The essence of any successful research work lies in the broad vision and in a focussed approach of scientists. For research and development some specific areas need to be attended so that the study becomes easier and scientific. There are various areas where research and development is imperative.
a) Research in Fundamentals
Before going to the research
part in fundamentals it is mandatory to understand them. The main fundamentals
of Ayurveda are Panchamahabhoota, Tridosha,
All these fundamentals need explanation in a modern way. The fundamentals of Panchamahabhoota as well as its supporting fundamentals should be subjected to exploratory studies on the principles of modern physics and chemistry, so that their values hold true and could be explained in a scientific way. The elements decided by the modern science should be studied in the view of Panchmahabhoot theory, which forms the foundation of Ayurveda. Unless and until this fundamental theory is studied properly it is very difficult to understand Ayurveda. Panchabhootavada is the physico-chemical base of Ayurveda, whereas Tridosha theory its biological base. All the normal and abnormal activities of our body depends on the Tridosha and hence, studies are needed to reconfirm the biological basics of these functional entities. This will help us understand the physiological basis of human health.
Scopes for research are also available in the field of understanding the basics of human immune system, keeping the Ojas, the essence of tissue humoral component in the center stage.
Another special feature of Ayurveda is the evaluation of constitutional and temperamental profiles, better known as Shareer and Manas Prakruti.
Physiological and psychosomatic basis of these Prakrutis, added with the laws of do's and don'ts ; likes and dislikes ; suitables and non-suitables may be further explored to support objectives of preventive health. Lot of research work is underway in many reputed institutions.
b) Pharmacological Research
Pharmacological Research also plays an important role in the series of research and development of Ayurveda, since many drugs are used for the treatment part.
For drug research the following points should be taken into consideration -
1) Survey - The
growth of particular plants, in particular area may be surveyed. For that,
particular plants may be selected and their growth response to different geo
-climatic conditions may be studied. A particular herb, when fully mature,
is collected and noted down in the 'Field Book' and a number is designated
to the plant as that in the 'Field Book'. The nature of the plant its flowering
and fruiting habits, regional synonyms, traditional uses of the plant, can
be recorded and documented. Herbarium has to be maintained, where detailed
information of a particular plant could be found. Thus, a 'Flora' of a particular
region is maintained, so that the knowledge of the plants grown in the particular
region can be inferred.
Collection and Preservation
- The time
of collection of a particular herb should be known, because the active principles
are in the peak stage of efficacy, in some particular seasons.
Cultivation - Efforts
are needed to grow/cultivate the medicinal herbs of greater importance in
different environmental conditions for incremental yields and higher potential.
To give various functions like emesis, purgation, the plants should be cultivated
in the land with the prominence of those basic elements, who would give the
maximum help to perform the particular function. For eg. it has been said
that plant having a purgative property, if grown in the soil having predominance
of water and earth elements, would be very efficient in its property. Thus
research should be done on the relation of the activity of the plant with
the particular composition of the basic material elements, so that a scientific
base can be maintained. Plants which are imported should be studied properly
and an attempt should be made to cultivate these plants in our country. For
ensuring success with all these factors, a team of botanists, agriculturists,
scientists and learned people from Ayurvedic faculty shall serve a great deal.
- An attempt should be made to correlate
the effects of a particular drug according to the modern parameters, so that
an Ayurvedic student will have faith in Ayurvedic medicines and he will be
able to face the queries of the modern science. Some plants have shown some
particular effects which are not mentioned in the text for eg. plants like
Shankhapushpi, Rudraksh, Sarpagandha act as excellent hypotensive
drugs though they have been mentioned as useful in mental disorders, in Ayurvedic
science. So, more and more research has to be done to find such new undescribed
effects of the plants.
- The pharmacological
actions of a particular drug should be checked again along with its analytical
part. For this purpose, clinical trials and animal experiments are necessary.
This helps, not only to confirm the actions of the particular drug, but also
to meet the queries of the modern science, which will help us to prove the
effects of our Ayurvedic products, and to make them acceptable by the world.
7) Chemical analysis - The particular plant should be subjected to chemical analysis to find out its chemical composition and its active principle. An attempt should be made to separate the active principles to know the exact effect of that principle. But, one most important point about which need should be paid is that Ayurveda believes that there are some other factors, other than the 'active principle' which gives the desired effects. These factors should also be studied along with the active principle. Because if active principles are used separately like modern science, side effects are seen, which is not accepted by Ayurvedic science. Hence, rather than giving importance to active principle, the whole plant should be studied in terms of its action. With the aid of experimental knowledge, dosage of the particular herb should be estimated.
Thus, the above mentioned factors could prove to be important tools in acquiring elaborate knowledge of medicinal drugs.
c) Pharmaceutical Research
The medicinal herbs are used in various ways for the patient's convenience and to decrease the amount of consumption of the herb and for the ease of its administration. Thus the various formulations like Swarasa, Kalka, Kwatha, Sheeta, Fanta, Churna, Vati, etc should be studied properly and their relative efficacy should be noted. The expiry date of various formulations should be decided. The formulations should be standardised with regard to the identification, genuineness of the ingredients, the way of processing herbs and the criteria, mentioned in the Ayurvedic text to prepare a particular formula. Controversies of some particular plants are to be dealt with properly so that a substitute plant is not used in the formulation, and the efficacy of the formulation could be subjected to doubt. Due to increased demand of particular drugs, and its non-availability, due to its decreased production, adulteration is seen in increased manner. So identification and standardization of the particular formulation is mandatory. This standardisation should be carried out on these three levels -
Raw single drugs
Along with this, care must be taken to know how the particular formulation is to be preserved, and in what circumstances, so that the potency of the formulation is not hampered in any way.
d) Clinical Research
The main aims of clinical research are as follows -
Clinical research plays an important role in analyzing Ayurvedic fundamentals, so that its genuineness can be proved and it can be accepted through out the world. Hence clinical research forms the base of research and development in various other fields.
For eg. For research in literature are, to study the nature of a particular disease, practical study, clinical research is very much important. Do's and Don't's in the therapeutic measures is also included in the clinical research study of the drugs used in the therapeutic measure is also done under the topic of clinical research. Thus clinical research forms the centre of all other research areas.
In this field, along with Ayurvedic methods, modern investigatory methods and means should be taken into consideration. This requires experts from both modern (Allopathic) as well as Ayurvedic field. Initially it should be decided that which disease has to be taken for the research. For this purpose seminars of doctors may be held, indoor as well as outdoor patients are taken into consideration for this Research work. On admission of the patient the Ayurvedic team of doctors would diagnose the case according to Ayurvedic science and would start the treatment. It is convenient to start with the treatment with single plant and then proceed from easy formulations to complicated ones. Sometimes, before starting the treatment, chemical analysis of the particular herb may be required. The treatment and the instructions regarding do's and don'ts should be charted in the scientific ways, so that the daily development can be noted. The team of Allopathic doctors would then diagnose the case according to their science. The details about treatment according to Ayurvedic science would be noted by Modern doctors also. The decision of the cure of the disease or any other status would require both Ayurvedic and Allopathic doctors consent. For the analysis of the result of the treatment a statistician is required. Thus all the data is collected and included in the texts.
To examine a patient, Ayurvedic methods like Panch indriya Parikshan, eight-fold therapy, Nidan Panchak, Dosha, Dushya, Agni, Srota, etc. should be taken eight into consideration.
It is considered that not only Ayurvedic treatment should be evaluated and studied on the basis of modern concepts, but the modern treatment should also be evaluated and studied on the basis of Ayurvedic concepts.
Thus one proposal came into existence which states that the clinical Research should be carried out in following way -
For clinical research clinical study has to be done. The drug which has to be used in a particular disease on a large scale has to be proved first on the patient and should satisfy all the parameters. In modern way of research, animal experiment is given more importance. But in Ayurveda, animal experiments have been given importance only if drugs under test are toxic in nature. Therefore, animal experiments may be considered only for testing acute or chronic toxicity of new formulations, especially the herbo-metallic ones.
In clinical study, data regarding the patient is collected. Investigations before starting the medicine is noted down. Daily development of the effect is to be noted down. After the course of treatment, investigations are to be repeated again. Controlled diet should be maintained. Detailed information regarding diet in terms of the amount of each ingredient taken should be carried out. All vital parameters should be noted for comparing, one untreated group and one standard group is required. The untreated group is given a placebo, and for the standard group some conventional medicine is given.
statistical data particular number of patients are required. Evaluation should be on the basis of double blind method, in which neither the physician nor the patient knows about the medicine and the evaluation should be done by a neutral person.
The clinical examination of a patient should be done according to the ten-fold examination. In addition to this, modern parameters of investigation should be taken for help.
Thus the clinical Research should be done with the help of modern parameters, so that it would be easy to put forward the concepts of Ayurvedic medicine in a convincible way in front of the world.