Until recently, traditional herbal medicines were looked upon as the last resort in patients seeking treatment. Ayurveda was associated with ageing vaidyas or Ayurvedic physicians selling remedies for everything — from hair loss to cancer, in unlabeled bottles and jars! Recently, however, a 'back to nature' movement is gaining momentum, where well-researched herbal remedies are gaining credibility worldwide.
Arguably, conventional medicine is effective in treating various medical conditions. However, more often than not, chemical drugs have side effects, which can even be fatal. Despite this, patients tend to choose allopathic medication over herbal drugs because of the lack of researched, scientifically validated, safe and effective herbal medication.
Today, there is growing acceptance of integrative medicine, where traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda are dovetailing into conventional medicine to provide holistic treatment regimens. Integrated medicine does not accept traditional medicine uncritically. Instead, it demands as much scientific validation from alternative medicines as it does from conventional systems of medicine. By bringing together the best of both systems, integrative medicine gives patients access to healthcare based on good science, holistic therapies, and curative and preventative treatments. Herbal medicines are now being used to treat disorders like diabetes, hypertension and obesity. For diseases requiring long-term treatment, healthcare professionals, including allopathic doctors, are turning to clinically validated herbal medicines.
Herbs like Neem and Ginger are being researched for their therapeutic properties in various research centers in India and all across the world. Scholars from the Department of Microbiology at the Rajah Muthiah Medical College, Annamalai University, India, studied the skin supportive effects of the seeds and leaves of the Neem plant and found the results to be 'statistically significant' (Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology 2003 Apr-Jun;21(2):98-101). Similarly, scientists at the Department of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, noted Ginger's use in supporting the body's natural response to nausea, calling it a herb that integrates East with West and old with new, enjoying a reputation as a 'universal remedy' (Hawaii Medical Journal. 2007 Dec;66(12):326-7).
It has been our mission to deliver well-researched, clinically tried and tested herbal drugs from our inception. We have supported the thinking that a traditional system of medicine can be useful only when it is backed by modern scientific research. Liv.52, a hepatoprotective and Himalaya's flagship brand, is prescribed by allopathic doctors. In many Russian hospitals, Liv.52 is prescribed as an adjuvant in the treatment of tuberculosis to address the side effects of medication on the liver. We believe that Liv.52 attained success due to the research and scientific validation backing it. Until today, 195 clinical papers and 81 experimental papers on Liv.52 have been published in medical and peer-reviewed journals worldwide. It is a registered drug in over 30 countries and the only hepatoprotective medicine with a meta-analysis study in infective hepatitis. Studies show that Liv.52 reduces the occurrence of hepatotoxic reactions and helps normalize the level of lipid peroxidation when used as an adjuvant during the treatment of tuberculosis.
In a similar success story, Cystone, used in the treatment of urinary stones, is the only drug available for this condition. It has undergone 90 clinical trials, and results are seen in more than 70% of patients.
Going forward, the shift toward integrative medicine will continue, and natural systems of medication, like Ayurveda, will become an important part of therapy. This shift will be fuelled by the availability of scientifically validated and clinically-tested herbal medication. This will increase patient confidence in the efficacy of herbal drugs on their own or as adjuvants to allopathic medication.