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,
and supporting points are of Agni, Srota and Sapta Dhatus. These factors form the base of normalcy of physico-mental activities.

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.

2) 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.
Lots of information with respect to the collection and preservation of different parts of medicinal plants is available in ancient texts, there is a need to revalidate and authenticate the claims by means of studying their phytochemistry and evaluating them pharmacologically or clinically.

3) 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.

4) Pharmacognosy - It is necessary for us to identify a drug (whether plant, animal product or mineral) by its morphology, histology or chemistry for studying it thoroughly. In ancient days, the physicians used to collect the herbs, himself and for him identification was not a difficult task. Hence, the knowledge of pharmacognosy was not developed much in those days, though some synonyms (giving informations about the plant) were mentioned. To have complete and thorough information of a plant more genuine synonyms should be designated. To identify a plant, modern help regarding external and internal morphology should be taken. In this with the help of modern technology, the branch of pharmacognosy of Ayurvedic plants should be developed. Due to the non-availability of the drugs adulteration of the drugs is seen. Thus, to find out the genuine drug, identification of the plant is very important. Steps with regard to standardisation of a particular plant should be undertaken.

5) Pharmacology - 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.
Some plants have been used since ancient times effectively in various disorders, but they are not mentioned in the texts. Such plants should be subjected to a thorough study and their pharmacological actions on various organs of the body should be noted down.

6) Experimental study - 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 -

     1. Raw single drugs
     2. Method of preparation
     3. Finished product.

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 -

  1. Diseases and their aeitological factors, and their therapeutic measures which are mentioned in Ayurvedic text are to be analysed properly.
  2. Evaluation of aetiology of diseases, symptoms, clinical examination of the patient, prognosis, therapeutic measures, used drugs ( medicinal drugs and food products) -according to modern science.

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 -

  1. Diagnosing a case according to modern methods and treating according to Ayurvedic methods.
  2. Diagnosing according to Ayurvedic methods and treating according to Modern methods
  3. Diagnosing and Treatment, - both according to Modern methods.
  4. Diagnosing and Treatment, both according to Ayurvedic methods.

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.