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S06: Challenges in Clinical Research on Ayurveda as a Whole System of Medicine: A Focus on the Importance of Diagnosis

10:45 - 12:00, Orchid CD

Anand Dhruva (1) Bhushan Patwardhan (2) Ram Manohar (3) 

(1): University of California, San Francisco, United States  

(2) University of Pune, India                

(3): Arya Vaidya Pharmacy (AVP) Research Foundation, India



Whole systems of medicine have evolved in parallel to western biomedicine and have their own theoretical frameworks and diagnostic systems. Although both the theoretical frameworks and diagnostic systems that emerge from whole systems of medicine are often time tested, they have not been considered in the modern biomedical context. The whole systems research concept of double classification indicates that the diagnosis of both biomedicine and the whole system of study should be considered in the context of clinical research. However, appropriate methods for the study of traditional diagnostic systems and methods on how to incorporate them into a clinical study are not yet established. Additionally, there are several unique features of Ayurvedic medicine that have to be considered in this process. Ayurveda utilizes two diagnoses - mind-body constitution (i.e., prakriti) and the current state of imbalances (i.e., vikruti or the disease diagnosis) - and also defines the Ayurvedic pathophysiology for each disease (i.e., the samprapti). In this session, we will consider the concept of double classification in the context of Ayurvedic medicine and its unique elements of prakriti, vikruti, and samprapti. This discussion will yield insights into the importance of diagnosis in clinical studies, the interesting correlations between biomedical and traditional Ayurvedic concepts, and practical suggestions on applied research methods for Ayurvedic diagnoses. These insights will have applications to research in other whole systems such as Traditional Chinese Medicine including acupuncture, Naturopathy, and Homeopathy.