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AYUSH Decoded

AYUSH is an acronym that is used to refer to the non-allopathic medical systems in India. It includes the Indian medical system of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and also Homeopathy. In the current terminology of the Ministry of Health in India, non-allopathic doctors are now referred to as AYUSH ( meaning “life” in Sanskrit) doctors.

AYUSH

Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy (ISM&H) was created in March,1995 and re-named as Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in November, 2003 with a view to providing focused attention to development of Education & Research in Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy systems.

 What are its Objectives? 

  • To upgrade the educational standards in the Indian Systems of Medicines and Homoeopathy colleges in the country;
  • To strengthen existing research institutions and ensure a time-bound research programme on identified diseases for which these systems have an effective treatment.;
  • To draw up schemes for promotion, cultivation and regeneration of medicinal plants used in these systems and
  • To evolve Pharmacopoeial standards for Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy drugs.

 A for AYURVEDA 

Ayurveda is an ancient medicine system of the Indian subcontinent. It is said to have originated in India about 5000 years back.

  • The word Ayurveda is a conjugation of two Sanskrit words ‘ayus’, meaning ‘life’ and ‘veda’, meaning ‘science’, thus ayurveda literally means the ‘science of life’.
  • Unlike other medicinal systems, Ayurveda focuses more on healthy living than treatment of diseases. The main concept of Ayurveda is that it personalizes the healing process.
  • According to Ayurveda, the human body is composed of four basics-the dosha, dhatu, mala and agni. There is immense significance of all these basics of the body in Ayurveda. These are also called the ‘Mool Siddhant’ or the ‘basic fundamentals of Ayurvedic treatment’.

 Y for YOGA 

Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle Science which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body.

  • It is an art and science for healthy living. The word “Yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj meaning “to join”, “to yoke” or “to unite”.
  • According to Yogic scriptures, the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with universal consciousness.
  • According to modern scientists, everything in the universe is just a manifestation of the same quantum firmament. One who experiences this oneness of existence is said to be “in Yoga” and is termed as a yogi who has attained a state of freedom, referred to as Mukti, nirvāna, kaivalyaormoksha.
  • “Yoga” also refers to an inner science comprising of a variety of methods through which human beings can achieve union between the body and mind to attain self-realisation.
  • The aim of Yoga practice (sādhana) is to overcome all kinds of sufferings that lead to a sense of freedom in every walk of life with holistic health, happiness and harmony.
  • 21 June is celebrated as INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY.

 U for UNANI 

The Unani System of Medicine has a long and impressive record in India. It was introduced in India by the Arabs and Persians sometime around the eleventh century. Today, India is one of the leading countries in so for as the practice of Unani medicine is concerned. It has the largest number of Unani educational, research and health care institutions.

  • As the name indicates, Unani system originated in Greece.
  • The foundation of Unani system was laid by Hippocrates. The system owes its present form to the Arabs who not only saved much of the Greek literature by rendering it into Arabic but also enriched the medicine of their day with their own contributions.
  • In this process they made extensive use of the science of Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Therapeutics and Surgery.
  • Unani Medicines got enriched by imbibing what was best in the contemporary systems of traditional medicines in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Persia, India, China and other Middle East countries.
  • In India, Unani System of Medicine was introduced by Arabs and soon it took firm roots.
  • After independence the Unani System along with other Indian systems of medicine received a fresh boost under the patronage of the National Government and its people.
  • GOI passed laws to regulate and promote its education and training.
  • The basic theory of Unani system is based upon the well- known four – humour theory of Hippocrates. This presupposes the presence, in the body, of four humours viz., blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile.

 S for SIDDHA 

Siddha system is one of the oldest systems of medicine in India.

  • The term ‘Siddha’ means achievements and ‘Siddhars’ were saintly persons who achieved results in medicine.
  • Eighteen Siddhars were said to have contributed towards the development of this medical system.
  • Siddha literature is in Tamil and it is practised largely in Tamil speaking part of India and abroad.
  • The Siddha System is largely therapeutic in nature.
  • According to this system the human body is the replica of the universe and so are the food and drugs irrespective of their origin.

 H for HOMEOPATHY 

Homeopathy today is a rapidly growing system and is being practiced almost all over the world. In India it has become a household name due the safety of its pills and gentleness of its cure.

  • A rough study states that about 10% of the Indian population solely depend Homeopathy for their health care needs and is considered as the second most popular system of medicine in the Country.
  • It is more than a century and a half now that Homeopathy is being practised in India. It has blended so well into the roots and traditions of the country that it has been recognised as one of the National System of Medicine and plays a very important role in providing health care to a large number of people.
  • The word ‘Homoeopathy’ is derived from two Greek words, Homois meaning similar and pathos meaning suffering.
  • Homoeopathy simply means treating diseases with remedies, prescribed in minute doses, which are capable of producing symptoms similar to the disease when taken by healthy people.
  • It is based on the natural law of healing- “Similia Similibus Curantur” which means “likes are cured by likes”.
  • It was given a scientific basis by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann ( 1755-1843) in the early 19th century.

Department of AYUSH come under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This is to imply that the AYUSH systems of medicine and its practices are well accepted by the community, particularly, in rural areas. The medicines are easily available and prepared from locally available resources,economical and comparatively safe. With this background, it will be more useful for the mainstreaming/integration of AYUSH systems in National Health Care Delivery System under “ National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)”. Presently, approx. 23,630 dispensaries are functioning and about 6,91,470 registered practitioners are available under AYUSH in the country.