The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu today called for utilising Ayurveda’s extensive knowledge base on preventive care to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that natural remedies prescribed in Ayurveda can help us fight the virus by building our immunity.
Inaugurating online Global Ayurveda Summit with the theme ‘Ayurveda for immunity’ organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Naidu said that Ayurveda was not just a system of medicine but also a philosophy of life.
The Vice President said Ayurveda perceives humans as an integral part of nature and entails a holistic way of life where individuals are in harmony with themselves and with the world that surrounds them.
Elaborating on the therapeutic principles of Ayurveda, he said, it believes in maintaining a perfect balance between the nature’s elements and the Tridoshas of the human body for a healthy state of living. “Ayurveda propounds that every individual has his unique constitution and responds differently to treatment and medication” he added.
Citing the examples of ancient texts such as Atharva Veda, Charaka Samhita and Sushrutha Samhita, Naidu said that since ancient times, India had a very systematic, scientific and rational approach to the treatment of diseases.
The Vice President praised Ayurveda for providing primary and even tertiary health care services to vast populations of India since ancient times.
Observing that Ayurveda must evolve constantly to remain relevant as an effective health care system, the Vice President urged private companies and the government to come together and set up state of the art R&D facilities to develop and test new medicines.
Expressing the need to further explore the properties of Ayurvedic medicines through well-documented scientific evidence, Naidu called for taking the benefits of Ayurveda to people across India and the world. Traditional medicines are cheaper and common people can afford them easily, he observed.
“India is already the source of affordable and quality drugs to the world. It can also become the healer to the world and the most preferred destination of wellness and medical tourism globally”, he added.
He also called for interdisciplinary interaction between traditional and modern systems of medicine so that they learn from one another and support each other in the quest for overall wellness.
Stressing the need to leverage modern technology for the growth of Ayurveda, the Vice President advised the players in Ayurveda to collaborate with bodies like the National Innovation Foundation and work toward popularizing Ayurveda globally.
Naidu also called for investing more resources in our traditional systems of medicine, especially by encouraging and promoting more health start-ups.
Expressing concern over the rising incidence of non-communicable and lifestyle diseases in India, Naidu said that Ayurveda becomes especially relevant in such a scenario. He advised everyone to maintain a healthy lifestyle and eat healthy food. The food prescribed by our forefathers is best suited to our bodily needs and climatic conditions, he added.
The Vice President said that anxiety and fear of disease can be more fatal than the disease itself and advised to practice meditation and spirituality to overcome such anxiety.
He called for leveraging schemes such as Ayushman Bharat to take the benefits of Ayurveda to one and all. We must also ensure that our insurance sector supports Ayurveda, he said.
Recognising the employment generation potential of Ayurveda industry, the Vice President called for designing skilling programs in this filed. This will also help boost services export, he said.
V. Muraleedharan, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, Thomas John Muthoot, Chairman, CII, Baby Mathew, Co-Convenor, CII Ayurveda Panel, Ayurveda Industry heads, Ayurveda Association members, Ayurveda doctors and students were among those who participated in the online event.
The following is the full text of the speech:
I am delighted to be with all of you today to inaugurate the International Conference and Exposition on emerging opportunities for Ayurveda during pandemic with the theme ‘Ayurveda for immunity’.
I am happy to note that such a global event is happening in Kerala through the web.
I congratulate the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for conceptualizing and organizing this much-needed event, in spite of the exigencies caused by the pandemic. This is not just an event but a showcase of a critical health mission that will empower us greatly to tide over the crippling effects of this pandemic.
My dear sisters and brothers,
From ancient times, India had a very systematic, scientific and rationale approach to the treatment of diseases.
The Atharva Veda is a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom in the field of medicine. It is lauded as the earliest source of medical information in India.
Ayurveda has been regarded as an upaveda or a subtext of the Atharva Veda. Its history can be traced back to the 6th Century BC. It has the distinction of being the “oldest medical
system known to man and the oldest and most comprehensive
spiritual teachings in the world”.
The foundations of Ayurveda were laid by the ancient schools of Hindu philosophical teachings– Vaisheshika and the school of logic named as Nyaya.
The Charaka Samhita, the Sushrutha Samhita and the Ashtanaga Hridaya are the other texts that contain a wealth of knowledge about Ayurveda.
The mantras in the Atharva Veda are a treasure trove of information regarding herbs, metals, medicines, diseases and treatments. They speak of the astounding properties and powers that plants possess to cure diseases.
The therapeutic principles of Ayurveda focus on prakriti and Tridoshas. These principles propound that every individual has his unique constitution and responds differently to treatment and medication.
In Ayurveda, it is believed, that a perfect balance between the nature’s elements and the Tridoshas of the human body should be maintained for a healthy state of living.
The practice of Ayurveda has been documented in hundreds of classical treatises written in Sanskrit as well as in several other Indian languages.
Ayurveda has an uninterrupted history of providing primary and even tertiary health care services to vast populations of India during the past several centuries.
It enjoyed the patronage of a number of rulers in ancient India. The Mauryan State is said to have given Ayurveda an institutional base, initiated by the exigencies of trade, commerce and agriculture.
Today, Ayurveda is recognised globally as a benign health care science with healing and wellness capabilities. It is not just a system of medicine; it is also a philosophy of life.
It perceives humans as an integral part of nature. It entails a holistic way of life where individuals are in harmony with themselves and with the world that surrounds them.
Its approach to health and wellness is firmly rooted in the unique Indian philosophy of life.
My dear sisters and brothers,
Today, the whole world is in the throes of an unprecedented pandemic. A global shut down of the scale and proportion that we are witnessing today is, perhaps, a first in our history. Its socio-economic impacts are unimaginable. It has changed every facet of our life, including the way we eat, work, travel and interact with people. It has severely impacted the economies and various businesses.
At this critical inflection point, we must introspect as to how India can emerge as a winner, post this formidable crisis. A lot will depend upon successfully arresting the spread of this infection. Boosting the ability of the body to resist diseases and building immunity through natural remedies prescribed in Ayurveda will go a long way in combating the virus.
Ayurveda’s extensive knowledge base on preventive care, is based on the concepts of “Dinacharya” – daily regimes and “Ritucharya” – seasonal regimes to maintain healthy life.
Through remedies as simple as the enhanced use of spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander and garlic in cooking to drinking herbal tea made from tulsi, cinnamon, black pepper, dry ginger, raisins and jaggery can strengthen the immune system.
Daily practice of Yoga, especially Pranayama and meditation for at least 30 minutes as advised by Ministry of AYUSH will also help boost general health and wellness.
I am happy to note that in recognition of the disease prevention capabilities of Ayurveda, initiatives like ‘Ayurshield’ are being launched by the government of Kerala in cooperation with CII, as an extension of Ayur Raksha clinics.
Ayurveda can provide answers to recurrent epidemics hitting India and the world.
There is a need to further explore the properties of Ayurvedic medicines through well-documented scientific evidence and take the many benefits of Ayurveda to people across India and the world.
India is already the source of affordable and quality drugs to the world. It can also become the healer to the world and the most preferred destination of wellness and medical tourism globally.
For this to happen, we must further consolidate and benchmark our traditional systems of medicine through empirical evidence. At the same time, Ayurveda must evolve constantly to remain relevant as an effective health care system based on observations and empiricism.
I urge private companies and the government to come together and set up state of the art R&D facilities to develop and test new medicines. These institutions must also act as centres for consolidation and rigorous documentation of developments in different streams of indigenous medicines happening across India and world over.
Nations must volunteer to share information and knowledge about their traditional systems of medicine so that they benefit entire humanity, especially during times of global crises like the Coronavirus. However, any protocol or practice must be evidence-based.
There must also be interdisciplinary interaction between traditional and modern systems of medicine so that they learn from one another and support each other in the quest for overall wellness.
Ayurveda is also increasingly being recognised for its capabilities in dealing with non-communicable diseases, musculo-skeletal disorders, degenerative and life-style ailments and pre-and-post natal care. This strength of Ayurveda becomes especially relevant in the wake of the rising incidence of non-communicable and life styles diseases in India.
The government of India’s Ayushman Bharat is the largest health insurance scheme in the world. The immense reach of such schemes can be used to take the benefits of Ayurveda to one and all.
Ayurveda industry is also a massive employment provider. Hence we must design skilling programs focussed upon Ayurveda and allied sectors. This will also help boost services export.
We must also invest more resources on our traditional systems of medicine, especially by encouraging and promoting more health start-ups.
Ayurveda must make use of the immense possibilities of modern technology. Players in Ayurveda must collaborate with bodies like the National Innovation Foundation. It can connect Ayurveda to hitherto undiscovered technology spheres and find solutions to popularizing Ayurveda globally.
We must also ensure that our insurance sector supports Ayurveda. We must also undertake constant monitoring to ensure the that the quality of our medicines, treatment protocols and overall management processes are of impeccable quality.
Indian civilization has always prayed for the wellbeing of the entire world. The Shantimantra from the Brihadaranyakopanishad exhorts:
“Sarve bhavantu sukhinah
Sarve santu niraamayaah”
Meaning “May all be happy! May all be free from diseases!”
I am hopeful that this Global Ayurveda Summit will be a step in the right direction towards meeting this goal of wellbeing of the entire humanity.
On this note, I am happy to declare the 4th edition of the Global Ayurveda Summit open. I am hopeful that this summit will witness informed discussions, spirited debates and meaningful deliberations and will lead to the strengthening of the science and practice of Ayurveda both in India and the world.