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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 173-174

Call for perseverance and resources: The vital teeth of key to success in ayurveda research

Asst. Director and Scientist, AVP Research Foundation and Executive Editor, Ancient Science of Life, Coimbatore, India

Date of Web Publication28-Nov-2017

Correspondence Address:
Sujith Subash Eranezhath
Asst. Director and Scientist, AVP Research Foundation and Executive Editor, Ancient Science of Life, Coimbatore
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0257-7941.219359

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How to cite this article:
Eranezhath SS. Call for perseverance and resources: The vital teeth of key to success in ayurveda research. Ancient Sci Life 2017;36:173-4

How to cite this URL:
Eranezhath SS. Call for perseverance and resources: The vital teeth of key to success in ayurveda research. Ancient Sci Life [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Mar 23];36:173-4. Available from: https://www.ancientscienceoflife.org/text.asp?2017/36/4/173/219359

'Nobel Prize' continues to be the highest measure of success in research, undoubtedly at least in medicine. The recent Nobel Prizes announced for medicine almost knocked at the doors of Ayurveda as per many statements and observations of many in India following its announcement.[1] The prize awarded for work relating to 'Autophagy' in 2016 was compared to the 'therapeutic upavāssa' in Ayurveda and the recent discovery of the mechanisms of various proteins and genes associated with circadian rhythm were compared to the concepts of dinacaryā and ṛtucaryā.

The classical texts in Ayurveda (those books recognised by Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1947 and the amendments thereafter, through The First Schedule [2]), inevitably have a plethora of facts of observations and worth pondering. Beyond pondering, most of these observations are worth deep research, this is obvious from the observations made out from the Nobel prizes that have been awarded. But what is it that limits us from doing this? It is nothing but lack of perseverance and resources. If perseverance is to do with the individual and intellectual traits, resources are definitely more organisational and institutional traits. Initiatives in both these aspects, be it individual or organisational are on an average very poor. If we as a fraternity are going to uplift Ayurveda further, this is where we need to really work on.

The perseverance of the individuals that won the Nobel for their discovery of molecular mechanisms behind Circadian rhythm is a story that can be dated back to 1970. Seymour Benezer and Ronald Konopka's observations led to the proposal of a gene called 'period gene'.[3] Following up on this, Jeffery Hall and Michael Rosbash in Boston and Michael Young at New York independently and then in synergy came to conclusions on molecular mechanisms behind circadian rhythm. Their story starts with the isolation of 'period gene' in 1984 and subsequent discoveries of PER Protein.[4] They found PER protein synthesis is regulated by a feedback mechanism wherein more PER would result in inhibition of PER synthesis.[5] Michael Young also discovered a second circadian gene called 'timeless' encoding the TIM protein.[6] They later found that TIM facilitates the entry of PER to the cell nucleus to trigger the negative feedback to stop synthesis of PER.[7] The question of what controls this rhythm was solved with the discovery of 'doubletime' gene encoding for DBT Protein which delays over production of PER Protein from the 'period' gene.[8] The 'doubletime' gene paper was published in 1998. The work which started around 1970 concluded as a comprehensive paper in 1998 and the team was awarded Nobel in 2017, this is an example of perseverance.

The paper published by Ancient Science of Life in its 19th Volume, combined issue of 3-4 in 2000, by Deepa Arora and M Kumar, discuss in length about chrono-biological concepts in Ayurveda. The paper discusses as to how the classical texts in Ayurveda describe the importance of time and season, it even discusses Chronopharmacology and chronotherapy. There is a lot of room to study the molecular mechanisms of these aspects of human body and its effects when interacting with medicaments. But the work has not been persevered upon by the fraternity. Is this an example of lack of perseverance and or a lack of resources?

Among resources, the most important one is the ambience for perseverance. Individuals too compose resources and they should be facilitated to create the best out of researches they take up. Both private and public funding is required for this, there also is a need for an ambience which includes a facilitating environment (beyond remuneration) including facilities in terms of laboratory infrastructure and intellectual support from other disciplines. There have to be more and more multi-disciplinary teams with access to this 'ambience' to achieve the excellence. It's astonishing to learn that a dedicated molecular research laboratories to study Ayurveda and such indigenous medical systems are still far from even imagination in the public sector. In private sector, most of the investment logically goes to 'new drug' development for the reason that any research on classical (or open source) medicines cannot be further monetized exclusively for the benefit of the private player who is investing. Policy makers seem to have not recognised this problem to the scale on which this has to be understood. In this scenario more sophistication and ambience building should happen in the public sector and in the not-for-profit sector, if authentic and classical Ayurveda has to be studied seriously.

The 'ambience' building would in turn require team of individuals with perseverance. For instance, protocols and instrumentation currently the best in pharmaceutical research or clinical research are like the misplaced key and lock for Ayurveda. There is need for development of protocols and instrumentation that suit studying of complex formulations and forms of formulations used in Ayurveda (or such allied systems). From my personal learning, studying tailam (oil preparations) and lehyam (medicated electuaries) with complex multi-herbal components with existing protocols in whatsoever specialisations (Biochemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and the like) is almost impossible. New protocols and study methods have to be evolved and involved. Similarly, the current research on instrumentation has resulted in instruments that can study things only in isolation (reductionist!), the instrumentation industry has a lot of scope here to innovate.

The All India Institute for Ayurveda is a good beginning for clinical practice and clinical research but we should also think of 'Indian Institute for Molecular Research in Ayurveda' and 'Institute for Instrumentation and Research Methodology in Ayurveda', not just the physical infrastructure but the human resource for creating the team with perseverance.

  References Top

Available from: http://www.natureasia.com/en/nindia/article/10.1038/nindia. 2015.138. [Last accessed on 2017 Nov 19].  Back to cited text no. 1
Available from: http://www.pnas.org/content/68/9/2112. [Last accessed on 2017 Nov 19].  Back to cited text no. 3
Zehring WA, Wheeler DA, Reddy P, Konopka RJ, Kyriacou CP, Rosbash M, et al. P-element transformation with period locus DNA restores rhythmicity to mutant, arrhythmic drosophila melanogaster. Cell 1984;39:369-76.  Back to cited text no. 4
Hardin PE, Hall JC, Rosbash M. Feedback of the drosophila period gene product on circadian cycling of its messenger RNA levels. Nature 1990;343:536-40.  Back to cited text no. 5
Liu X, Zwiebel LJ, Hinton D, Benzer S, Hall JC, Rosbash M, et al. The period gene encodes a predominantly nuclear protein in adult drosophila. J Neurosci 1992;12:2735-44.  Back to cited text no. 6
Vosshall LB, Price JL, Sehgal A, Saez L, Young MW. Block in nuclear localization of period protein by a second clock mutation, timeless. Science 1994;263:1606-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
Price JL, Blau J, Rothenfluh A, Abodeely M, Kloss B, Young MW, et al. Double-time is a novel drosophila clock gene that regulates PERIOD protein accumulation. Cell 1998;94:83-95.  Back to cited text no. 8


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