The following is a research paper authored by Dr. Boris Vladimirovich Ragozin, Department of Ayurveda, Institute of Oriental Medicine, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, Moscow, Russia – and has been reproduced with his permission. Link to Dr. Ragozin: http://ayurvedaru.ru/catalog2.aspx?rid=52&mid=1
Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest medical sciences, with a history that goes back more than 5,000 years. The knowledge of Ayurveda has at various times had an impact on a number of branches of medicine: From ancient Greek medicine in the West to the Chinese and Tibetan in the East. Ayurveda continues to retain its prominent position in the modern world, being officially recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and enjoying great popularity in the US, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. In India, Ayurveda is recognised by conventional medicine on a par with modern medical science. In the Soviet Union a strong interest in Ayurveda arose for the first time after the Chernobyl disaster, and since then Ayurveda has been actively developing in Russia. In this article we present the chronology of the development of Ayurvedic medicine in Russia since 1989, explore academic literature on the subject available in Russian and review the existing Ayurvedic products and services offered on the Russian market.
In 1989, after the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident, Soviet doctors began to express strong interest in Ayurveda for the first time. The negotiations between the governments of India and the USSR resulted in the opening of an Ayurvedic medical center in Minsk. Ayurvedic practitioners invited from India had been tasked with treating children affected by the explosion at the nuclear power plant, as well as with developing ways of treating radiation sickness.
In 1990 a special department of the Ministry of Healthcare of the former USSR was created in order to integrate traditional Ayurvedic medicine into the Russian healthcare system. In the same year, Ayurvedic medicine course was introduced in Moscow with the support of the Ministry of Healthcare of the USSR. Some 300 doctors were trained and 300 academic certificates were issued.
In 1991 the first Russian professional medical association of practitioners of traditional and folk medicine (Russian Association of Traditional Medicine) was registered with the aim of training and registering practitioners of traditional and Oriental medicine.
From 1996 to 1998 Ayurveda was included in the state “register of medical practices” and was subject to licensing. Unfortunately, after 2003 these licenses were not renewed. For unknown reasons, the ministerial department for integration was disbanded and in 1998, despite a very positive experience of its practice in Russia, Ayurveda was excluded from the list of medical activities.
From 1996 to 2005 the first Ayurvedic medical center called “NAAMI” headed by Dr. S. A. Mayskaya was active in Moscow. Several Ayurvedic practitioners from India, including Noushad Ali Tachaparamban (Doctor of Medicine), Mohammedali P. K. (Doctor of Medicine) and Unnikrishnan Thacharakkal, practised there. During this period, the center provided medical assistance to over 2000 people.
Between 1996 and 1998 those affected by the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster were treated in Moscow by a joint team of Russian doctors and Ayurvedic practitioners from India led by Noushad Ali Tachaparamban. Ayurvedic methods of treatment were applied to 85 patients. The most common complaints presented by patients were headaches, sleep disorders, pain in the joints and spine, irritability and fatigue, all characteristic of radiation damage. Many patients also manifested symptoms of gastritis, enterocolitis, peptic ulcers, high blood pressure, significant immune deficiency and signs of osteoporosis. Over the course of 2 – 3 months these patients received comprehensive Ayurvedic therapy. As a result, the majority of patients showed an improvement in their subjective well-being, complete relief from headaches and joint pain, a halt of the degenerative processes and better tissue regeneration, while all patients have demonstrated a significant increase of immunity and reduction in the number of respiratory infections.
In 1996 – 1998 the Institute of Medical and Social Rehabilitation held 9–month–long courses as part of the programme called “The fundamental principles of Ayurveda” as well as a year-long course called “The introductory course to Ayurveda”. The courses were taught by Noushad Ali Tachaparamban together with Professor of Ayurvedic medicine Agnivesh K.R. Over a period of two years, more than 50 Russian doctors have completed the course.
Between 1996 and 998 Ayurvedic doctors under the supervision of doctors of allopathic medicine have treated 105 children aged between 3 and 16 years old at the Moscow Research Institute of Paediatrics and Paediatric Surgery of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation. The positive results of this treatment have been documented. The research included children with bronchial asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, cerebral palsy, vegetative-vascular dystonia and scoliosis. Throughout the treatment the children’s medical condition was monitored on a daily basis using a wide range of clinical, laboratory and instrumental electrophysiological methods (EEG, REG, ECG, ultrasound, x-ray etc.). After the inpatient treatment, the observation continued on an outpatient basis. After their treatment using Ayurvedic methods that included herbal remedies, massage and yoga, 95% of the children have demonstrated high and fairly stable (up to 2 years) clinical results in connection with their primary disease and related complaints such as headaches, vestibulopathy, sleep disorders, fatigue as well as psychoemotional irritability etc. Children with cerebral palsy have demonstrated improved coordination, increased muscle strength, enhanced gait stability as well as better hemodynamics and an improved performance of the bioelectrical activity of the brain. The Ayurvedic Rasāyana method has also proved its positive effect on 32 children diagnosed with oligophrenia. The children have demonstrated improvements in their behaviour and mental state as well as their immune and physical development.
During the Ayurvedic treatment, in addition to complete relief from complaints and regression of the main clinical symptoms, there was also a noted positive dynamics of somatic manifestations and neurological disorders, and an improvement in cerebral hemodynamics, which proves a direct and positive effect of the treatment during all stages of the pathogenesis of these diseases. Not a single child has manifested any complications, side effects, toxic or allergic reactions to the Ayurvedic medications used. The experience of applying Ayurvedic methods in paediatrics has demonstrated the possibility of their use and their effectiveness in treating a number of diseases.
Moreover, a whole range of methods used in Ayurvedic medicine was developed and adapted for paediatric practice by A. V. Kapustin et al.
The Head physician of the Moscow Research Institute of Paediatrics and Paediatric Surgery of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation, the Honoured Doctor of the Russian Federation Osokina G. G. has concluded that it would be useful to continue studying long-term results of Ayurvedic treatment methods and exploring the possibilities of application of these methods in treating other significant diseases in children.
Between 1999 and 2010 a magazine called “Ayurveda – the science of life” was published in St. Petersburg. Its editor-in-chief, Vetrov I. I., has greatly contributed to the development of Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine in Russia. He also headed the “Dhanvantari” medical center in St. Petersburg, conducted extensive research in the field of Ayurvedic medicine and has written a number of books on the subject.
From 2002 to 2009 Vetrov I. I. headed the Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine at the Mechnikov State Medical Academy (now the North-Western State Medical University named after I. I. Mechnikov). Dozens of doctors have received training in Ayurveda from Indian and Russian practitioners.
In 2003 the “Vsya Ayurveda” (“All about Ayurveda”) educational project, which is still actively running today, was launched. The aim of the project was the development and popularisation of Ayurveda in Russia. As part of the project, the first online Ayurvedic store in Russia was created (ayurvedamarket.ru), which is the largest specialised store on the Russian internet. In 2011 – 2012 a club, a video channel and a community have been established. The authors of the “Vsya Ayurveda” project took part in the 2013 Ayurvedic conference and have been organising a yearly Ayurvedic conference since October 2014, gathering all Indian and Russian Ayurvedic doctors and practitioners working in Russia with the aim of popularising Ayurveda in the country.
From 2003 to 2015 an educational course taught by Prof. Subotyalov M. A. was offered by the Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University. During this period, the course was taken by some 750 people, including 150 practitioners of modern medicine. Since 2015 the program is being continued within the framework of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA). The association is engaged in training specialists and conducting research in the field of Ayurvedic medicine.
In 2005 the Ayurveda Russia–India Association (ARIA) was created and is still active today. In 2005 more than 40 doctors were taught by the Association with the assistance of the Russian Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education (RMAPO) of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation as part of the course called “The fundamental principles of Ayurveda”. The course was taught by professors of Ayurveda from India, such as Dr. Agnivesh K. R., Dr. Dilipkumar K. V. T. and Dr. Kuldip Kohli.
In 2006, the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation approved a standard programme of further professional education for doctors on the fundamental principles of traditional Ayurvedic medicine (144 hours). The programme was developed by the staff of the Department of non-pharmacological methods of treatment and clinical physiology of the I. M. SechenovFirst Moscow State Medical University and the staff of the Faculty of Organisation of national and international public health of the Department of physical rehabilitation and sports medicine of RMAPO, and was drawn up in accordance with the orders of the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Education of the Russian Federation. The programme is aimed at doctors of medical institutions using methods and techniques of traditional medicine.
In 2006 two Ayurvedic clinics that are still active today were opened in Moscow: “Atreya”, founded by Noushad Ali Tachaparamban, Doctor of Ayurveda and Doctor of Medicine, and “Kerala”, founded by Dr. Unnikrishnan Thacharakkal. Since 2014 the “Kerala” clinic has been headed by Mohammedali P. K. (Doctor of Medicine). At present, over 30 Ayurvedic practitioners work at each clinic (doctors and massage therapists). Since they first opened, the clinics have provided medical assistance to thousands of patients.
In 2007 Ragozin B. V. became the first Russian citizen to have been awarded with a BAMS, Bachelor of Ayurvedic medicine and surgery degree at Gujarat Ayurved University (Jamnagar, India). He has also completed the BNYT (Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yoga Therapy) yoga therapy course and was awarded with a Doctor of Medicine in Alternative Medicines M.D. (A.M.) degree of the Indian Board of Alternative Medicines in Calcutta, India.
From 2009 to 2012 Ragozin B. V. has taught a course called “Ayurvedic medicine” at the Department of further professional education at the Faculty of Medicine of the People’s Friendship University of Russia (PFUR) comprising 144 and 504 hours. The course has been completed by over 150 people.
From 2012 to 2014 Ragozin B. V. has taught a course titled “Developing healthy lifestyle and eating habits (Ayurvedic medicine)” consisting of 144 hours and a course of Ayurvedic massage consisting of 72 hours at the Faculty of medicine of PFUR. Over 150 people have received their degree certificates.
Since January 2013 Ragozin B. V. has been heading the Department of Ayurvedic Medicine at the Institute of Oriental Medicine (IOM) founded as part of PFUR. IOM PFUR is a branch of the People’s Friendship University of Russia. In the university, apart from the Department of Ayurveda, there are also the Departments of Chinese and Tibetan medicine, phytotherapy and rehabilitation of children and teenagers.
By the time IOM was founded, the Department of Phytotherapy at PFUR was in existence for 12 years. The opening of IOM has spurred a more active co-operation between Russia and India in the field of studying various herbs and their properties. Faculty members work together with a range of Indian pharmaceutical companies, such as “Himalaya Drug Co”, “Indian spices”, “Lupin Limited” etc. During this period, clinical trials of such products as Softovac, Brahmi, One be etc. have been conducted.
In 2013, ARIA held a 15-day seminar on “The fundamental principles of Ayurveda”. It was attended by Professors of Ayurveda from India K. V. Jayadevan and M. V. Vinodkumar. Also, 12 physicians received an Indian certificate of having completed the course called “The use of Ayurveda in psychology. The concept of the mind – the psychosomatic aspect” taught by Professors of Ayurveda M. P. Esvara Sharma, K. V. T. Dilipkumar and S. Gopakumar.
In April 2013 Moscow hosted the first All–Russian Congress of Ayurveda with the support of the Healthcare Committee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, the Embassy of India in Russia, the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy (AYUSH), the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India and the Department of Ayurveda of the government of the state of Maharashtra. Dr. Agnivesh K. R., Dr. Varier P. M., Dr. Jina N. J., Dr. Dilipkumar K. V. T., Dr. Manojkumar A. K., Dr. M. P. Eswara Sharma, Dr. S. Gopakumar, Dr. Mohammed, Dr. Salprakasan, Dr. Srivats N. V., Dr. Ragozin B. V., Prof. Subotyalov M. A. etc. took part in the congress.
In April 2015 the second All-Russian Congress of Ayurveda took place. It was supported by the Healthcare Committee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, the Embassy of India in Russia and the Ministry of AYUSH as well as the Department of Ayurveda of the government of the state of Maharashtra. The Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation P. S. Raghavan addressed the participants at the opening ceremony. He emphasised the importance of the role played by the organisers of the congress – IOM PFUR and ARIA – in the development of Ayurveda in Russia and also spoke about the plans of the government of India to further develop Ayurveda in Russia. In particular, he announced the creation of the AYUSH Information Department at the Consulate of India in Moscow. During the congress, Indian specialists announced plans for its future activities that include: Lectures on Ayurveda, a scholarship programme for Russian students and doctors, plans to establish departments of Ayurveda in various higher education institutions, joint research projects etc.
Ayurveda practitioners from IOM PFUR and ARIA also took part in the XXII Russian National Congress titled “Man and medicine” held in Moscow in 2015 on par with representatives of conventional medicine and of the Russian pharmaceutical market.
In 2014, a Council on traditional/complementary medicine was established as part of the State Duma Committee on Healthcare, uniting experts in Chinese, Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine. The Council is in the process of preparing an amendment to the Federal Law No. 323-FZ regarding articles on traditional complementary medicine, introduction of new professional qualifications, including Ayurvedic, and the regulation of drug registration in these areas.
July 1, 2015 saw the introduction of a new National Classification of Occupations (NOC): OK 010 – 2014 (ISCO-08), which formally regulates activities in the field of Ayurvedic medicine and officially recognises such terms as “Ayurvedic medicine”, “doctor of Ayurvedic medicine”, “specialist in Ayurvedic medicine” and so forth.
AYURVEDIC LITERATURE AVAILABLE IN RUSSIAN
An important contribution to the translation of Ayurveda–related texts into Russian and the formation of basic Ayurvedic terminology was made by the “Sattva” publishing house that has published a number of translated works by prominent Western and Indian authors. Among them are such books as “Ayurvedic Healing” and “Ayurveda and the Mind: The Healing of Consciousness” by David Frawley, “Ayurvedic cooking for self-healing”, “Secrets of the Pulse: The Ancient Art of Ayurvedic Pulse Diagnosis”, “The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies” and “The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine” by Vasant Lad as well as “Hidden Secret of Ayurveda”, “Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution”, “Ayurveda: Life, Health, and Longevity” by Robert Svoboda and many others.
With a shortage of translated texts and lack of work with Ayurvedic information sources, the Russian-language basic terminology in Ayurvedic medicine began to be formed. Prof. M. A. Subotyalov has published a large number of studies for the Russian-speaking audience on the history of Ayurveda, its sources, characteristics, methods and basic concepts. Numerous articles and monographs have also been published. A monograph titled “Ayurveda: Sources and characteristics” (Subotyalov M. A., Druzhinin V. Y.) became the first major textbook on the history and methodology of Ayurveda for Russian-speaking students.
There is also a terminology research by the associate professor at Moscow State University Bogatyryova I. I. exploring the vocabulary in ancient Indian medical treatises.
Overall, despite a large number of popular articles and literature, high-quality translations of fundamental medical treatises of Ayurveda from Sanskrit into Russian are few and far between. It is an area of study that could greatly benefit from more research efforts.
AYURVEDIC PRODUCTS AVAILABLE IN RUSSIA
The Russian system of registration of medicines doesn’t single out products used in traditional or Ayurvedic medicine. That is the reason that a large number of Ayurvedic medicines which are already well established on the Russian market is not taken into account. The Russian healthcare system has long been using such Ayurvedic medicines as Liv–52, Cistone and Speman by Himalaya; Linkus, Verona, Bonjigarand Insti by Herbion; One be and Softovac by Lupin Limited; Travisil cough syrup, lozenges and ointment by Plethico Pharmaceuticals Ltd; Dr. Mom cough syrup, ointment and lozenges, and a number of other medicines and dietary supplements. The effectiveness and relevance of Ayurvedic methods is indirectly proven by the steady increase in sales of these products, on average by 25% every year.
A number of biologically active dietary supplements have been developed using the recipes of Ayurvedic medicine, such as Cyavanaprāśa, Triphalā Guggulu, Yogarāja Guggulu etc. Various oils have been created based on Ayurvedic recipes and are now being used by those seeking to maintain good health as well as for hygienic and cosmetic purposes.
Between 1998 and the early 2000s a company called Ayurveda plus was present on the Russian market. It registered a number of Ayurvedic products in Russia, including Revmatogel, Triphalā Guggulu, Arjuna, Yogaraja Guggulu etc. Ayurveda plus imported products by such major manufacturers as Dabur India Limited, Shahnaz Herbals and Bioveda Research Laboratories.
In 2000 – 2002 Ayurveda Plus conducted more than 30 clinical trials confirming the efficiency and safety of the use of Ayurvedic medicines in various areas (surgery, psychiatry, gynaecology, gerontology etc). In the early 2000s the company together with St. Petersburg State Chemical Pharmaceutical Academy provided training for doctors and practitioners of Ayurveda in order to improve their skills. It also held four international conferences on Ayurvedic medicine. In cooperation with the Academy of Medical and Social Management it has also organised the first international conference called “Eastern and Western medicine – real help”.
Since March 2010 a company called TRADO has been presenting herbal medicinal products and food supplements for various body systems based on Ayurvedic principles manufactured by Bliss Ayurveda to the Russian market.
Since 2013 ProSvet, the company headed by Ragozin B. V. has been active in the field of Ayurveda and has registered a whole range of classic Ayurvedic products. Medicines and supplements made in India are being registered in Russia under Russian names, mostly as biologically active dietary supplements. Among the classic products produced by the company offered in the form of tablets are Nidrodaya rasa (Water-surface), Hingvādi vaṇi (Breath of the Universe), Balya yoga (Living warmth), Chandraprabhā vaṭi(Moonlight), Hṛdayanava rasa (Ray of light), Virecana yoga (Enlightenment), Amṛtāriṣta (Five elements), Brāhmī vaṭi (Equilibrium), Ārogyavardhinī vaṭi (Rainbow), Śvāsahara yoga (Sunrise), Madhumeha hara vaṭi (Power of light), Kañcanāra guggulu (Harmony), Agni vardhaka vaṭi (Sunlight) etc.
Some supplements are produced for ProSvet in the form of kvāthas or herbal decoctions. The following formulas are available in Russia: Madhumehahara (Bio-balance), Brāhmī rasāyana (Harmony), Vāsāriṣṭa(Winter tea), Medohara guggulu (Slimness), Medohara yoga (Slimness plus), Triphalā kvātha (Triphala tea), Mahāmañjiṣṭhādi kvātha (Tsar tea) etc.
A wide range of Ayurvedic oils has been registered by “ProSvet”, including Āmla, Anu, Aśvagandhā, Balā Aśvagandhā, Brāhmī, Vaka, Daśamūla, Mahānārāyaṇa, Koṭṭaṃcukkādi, Piṇḍa, Slimness, Triphalā etc.
Years of use of Ayurvedic products in Russia have demonstrated that Ayurvedic herbal medicines are well tolerated by patients, are efficient, have no side effects except in cases of individual intolerance. However, it is also clear that Russia still lacks Ayurvedic remedies and a large amount of work is required in the field of their registration and description as well as in the area of research and teaching.
POPULARITY OF AYURVEDA AMONG RUSSIAN DOCTORS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC
There are about a thousand Spa-centers in Russia and roughly half of them offer services based on Ayurvedic techniques (different types of Ayurvedic massage, herbal steam baths etc.). Russian doctors are also eager to use some of the Ayurvedic preventive, therapeutic and rehabilitation methods and medicines in their medical practice, and to refer their patients to registered Ayurvedic centers in order to achieve better results. Russian patients, adults and children alike, have a positive attitude towards and a good response to Ayurvedic methods and techniques that have proven to be successful both as complementary and as alternative treatment.
The Russians are increasingly turning to Ayurvedic practitioners and their methods for treatment of chronic diseases and rehabilitation after serious illnesses, although less so for prevention and health maintenance. There has been a large increase in the public interest in Ayurvedic treatments. While the number of those who turned to Ayurvedic methods and techniques in 1995 was some 2,000 people, today this number has reached several thousand, with an approximate annual growth of about 100%.
Every year, up to 10,000 Russian citizens travel to India for treatment and improving their general health – and that is to the state of Kerala alone.
Numerous medical centers using Ayurvedic methods of diagnosis and treatment keep opening in Russia. Courses are being taught on some branches of Ayurvedic medicine and disease prevention methods. Texts on various aspects of Ayurvedic medicine are regularly published. Academic and research issues regarding the theory and practice of Ayurvedic medicine are widely discussed at all Russian and international congresses and conferences (St. Petersburg, 2004; Krasnoyarsk, 2009; Novosibirsk, 2011 – 2013; Moscow, 2013, 2015; Volgograd, 2013 etc).
(Dr. Boris Ragozin is a practicing Ayurvedic doctor and the Head of the Department of Ayurveda, Institute of Oriental Medicine, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia)
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