A careful study of the classical literature of Ayurveda provides compelling indications to believe that the practice of building clinical evidence was nurtured in the tradition of Ayurveda. Ayurveda exhibits the characteristics of a knowledge system and requires that observations are validated to be accepted as knowledge. The celebrated textbook on general medicine known as the Charaka Samhita remarks that the outcome of a clinical intervention is to be dismissed as accidental or due to chance if it cannot be substantiated with proper evidence and reasoning. Classical texts of Ayurveda also discuss about self-limiting diseases and the need to distinguish between the true effect and chance effect of a medical intervention. Classical treatments of Ayurveda are multimodal in nature and cannot be studied using conventional methods of clinical research. Appropriate research designs for both observational studies as well as randomized clinical trials need to be developed for meaningful evaluation of clinical interventions in Ayurveda. This chapter will review the gaps in the current approaches to clinical research in Ayurveda and highlight the attempts that have been made to develop methodologies that are appropriate not only for Ayurveda but also such other systems of traditional, complementary, or alternative medicine. An elaborate discussion of the classical approach in building clinical evidence in the tradition of Ayurveda will also be attempted in the process.
Ram Manohar P., Clinical evidence in the tradition of ayurveda, vol. 9783642245657. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2012, pp. 67-78.