AYUSH is the acronym of the medical systems that are being practiced in India such as Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy. These systems are based on definite medical philosophies and represent a way of healthy living with established concepts on prevention of diseases and promotion of health. The basic approach of all these systems on health, disease and treatment are holistic. Because of this, there is a resurgence of interest on AYUSH systems. Yoga has now become the icon of global health and many countries have started integrating it in their health care delivery system. Similarly there is great curiosity to understand the principles and practice of Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Siddha and Unani especially due to growing challenges in medicine in Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), Life style disorders, long term diseases, multi drug resistant diseases, emergence of new diseases etc. In 1995, with the objective of optimal and focused development of these systems, the Department of Indian Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM & H) was created in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In 2003, this Department was re named as Department of AYUSH.
India has a rich heritage of medical wisdom derived from the Vedas that prevailed as Ayurveda. This was further enriched by the ancient Saints (Rishi’s) with Siddha system and Yoga practices. These were the principal medical practices of the country for centuries, forming part of Indian ethos and culture. Unani Tibb that was known from period of Hippocrates came to India during 8th Century A D. subsequently, the Western medicine that is based on biomedical concepts, commonly known as Allopathy, came to India and also got assimilated into the Indian medical practice. Homeopathy, a system developed in Germany in 18th century quickly gained popularity and has got blended with the Indian traditional medical practices due to similarity in its holistic medical philosophy and principles. Naturopathy, a drug less system of healthy living practices of all civilizations got organized and also become part of the medical pluralism of the country. Thus, there evolved a unique medical paradigm with traditional practices along with the Bio medicine. After Independence, the Government started supporting all the medical systems for their growth, thereby offering the public a choice for their routine health care need. Because of this as now there are public patronage and institutional support to widen the strength of these systems in curative, preventive, promotive aspects of health care.
The bio medicine based on experimental concepts has brought innovation with consistent research and updating knowledge. Due to that there are remarkable information on causation of diseases, their course, prognosis, diagnostics, management of diseases etc. Most of the infectious diseases that were the major cause of high mortality are now conquered. Management of high risk cases, surgical interventions, etc has brought in marvels in health sector. However, there is an increase in the incidence of Non Communicable Diseases. AYUSH medicines that come under the category of experienced medicine are cost effective, known for safety issues and time tested. AYUSH medicines are widely used as a standalone option or as adjunct with Bio medicine in the long term diseases. Therefore, the relevance of AYUSH has become more now because of this change in health paradigm. Keeping this fact in view the Government is encouraging a pluralistic approach in health care where every medical system is allowed to grow on the basis of its evident strength.
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