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AYURVEDIC BIOLOGY

Preamble:

Ayurveda signifies knowledge of what promotes life as well as that which injures it. By
definition, it transcends the practice of medicine, but popularly it is identified with India’s
traditional system of medicine which has been in vogue since the Buddhist period and
continues to serve 70% of India’s rural population. Research in Ayurveda has been
dominated by studies on medicinal plants and the development of herbal drugs, which
has a large market growing at 15% per year. However, basic research which employs
modern biology, immunology, and chemistry to investigate the concepts, procedures,
and products has received little attention. This gap calls out for correction lest the
absence of basic studies according to modern scientific protocols should lead to
Ayurveda being regarded as a form of “herbal therapy” as was done by the Walton
Committee in the UK. Concepts of body constitution, digestive process of food in the gut
and substrates in tissues, rejuvenation, body adaptation to seasons, degradation of
habitat by human conduct, and taste as a chemical indicator are examples of the rich
collection of cues that Ayurveda provides for the modern investigator. The programme
on Ayurvedic Biology was initiated primarily by the office of the Principal Scientific
Advisor to the Government of India, Prof. P. Chidambararm. The programme, now re-
conceived, is being implemented by the Department of Science and Technology. Against
this background, the Department of Science and Technology constituted a Task Force
under the Chairmanship of Dr MS Valiathan, National Research Professor, Manipal
University to promote the application of basic sciences in the investigation of Ayurvedic
concepts, procedures and products, and nurture the discipline of Ayurvedic Biology.
Specific objectives:

i. Development of a basic understanding of the concepts, procedures, and products of


Ayurveda in terms of modern sciences such as biology, immunology and chemistry.

ii. To develop infrastructure facilities, Centers of excellence, and major research facilities
in this area.

iii. To promote human resource development in this area by offering fellowships, training
opportunities, providing support to scientific meetings and workshops.

iv. To promote collaborative research with institutions abroad who are active in
pursuing studies on traditional medicine and may have shared interest in
Ayurvedic biology.

Operation of the programme:


The programme of Ayurvedic Biology will be steered by a
Task Force to promote high quality research which would
lead to major contributions to scientific knowledge and
which could have implications for improving the standards
of health care. The investigative work in this programme
will necessarily involve the full participation of scientists
and Ayurvedic experts who would be part of established
institutions of science, medicine, and Ayurveda in India.
Individual or groups of scientists, physicians and Ayurvedic
experts are encouraged to submit project proposals on any
interesting aspect of Ayurvedic concepts, procedures, or
products, which would lend themselves to investigation by
modern scientific protocols. The proposed study should
involve active participation by scientific and Ayurvedic
institutions. All project proposals should conform to the
standard DST format for Ayurvedic Biology and would be
considered on the basis of peer review.
Task Force:

The Task Force will be responsible for-

i. setting priorities, identifying research


areas and developing proposals through
meetings, brainstorming session etc., or
whatever mode it so decides;
ii. ensuring smooth implementation of the
projects, monitoring of progress and mid
term correction and final evaluation of the
achievements etc..
iii. suggesting any other means and
modalities to fulfill the objectives of the
Ayurvedic Biology programme.
iv. ensuring the proposals' duration, cost,
items of expenditure etc. are specific to
the requirements of the proposed
research work; and
v. preparing detailed action plan for
advancing the development of Ayurvedic
Biology.
Specific Guidelines for Submission of
Project Proposals:

1) Proposals could be submitted any


time, but would be considered by the
Task Force only twice a year.
2) Project proposals should be written
with the same rigor as for any
research proposal in any branch of
modern science but the cues for the
proposed study should emanate from
the concept, procedures or products
of Ayurveda. Modern biology,
immunology, and chemistry provide
most of the tools for research in
Ayurvedic Biology.
3) As a matter of policy, Task Force will
not consider project proposals
relating to the development,
standardization etc., of herbal drugs
or reverse pharmacology; ethno
pharmacology; or clinical trials of
herbal products or Ayurvedic
procedures for safety and efficacy.
4) All projects should be the joint effort
of scientists and Ayurvedic experts
whose respective institutions should
be involved in carrying out the study.
5) The current format and guidelines for
submission of proposals may be
used for Ayurvedic Biology.
(ref. www.dst.gov.in )
Address for enquiries:
Dr. B P Singh Dr. A.B.P. Mishra,
Scientist G and Head Scientist
( NCSTC Division ) ( NCSTC Division)
Department of Science and Department of Science
Technology, and Technology,
Ministry of Science and Ministry of Science and
Technology, Technology,
Govt. of India, Govt. of India,
Technology Bhawan, Technology Bhawan,
New Mehraulli Road, New Mehraulli Road,
New Delhi-110016. New Delhi-110016.
Ph.-91-11-26590302 Ph.-91-11-26590325
Telefax.-91-11-26521865 Telefax.-91-11-26866675
e-mail: bpratap@nic.in e-mail: apmishra@nic.in