Ayurvedic name: pakwashaya gatwata)

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.

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(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.

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Other Diseases
Ayurveda is also regarded as effective for a number of other diseases, fliartasis, sciatica, malaria fever, fistula, etc. Dr V.N. Pandey, director of Central Council for Research in ayurveda and Siddha (CCRAS). has in his books. Handbook of Ayurvedic Domestic Medicine isolated 74 diseases for which he thinks ayurveda has a cure. However, as he admits, this is a number that few accept. Most allopaths would think it a gross exaggeration and traditional ayurveds a wild - and unpardonable - underestimation.
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