The Herbal Healer

RAN­JIT ROY CHAUD­HURY, IN­DIA Few can match his reper­toire of herbs and spices

India Today - - SOCIETY & TRENDS -

For 40 long years, the first Rhodes scholar from In­dia and for­mer di­rec­tor of PGIMER, Chandigarh, has been help­ing the Govern­ment of In­dia study, iden­tify and test the health claims of hun­dreds of herbs that were used for cen­turies by tra­di­tional heal­ers in In­dia. “Mil­lions in the Third World will al­ways use herbal medicine be­cause they be­lieve in them,” says the clin­i­cal phar­ma­col­o­gist. That vast store­house of tra­di­tional wis­dom and sys­tems of medicine, how­ever, has been largely un­der­es­ti­mated with the march of mod­ern medicine, he ex­plains.

But for Dr Roy Chaud­hury, there’s rea­son for joy. “There’s a dis­con­tent in the world to­day about what mod­ern medicine can of­fer in cer­tain long-term, chronic con­di­tions, be it di­a­betes, coro­nary heart dis­ease, asthma or hepati­tis,” he says. Al­lo­pathic doc­tors can’t cure these dis­eases, as people live longer and life­style changes make people vul­ner­a­ble at younger ages. “The doc­tors are fi­nally ask­ing, then what?” Add to it a silent revo­lu­tion that has taken place in the mid­dle class, that had al­ways ac­cepted al­lo­pathic medicine as the ul­ti­mate. For the first time, they are also dis­ap­pointed with it. “The third thing is that the West has adopted these,” he says. “In­dia has this tra­di­tion of los­ing its own tra­di­tion. So when doc­tors from Har­vard or Stan­ford start talk­ing about these, we also wake up.”

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