thanks to ayurveda, Subhash Jacob is free from migraine now. The headache was with him for over 30 years. Repeated
attempts at seeking cure from different schools of medicines were ineffective and left him with many side effects. "I am 90 per cent cured after I
took the ayurvedic treatment," says Jacob, a scientist at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
The study followed guidelines for traditional medicines set by the World Health Organization, which puts migraine as 19th in the list of causes for 'years lived with disability'--work days lost due to the disease. It is estimated that migraine costs us employers over us $24 billion every year.
According to the vaidyas--traditional ayurvedic practitioners--the treatment works on the principle that migraine occurs when the acid-alkaline balance in the stomach is disturbed. This, according to them, leads to increased pitta--a measure used in ayurveda to check a person's health using the pulse--and affects body functions. "The medicine helps maintain the balance," says S Raghvendra Babu of the Padaav Speciality Ayurvedic Treatment Centre, Bangalore, who co-ordinated the study.
The cure is also dependent on the change in lifestyle of the patients, say experts. Though considered genetic in nature, a variety of environmental factors trigger migraine--stress, change in weather and the food consumed. Both ayurveda and allopathy cite irregular eating habits like long intervals between meals as causes for migraine. "Under allopathy, a neurologist treats migraine while in ayurveda it falls under gastroenterology," says Babu.
The practitioners pooled data from different clinics and analysed it. "This multi centric documentation of clinical practice is a novel method of ayurvedic research," says Prakash. But Ish Anand, a neurologist at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi, does not approve of the research method. "Double blind study under which the efficacy of a treatment is tested against a placebo is the only way," says Anand.
The global market for allopathic migraine drugs is worth us $3.4 billion; experts, however, say this will go down to us $3.2 billion by 2015 with cheaper drugs reaching the market. In India, the ayurvedic drug industry is ready to tap this market. Ipca Laboratories, Mumbai, is trying to market the ayurvedic treatment for migraine. This could help the about 20 per cent people suffering from migraine in India.
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