Ayush Camp at Karur, India: an Eye Opener on Alternative Systems of Medicine

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By Dr K Parameswaran

The author is Assistant Director, PIB,Madurai

Madurai, Dec 16, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB India) There is a legend in Kerala about the famous family of Vaidyas (Ayurveda physicians) called Alathur Nambis. The traditional house of the Alathur Nambis is part of the modern district of Palakkad. They form part of the group of Eight Physician families – each family reputed for their exceptional ability in each branch of medicine.

It seems that once the heavenly twins called Aswini Devas – they are the guardian deities of Health and Medicine – appeared on the form of crows and used to sit on a tree beside a temple pond repeating the sounds “korukku”.

One day, the then head of the family of Alathur Nambi came to worship at the temple and hearing the noise produced by the crows stood their and recited a Sanskrit couplet, the meaning of which, was as follows: he who eats only that amount of food that he needs at the proper times and only when he needs them, he who passes urine and stools without with holding them for long periods of time and he who drinks adequate amount of water will be one who will not be plagued by illnesses of any sort! It seems that what the crows were doing was to ask the question ‘who is he who does not have illnesses?” Don’t you think the answer given by the Ayurvedic physician is modern by all standards?

It is against this back ground that the Union Government is giving due importance to alternative systems of medicines like Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Unani, Tribal Medicine etc. Besides being more eco friendly, these systems of medicine also have the advantage that they stress more on the preventive aspect of medicine.


At the recently concluded Bharat Nirman Public Information campaign (PIC) at Karur in Tamilnadu, an experiment was made where in the free medical camp conducted as part of the PIC was organized by the Department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopathy) working under the Union Ministry of health and Family Welfare. Besides attracting a large number of patients, the camp was also successful as a platform from which the availability and advantages of the alternative systems of medicine were made known.

Doctors and a team of paramedical staff attended the three day campaign from the various institutions in Chennai. The Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine, Research Centre for Ayurveda and the Clinical Research Unit for Homeopathy were the institutes that organized the medical camp. They were led respectively by Dr Hafiz Md Salam, Dr P Srinivas and Dr K Raju.

Besides a medical camp of one day, the units had also set up stalls in the Campaign where they distributed informative pamphlets and dispensed low cost medicines for various common ailments.

Feedback from Patients.

Venkteswaran, a resident of the Thanthndrimalai agraharam near the PIC exhibition site, had been suffering from pain in the forelegs and heels for quite some time. He consulted the Ayurveda doctors at the camp who suggested a daily oil bath with medicated oil and a powder to be mixed in water and drunk early morning before food. By the time the camp ended itself Venkateswaran was all smiles. He said that there was perceptible relief from pain!

Jagadamma, a daily wage earner from Karuppatti near Karur had come to see the exhibition. The medicine prescribed by the Homeopathy doctors was able to give her big relief from eye reddening and dryness.

Unani doctors also attracted a large number of patients. The Unani doctors said that they were able to distribute a record number of almost 1000 book lets on “Tips for Healthy Living” produced in Tamil.

In short, the camp was eye opener on the efficacy and effectiveness of the alternative systems of medicine. It helped in giving an impetus to the popularity of the cost effective and eco friendly systems of medicine that can easily be accessed by the common people in rural areas also.

- PIB Features

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