Ayurveda’s Relevance to Modern Society

Ayurveda has long been acknowledged as an integral part of India’s health system and as an important part of its national heritage. Medical systems such as Ayurveda that are rooted in knowledge and availability
of medicinal plants and herbs are a significant component of modern alternative medicine and play an increasingly crucial role in modern cultures. This understanding of medical processes has been passed
down from generation to generation and has been modified along the way with the emergence of scientific research.

The emergence of modern medical practices and remedies has also come with a very significant price point. Ayurveda provides an excellent alternative for people who cannot afford the cost demanded by modern medical treatment due to socio-economic factors.

Finding a cure for severe diseases such as AIDS, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease has been a challenge for medical researchers. Not only are treatments costly, but they also pose the risk of side effects caused by medications. Medical researchers are increasingly turning their attention to Ayurveda.

Since Ayurveda is deeply rooted in spirituality and prescribes a holistically healthy lifestyle, there has been an increase in people practicing its principles around the world. Yoga and meditation have become widely popular globally. Ayurveda-based massages are offered in spas and many people benefit from such services. Ayurveda’s influence is steadily seeping into societies internationally. Not only does Ayurveda provide health benefits but it also offers a positive economic impact.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized Ayurveda’s relevance and importance to the modern medical field within the context of India during the International Conference on Primary Health Care (also
known as the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978). The WHO acknowledged the role of traditional, alternative, and complementary systems of medicine in health sectors for both developed and developing countries. With the
slogan “Health for All”, WHO outlined the Traditional Medicine Program, which is defined as “the knowledge, skills, and practices of holistic healthcare,

recognized and accepted for its role in the maintenance of health and the treatment of diseases. It is based on indigenous theories, beliefs, and
experiences that are passed on from generation to generation.” WHO continues to encourage the preservation and promotion of the traditional medicine of each country.

One of the challenges that Ayurveda faces in its development is the standardization of its medicine. For Ayurveda to be fully launched on a global scale, standardization and quality control are essential.
Uniformization must begin from the first phase of harvesting raw resources. Ayurvedic manufacturing must also adhere to internationally acceptable standards. However, these standards are most relevant to modern pharmaceutical conventions.

This increased interest in Ayurveda has also caused a wave of anxiety for natives in India. Some people think that Ayurveda must not be reproduced on such a global scale as it will become a target of exploitation by
multinational companies at the cost of India’s economy and national interest. This fear has also heightened due to new laws affecting patents and other intellectual

property. A supply crisis is also threatening various medicinal plants, many species of which are considered rare and vulnerable to extinction.

Medicinal plants and herbs used in Ayurveda are also threatening the conservation of India’s flora. A study was conducted to explore how Ayurveda can support India’s sustainability management practices. Around
1,200 species of herbs and plants are used in Ayurvedic medicine and about 500 are commercially traded. Despite the importance of these medicinal plants, the trade for them remains unorganized, unregulated, and
complicated. Entities in India’s central government have intervened to handle issues with medicinal plants, such as the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine (working under the Ministry of Health), the
Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of Biotechnology, among others. Part of their operations for conservation include developing bio and agricultural technologies, identifying
threatened species, and regulating the export of medicinal herbs.

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