June 14, 2012
School of Ayurveda, Amritapuri
Maintaining youthfulness for as long as possible, by rejuvenating body and mind is the primary objective of Rasayanam, one of the eight classical clinical specialties of Ayurveda.
“It is not merely a drug therapy but a unique kind of purificatory procedure that includes a special dietary regimen and other health promoting behavior,” elaborated senior administrators of the Amrita School of Ayurveda at the inauguration of Ayushyam, a national seminar on Rasayanam.
These senior Amrita administrators included Br. Dr. Sankara Chaitanya, Medical Director and Dr. B. Syamala, Principal.
This seminar convened during June 8-9, 2012 saw participation from over 600 delegates, 250 of whom came from outside the state of Kerala.
The main objective of the event was to outline traditional knowledge related to Rasayana, and analyze and benchmark it against modern scientific theories and research.
“The Dhaatu concept recognized by Ayurveda corresponds to advanced stem cell theories,” explained Dr. B.S. Prasad, Principal, KLE Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, Belgaum, in his keynote address.
He traced several amazing parallels between modern stem cell theory and the Dhaatus, the seven tissues that build and nourish the body, its immune system and the mind.
According to the Ayurvedic concept of tissue formation, each of the seven Dhaatus viz. nutrient fluid, muscle tissue, fat tissue, bone tissue, bone marrow and nervous tissue, reproductive tissue are created from the previous one.
In modern medical science, stem cells are unspecialized cells with the ability to self-renew or multiply for a longer period of time. They can also differentiate into specialized cells.
“As stem cells give rise to functional tissues, Rasayana drugs likely act on stem cells. Tissue/system specific Rasayana interventions probably interact with the particular stem cells,” Dr. Prasad concluded.
Dr. P. Ram Manohar, Director, AVP Research Foundation further outlined details and intricacies involved in the transformation of Rasa, a nutrient fluid, and sketched an Ayurvedic model of biological renewal.
“Ayurveda explains the complex process of ageing as the story of the journey of Rasa, as it is transformed by Agni (fire), to be transported to the Srotas (body channels), generating an abundance of Ojas (vitality). This journey of Rasa is called Rasayana,” he said.
“Rasa, Agni, Srotas and Ojas are like knobs or control switches which regulate the self renewal capabilities of the body,” he further explained.
“This conference is providing the much awaited systematic scientific analysis of Rasayana,” commented one participant, Dr. Arya Prabhu, Assistant Professor, Mannam Ayurveda Cooperative, Medical College, Pandalam, Kerala, reflecting the view of several others.
Dr. Krishna Kumar, Chief Physician, Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Group, shared a scientific analysis of Chyavanapraasham, India’s most ancient rejuvenating preparation. The formulation combines the efficiency of Emblica officinalis with many other herbs.
“The results of our investigation have shown that Chyavanapraasham is the most effective product having a free radical scavenging property and is a most potent antioxidant drug rich in gallic- acid equivalent. It is the most potent Rasayana in the treatment of an endless number of diseases, as well as helpful for maintaining health as defined by our Acharyas,” Dr. Krishna Kumar stated.
The importance of Ghritha (ghee), in preventing CNS degeneration was a point emphasized in Dr. M. R.Vasudevan Nampoothiri’s presentation. Formerly Director of AY Medical Education, Kerala, he is currently Professor at the Amrita School of Ayurveda.
“There is a similarity between ghritha and brain matter. Only fat and alcohol soluble materials can cross the blood brain barrier. So ghritha is the only medium that can nourish the brain. Lack of use of milk products, especially gritha is one of the major causes of neurological degeneration,” he said.
He concluded his presentation by quoting the Rishis: “Who ever makes proper use of Rasayana attains longevity on earth and after death follows the path of sages to reach the immutable.” Charaka Samhitha, Chikitsasthana 1:1:80.