Regional Research Institute of Ayurveda in India - A Centre for Research and Alternative Medicine

By Suman Gazmer
Freelance Journalist from Gangtok via PIB India

Gangtok, Feb 7, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB-India) The study of age old practice of Ayurveda is entrenched in the Indian education sector with numerous institutional and research centres in every State of the country preserving and enhancing the growth of medicinal plants.

Sikkim, a Himalayan State blessed with a rich biodiversity, is also under the Ayurveda studies umbrella with Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare setting up a Regional Research Institute (Ayurveda) here at Tadong, 4 kms away from the capital town of Gangtok. The institution is not only providing health services to the people here but is also engaged in research work and survey of the 500 odd medicinal plants found in Sikkim.

On an average, the Tadong Regional Research Institute (Ayurveda) treats 30 to 40 patients daily in winter at its OPD and during summers, the footfalls increases to 60. However, the institute is trying to reach out to the general public at the grassroots level by generating awareness of Ayurveda among them and thus encourage them towards healthy lifestyle and take preventive measures. It has been organizing various awareness camps to popularize Ayurveda among the masses on its own or with collaboration with the State Government or Press Information Bureau,  during the Bharat Nirman Public Information Campaign held in various parts of the State.

Persons treated in the various far flung areas of Sikkim during the medical camp make it a point to come at the institution for follow up. Gastritis, back pain and arthritis are the common ailments found among the Sikkimese and we have successfully treated about 700 patients within 9 months last year, said Dr. A.K Panda, Research Officer-cum-in charge of the Regional Research Institute (Ayurveda). Being the only Ayurveda institute in the state, it has also undertaken the clinical trials for studying the efficiency of drugs by collecting data from folk lore, senior citizens and folk healers.

The Ayurveda emphasizes on preventive and healing therapies along with various methods of bio-cleansing and rejuvenation. Therefore, the Regional Research institute (Ayurveda) is providing Panchakarma Kshar Sutra at its centre. Ten persons on average are being provided this Panchakarma Kshar Sutra therapy daily.

The other mandates of this institute are to undertake clinical trials for studying the efficacy of drugs, to provide health education and knowledge of preventive measures and to generate awareness among the people about the Ayurveda in Sikkim.

As Sikkim is blessed with abundant medicinal plants, this institution has its own survey of medicinal plants unit (SMPU) which has already surveyed more than 130 medicinal plants that are found in the Himalayan State. It has documented its survey in a book ‘Medico Ethno Botanical Explorations in Sikkim Himalayas’. Apart from the various research works, the institute also works on the traditional uses and medicinal potential of Cordyceps Sinesis which is mostly found in the high altitude areas of North Sikkim. The locals call Cordyceps Sinesis as Yarsa Gumba or Keera Jhar.

According to research of the institute the folk healers of Sikkim use Cordyceps Sinensis to cure over 21 ailments like cancer, asthma, TB, diabetes, cough and cold. This is a rare combination of caterpillar and a fungus and found in the altitudes of 4500 m in Sikkim.

The institution has also conducted an anti-cancer study with Kalo Haldi (Black Turmeric), Bikhma (Vatsnabha)  and Chirato (Kiratatikta) in collaboration with Jadavpur University and Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore. It is shortly initiating a project called value chain of medicinal plants in Sikkim in collaboration with Sikkim University to bridge the gap between the producer and consumers.

The regional research institute is also monitoring the side effect of herbal product specially Ayurveda and Amji or the Tibetan system of treatment. It also has a separate centre for pharma co-vigilance where the people can report about the side effect of Ayurveda, Unani and Siddhi drugs.

(PIB Features)
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Disclaimer:  The writer is a freelance journalist and the views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of PIB or WBRi.