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Does bhasma heal neurodegenerative diseases? Can Yoga aid nervous system? IIT-D to find out

IIT Delhi is collaborating with the All India Institute of Ayurveda on 7 projects that will focus on various Ayurvedic formulations and practices.

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New Delhi: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi will now conduct research on the impact that ashes of certain herbs (bhasma) will have on proteins implicated in neurodegenerative diseases and will also develop a dhoopan-yantra — a device that could aid in the healing of internal wounds. 

All this is part of a collaboration between the premier institute and the All India Institute of Ayurveda on seven projects; IIT Delhi is expected to apply engineering science principles to the ancient alternative medicine system. 

The seven collaborative projects, focusing on various Ayurvedic formulations and practices, include studying the effect of the six Ayurvedic rasas (tastes) on gastrointestinal secretions; developing herbal formulations that would reduce the harmful effects of reusing cooking oil; formulating a biodegradable, herbal wound dressing; studying the effects of the Bhramari pranayama (a yoga position called the humming bee breath) on the nervous system apart from analysing the impact of bhasmas and the dhoopan-yantra

While the projects are the outcome of an MoU signed between the two institutions in 2018, work is only beginning now. The projects are tenable for two years, at the end of which, investigators will submit their findings that will establish whether the studies should continue further.

The All India Institute of Ayurveda, established in 2015, is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of AYUSH. 

Also read: ‘No point mixing all in one’ — IMA to fight govt move to allow Ayurveda doctors to do surgery

IIT to provide scientific & technical solutions

Dr Tanuja Manoj Nesari, the director of AIIA, told ThePrint that through the collaboration, the Ayurvedic institute hopes for scientific solutions and validation from IIT Delhi.  

“The dhoopan-yantra is a device that releases smoke and is already in use at our institute. Special herbs are burnt and the fumes are then used to treat internal wounds like that in cervicitis,” she said. “The fumes from the device will be applied on the area to aid healing. As of now, we use an earthen pot but this study will help create a device that is more efficient.”

On the study on bhasma, she said, “Herbo-mineral drugs are converted into ashes through a specialised process (bhasma). This study will use these bhasma to determine their healing effects on neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinsons.” 

The AIIA director also said that the Bhramari pranayama project is with the center of biomedical engineering in IIT Delhi. 

Bhramari pranayama has huge potential for improving memory functions among the elderly but it remains unclear how the humming bee sound (in the Bhramari pranayama) affects neural activities in the brain,” she said. “So the purpose of this study is to find the pre and post effect of Bhramari pranayama on the human brain. The researchers will be using different instruments like the EEG available with IIT Delhi. So technology will meet with tradition to develop evidence.” 

Prof V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi, in a statement on 4 January had said, “The amalgamation of traditional knowledge with technology is expected to benefit the society at large by offering better health care options. Validation of the traditional knowledge systems is the key, in order to make these forms of medicine more widely acceptable worldwide. IIT Delhi researchers will be focussing on the validation aspects by working closely with the AIIA faculty”.

Also read: Breathe new life into public health. Far too many Indians rely on Baba Ramdev, Akshay Kumar


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