Ayurveda, a traditional medicine system of India, is one of the oldest if not the oldest medical system in the world but not as popular even in its native place let alone in other countries. There are many reasons ranging from historical to complacency. Read our post which discusses Why Ayurveda is not popular? In this post, we’ll discuss how can Ayurveda be made popular.
Ayurveda, a traditional medicine system of India, can be made popular by understanding the need of customers in different markets for e.g. American customers are more inclined towards Ayurveda due to its exotic nature. They want the Ayurvedic package as a lifestyle not a transaction-based system like the current evidence-based system. A really important point has been raised by Mr. David Frawley that US consumers would like to
On the other hand, a major chunk of consumers from Metro cities of India is looking for evidence-based Ayurveda. Conducting research and clinical trials will help in establishing trust and pass the regulatory hurdles in stringent markets like US and EU in addition to lending it credibility back home in India.
Research & Development
Ayurveda, though has a very long history of evolution, has been stagnant for quite some time now. The traditional Nadi Vaidyas are looked down upon. The age-old system practiced by them is called a form of quackery by the mainstream media. There is no effort on the part of academia, government, or the industry itself toward studying and documenting these practices.
On the other hand, Ayurvedic doctors (B.A.M.S. educated) have a lot of gaps when it comes to the traditional knowledge of Ayurveda. The design of a B.A.M.S. degree has been along the lines of an M.B.B.S. degree thereby trying to imagine Ayurveda according to the template of western medicine (allopathy).
The efforts to imagine B.A.M.S. along the lines of M.B.B.S. will not only degrade the value of Ayurvedic tradition but a lot of knowledge will also disappear. This doesn’t mean that we are against institutionalization but against westernization. The Ayurvedic degrees should be imagined according to the traditional knowledge system of India rather than fitting them into the templates of the West.
The Ayurvedic tradition should not be diluted in the name of making it contemporary. Instead, its uniqueness and traditional nature should be encouraged which will make it more appealing to the Western audience.
(Disclaimer: Inspired by the article here)
Traditionally, Ayurveda wasn’t just a medical system. It was a complete lifestyle in itself. People in the West particularly in the US want traditional Ayurveda, which includes a package of medicines and lifestyle including Yoga and Vaastu.
But the Indian government & colleges promote modern Ayurveda which they are modeling it along the lines of Allopathy. Students trained in these colleges have a western mindset without any traditional knowledge. So they are not able to give lifestyle advice. So the elements of tradition should also be included in addition to the scientific validation Indian colleges want.
There has been a dearth of clinical trials of Ayurvedic medicines making them totally prone to negative media coverage. The Pharmaceutical lobby has taken advantage of this situation and this has helped them in painting the whole Ayurvedic industry badly.
Clinical trials will help remove the shroud of mystery around Ayurvedic Products and create a transparent image in the minds of the consumer.
Quality issues need to be addressed. Back in 2005 as well as in 2011, many Ayurvedic products were banned due to excess amounts of heavy metals. Following this USA as well as the EU banned a number of Ayurvedic products. It painted the whole industry black removing a much-needed trust.
Many Ayurvedic products have been banned in USA and EU due to excess amounts of heavy metals like Arsenic, lead, and mercury. So a lot of attention should go into the procurement of good-quality herbs and their composition should also be checked so that situations like banning the products can be avoided.
In this age of marketing, branding is everything. It not only helps in recognition but can also build trust even among new customers. This field is one of the most overlooked areas when it comes to Ayurvedic products. Only a few bigger brands like Dabur, Patanjali, etc. are recognizable. But most other brands are brushed aside without much recognition.
Associations & Conferences
More associations need to be formed where Ayurvedic practitioners can come together and share their findings and knowledge. Ayurvedic Practitioners and training schools can form a national organization where they meet and discuss the wealth of knowledge and current breakthroughs using Ayurvedic methods.
Once a year and maybe eventually twice a year they could all meet for a 3 or 4-day weekend Symposium where Practitioners from around the world come to the USA to speak and teach and they would in this way bring awareness to this healing method.
Ayurveda doesn’t have a lobby. But it desperately needs one so that it can gain recognition among other medical systems like naturopathy, homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, etc. Currently, there are only 16 countries that recognize Ayurveda as a medical system including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan.
The recognization of Ayurveda as a medical system will be the first step toward helping it gain legitimacy. For its recognition, a powerful lobby with a lot of resources is required.