R. Sarangan (USA)
On reading Dr. N. Bhaskara Rao’s article, in primepost.in, titled “What Anandayya of Andhra Pradesh has done many can do it in India,” on a herbal preparation made in village in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, R. Sarangan from Phoenix, USA, has written following letter to the author. Sarangan has been living in the US for forty years. He has expertise in project management and information systems. He worked for major US corporations like Boeing, IBM, DuPont, Martin Marietta and UniSys. Following is the letter in full:
I never shared with you my contributions as the principal statistician of Dr. Lakshmipathi Ayurvedic Research Institute, a Central Govt. institution at the VHS, Chennai. I worked with 5 modern medicine doctors and 4 qualified Ayurvedic physicians. As the principal statistician I was having an influencing role in the study of nutrition as per Ayurveda and modern concepts and a survey of nutritional habits in Tamil Nadu; evolving of a protocol to assess the basic Personality (Prakriti ) and vitiation of dashas in disease; study of constitutional factors like ectomorphy, mesomorhy and endomorphy with Ayurvedic concepts of vata, pitta and kapha using the protocols evolved; diagnosis of tropical eosonophila and bronchial asthma using the protocols; and a double blind clinical trial of Ayurvedic herbs – Mandookaparani and Punarnava. In the three years I was there, I was a co- author of all the six scientific papers published and presented in the All India Medical Conference at the Benares Hindu University. The Advisor to Dr. Sushila Nayyar used to take keen interest in the Ayurvedic research.
This is a position I liked most and my contributions were well recognized. Besides I had a free hand in the running of the research schemes!
Ayurveda is much more scientific in that it is based on objective theory and principles which over the years not well understood and practised, thus going into disrepute. The knowledge and practice of so many herbs, plants and minerals of medicinal value in our country are great. The description and use of all of them in health and disease in Ayurvedic texts is superb. Still the efficacy of most of these as described in the texts have not been statistically evaluated by controlled studies. Many of them have high potential of effective cure under certain conditions and circumstances for specific types of people. In our research we studied certain common household medicines for minor illnesses and the results were impressive as compared to the performance of the counterpart modern medicine! The double blind clinical trial of the two Ayurvedic herbs also showed promising initial results.
I remember the Ayurvedists eradicated incurable severe bronchial
asthma attacks of two lifelong cases by using a leaf of a plant called ‘Naipalai’ from the Guindy Rajbhavan forest.
In modern medicine it is only Tylenol for physical problem whether it be in any part of the body, for people of any stage of their life, any season, any habits, any physiological or mental make-up of the patient , any pattern of reactions to environments by the patient etc etc.
You see the marvel of Ayurveda here- the diagnosis and treatment with medicines are totally independent from person to person. Every patient with the same pain in the same part may not be treated with the same main medicine plus the accompanying vehicular medicine! This and the diagnosis will depend on so many factors like basic personality, the vitiated doshas, season, habits and reactions of the patient etc etc
In this respect Auurveda is more scientific than modern medicine in its approach and treatment!
The Research Institute was named after the reputed Ayurvedist from West Godavari Dr. A Lakshmipathi. His son-in-law was the internationally recognized Neuro Surgeon Dr. B. Ramamurthy who happened to be one of the Governing Committee members. I used to be effectively interacting with the Advisor to the Union Health Minister.
I don’t want to bore you with this spontaneous thoughts.
The above letter was sent on Saturday evening. On Sunday morning, Sarangan adds the following:
For many minor illnesses simple Ayurvedic and other home remedies are widely used and proved promising alternatives in the outpatient trial. From the Study of Ayurvedic Theory on Nutrition and a Survey on Nutrition Habits in remote places in Tamilnadu the following facts were evident:
- Old people in villages predominantly believe in and use herbal medicines and foods based on herbal origin, mostly mentioned in Ayurvedic and Sidhdha systems.
- They modify the food according to changes in seasons, physiological conditions like pregnancy, various illnesses, convalescence, period of intense activity etc, They also follow hygienic practices and methods. All these as prescribed in ancient Ayurvedic texts.
- Certain medicinal plants of common origin besides herbal are being used by Ayurvedic practitioners. These work best only if the Ayurvedic diagnotic methods and numerous other factors are correct.
- Hence a systematic scientific study based on sound statistical methods has to be undertaken.
- The double blind clinical trial of two herbs was conducted to find how far the benefits / good effects mentioned in Ayurvedic texts still hold true in modern conditions. Initial results based on periodically collected data showed some encouraging results.