Ayurveda signifies knowledge of what promotes life as well as that which injures it. Bydefinition, it transcends the practice of medicine, but popularly it is identified with India’straditional system of medicine which has been in vogue since the Buddhist period andcontinues to serve 70% of India’s rural population. Research in Ayurveda has beendominated by studies on medicinal plants and the development of herbal drugs, whichhas a large market growing at 15% per year. However, basic research which employsmodern biology, immunology, and chemistry to investigate the concepts, procedures,and products has received little attention. This gap calls out for correction lest theabsence of basic studies according to modern scientific protocols should lead toAyurveda being regarded as a form of “herbal therapy” as was done by the WaltonCommittee in the UK. Concepts of body constitution, digestive process of food in the gutand substrates in tissues, rejuvenation, body adaptation to seasons and taste as a chemical indicator are examples of the richcollection of cues that Ayurveda provides for the modern investigator. The programmeon Ayurvedic Biology was initiated primarily by the office of the Principal ScientificAdvisor to the Government of India, Dr. P. Chidambararm. The programme, now reconceived, is being implemented by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB). Againstthis background, the SERB constituted a Task Forceunder the Chairmanship of Dr MS Valiathan, National Research Professor, ManipalUniversity to promote the application of basic sciences in the investigation of Ayurvedicconcepts, procedures and products, and nurture the discipline of Ayurvedic Biology.
The programme of Ayurvedic Biology will be steered by a Task Force to promote high quality research which would lead to major contributions to scientific knowledge and which could have implications for improving the standards of health care. The investigative work in this programme will necessarily involve the full participation of scientists and Ayurvedic experts who would be part of established institutions of science, medicine, and Ayurveda in India. Individual or groups of scientists, physicians and Ayurvedic experts are encouraged to submit project proposals on any interesting aspect of Ayurvedic concepts, procedures, or products, which would lend themselves to investigation by employing modern scientific protocols. All project proposals should conform to the standard SERB format for Ayurvedic Biology and would be considered on the basis of peer review.
The Task Force will be responsible for:
|Name of the Programme||Programme Advisor / Coordinator||Programme Officer
|Ayurvedic Biology||Dr. Rita Banerjee
|Dr. Balachandar Venkatesan