Allopathy has been becoming obscenely commercial
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]raditional Indian food, health and medicine have a long history, spanning over thousands of years. Every vegetable and cereal had a medical name, a list of benefits, recipes, and prescriptions of when to eat and when to avoid. Ayurveda and Siddha medicines are organic, mostly herbal.
Naturopathy dealt with natural ways of healing, with (vegetarian) food as medicine. Regardless of whether one agrees with Indian systems of food, health and medicine or not, they served people well for thousands of years, when the society was quite evolved in almost all walks of life.
Yoga was considered a physical-cum-mental exercise.
After the Islamic and British invasions, both of which were mostly destructive rather than inclusive, most of the knowledge in these systems was lost. Ultimately, the western empire was built on the foundations of ‘modern science’, which included allopathy as its medical science.
In recent decades, allopathy has been becoming obscenely commercial, making living difficult even in the rich countries, to the extent that it is one of the key topics on which the US Presidential Elections are fought.
Some well-meaning doctors from within the allopathic system have started questioning the very premises of allopathy as a hoax, a placebo at best, making false implied promise of ‘protection from death and deadly diseases’ but falling far short. They question the claims about many of the allopathic drugs and devices.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]hey say MNC pharma companies have succeeded in marketing their products unethically to hospitals and medical professionals and eventually to people; these pharma companies manipulate clinical trial results, hide negatives, underplay side-effects, and sell their products at usurious profits.
Food is an accomplice industry, where wrong notions have been sown in the minds of people
Cancer and AIDS treatment are considered the biggest ‘cheat’ industries. These doctors say there is widespread fraud in allopathic treatment, informed consent, scans & investigations, false treatment post-death, suppression of alternatives, etc.
It is very costly to become a doctor, and so doctors are forced to recover their investment by fleecing their patients, by fair means and foul. There are some very good and humane doctors, though they are also mostly victims of the system.
Food is an accomplice industry, where wrong notions have been sown in the minds of people. For example, people have been weaned away from healthy fats, jaggery, crystal sea salt etc they were consuming previously and nudged towards unhealthy refined oils, sugar, table salt etc they consume now. Oats has become a staple food though it’s unfit for human use, whereas most of the healthy millets have disappeared. And doctors have done precious little to educate the people about these.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]W[/dropcap]e can go on and on and on. But, suffice it to say that the time has come to question everything we have come to believe in food and medicine on the basis of ‘modern science’, and use the very same science to discover better alternatives.
Am I suggesting that we abandon allopathy and current food habits and change over to Indian systems? Not really. In any case, food and medicine are an individual choice, not to be dictated by the Government. Despite a very soft corner I have for Ayurveda and Siddha, I won’t go in for them for fear of the possible negatives like the suspected use of ‘heavy metals’ in these medicines, and the fact that they are not ‘scientifically proven yet’.
So, what am I suggesting?
Modern Science has given us a very useful tool to investigate every belief for its veracity; it’s called Research Methodology. It outlines a way to seek the truth in the material world.
Whenever we’re in doubt about a belief, whether it is in applied/ social science, we could propose a hypothesis and do research attempting to prove it. At the end of the research, either the hypothesis is accepted or rejected, scientifically. This research can be repeated under identical conditions by anyone, at anytime, anywhere, and the results should be the same. Replicability is an important aspect of this methodology. So, results in this method can’t be easily manipulated.
For example, we can use Research Methodology to find out if a certain medicine would cure a disease or not; if it would, who would (or would not) benefit from it; what are the possible outcomes and side-effects, etc. (In social science, for example, we can find out if reservation policy has benefitted a specific community, and if so what extent.)
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]O[/dropcap]ne of the reasons why health care costs have been zooming the world over is because of allopathy, as a system, has been monopolising the field of medicine, and pharma industry has grown into a huge uncontrolled cartel. If it has cost-effective challenges, competition will bring down its own costs substantially.
Indian systems (like Ayurveda, Siddha and Naturopathy) have not been formally put through the rigours of Research Methodology (Clinical Trials), and so their acceptability to the scientific community and the public at large is very limited. From the empirical and anecdotal information which they rely on, these systems won’t gain acceptability.
Clinical Trials is the way, but it will cost significant time and tonnes of money. Only in recent times, some efforts have started, but they are in such a low key that we can’t expect an affirmative nod or a firm rejection of the Indian systems of medicine in the near future.
At the speed with which our native systems are disappearing, we may not have specialists in them for long. We should quickly put our systems through rigorous clinical trials when we still have such specialists around. They can generate 1000s of hypotheses for proving, and after trials, even if only some of these are successful, we may hopefully have proven treatment alternatives from Indian systems for many ailments. And we could try to rediscover the ones that fail the trials through more research on our systems.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he Government should quickly convert our Government and private hospitals practising Indian systems of medicine into research centres, and encourage them with substantial financial support to do serious research to test the efficacy of our systems of medicine (and food habits).
Though the allopathic system has been accepted as almost the ‘de facto’ global standard of medicine if Indian systems can challenge them seriously and replace them at least partially, the economic benefit to India would be phenomenal. Since our systems are less costly, the cost of Medicare would also come down the world over.
Even if (by a rare chance), all the Indian medicines fail clinical trials, we would have settled the issue of their efficacy, once and for all.
Allopathy, in a manner of speaking, fights nature, while our systems go with nature. Yet there could be a place for allopathy when other systems don’t have a solution, say as a tertiary line of treatment. Surgery is one realm where there aren’t any obvious alternatives to allopathy, though Indian systems of medicine believe many of the surgeries are avoidable.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.