India can be the role model of integrative healthcare for the rest of the world

World Homoeopathy Day (WHD) is celebrated on 10 April every year under the aegis of the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India. Dr Subhash Kaushik, Director General, Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), Ministry of Ayush, Government of India in an interaction with Express Healthcare talks about advancing homoeopathic research and practice in India

As a dedicated homoeopathic doctor with extensive research experience, your recent appointment as the head of CCRH is significant. Can you share your insights on your journey so far and the vision you hold for advancing homoeopathic research and practice in your new role? 

Over the years, I am proud to say that significant progress has been made in the field of homoeopathic research and practice, elevating it to its current status as the second most utilised system of medicine globally. However, there remains ample room for further validation of the concepts and practices applied successfully by homoeopathic clinicians.

Despite frequent skepticism, the trust people have placed in homoeopathy, coupled with steadfast support and dedicated efforts from stakeholders, has motivated the homoeopathic community to persist in evolving as an evidence-based system of medicine. In 1978, the CCRH was established as an autonomous organisation with the mandate of formulating research aims and patterns along scientific lines, as well as initiating, developing, and coordinating scientific research in fundamental and applied aspects of Homoeopathy.

Subsequent collaborations with national and international Institutes of Excellence have facilitated the exchange of information with disciplines that have significantly contributed to homoeopathy’s advancement. The Council’s activities now encompass various aspects of clinical research, drug proving, clinical verification, surveying, collection, and cultivation of medicinal plants, drug standardisation, fundamental research, as well as public health programmes of national importance and health melas.

Research findings are disseminated through research publications, monographs, seminars, workshops, and social media platforms to ensure information reaches both professionals and the public. Overall, I believe our efforts are aligned with the organization’s objectives and represent continual evolution within the system.

I am confident that in the future, there will be major breakthroughs in homoeopathic research, positioning homoeopathy as a significant component of the Indian healthcare system.

What have been the other endeavours of the CCRH in recent times?

CCRH, as the primary research organisation, has played a pivotal role in research-based activities since its inception. CCRH has been at the forefront of creating awareness and conducting various field trials and preventive studies for the control of dengue, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Ayush, in collaboration with the Council, issued advisories for homoeopathic prophylactic medicine. The nationwide distribution of this medicine by the Council marked one of the largest drives during the pandemic. Subsequently, there was a surge in clinical research, with the Council coordinating with various allopathic hospitals and actively conducting studies on COVID-19 and post-COVID symptoms.

You mentioned about the frequent attacks by the sceptics. Despite the popularity of homoeopathy among masses, why are there still apprehensions about its effectiveness?

Yes, the apprehensions stem from the difference and uniqueness of the concepts on which homoeopathy is based, which need to be understood from a broader perspective beyond materialistic doses. Homoeopathic treatment involves minimal dosages of diluted medicines selected based on a patient’s stage of disease, individual sensitivities, and physical and mental make-up. There was a time when homoeopaths were limited to showcasing the success of homoeopathic treatment through clinical cases only. However, today we have a substantial body of research evidence validating the concepts of homoeopathy and explaining the healing power of the so-called very high diluted doses of homoeopathic medicines. Researchers have demonstrated the presence of nanostructures in homoeopathic medicines using scientific methods such as transmission electron microscopy, electron diffraction, and chemical analysis by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, quantum electrodynamics, and various other ultramodern instruments and assays. Gene expression analysis, proteomic, and metabolic studies also produce reports of the involvement of homoeopathic medicines in different physiological pathways.

The usefulness of homoeopathy has been demonstrated by rigorous double-blinded clinical trials for specific diseases, either as a stand-alone medicine or in addition to conventional treatment. Additionally, the positive action of homoeopathic medicines has been shown in ailing animals and plants, debunking the myth that homoeopathic cures are due to a placebo effect. The Council has been working tirelessly to bridge the gap between homoeopathic practice and modern scientific methods for validation. An overview of such evidence in favour of homoeopathy at clinical, biological, molecular, and even nanomolecular levels has been compiled in the Council’s publication, Scientific Framework of Homoeopathy, available on the Council’s website.

What are the strategies currently in practice to ensure the safety and quality of homoeopathic medicines in India?

The homoeopathic medicines are manufactured and dispensed following strict vigilance for quality, efficiency, and safety, which is ensured at various levels. While there are disparities in the regulatory status of herbal products among different countries, in India, homoeopathic medicines are regulated as per the exclusive provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and Rules. The homoeopathic pharmaceutical manufacturers following the laid-out Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and pharmacopeial standards are certified and recommended. A pharmacovigilance initiative is also in place for the Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, and Homoeopathic (ASU&H) drugs to collect, collate, and analyse data for establishing scientific evidence for the clinical safety of these drugs and documenting the same. The surveillance of advertisements for these drugs or the system of medicine is also undertaken. Improper knowledge could cause harmful practices and poor quality of care, despite the quality of medicines. Even though ultra-diluted homoeopathic medicines are deemed to be safe, a few reported adverse drug reactions have occurred when the medicines are taken without the proper guidance or supervision of a qualified homoeopathic doctor. It is thus strongly recommended that homoeopathic treatment be taken from qualified and registered homoeopathic practitioners only, and medicines be sourced from GMP-certified manufacturers.

Indian healthcare has a rich tradition of alternative systems of medicine, and there is booming concept of Integrative medicine as well. What role can homoeopathy play in India’s future healthcare landscape?

Given the traditional knowledge and acceptance of several systems of medicine being practiced here, India can be the role model of integrative healthcare for the rest of the world. Healthcare systems all over the world are experiencing diverse challenges. In a developing nation like India, these challenges primarily pertain to the accessibility and affordability of quality medical care, including the most basic medical procedures, drugs, and vaccines. With the integration of homoeopathy with mainstream medicine, such challenges can be handled better by sharing the burden. It is a responsible move to provide all validated treatment options to patients, including alternative medicine. In a scenario where the majority of the population can barely afford quality medical care, homoeopathic treatment, which costs one-fifth of conventional care, can be a boon for Indian healthcare. Given the unique health challenges of the 21st century, homoeopathy, along with other alternative medical systems, can be a potential solution.

AyurvedaMinistry of AYUSHtraditional medicineWorld Homepathy Day
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