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Recently, the ancient healing system of Ayurveda has become more popular in the Western world. Currently, Ayurvedic medicine is part of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in the United States.
Some doctors believe that Ayurvedic practices are beneficial to human health. They also believe that Ayurveda and Western medicine can be integrated. They argue that Western medicine has much to gain if it looked at diseases, not just symptomatically, but holistically.
However, some doctors do not approve of Ayurveda and its practices for several reasons. They believe that unlike Western medicine, Ayurvedic practices are still highly unregulated, and as a result, some Ayurvedic formulations might be toxic because they contain heavy metals. Doctors also point out that there is very little scientific evidence to support Ayurvedic practices.
Overall, Western healthcare practitioners and doctors have mixed feelings about Ayurvedic medicine.
Opinion in favor of using Ayurvedic medicine:
Many doctors who practice Western medicine now believe that Ayurvedic medicine can be beneficial for overall health.
They recognize that it encourages people to be healthy. For example, Ayurvedic diets encourage eating whole foods, and cutting out processed and junk foods, which promotes weight loss. Ayurvedic lifestyle practices, such as mindfulness and exercise like yoga, also improve overall mental and physical health.
Dr. Madhuri Sharma, a board-certified integrative family physician, believes that the Western medical system can benefit greatly from Ayurveda. She points out that Ayurveda focuses on the mind-gut connection, a subject that has recently become the focus of research in Western medicine.
She writes, “The Ayurvedic approach teaches that with correct lifestyle changes for your individual constitution… [you can] effectively prevent disease. In Western medicine, we are now finding data that confirms what has been known for thousands of years – both food and lifestyle have an enormous impact on health.”
Some doctors also like Ayurveda’s holistic approach to disease prevention and treatment. Western medicine focuses on treating the symptoms of a particular disease rather than the root cause of it. Thus, Western medicine’s primary focus is often treatment rather than prevention.
In addition, Ayurveda has a very personalized approach to treating disease, which is sometimes lacking in Western medicine. An individualized treatment program can increase patient satisfaction because they no longer feel like a statistic or puzzle waiting to be solved.
Many doctors believe that Western medicine would benefit from using Ayurvedic knowledge, especially when it comes to disease prevention. They believe that both Western and Ayurvedic practices can be integrated to manage their patients’ diseases and provide them with the best care.
Many physicians and healthcare experts believe that Ayurveda is a bunch of quackery and cannot treat or prevent disease.
They point out that there is also very little scientific evidence to support Ayurvedic practices. Ayurvedic treatments are highly individualized, so it is hard to organize clinical trials to test how different Ayurvedic herbal formulations treat diseases. This makes it difficult to determine whether or not Ayurvedic formulations are effective at treating or preventing a specific disease.
In addition, doctors argue that Ayurvedic medicine is unsafe because its products are still unregulated. There are no quality control standards for Ayurvedic products. As a result, some Ayurvedic formulations may not be prepared properly. They may contain lead, arsenic, or mercury and lead to heavy metal poisoning. The toxic herbal compounds are especially harmful to children and pregnant or nursing mothers because they may cause developmental delays and damage the fetus.
Some manufacturers might also mix Ayurvedic herbs with Western medications such as steroids. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned some Ayurvedic products and advises people to use the ones available “with caution.” It has not approved Ayurvedic formulations as of yet.
In sum, many doctors are still skeptical of Ayurvedic medicine and believe it to be unsafe and untrustworthy.