Friday, October 5, 2012
India has had a rich tradition of medicinal thought and action. Apart from home grown systems of medicine, the land had little problem in allowing new methods to come in and be practiced along side the older ones. Some of them have grown so big as to threaten the continued existence of the so called traditional systems of medicine.
One such system is Unani. The word originally meant 'Greek' and probably referred to Hippocrates. Though based on his principles, the system evolved quite differently from the 'Western' systems and, as far as I know, is making a spirited last stand in India. One of the reasons for its continued survival must surely be the efforts of the Government of India to prop it up, along with a few other systems. Under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there is a department named AYUSH - that's an acronym for Ayurvada, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy - which funds several research institutes across the country.
Research in Unani medicine falls under the CCRUM - the Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine. The CCRUM runs over 25 institutions, covering the spectrum of research to drug development. Most of the research is carried out through the seven Regional Research Institutes - of which one is in Chennai. Located on West Mada Church Road in Royapuram, this one seems to taking its research real easy - or maybe it is just that it was a Sunday!