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AYUSH scientists slam IMA for calling their systems ‘unscientific’, question HCQ & remdesivir

Doctors’ body had questioned health minister for promoting AYUSH, but AYUSH scientists ask why HCQ was used despite no evidence that it’s effective.

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New Delhi: Scientists working in the AYUSH fields — Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy — have hit back at the Indian Medical Association for labelling their medicine systems “unscientific”.

IMA — the apex lobby of around 3.5 lakh doctors in the country — had Thursday slammed Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan’s move to promote alternative medicines and yoga for Covid-19 patients, and challenged the minister to answer five questions, including how many of his ministerial colleagues have so far got treated under AYUSH protocols.

However, now, about 300 AYUSH scientists — who work at the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) and are part of the CCRAS Scientists Welfare Association (CSWA) — have asked the IMA five questions, including on the “silence” of allopathic doctors on the use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in the Covid-19 treatment protocol. 

“Current data do not support the use of hydroxychloroquine for prevention or treatment of Covid-19,” the AYUSH scientists have said. 

Other questions they have raised include those on the efficacy of remdesivir and the steroid methylprednisolone in prophylaxis or treatment of Covid-19.

“Our intention is not to take digs at each other’s profession or two different branches of science. However, it is high time to stand and protect the respect of traditional systems of medicine. If we believe in their research and processes involved, the modern science doctors must do the same,” V.K. Shahi, president of the CSWA, told ThePrint.

Also read: How many of your colleagues used Ayurveda to treat Covid, IMA asks Harsh Vardhan

Calling AYUSH drugs ‘placebos’ condemnable

The IMA had demanded that “the Union health minister should come clean” on its questions, and if he didn’t, he would be “inflicting a fraud on the nation and gullible patients by calling placebos as drugs”. 

However, CSWA chief Shahi wrote to the IMA on 9 October: “It is a rigorously condemnable statement as it hurts the hard work of the research community in the field of AYUSH all over the country.”

“The AYUSH system of medicine has been doing commendable work in the field of research through research councils and national institutes, and also in collaboration with various reputed institutions such as Indian Council of Medical Research, Indian Institute of Technology and others,” Shahi said. 

The letter stated that of the 67 interventional trials registered in India (as on 9 October), 46, or 68.70 per cent are based on AYUSH systems, “proving” that the systems are “based on time-tested research studies”, Shahi stated.

The outcome of this research is being published from time to time through peer-reviewed journals, and 29,576 research papers have been published till date, the letter claimed.

The CSWA letter added that “this evidence shows that the AYUSH system is contributing milestone efforts in fighting the pandemic situation in the country”. 

Also read: Ashwagandha, kadha, guduchi — Modi govt issues official ayurveda protocol for mild Covid

Scientific ‘gold standards’

According to the IMA, one of the most important scientific parameters required to prove the efficacy of a drug is “double-blind control studies”. The association had asked the health minister if there is “satisfactory evidence regarding the claims made from AYUSH studies done on Covid patients” based on it. 

In response, the AYUSH scientists wrote: “Hydroxychloroquine and methylprednisolone was mentioned in the management of Covid-19 positive patients in the mild situation…This is in association to your question on double blind control studies hereby seeking evidence on effectiveness of HCQ and methyl prednisolone in Covid-19 with tangible efficacy evidences such as gold standard randomised double blind studies published in peer reviewed journals as per your view (sic).”

The letter added that for HCQ, there are no published trials of “prophylaxis”, and that of the two trials of HCQ treatment that are in the public domain, one is non-peer reviewed. This, it said, is “premature analysis of trials whose conduct in both cases diverged from the published selection protocols registered on clinical trial sites”. 

“Neither they, nor three other negative trials that have since appeared support the view that HCQ is effective in the management of even mild Covid-19 disease,” the CSWA added.

“…For your reference approximately 29 double blind studies are either completed or ongoing during the recent past on the diseases of national importance by the reputed research organisation of the AYUSH system of medicine.”

The letter also asked whether the “use of remdesivir and HCQ in management” is also based on double-blind control studies.

It also questioned if the IMA is aware that “AYUSH institutions are active Covid centres” and “AYUSH systems of medicine are holistic and use individualised treatment, due to which blinding (double-blind studies) is not possible always. Hence, it is not the gold standard for AYUSH systems of medicine”.

Also read: Difference in Delhi Covid toll again, govt has 895 fewer deaths than civic bodies’ numbers


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  1. Has Ayush ministry placed the details of their 29 trials in public domain? Let it be scientifically reviewed and checked if the conclusions are valid from the data.

  2. Free Medical Democracy is essential at the current crucial period. Every covid19 patient
    should be enlightened on available system and treatment for their cure and be free to choose the one suited to their respective Physical individual constitution and get cured. Same way Professionals of each system should have the liberty to treat freely the willing covid19 patients towards quick heal. No one should cross professional etiquette.

  3. Post in face Book by me: “More than one lakh ten thousand have succumbed to covid 19.To my little knowledge in Tamilnadu alone more than fifteen thousand are cured under Siddha and Ayurvedha systems.If Allopathic medicines can also cure it’s welcome. All R independent proven systems. But only antibiotics and steroids are used in allopathy. Some 355 proven allopathy drugs prescribed over decades are now in Indian banned nobody should prevent or hinder the role of Ayurveda and Siddha in saving valuable LIVEs at this critical juncture. Jai Hind “

    • Where is the scientific evidence that people were cured through Siddha medicines ?

      Until it is proven it is a claim. Solid evidence is required with data analysed in a scientific manner. The state government should fund these studies and have it published with help of Ayush ministry. Let the truth be scientifically established. If Siddha medicines are established cures if proven scientifically then even WHO will recommend it.

      Vast majority of infected who get mild symptoms, the infection gets resolved by one’s own immune system without medicine. Even cancer patients whose immune systems are compromised have recovered without medicine. That is why scientific approach is needed to understand whether the cures are true.

    • Allopathy is open and transparent about side effects. Research has shown that many drugs and the molecules they contain can have long term effects on liver and kidneys.

      The scientific investigation of medicines prescribed be it synthetic or natural should happen for all medical systems for the ultimate benefit of patients.

      it is a fact that patients with diabetes come to allopathic hospitals with liver and kidney damaged due to ayurvedic medicine.
      There are long term effects of some ayurvedic preparations which are not known to the patient or even ayurvedic practitioners also . This is very much required because not enough scientific sudies have been done regarding the long term effects of some ayurvedic preparations.

    • Scientists do not see that the immune system is a switch that can be turned on or off.
      It is too complex a system. There are many types of immune cells and thousands of molecules involved in signalling between cells. Scientists do not know what really weak or strong immunity means. Fact is immune system is not well understood by medical science itself.

      So for ayurvedic or siddha medicines to claim that immunity can be boosted and hence can stop virus replication it is a claim.. it is better for the Ayush researchers to responsibly explain scientifically to the public how these medicines are working in our bodies to boost immunity.

  4. Having tied the hands of Siddha and Ayurvedha Professionals from free treatment of covid 19 patients how dare IMA questions statistics for the systems cure.Self rediculing.

  5. Ayurvedic and Homeopathic medicine along with acupressure therapy have shown good results in Covid 19 cases. As the question of double blind trials it should be allowed at the authority level first. And also it should be clarified that the study should be between ayurved and allopathy or only ayurved used and not used pts.
    Another thing where there was the double blind trials were taken in case of Plasma therapy as it was tried for the first time.
    Secondly it is always asked about any trials abroad then we can use it Why we here can’t start any trials at our levels and creat any unique example. How many years we are waiting for resuts from others

  6. Last year I was suffering from severe cough during the winter season. Doctor prescribed allopathic tablets and many cough syrups. Coughing did not stop. Finally I took Ayurvedic chewing tablet named ‘thalisaadhi vadagam ‘ which stopped coughing in two days.

  7. Even these new age scientific doctors recomend ayurvedic mesicines like for liver livv52 as thye dont havr medicines in all areas…and so berter to think beyond money and think as human and work as one team

    As end of the life no doctor will carry money but will carry good will..

  8. Ayurveda follows different way of treatments, but in today’s world we testing the ayurvedic medicine through modern methods of testing. It’s good for few medicine as individual.
    But ayurvedic medicines generally in formulation the role of medicine changes… Not like allopathy drugs. Today world we should use both or all system of medicine. So we should get benefits of good health.

  9. High tome IMA is told what is real “science”.The science they follow is of those big MNC’s who have medicines which offer no cures but only certain effects on the body with a host of undesirable side effects. Ayurvedic cure is wholesome and it is highly unfortunate that we have forgotten our own real SCIENCE

    • Please stop spreading falsehood.

      Modern medicine has cures based on scientific evidence for many diseases. you can see this based on decrease in mortality rates all over the world in the past century. There are many many diseases which medical science does not fully understand today, so there are no medicines for it. But at least it is open and transparent about it. So untreatable diseases are managed through medicines that simply keep the human being alive. It is not possible for anyone or any group to make claims on cures in modern medicine. It has to be scientifically proved. Science does not respect authority or history.

      There is only one science. There cannot be a science for Ayurveda and a different science for Allopathy.

  10. Let ayush present a single piece of peer reviewed blind tested result of any claim they made.
    99 percent of AYUSH folks will run to the nearest private allopathic hospital when they get covid, because they themselves know what they peddle is scam.

    • Why does IMA not comment on those 29 papers? Are those papers already published ? Maybe medical science students or professors should examine those papers and offer comments or suggestions.

      The public spat between ayush and IMA would make more sense once this is done and cleared up otherwise it is just news and nothing else for common man.

  11. Before asking question… allopathic medicine is yours or you (IMA) is just a prescriber…think about it..Not a single IMA candidate research or invent a single new medicine……British go back…

    • It is true there is little medical science research happening in this country. We are highly dependent on medical research and pharmaceutical research from the West. Research requires plenty of funding from our government and committed private individuals. It is a difficult task for the government given the vast population and tax collection is insufficient.

      More research happens into Ayurveda than Allopathy in India. That’s good but I am not sure of our research quality.

  12. Magnificent reply to IMA.
    Can the so called talented members of IMA be able to give the answer of my few questions?
    1. How many members of IMA do not drink green tea till now ?
    2. Why a large number of branded company are using herbal ingredients in personal care items ?
    3. Is anybody from your 3.5 lakh members has invented any specific medicine or vaccines to cure COVID -19 till now ?
    4. Why a large numbers of prominent pers are headed to Kerala for traditional Aaurvedic treatment?
    5. Is there any Allopathic medicine which has no side effects ?
    6. Are all Allopathic medicine suited to everybody ?
    7. Why the members of your association gives a numbers of medicines for a single disease?
    8. Is there any members from yours association in the ancient age ?
    9. Will the doctors of your prominent association prefer to use synthetic cotton in lieu of herbal ones?
    10. How many members of your association have not taken any herbal product to cure even a small disease in their entire life ?

    • Seventy percent of modern medicine is from plants. Science is about digging deeper into the mysteries of Nature and explaining in terms of physics and chemistry. That is why it is necessary to understand life at a chemical level. What is the active molecule that cures the disease? Without a progression in understanding Nature at a deeper and precise level through science and scientific methods we could not have improved quality of human life and longevity as seen in just last 80-100 years.

      Every organic or inorganic molecule has effects in the body. Even a molecule which is considered good for health too much of it can upset the chemical balance in the body. It is a misunderstanding that natural herbs are completely safe.

      If ayurvedic or siddha medicines are claimed to be working it must be scientifically investigated. If they are scientifically determined to be working, the molecules must be identified, then we will also have a better understanding of the disease also. Knowledge has to increase and progress forward we cannot forever stick to ancient methods based on faith and claims alone. It will be on whole better for health of mankind if more scientific evidence is gathered.

    • Vaccines can’t be produced by practicing doctors.
      Only scientists working in institutes dedicated to vaccine research can design the vaccine.
      It is not a simple job to distribute a vaccine. Both efficacy and safety are required to be studied for a long time and trials done on statistically significant population.
      This is a new virus. Vaccines are specific to each virus.

  13. Before you can treat. You have to diagnose. Let the so called scientific ethical and moral AYUSH doctors and their research institutes. Find a full proof method to diagnose COVID19. Then we can discuss about treatment

    • Ayush systems cannot diagnose infection by SARS COV2 let alone any infection by any micro organism. They have to rely on modern medical science to do the specific diagnosis and then they will do their treatment as per the herbs or minerals available in their knowledge repository.

      Ayush systems employ mostly a single hammer type broad-based approach for most infections based on symptoms. They are largely based on keeping the body strong enough to withstand the fever or other symptoms and naturally fight the disease. It’s not highly specific like modern medical science where synthetic drugs are specifically targeted molecularly towards the disease process.

  14. Plants & herbs may have anti-COVID properties.

    Penicillin too was derived from a fungus.

    But we must extract/refine/test such herbs before promoting them so their effects are predictable and reproducible.

    A diamond is a useless carbon rock without refinement/crystallization.

    • Dr Zubair

      Exactly said. Even if you practice Ayurveda or Siddha it is fine but move towards relying on documented evidence based medicine with the tools and techniques of modern science. Don’t solely rely on historical texts and practices. There has been a sea change in our tools and techniques to understand the human body and it’s diseases since the last 100-150 years. Examine ancient understanding in the light of modern tools and techniques.

  15. Ayush “scientists”? Now that is funny. Because whatever is researched and tested in accordance with modern scientific standards will immediately become part of Modern Medicine (or “allopathy” as some insist on calling it). So these alternative “scientists” (LOL) must be doing something else altogether.

  16. Plants & herbs may have anti-COVID properties.

    Penicillin too was derived from a fungus.

    But we must extract/refine/test such herbs before promoting them so their effects are predictable and reproducible.

    A diamond is a useless carbon rock without refinement/crystallization!

  17. leave what IMA says. let us not enter unto personal fughts .Allopath system evolved developing as a scientific medical system by scientific methodology. it is the knowledge of the whole humanity. none can claim it as theirs. so those who are for science use it. the way physics , chemistry or biology is there. those who talk of AYUSH please use it. don’t ever use allopath in your life, don’t get operated or use mesicine because you believe it .so practice it. if you are truthful follow it.

  18. Ayurveda is a system of medicine that does not even know that diseases are caused by microorganisms. Notice that all its defenders have are anectodal evidence and “its ancient bro” arguments. When asked for double blind tests, they give pathetic excuses like “AYUSH systems of medicine are holistic and use individualised treatment” (like allopathic system dosen’t?). Then there’s the claim that it does not have side effects, even though it contains toxic materials like lead and mercury. Many seem to believe that Ayurveda is better because it is “natural”. I would advise these people to consume the completely naturally occurring element Arsenic and see how “naturalness” automatically makes stuff good.

  19. One important thing, I want to remind Allopathy Doctor is day by day , allopathy is losing its base in the general public, is again mistake of your way of treatment to the patients. One common feeling during this post covid 19, is people prefer to take treatment at home instead of hospitalisation, public also slowly migrating towards homeopathy and ayurvedic medicine, attitudes of public is changing due to financial exploitation. Now a days, people prefer for alternative medicine for all their health disorders. In future allopathy hospitals may be for exclusively accidental cases not for regular health disorders.

  20. IMA always avoiding ayush system of medicine due poor concept why people choice alternative system of medicine because why it is matter of thinking

  21. India should develop integrated system in medical field rather than criticism on Indian traditional system by allopathic
    patients require wellNess from their diseases
    if both systems work together patients also appreciates and INDIA can show a new path to the world
    for example in diabetes patients arenot getting relief with Allopathy and they are searching for alternative system
    To bring name to INDIA and also for the sake of people both systems if work together it is great

    • There is not much relief in diabetes from any medical system even today!

      However there is better and deeper understanding of diabetes in modern medicine than through ayush systems. But better diagnosis does not mean good treatments are available. Diabetes is hard to treat but there are many claims from alternative medicine practitioners which have not been subjected to scientific scrutiny.

      However in future decades the treatment for serious human conditions like diabetes and cancers will come only through science based research even if the medicine can potentially be from ayurveda or siddha or other traditional knowledge around the world.

  22. Aayurveda ko strong Kiya Jay or Esme allopathy ko samil Kiya jay. ALLOPATHY me Aayurved ko saamil nhi Kiya jay. Hame apni Aayurved ko modern karke strong Kiya jay.

  23. Wow! Very nice reply I am proud of u ayush the recovery rate of Indians is high bcoz we practice our ancient tradition of living which ayurveda teaches us unlike other low populated country still rate of corona spread is not so high although ours is a high populated country shame on u ima

    • Recovery rate is high in all South Asian countries including Afghanistan or Pakistan or Bangladesh. Did they also rely on their traditional medicines?

  24. It is the mindset of the education system of the white man’s rule (further perpetrated by the con-gress) that anything that is not approved by the white man is not good.

  25. Nice questions to IMA.Then ask them, what is need to prescribe Ayurvedic medicine in allopathy hospitals they even don’t know traditional system importance but now a days they are telling the patients to take kashayas

  26. Thanks for AYUSH doctors for standing up for yourselves.Ayurveda is an age old science with its own processes and yardsticks. Forcing something to fit into your own paradigm is not right.

  27. Allopathic Doctors don’t have any right to speak against AYUSH.. You people are Influenced by multinationals and your level knowledge is very poor about your own system of medicines..

  28. Allopathic Doctors are controlled by multinationals pharma companies.. As indian Doctor’s depending for updated knowledge for latest development in pharma industry multinational pharma companies always misleading Indian doctors as they are very poor in updating their knowledge.. They don’t have any right to speak against AYUSH…

  29. IMA itself has a lot of questions to answer. Where are they hatching when unscrupulous advertisements claim for various products claim”IMA approved”. Should not these jokers come out in denial? How can a health drink become a substitute for food or a few biscuits replace milk? The greed for money

  30. The test of cooking is in eating. Ayurvedic medicines have cured Covid patients as reported from many Ayurvedic hospitals. Let these findings be realised by allopathy doctors also.

    • Please have the government or it’s institutes publish these findings for the world to see and examine for veracity.

      until then these are just claims. Most people can recover without any medication or supplementation if they have mild symptoms. Our own immune system does the job! How do we scientifically know if it was because of Ayush medicine the person recovered?

      If these ayurvedic or siddha medicines are really working as determined by scientific means let the whole world benefit by it. Modern medical science has evolved today to be strictly evidence based on scientific scrutiny. That is why ICMR or IMA can be openly questioned on HCQ or Remdisivir.

    • What do you mean “realise”?
      Evidence based medicine requires scientific proof. Have the 26 CCRAS studies or trials been reviewed globally by medical scientists and found reasonable scientific evidence from those studies?

  31. AYUSH is doing the best Job to prove ancient medical values. Everyone must appreciate and follow AYUSH recommended medical advice and document for further references for long term illness. We must support side negative effect free Indian system of medicine.


  33. Ayurveda medicines are curable medicines. And no side effects for human body. Please don’t negative thoughts on our indian system of medicine.

  34. Good reply and good questions asked.
    Allopathy scores because of documentation and who knows they are sponsored research by pharma.
    Ayurveda has been here for centuries.
    Documentation of Ayush will get it ahead of allopathy for sure in long run.
    And instead of only one kind. Whatever works should be used. Be it any pathy.

  35. Well Done AYUSH. Befitting reply. Ayurvedic medicines are doing things for preventive and curing COVID19 undoubtedly. Even in China they admit TCM was administrated in Makeshift hospitals during last year end.
    All the best , wish the AYUSH medicines will become authoritive .

  36. Name any English Medicen, wh is having no side effects. We shd not forget the Ayurveda is the most anishent system of Medicen, this single system can enhance our Image in abroad.

  37. Wow, i did not expect a reply from ayush community.Well done. How can they(IMA) all together call ayush as prescribing placebos. I am a ayurvedic doctor. I have seen innumerable patients getting cured by our medicine. It is such a shame that our own country men dismiss and even degrade the age old traditional medicinal system which works by holistic approach.

    • Totally agree. This lobby of allopathy doctors worldwide are always scared if alternative system of medicine benefits people at large.

  38. Well done Ayush ministry. We should practice in what we believe. Living in Gujarat we were prescribed Kadho and today I am fine and have also taken up ashwagandha on daily basis. Those who dont believe in Ayurveda or Homeopathy can refrain from using so but to dismiss it as primitive is going to far. Remember historical evidence of Surgeries ? Yeah Susruta who was well versed in Ayurveda has the earliest recorded Surgery till date.

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