Translating Science to Traditional and Complementary Practice


Bushan Parwardhan


Traditional & Complementary Medicine Exhibition 2007 (TCME 2007)




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Majority of global community uses and respects traditions. Traditional medicine is an evolutionary process as communities and individuals continue to discover new techniques that can transform practices. Many modern drugs have origin in ethnopharmacology and traditional medicine. Traditions are dynamic and not static entities of unchanging knowledge. Discovering reliable ‘living tradition’ remains a major challenge in traditional medicine. In many parts ‘little traditions’ of indigenous systems of medicine are disappearing, yet their role in bioprospecting medicines or poisons remain important. Indian Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese systems are living ‘great traditions’. Traditional knowledge and experiential database can provide new functional leads to reduce time, money and toxicity - the three main hurdles in the drug development. Globally, an innovation deficit is adversely affecting the drug discovery process and now there is reemergence of traditional and integrative health sciences. Systems biology and combinatorial approaches have similarities with holistic concepts of Ayurveda. Better understanding of basic principles and harmonization of various practices will need new programs for strengthening decision support system in practice (AyuSoft). The concept of Prakriti indicate strong genetic connotation and can form basis of pharmacogenomics and customized medicine (AyuGenomics). Combining strengths Ayurveda and power of science and technology can facilitate desired transformation of traditions resulting dynamic, evidence-based and contemporary systems.