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Side Effects and Adverse Drug Reaction with Ayurvedic Medicine

Updated on September 22, 2011

Ayurveda - Vedic culture

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Do you believe that Ayurvedic Medicine can cause adverse drug reaction or side effects?

Adverse drug reaction is a burning issue in alternative system of medicine nowadays. It is believed that ayurvedic/herbal medicine have less ADRs or side effects through ayurvedic drugs. As in Ayurveda, ayurvedic doctors mostly prescribe personal medicine and not a drug which will be applicable for mass population as in allopathy/modern medicine.

One example of side effects with ayurvedic medicine Aswagandha Lehya is that Aswagandha Lehya should not be used in piles having bleeding tendencies-paithik or rakthaja arsas. It will worsen situation, but kapha vatha arsa can be cured with this.

According to me ayurvedic medicines have very less side effects or ADRs because Ayurveda has a large range of combinations of drugs according to the various prakriti of different patients. Allopathy has a common prescription in every patient of same disease. Ayurveda has a basic of sendriya, satva_atma, yukta, purusha which is far more advanced than any other pathy.

Ayurveda has one medicine for one disease, many medicines for one disease, many medicines for many diseases, and many medicines for one disease and that is where Ayurveda is ahead of all pathies. Every patient is diagnosed by dosha-prakriti- and dosha-dushya samurchhana and according to that a combination of drugs is prescribed which is suitable for that one patient, so I think this is the most important reason Ayurveda has less or rare rate of side effects.

Adverse drug reaction in Ayurvedic Medicine occurs in most of cases when there is not much assessment or the doctor is not prepared according to process mentioned in Ayurvedic Text.

Ayurveda treatment is a Chatuspada chikitsa and among them, doctor is the chief organizer. If he is not knowledgeable, he could not make proper selection of drugs. Due to improper medicine if some ADR happens, we cannot blame that Ayurvedic medicines have more side effects. As far as medicines are concerned, if pharmacies will not take proper care in preparation, then rasa ausadhi and some cast medicines can also make some problems.

It is also possible that if we maintain safety parameters, then there will not be any ADRs/side effects in nature medicine. Ayurveda is a time-tested medicine.

A prominent point is that doctors who are all practicing Ayurveda should always know that any medicine can turn into poison if administered in an improper way (dose, prakriti, bala, satva etc).

Ayurveda says treatment means the use of procedures or medicines, which will cure the disease without causing any other harmful effects.

Hence all the "side effects" commonly mentioned are the limitations of the vaidya, not the drugs. A medicine which is genuinely prepared even rasa aushadhis does not have any ADR's if properly used.

Today's time is of globalization, and Ayurveda is not an exception. WHO has recorded 41,000 adverse drug reactions of Herbal/Alternative Medicine in 2006. It is well known that-if any substance given by considering Prakriti, Agni, Bal, Agni, Vay, Kaal, then it would not cause any adverse drug reactions. This is the major difference between Ayurveda and other traditional medicines. That is why, Ayurveda is a complete system of medicine.

Ayurveda texts also clearly mentions that even a small amount of poison could be used as medicine and a medicine in quantity other than expected could be brutal. The proper dosing of the medicines (of course the quality is very important to decide the quantity) is really essential to overcome or to bypass the ADR's. This dosing calculation is done on the basis of prakruti, dosha, and so on.

Rasa sastra is capable of unlocking the secrets to the most powerful healing techniques employing the plants and minerals provided the practitioner has acquired perfection and immense proficiency for safe and effective practice. Further, being a very individualized system of medicine, it needs adjustments in the dosage and administration in different diseases in different patients.

Rasa sastra lays great emphasis on the personal and spiritual purification of the practitioner before the ability to work with the metallic remedies is attained. Verily, this system was practiced by the sidhas of yore and many of the present day vaids fall miserably short of the standards set for the practice of rasa sastra.

ADRs will continue to be noticed in Ayurveda until such time that perfection and proficiency is attained in the manufacturing of the medicines and until such time as the practitioner attains personal and spiritual purity.

One of my friend who is an Ayurvedic physician encountered a certain ADR with Chyawanprash which children and even elders consume all over the world on a daily basis and is easily available in the market not only at drug stores but also at local stores.

So here was what happened after using Chyawanprash:

Chyawanprash when used in a patient with chronic kidney disease has shown an alarming rise in serum potassium, if continued further, it has also shown dysrhythmias due to hyperkalemia

After a thorough study of this case by some talented doctors of Ayurvedic Medicine, it was felt Chyawanprash was not responsible for hyperkalemia, as it is well known that chronic renal failure is one of the major cause of hyperkalemia and due to diseased kidney, it might be there.

But we know that nowadays, Chyawanprash is not prepared as mentioned in Ayurvedic texts. For example, it has been in the mentioned in the text that Amalki which will be used for Chyawanprash should be riped but in most of the pharmaceutical companies, it is used in an unripe form.

Second thing is that we have to measure the potassium content of Chyawanprash and not that of Amalki or else we should measure it in riped Amalki.

Beyond this, there are many factors which play an important role for the formulation and can affect the outcome of the use of the Chyawanprash.

So according to me, I agree that Ayurvedic Medicine can cause adverse drug reactions or side effects but to a lesser extent than allopathy.

Do you think that Ayurvedic medicine has more adverse drug reaction cases than allopathy medicines

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    • profile image

      sonare 4 years ago

      East ho west only 'AYURVED' is the best. Bcz.......

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      Aasiya 4 years ago

      Good article. It was needed out there as well.

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      ayush 6 years ago

      Ayurveda doctors are NOT allowed to practise allopathy?

      Why ? Answer is here -

      1. Their syllabus does not include Allopathic medicine (they only read it as an extra curricular activity)

      Gazette notified copy of syllabus is attached. Slide 40

      (Their syllabus do not include allpathic training/exams)

      2. Judiciary had made it clearly evidenced it in may judgements

      See the slides 25 to 28. After which there is no suspicion.

      All previous notiifcation and orders before this were quashed

      3. CCIM has also accepted these facts (See slide 22)

      Aur kitne saboot chahiyee - puri presentation dekh kar suiside mat kar lena

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks a lot for your visit celeBritys4africA.

    • celeBritys4africA profile image

      celeBritys4africA 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      A very interesting hub and so many extraordinary photos.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you so much Mark for adding vital information to this hub.

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      Mark 7 years ago

      The rise in potassium levels from Chyawanprash is not surprising since most formulas contain licorice root.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Yes I know Alan that both Ayurvedic medicine and western medicine to say allopathic medicine carry a risk of adverse drug reactions because all these are drugs and nothing else but in this hub if you have read it carefully, I have mentioned at the last that Ayurvedic medicine causes less drug reactions than allopathic medicines which was my idea to share by creating this article.

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      Alan 8 years ago

      Of course Ayurvedic medicine can have adverse side effects. It would be silly to think otherwise. Both Ayurvedic medicine and Western medicine make use of powerful pharmaceutical preparations. Whether either is more or less dangerous to the patient depends on the skill of the diagnostician and the quality control associated with preparation of the pharmaceuticals used.

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      ramaprasad.d 8 years ago

      pl inform me about pottacium content in panchamrutha loha guggulu