From one article I learned that till the year 2013, about 523 research articles on Ashwaganhda (Withania somnifera) can be tracked from the online database of medical research – PubMed. Articles appeared in non PubMed listed journals also can be equal to the number of publications in the listed journals. I doubt the journal of CCRAS, whether it is listed in PubMed or not.
The findings of all the above research studies have indicated several medicinal properties of the plant – Ashwagandha.
The eight wonder of the world is that till date, no single drug has come to the modern medical world from Ashwagandha that can be used to treat and cure any definite human disease.
About 70% of the modern allopathic drugs whose active content have been identified from plants. But the plants that have such active compound as one of its chemicals do not make the plant a drug.
Till date only two drugs from herbal sources has been approved by US FDA and they are Veregen, the green tea extract for the treatment of genital wart and Dansheng Dripping Pill, a traditional Chinese medicine that has entered Phase 3 clinical trial in US.
Converting a Siddha preparation to Siddha drug is more challenging than developing a new drug molecule. The interesting aspect of Guggul is that the plant grown in Kerala has little active content than that grown in Afghanistan. Similarly the plant grown during summer differs greatly from the plant grown during winter.
Contribution of AYUSH, CCRS and NIS in developing a drug from Siddha system that has convinced the world is almost zero.
Quinine from the plant Cinchona tree was discovered by two French scientists in the year 1820. Respirine from Rouwolfia serpentine was developed by Ciba – Geigy, but due to its severe side effects, the drug could not reach the main stream. Vinblastine and Vincristine are not the outcome of Indian research. CDRI has made Guggulipid from guggul in 1980 after several years of research.
Interestingly none of the institutions of AYUSH such as CCRS or NIS has made any such breakthrough. If we ask why they could not achieve, they would simply say that Siddha and Siddha drugs are different from modern drugs and they work in synergistic way. Interestingly they keep blind eye on Siddha practitioners going after allopathic drug prescriptions.
The interesting question is that why some Siddha private practitioners do not believe in such synergistic principle of Siddha and prescribe allopathic drugs?
Some Siddha practitioners are known to make tall claims about their system and how they can even achieve vision to a born blind person. But if we ask about the science, they start to play Robin to its Boatman.
The purpose of the article is not to prove anything wrong with Siddha system but only to show the world of medicine and its complexities to the policy makers of the Siddha system. The world can understand and want only such drugs and not some herbal mixtures with bundle of promises.
The question AYUSH must answer is that can Siddha system offer such ‘drugs’/’medicines’ to the world. Today this is what the world expects from medicines and from medical system and tomorrow Indians also would expect the same.
If Siddha cannot offer such drugs, never call it or define it as medical system, said Dr Abdul Abbas, MD-Siddha. Rename it as Health and Relief system where Siddha can offer a lot to humanity in this area as well as in the area of non communicable diseases. Change the curriculum of Siddha graduation course as Graduate Course in Health and Relief, similar to other paramedical courses, wished Dr Abdul Abbas, MD-Siddha.
If such changes are brought, both the system and the qualified graduates in Siddha will survive and prosper. The Siddha system is a wonderful system for health and relief.
Above regionalism and linguistic sentiments, the valuable Siddha system must promoted, popularized and path for such growth can only be honest and straight forward position of the system. Position the Siddha system based on what it can really offer and do not position it as medical science.
Dr S Ranganathan