— Photo: K. Pichumani
S. Gandhiselvan, Minister of State for Health (second from left), with V.R. Venkataachalam, Chancellor, Sri Ramachandra University, at the inauguration of a national workshop in Chennai on Tuesday. S. Rangaswami, Vice-Chancellor, SRU (second from right) and B. Anand, Joint Secretary, department of Ayush are in the picture.
CHENNAI: Scientific practices have to be incorporated into Siddha to facilitate global acceptance of the ancient system of healing, Union Minister of State for Health S. Gandhiselvan said on Tuesday.
Inaugurating a national workshop on “Pre Clinical and Clinical Research” for Siddha professionals under the auspices of the Sri Ramachandra University (SRU), Mr. Gandhiselvan said while the value of traditional Siddha was recognised by Western societies, the lack of scientific validation of its efficacy stood in the way of a more widespread acceptance.
Siddha practitioners needed to be exposed to the technical know-how of modern pre-clinical and clinical research, he said. The workshop was co-hosted by the National Institute of Siddha and the Central Research Institute for Siddha under the Department of Ayush, Government of India. S.P. Thyagarajan, Chief Advisor-Research at SRU, called for addressing the serious quality control issues and lack of standardised practices that prevented India from garnering a larger slice of the $62 billion global market for herbal medicines. At present, India’s share was only $1 billion compared to China’s share of $19 billion and there was a great opportunity for herbal medicine, he said.
G.A. Raj Kumar, Director, Department of Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy, said though Indian systems of medicines had responses to common lifestyle diseases, the Western world continued to be sceptical in the absence of manufacturing standards and scientific validation of efficacy.
B. Anand, Joint Secretary, Department of Ayush, Government of India, stressed the need to buttress the anecdotal efficacy of Siddha medicine with scientific methods of evaluation. He cautioned researchers against applying the clinical practices and paradigms of allopathy to Siddha which was a holistic system of medicine examining the mind as well as the body.
S. Thanikachalam, chairman of the workshop, said the event reflected the SRU’s efforts to associate with other disciplines and collaborate on basic and clinical research.
K. Manickavasakam, Director-in-charge, National Institute of Siddha, V.R. Venkataachalam, SRU Chancellor, and S. Rangaswami, Vice-Chancellor, also participated.