Feb 24, 2014

Tap Ayurvedic Biology: Valiathan

Preliminary studies based on the convergence of modern molecular biology with Ayurveda have thrown up results that promise to revolutionise the treatment of ageing disorders and give scientists a better insight into the influence of genetic variations on individual response to drugs, M.S. Valiathan, cardiac surgeon and one of the pioneers of medical technology in India, has said.
Delivering the Prof. A. Abraham birth centenary lecture organised by the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) here on Saturday, Dr. Valiathan said a number of recent studies taken up under the Science Initiatives in Ayurveda, a programme launched by the Government of India, had demonstrated the immense potential of Ayurvedic Biology, an emerging discipline that uses modern biological tools to understand the concepts, procedures, and therapeutic effects of plant-based treatment methods in Ayurveda.
He said a study on the effects of dietary supplements of Amalaki Rasayana and Rasa Sindoor on fruit flies had proved their efficacy in enhancing life span, fecundity, tolerance to heat and starvation, and suppressing neuro-degeneration in fruit fly models of Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Another study on the effect of Amalaki Rasayana showed that it enhanced genomic stability in rat brain cells. Citing yet another research work on the immunological and metabolic effects of Panchakarma, he said it had revealed that the cytokines (cell-signalling molecules) responsible for insulin resistance in obese people were significantly reduced after Basti procedure.
Dr. Valiathan said the pre-occupation with herbal drugs in the 20th century had led to the absence of scientific tools to study events at the cellular and molecular level. The Science Initiatives in Ayurveda programme, he said, was the first step towards Ayurvedic Biology. He said the impact of Ayurvedic Biology was likely to transcend human medical science and involve veterinary studies also. “In the 21st century, Ayurveda will be viewed through the window of molecular biology,” he said.
Sathish Mundayoor, scientist, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, presided over the function. P.G. Latha, Director, JNTBGRI, spoke. The lecture was organised to perpetuate the memory of Prof. A. Abraham, founder director, JNTBGRI.
Earlier, Dr. Valiathan was presented with a vase of Paphiopedilum M.S. Valiathan , an orchid hybrid developed by scientists at JNTBGRI to honour him on the occasion.


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