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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 47  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 573--574

Integrating medical doctors of modern and Indian system of medicine - Unique opportunity for India along the lines of China

Saravanan Subramanian 
 Clinical Research Section, Siddha Regional Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saravanan Subramanian
Clinical Research Section, Siddha Regional Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

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Subramanian S. Integrating medical doctors of modern and Indian system of medicine - Unique opportunity for India along the lines of China.Indian J Pharmacol 2015;47:573-574

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Subramanian S. Integrating medical doctors of modern and Indian system of medicine - Unique opportunity for India along the lines of China. Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Sep 29 ];47:573-574
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This is a response to the editorial entitled "Time to sensitize medical graduates to the Indian systems of medicine and homoeopathy" published in Indian Journal of Pharmacology, January, 2015. [1] Apart from sensitization, training medical graduates for a certain period on the Indian system of medicine (ISM) as a course will do more for mankind, and Indian pharma sector in the fight against the disease.

The discovery of artemisinin, widely used in the management of malaria all over the world and saving many lives, substantiates the importance of training modern medical graduates in traditional medicine. Artemisinin is a drug developed from the herb Artemisia annua L. used in the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The research team involved in the development of artemisinin was headed by a graduate in modern pharmacy who underwent 2½ years training on TCM. He acknowledged the usefulness of the training in TCM to overcome the hurdles in the pathway of finding artemisinin for malaria. [2]

In Indian context, since there is no system to train interested modern medical professionals on ISM, individual interest of the persons trained in modern system of medicine is only prevailing like the modern medical physician Dr. Deivanayagam, who worked in the Government Hospital of Thoracic Medicine, Chennai, the largest HIV/AIDS treatment center in India. He conducted a clinical trial on HIV/AIDS patients with Siddha medicines and found that the drug combinations "rasagandhi mezhugu, amukkara chooranam, and nellikkai lehyam" (RAN) showed appropriate clinical improvement. [3] Till then, RAN combination alone or along with modern drugs, is being successfully used by modern and traditional Siddha medical practitioners of Tamil Nadu in the management of HIV/AIDS.

In order to strengthen the fewer individual interest of modern medical scientist on ISM, policy makers may consider the model of China to train them proficiently in ISM. In China, measures to facilitate traditional and Western-trained professionals were taken in the 1950's. Since then, many types of courses have been started to help Western-trained doctors learn traditional medicine. Moreover, research institutes for integrating the two systems, as well as integrated hospitals and clinics, have been set up for Western-trained doctors who wish to carry out research and practices in integrated medicine on completing the courses. At present (2002), there are about 12,000 high ranking "integrated" medical doctors in China. They have contributed to the progress in many areas of medicine. [4]

At the juncture of induction of a separate Ministry for ISM by Government of India, initiating steps to train interested modern medical professionals on ISM will contribute to the progress of medicine in following areas:

Explanation of traditional theories in modern concept. For example, finding the physiology behind the traditional concept - flow of breath through one nostril only at a time, and shifting of breath from one nostril to other on every 3 h in a normal personDiscovering advantages of ISM drugs. ISM drugs provided better treatment options in the recent past epidemic (2006) of chikungunya which affected around 1.38 million people in India. In that time when modern medicine was able to provide only symptomatic relief from the high fever and arthralgia, a decoction made from the traditional polyherbal formulation "nilavembu kudineer chooranam" delivered better prognosis by curing a large number of serious patients and preventing the sequelae of acute phase. [5] Efficacy of "nilavembu kudineer chooranam" in chikungunya fever is also evidently proved by the findings of its antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic activity in animal models. [6] Doctors having expertise in both traditional and modern medicine are best qualified to answer the advantage of ISM drugsIntegrating modern and ISM drugs for superior results, few examples are, ISM drugs in alleviating adverse effects of radiation and chemotherapy, [7] management of antibiotic resistance with lead molecules derived from medicinal plants. [8]

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Conflicts of Interest

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