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Recently, the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) joined hands with the Faridabad based Ayurvedic company Jiva, to conduct a detailed research analysis on the relevance and effectiveness of Ayurveda. Despite the booming success of Ayurvedic therapies, massage centres and luxury spas, India’s ancient science of healing is yet to crack the reluctant shell of mainstream medicine.

The big data analysis conducted with the aid of Oxyent Medical Private Limited, Delhi, throws light upon the conducive and preventive aspects of Ayurvedic treatment. The research survey, first of its kind in the field of Ayurvedic cure, concludes that people turn to Ayurveda mostly when modern medicine fails to provide the desired results. This is more prominent in the case of chronic illnesses where over 76% of patients reported partial or complete recovery.

The analysis, done on over 1,07,000 patients, demonstrates some significant patterns of Ayurveda’s demand and popularity. Among the various health issues for which people seek Ayurvedic treatment, the maximum concerned the digestive system, followed by the endocrine disorders (diabetes/obesity/thyroid). Other health issues include underweight (mostly in women), skin problems, as well as respiratory and nervous system disorders. Among the chronically ill who opted for Ayurvedic cure, more than 80% had suffered for more than a year before choosing the traditional medicine. In 75% of such cases, the treatment was found effective. In a meagre 0.9% the conditions aggravated.

According to team member Samir K Brahmachari, one of the prominent Indian biologists and former director general of CSIR, the study serves to prove Ayurveda’s potential in preventive health care. “There wasn’t any proper scientific documentation or any big data analysis in the field of Ayurvedic treatment till now. Our study for the first time shows interesting patterns of healing.”

The data for the research was collected from Jiva Ayurveda, a leading manufacturer of Ayurveda medicines, with over 40 clinics across the nation. Jiva also runs an institute on Ayurveda research and has its telemedicine wing for Ayurveda consultation as well. About 107,000 data was obtained for the analysis from around 380,000 patients who visited the clinics and accessed the telemedicine network. “we have a method of 10 parameters to assess the treatment”, says Pratap Chauhan, a team member and one of the senior researchers at Jiva. Regular tests are conducted before and after the treatment.

The statistics of the data analysis has been published in the recent issue of “Progress in Preventive Medicine”, an international open access journal. As per the report, in more than 58% of the cases, the patients experienced “slight improvement”. 14% reported “significant progress”, and a 3.6% “no relief”. The study confirms that accessing Ayurveda treatment at an early stage ensures better results and relief. “We also have standardised diagnostic protocols for 25 diseases,” Mr. Chauhan said.

In spite of the country having over 700,000 registered practitioners of traditional medicine (the majority in Ayurveda), it is still a huge hurdle to analyse and record the efficacy of treatments due to a lack of digital footprint and proper documentation.

“Ayurveda is promoted mainly through word of mouth. There is no particular system that could trace and record facts on who takes treatment for what kind of diseases. Hopefully the big data analysis will pave the way for an unbiased look into the Ayurveda trend,” says Mitali Mukherjee, senior scientist at the Delhi-based Institute of Genomics and Integrated Biology.

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